Covid-19 death toll rises in Thailand; rush for vaccine intensifies

Thailand has set a new daily record of 31 Covid-19 deaths on May 3, as the third wave of infections that emerged in early April gains pace across the country.

The Thai health ministry has reported 2,041 new Covid-19 cases, taking the country’s total number to 71,025 since the start of the pandemic last year. There are now 276 fatalities.

Thailand rolled out a vaccination programme on March 1, with priority granted to health workers, elderly, and those medically at risk

According to Reuters, the latest outbreak includes the highly transmissible B117 variant first detected in Britain.

The outbreak comes in the midst of Thailand’s vaccination programme, which aims to inoculate 70 per cent of the population by the end of 2021. Registration for vaccinating the general public began on May 1, with about 16 million people aged over 60 or those with pre-existing medical conditions getting priority.

As urgency for vaccination mounts, some 2,000 private companies have expressed their intent to purchase from the government vaccines for their staff. The Thai Chamber of Commerce told The Bangkok Post that the vaccines would go to a 900,000-strong workforce.

The report added that many private companies had earlier planned to import vaccines but failed to, as a number of manufacturers insisted on only dealing with governments.

Demand for quicker access to vaccines has also driven up interest among Thai residents in vaccine tours to destinations that are putting up excess doses for sale.

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