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Thailand reaches 1 million COVID-19 cases

Thailand reaches 1 million COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks queue outside the Central Vaccination Center as Thailand opens walk-in first dose of the AstraZeneca coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination scheme for elders, people with a minimum weight of 100 kilograms and pregnant women amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Bangkok, Thailand, July 22, 2021. REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

BANGKOK: Thailand passed the 1 million mark in coronavirus cases on Friday (Aug 20), 97 per cent of which were recorded in the past five months, as the country struggles to get on top of one of Asia's most severe COVID-19 outbreaks.

Authorities on Friday reported 19,851 new infections and 240 fatalities, taking total confirmed cases past 1 million and deaths to 8,826.

Thailand had kept the coronavirus largely under control and enjoyed only partial social restrictions for much of the pandemic until it was hit in April by the virulent Alpha variant, followed later by the Delta variant, at a time when few people were vaccinated.

Health officials have been rushing to shore up vaccine supply, having inoculated just 8.3 per cent of its population of over 66 million.

Authorities are also mixing AstraZeneca and Sinovac shots to boost immunity and as a workaround for supply issues.

The government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, including its vaccination policy, has fuelled a recent revival of protests against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who has stood by his administration's strategy.

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Source: Reuters/vc