BANGKOK — Health authorities in Thailand on Monday announced 5,406 new COVID-19 cases, as the country struggles with how to cope with new coronavirus variants and contain its rapid spread around the capital Bangkok and in southern provinces.
Nine of the new cases were prisoners, while the others among the general public marked a record high for that category of patients.
Thailand has had 249,853 confirmed COVID cases since the pandemic began last year, more than 88% occurring in the third wave of the coronavirus that started this April. Twenty-two related deaths announced Monday brought the total deaths to 1,934, 95% in the third wave.
Health officials also announced they have found Bangkok’s first case of the beta variant, which originated in South Africa. The patient was a worker in a Bangkok market whose son came up from the southern province of Narathiwat to visit him. The beta variant is believed to have entered Thailand from Malaysia.
Random testing of virus samples by Thailand’s Department of Medical Sciences from April to June found that 86.3% were the alpha variant from Britain, 12.3% were the delta variant from India and 1.4% were the beta variant