Anutin said it was clear that the emergence of many COVID clusters was linked to gatherings at bars and restaurants where alcoholic beverages were served, reports the Bangkok Post.
He said their repeated failure to implement disease control measures outlined by public health authorities has forced the government to reconsider its plan to reopen certain entertainment venues, such as nightclubs.
The minister slammed “the lack of conscience” which has once again put the country at risk of a new wave of COVID-19 infections, saying he has asked the local communicable diseases committee to pursue legal action against businesses that violated public health guidelines.
“The Department of Disease Control [DDC] will also reconsider whether it would be appropriate to reopen such venues on Jan 15,” he said, adding the final decision will be made by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
According to the Department of Medical Science, there were a total of 2,062 Omicron cases as of yesterday (Jan 4), with major clusters reported in Kalasin (231 cases), Roi Et (180), Chon Buri (70) among many others.
Opas Karnkawinpong, the DDC chief, said cases have spiked across the country. Chon Buri reported the highest number of new infections, with 499 cases as of yesterday, followed by Bangkok (376) and Ubon Ratchathani (328).
“We expect to see Omicron cases rise in the next one or two months,” Dr Opas said. He urged the public to work from home for a week and test regularly with an ATK kit.