Still in the grips of COVID-19 surges mainly fueled by the Delta (B1617.2) variant, Thailand and Vietnam extended lockdowns and other measures for the worst-hit parts of the countries.
In other global developments, an outbreak in Australia’s Queensland state flared again, and the greater Sydney area continues to report high daily case totals.
Big cities are hot spots, but officials eye threats in provinces
Thailand’s government yesterday added 16 more provinces to the maximum red zone area and extended COVID measures in Bangkok and 28 other provinces by 2 weeks, according to the Bangkok Post. The measures include a night curfew and restrictions on travel between provinces.
Infections in Bangkok, which account for about 39% of the country’s cases, are slowing some, but rates are increasing in other provinces due to the more transmissible Delta variant, officials said. Yesterday the country reported 18,027 cases, along with 133 more deaths.
In Vietnam, officials extended strict measures in Ho Chi Minh City and other cities and provinces in the south for 2 more weeks, according to Reuters. They said the goal is to create a protective belt around Ho Chi Minh City to prevent the virus from spreading further.
For now, Vietnam’s second biggest city is the country’s epicenter, making up 64% of its cases.
Meanwhile, Indonesia’s health ministry said the country appears to have passed its peak, according to Reuters. Overall cases have declined from about 50,000 a day to 30,000 a day, but health officials are still worried because test positivity remains high. They add that the Delta variant could also spread to the country’s more remote areas that have less healthcare capacity, a pattern seen in India’s massive outbreak.
Government officials have said they hope to reopen the economy by September, depending on vaccine uptake, contact tracing, and treatment.
More global headlines
- In Australia, officials in Queensland state extended a lockdown for the Brisbane area by about a week after 13 new local cases were reported, the state’s biggest daily rise of the year, according to Reuters. Meanwhile, New South Wales state, which includes Sydney, reported 207 more cases yesterday as cases remain near a 16-month high.
- So far, 198 COVID-19 cases have been linked to the Tokyo Olympics, according to surveillance information contained in the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control weekly outbreaks report.
- Germany will begin offering COVID-19 booster shots in September, targeting older people and at-risk groups, according to Reuters, which cited state health officials. Israel and the United Kingdom have announced similar plans.
- In France, protests broke out this weekend in Paris and other cities because of the government’s requirement for health passes to show proof of vaccination or a negative test status at some public venues.
- The global COVID total rose to 198,293,097 cases, with at least 4,223,315 deaths, according to the New York Times tracker.