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Thailand raises Covid-19 alert

Bangkok, Jan 6 (IANS) Thailand's Ministry of Public Health on Thursday raised its Covid-19 alert level from three to four in response to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the country.

The level-four warning refers to the closure of areas prone to cluster infections, reduction of inter-provincial travels and gatherings, Xinhua news agency quoted Kiattiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the Ministry, as saying to reporters.

There are five warning levels in Thailand, where the fifth one refers to curfews, strict mobility and public gathering control and quarantine scheme for all travellers.

The country confirmed 5,775 new Covid-19 cases over the last 24 hours, a huge jump compared to the previous day, according to the health authorities.

The number of severe cases and deaths continues to decrease overall, but confirmed cases are rising rapidly.

Kiattiphum noted that although most of the Omicron infections were mild, the public needed to be extra cautious to prevent a sharp rise in cases, which could put huge pressure on the healthcare system.

He urged the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible and take rapid antigen tests on a regular basis to detect infections and receive early treatment.

The Thai government had announced that all government staff would start working from home from Tuesday onwards and called on private businesses to do the same to minimize the spread of the new variant.