Thailand sees rise in severe COVID-19 cases

Travelers wearing face maks walk through the arrivals terminal at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on July 1, 2022. (LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

COLOMBO / SYDNEY / HANOI / BANGKOK / MANILA / SINGAPORE – The number of severe COVID-19 cases and coronavirus-related deaths in Thailand has increased slightly, fuelled by the Omicron sub-variants and the country's long holidays.

The majority of the critical cases and people on ventilators are found in the capital Bangkok and neighboring provinces, Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said at a press conference Monday.

He said most of the new cases detected last week were among high-risk groups, including the elderly and people with chronic diseases, of which many were either not vaccinated or not fully vaccinated.

A high volume of inter-provincial traveling during the recent holidays could have led to an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, and requires further monitoring, Opas added.

Staff check a client at a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic at Bondi Beach in Sydney, Australia on Jan 8, 2022. (MARK BAKER / AP)


Public schools in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will distribute more than 9 million rapid antigen test (RAT) kits as part of a four-week "blitz" to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the students will go back to school.

These RAT kits will be distributed to students at all schools across the state. Cleaners at all public schools will increase the day cleaning while students and staff are on-site, according to the announcement from the NSW Education Department.

Individual schools facing high COVID-19 cases will be directed to adopt additional "circuit breaker" measures, including ceasing large indoor gatherings and limiting visitors. Students at affected schools could be directed to learn from home for short periods if required.

The education department said significant improvements were also continuing over winter to improve air quality and ventilation in schools.

Though face masks are not mandatory for schools, the department also strongly encourages staff and students to wear masks, with more than 10 million masks in stock for schools. 

A child receives the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 as a performer dressed as superhero character Spider-Man looks on at a gym in San Juan City, suburban Manila on Feb 7, 2022. (TED ALJIBE / AFP)


The Philippines' Department of Health (DOH) reported 2,285 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, bringing the number of confirmed cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,735,383.

The DOH said the number of active cases climbed to 20,524.

The agency has reported over 2,000 new cases for the fifth straight day, and tallied 14,640 new cases last week, 44 percent higher than the previous week. The daily average was 2,091 new infections during the period.

The death toll remained unchanged at 60,641.

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka's Health Ministry on Monday urged the people to take the fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine given the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant.

Director General of Health Services Asela Gunawardena said over 95 percent of the people have received their second dose of the vaccine.

However, a significantly lower percentage of the people have taken the third dose, he said.

Taking four doses of the vaccine minimized the risk of contracting the virus and in case of infection, the severity of the disease will also be lower, the health official said.

The vaccines can be obtained at all state hospitals, medical offices of health, and stipulated vaccination centers, Gunawardena said.

A notice warning people not to gather in groups larger than five persons as part of restrictions to hald the spread of the coronavirus is displayed at Raffles Place financial business district in Singapore on Jan 4, 2022. (ROSLAN RAHMAN / AFP)


Singapore reported 6,227 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total tally to 1,602,273.

Of the new cases, 541 cases were detected through PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests and 5,686 through ART (antigen rapid test) tests, according to statistics released by the Ministry of Health.

Among the PCR cases, 506 were local transmissions and 35 were imported cases. Among the ART cases with mild symptoms and assessed to be of low risk, there were 5,472 local transmissions and 214 imported cases, respectively.

Four deaths were reported from COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total death toll to 1,457, the ministry said.  


Vietnam recorded 840 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, up by 95 from Sunday, according to its Ministry of Health.

The newly reported infections brought the total tally to 10,761,435. The country reported no new death from the pandemic on Monday, with the total fatalities staying at 43,091.

As of Monday, 29 severe cases were in need of assisted breathing in the country, according to the ministry.