The Southeast Asian country’s justice minister said authorities are hoping to prioritize vaccinating more than 300,000 inmates and jail staff by diverting doses from the health ministry.
On Monday, Thailand reported 9,635 new coronavirus cases — the highest number of new infections since the pandemic began, according to its Covid-19 task force (CCSA). Of those cases, 6,853 — more than 70% — were found in eight prisons and detention facilities across the country.
By Tuesday morning local time, 2,473 new Covid-19 cases had been confirmed, of which 680 were from prisons. Thailand also reported 35 related deaths nationwide on Tuesday, its highest number of daily fatalities, according to CCSA.
The new figures bring the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 127,184, with 649 related deaths — relatively small numbers compared to those in other parts of the world. Thailand has managed to keep overall cases low until the most recent outbreak emerged in early April from a Bangkok entertainment district before spreading to a slum area.
Thailand’s prison clusters came to light when several pro-democracy protest leaders, accused of insulting the monarchy and held in pre-trial detention following popular demonstrations last year, announced they had tested positive for Covid-19 after being released on bail. Following the news, Thai authorities began mass testing the country’s prison population.
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