Thailand reports first death from Omicron coronavirus variant

COVID-19 pandemic, in Bangkok
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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand has reported its first death from the highly contagious Omicron coronavirus variant, a health official said on Sunday.

The death, a 86-year-old woman from the southern province of Songkhla, came after Thailand detected its first Omicron case last month that led to the reinstatement of its mandatory COVID-19 quarantine for foreign visitors.

"The woman is a bed-ridden, Alzheimer patient," health ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kitphati told Reuters.

Such a death was expected as the country has so far reported over 10,000 Omicron cases, he said, adding that Thailand would not need further containment measures.

Thailand reported 8,077 new infections and nine deaths on Sunday, taking the tally to more than 2.3 million cases and nearly 22,000 deaths since the pandemic started in 2020.

About 66% of an estimated 72 million living in the country have received two doses of a COVID-19 vaccines, but about 14.9% have received booster shots.

On Jan. 11, the central bank said Southeast Asia's second-largest economy would take a 0.3% hit from Omicron, although it should be managed by the first half of the year.

(Reporting by Orathai Sriring and Kitiphong Thaichareon; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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