Thailand reports record daily COVID cases

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Thailand has reported 2070 new coronavirus cases, the highest number of daily cases since the pandemic started, as the country struggles with a third wave of infections, the most severe it has faced up to now.

Four new deaths were also reported, the health ministry said on Friday. The new cases took the total number of infections to 50,183, while 121 deaths have been recorded.

Thailand has managed to keep its caseload far lower than many other countries but the new outbreak, which include the highly transmissible B117 variant, has caused more than 20,000 domestic infections with 27 fatalities in just 23 days.

The outbreak began in the capital Bangkok and has spread across the country.

Schools, bars and massage parlours have been closed until next month and alcohol sales banned in restaurants in a bid to curb the epidemic.

The new spread, which accounts for more than a third of Thailand's cases so far, also comes as the country takes tentative steps to reopen to foreign visitors after a year of tightened border controls.