BANGKOK (REUTERS) – Thailand on Sunday (May 2) reported 1,940 new coronavirus cases amid a deadly third wave of the virus.
The Health Ministry recorded a second day of 21 deaths, the highest daily number of fatalities since the pandemic began.
Sunday’s numbers brought the country’s total confirmed infections since the pandemic began last year to 68,984. Total deaths are now at 245.
On Saturday, the health ministry reported 1,891 new cases, as the South-east Asian country opened registration for a long-awaited mass vaccination campaign.
Thailand largely controlled the virus early in the pandemic through shutdowns and strict border controls.
But a deadly third wave that begin in early April includes the highly transmissible B117 variant and has accounted for about half of its total cases and deaths.
A slow roll-out of vaccines has churned public frustration, with the 2.5 million doses of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine received so far going mostly to medical and frontline workers and the most vulnerable.
Registration for vaccinating the general public began on Saturday through mobile applications, with about 16 million people over 60 or those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes getting priority.
The mass inoculations are set to begin in June, when the first batch of an eventual 61 million locally manufactured AstraZeneca doses are available.
Thailand aims to have 70 per cent of the population vaccinated by the end of the year.