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Coronavirus Thailand

Lifting of restrictions depends on compliance

Jack Burton




“Decisions about any relaxation are difficult. There may first have to be a level of ongoing social distancing that people must observe.”

The current national state of emergency is due to expire at the end of the month, and PM Prayut Chan-o-Cha has hinted some restrictions might be relaxed at that time, even if he extends the emergency decree. But a government spokesman says that restrictive measures to control the spread of Covid-19 are unlikely to be relaxed, depending on how well people cooperate.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, the government’s spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says the most important criteria for relaxing the measures are public health, followed by economic and social factors.

“For example, for the reopening of shopping centres, everyone must wear a face mask and there must be enough​ open space to prevent crowd congestion. If there is an excess of visitors, they may have to wait outside. For easing restrictions on barber shops, there must also be discipline.”

Taweesin says a working group at the Public Health Ministry, including specialists, is seriously studying loosening controls.

“I believe we will continue the current struggle for quite a while as no countries have dared to cancel all their control measures yet.”

People cooperating with self-isolation measures has resulted in an absence of new coronavirus cases in many provinces over the past two weeks. Nine provinces have remained free of Covid-19 throughout the outbreak.

But compliance is still an issue. 832 people were caught breaking curfew on Wednesday night alone, 13 fewer than the previous day, but 168 defied the gathering ban, up by 87. Most were involved in gambling, drinking and drug abuse. Nonthaburi posted the largest gathering of people so far, at 101 people, followed by a group of 49 in Bangkok. Most curfew violations happened in the Central provinces.

No new Covid-19 cases were recorded in 25 provinces over the past 14 days including Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi and Phrae provinces.

The number of daily new cases in greater Bangkok has increased in the past few days while those in other provinces have declined. The case count has been rising in Nonthaburi, while Bangkok, followed by Phuket have recorded the highest number of Covid-19 patients in the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | The Nation


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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