Thailand raises COVID-19 alert level amid rising new infections hinh anh 1A boy gets swabbed for a COVID-19 test at Poonsap community in Bangkok's Sai Mai district on February 21 (Photo: Bangkokpost)

Bangkok (VNA) – The Public Health Ministry of Thailand on February 21 raised its COVID-19 alert to Level 4 - the second-highest tier, following a sharp increase in Omicron variant infections nationwide.

Ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kijphati posted on Facebook on the same day that a meeting of the ministry's Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) decided that the alert level will be raised nationwide and containment measures stepped up in high-risk areas.

Under the new alert, people are advised to work from home, avoid non-essential inter-provincial travels, suspend overseas trips, close at-risk venues, and avoid large gatherings.

Meanwhile, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the armed forces to again prepare field hospitals amid surging COVID-19 cases nationwide.

According to Defence Ministry spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich, the PM had directed all hospitals under the army, navy and airforce to stand ready to reopen their field hospitals due to concerns about the continued spread of the Omicron variant.

Field hospitals of the forces provided about 7,000 beds when they opened to ease the workload of public and private hospitals with the emergence of the Delta variant last year. They closed after the Delta outbreak subsided.

The armed forces will work closely with the Public Health Ministry on the revival date of the military facilities, the spokesman said.

PM Prayut's order came after the daily number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand rose to over 18,000 for three consecutive days. The Interior Ministry of Thailand on February 20 also asked all provincial governors to tighten measures after the infection situation spiked.

On February 22 morning, Thailand reported additional 18,363 COVID-19 cases and 35 fatalities, lifting the total infections and deaths in the Southeast Asian nation to 2,749,561 and 22,691 deaths, respectively./.