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Monday, March 30, 2020

Thailand reports 136 new coronavirus cases, two more deaths


A man wearing a protective face mask walks during the spread of coronavirus disease COVID-19 in Bangkok Thailand March 29 2020. REUTERSJorge Silva
A man wearing a protective face mask walks, during the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bangkok, Thailand March 29, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand reported 136 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths on Monday, raising the total number of infections to 1,524 and fatalities to nine.

Popular tourist resort island Phuket, in southern Thailand, began a partial lockdown on Monday, when it started closing beaches and all points of entry and exit except air travel until the end of April.

The new cases were scattered across 18 of Thailand's 77 provinces. The capital Bangkok now accounts for nearly half of the cases overall.

"Cases in Bangkok remain high, but numbers in the provinces are fluctuating," said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

The government introduced a state of emergency last week, banning most foreigners from entry and closing public facilities and businesses in major cities until April 30.

Among the new cases, 71 were linked to known clusters from a boxing ring and entertainment venues, or came into contact with previous patients, while 21 were returnees from risky areas.

The two new deaths reported on Monday were a 54-year-old Thai man in the southern province of Yala who had recently returned from Malaysia, and a 56-year-old Thai woman in Bangkok, said Anupong Sujariyakul, an official at the health ministry's Department of Disease Control.

Three southern provinces, Yala, Narathiwat and Pattani, were put on higher alert over the past week due to many cases there being linked to a mosque gathering in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, last month.

(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Kay Johnson and Alex Richardson)

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