Thailand shuts schools, entertainment

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Thailand's capital is shutting down venues including schools and entertainment areas as coronavirus cases continue to spread.

Thailand reported 279 new cases on Friday including two deaths.

Seven provinces including the capital, Bangkok, have been designated 'red zones' where places including educational establishments, entertainment venues, boxing rings, gyms and flea markets are ordered closed.

Restaurants are allowed to serve only takeaway food.

Restrictions are set to remain in place until at least mid-January.

A new outbreak has spread from the country's largest wholesale seafood market in Samut Sakhon south of Bangkok, and from a gambling den in Rayong, and both places continue to log the highest number of infections.

Bangkok reported 180 cases in the last 24 hours.

A spokesman for the COVID-19 centre, Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, said the Health Ministry has contacted AstraZeneca-Oxford to purchase a second batch of 26 million doses of their vaccine.

The deal would double the number of doses to be supplied by the British vaccine manufacturer.

The first two million doses are expected in February and March, and will be given to medical staff.