JAKARTA, Indonesia

Thailand will extend a nationwide state of emergency till Jan. 15, 2021, to curb infections during the peak New Year’s travel period, an official said on Wednesday. 

A meeting of the COVID-19 task force chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha approved the extension, Taweesilp Witsanuyotin, a spokesman for the panel, told reporters, according to the Bangkok Post newspaper.

The extension, which is expected to get an official nod by the Cabinet next week, would be the eighth since the first order in March.

Authorities have gradually been relaxing some virus measures over the past several months to allow businesses to fully reopen and some visitors to return.

Thailand has been largely free of community transmission of the deadly virus, but exports and tourism sectors have been badly hit by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet has approved a budget of 6.05 billion baht ($190.6 million) to secure 26 million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine once it is available.

With two new cases, the number of patients infected with the novel virus in the Southeast Asian country has risen to 3,880, according to government figures. While 3,729 patients have recovered, 60 have died.

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