Thailand marks 100 days without local COVID-19 contagion

Bangkok, Sep 2 (efe-epa).- Thailand marked 100 days Wednesday without registering local contagion of COVID-19, after applying strict measures such as the closure of borders that have allowed it to control the pandemic, albeit at the cost of damaging the economy.

Thai authorities announced eight new cases of the new coronavirus, imported Wednesday from the United States, Australia and Japan, bringing the total since January to 3,425, including 58 deaths, and places Thailand as one of the least affected countries in the world.

Thailand was the first country to detect, in January, a contagion of COVID-19 outside China, the probable origin of the pandemic.

Despite its proximity to the country and being the main destination for Chinese tourists, Thailand has avoided the infection rate from other countries such as India, the United States or Brazil, and even the high numbers registered in other nations nearby such as Indonesia (with 178,000 cases) or the Philippines (with 224,000.)

In March, the government ordered movement controls, a night curfew, the mandatory use of masks in places such as supermarkets or public transport, and the closure of borders and most businesses and offices, although it did not decree a strict lockdown.

Measures were relaxed in June, although at this time the borders continue to be closed to tourists and on Aug. 21 authorities decided to extend the state of emergency for the fifth time until Sep. 31.

The closure of borders and the fall in foreign demand has dealt a severe blow to the Thai economy, which entered a recession when GDP fell by 12.2 percent in the second quarter of the year, after a contraction of 2 percent in the first three months.

According to the Bank of Thailand forecast, GDP will lose 8.1 percent this year compared to the previous year, the worst economic data since the financial crisis that devastated the country and much of Southeast Asia in 1998.

Authorities have approved aid packages to alleviate the economic effects of the pandemic in sectors such as tourism, which this year will receive 80 percent fewer visitors than in 2019, when it welcomed 40 million tourists. EFE-EPA


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