He said the number on Friday was the same as on Monday, the lowest in weeks. He added that 964 Covid-19 patients remained in hospitals, the first time it had gone under 1,000 in weeks, leaving many patient beds available.
Over the last nine days, the average number of new cases has stayed at around 34.
On April 9 there were 54 new cases, 50 on April 10, 45 on April 11, 33 on April 12, 28 on April 13, 34 on April 14, 30 on April 15, and 29 on April 16.
‘No room for complacency’ despite reduction in new Covid-19 cases
He praised the Thai people for cooperating with the government. Despite the declining number of new cases, he emphasised that the social distancing measure needed to be implemented and he asked people to not lower their guard.
He repeatedly stressed that the situation remained a cause for concern. “We cannot be complacent, and we must remain alert,“ he said.
However, the government and the private sector have discussed reopening businesses, such as hairdressing salons and department stores. Taweesin said the shops could open, but there will have to be restrictions on the number of clients and wearing of mask must be mandatory.
The proposal will submitted to the CCSA chaired by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, he added.
The new cases can be divided into three groups:
The first group of 16 had had close contact with others previously confirmed as infected.
The second group comprised six people of whom five worked in crowded areas or close to foreigners, and one went to crowded areas.
The third group of seven are under investigation for the source of the virus.
Meanwhile, 96 people have fully recovered and returned home.
An 85-year-old woman, who had diabetes and high blood pressure, died. She was in close contact with previously confirmed cases and in quarantine. She was hospitalised on March 12 after showing symptoms like fever, coughing, and difficulty in breathing. She tested positive for Covid-19 on the same day. She passed away on April 16 with severe pneumonia.
Taweesin asked elderly people and those with chronic disease to take care of themselves.
As of April 17, the total number of confirmed cases in the country stood at 2,700 — 964 are under treatment with around 60 in critical condition, 1,689 have recovered and been discharged, and there have been 47 deaths.
Globally, there are more than 2.1 million confirmed cases and around 145,000 deaths.