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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai PM under pressure to go “full lockdown” as infections surge

Tim Newton



With many more businesses being told to pull down their shutters in Bangkok from midnight tonight, there are now calls to just go the next step and impose a full lockdown as the infection numbers keep mounting up. With the additional 31 types of business closed, on top of the current restrictions in Bangkok, the BMA has all but imposed the “L” word without actually saying it.

In Bangkok, alone, yesterday there were 1,582 Covid infections reported by the CCSA.

In the days before Songkran PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, asked if they should restrict Songkran travel because of the rising case numbers (in the 10s at that stage, not 1000s), he replied…

“Whatever will be, will be. The reason is, it’s a matter that involves a huge number of people. The government will have to try to cope with that later.”

Meanwhile, on April 16, Deputy PM Wissanu Kreangam dismissed the possibility of curfews in red zone provinces, claiming “it is not needed”. Wissanu maintains that the colour-coded zones are “efficient at this stage”.

Now the government’s desire for Songkran to go ahead, and the consequences of those decisions, are coming back to bite them.

The PM’s “later” is now.

Even last Friday night PM Prayut said on TV that the government had no plans to lock down the country despite the daily case reports over 2,000 for the past 3 days and nearly 3,000 yesterday.

Medical professionals, from a range of fields, are now calling on the Thai government to go into full lockdown to control the spread of the virus. As it is, with the country broken into red and orange zones, there are enforced closing times at many businesses and Bangkok has an additional regime of closure starting from midnight tonight. You can read about that HERE.

So, many argue, we already have a partial lockdown already and the government should just take the additional step, and enforce it.

PM Prayut responded to the calls on his Facebook page yesterday saying that he gave provincial governors the power to add local curfews if they deemed it necessary.

“Provincial governors have the authority to tighten disease control measures and close premises in addition to any closures ordered by the government. If the pandemic worsens, the 14 day quarantine period for asymptomatic patients treated at hospitals may be reduced to 10 days so they can be self-quarantined at home with a tracking system.”

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha, speaking to the Bangkok Post, said that the latest wave of infections “has reached a critical point as there are not enough medical personnel to take care of. In light of this, the ministry has asked the prime minister to tighten measures to curb the transmissions”.

Thailand yesterday recorded a total of 2,839 new infections, another record 24 hour reporting period. Sunday’s total is 2,438 infections.

At the peak of the first wave in April 2020 Thailand recorded 188 cases in one day. In the second wave, concentrated around migrant workers in Samut Sakhon in December and January, the largest daily tally was 959 people.


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  1. Avatar

    Russell John Watts

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 8:26 am

    Hasn’t got the guts to make the hard decisions but instead passes the buck onto the province governors to make the hard decisions so that he can say that he did not do it. What a gutless mongrel that pretends to be Prime Minister of Thailand. He and his other gutless cronies are the ones responsible for this by not taking action and stopping Songkran travel’

  2. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Prayut is now showing what a lack of leadership can do in a pandemic.

    He had it right the first time but had no vaccines.

    Now, he has neither the courage to lockdown nor the vaccines to protect the population.

    Such a sad demonstration of leadership.

  3. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 9:02 am

    The problem will come if this gets into factories and they need to be shut down as happened in the UK. Hard drives alone are about 6% of Thailand’s economy – the importance of manufacturing to an economy often gets overlooked. If they lose manufacturing AND tourism it will be a disaster all round.

  4. Avatar

    David Pilkington

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 9:03 am

    Judging from the confusion of government directives and actions since pre-Songkran, there would appear to be a 3-factor battle raging that is making a further lockdown decision difficult for Prayut and Co.
    Factor 1, irresponsible ignorance and incompetence, is what they demonstrate on an almost daily basis.
    Factor 2 is their quest for populism in the face of the public’s criticism of their poor Covid performance over the past 12-months, in addition to all the areas of discontent that have caused so much public dissent recently.
    Factor 3 is the need for common sense and responsible decisions and enforcement.
    I forecast, in typical government manner, a 50:50 split between factors 1 & 2, whilst factor 3 won’t even get a look in, not even as daily new infection numbers are likely to reach 10,000 within the next 10 days (based on the current growth rate). They are clearly a government hopelessly out of their depth, let alone their comfort zone.
    Seeking professional advice from external sources would, to me, be the only responsible way forward from here.

  5. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 9:29 am

    Fools and tools. Slaves to irrational fear. I pity you.

  6. Avatar

    Graham Walker

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 10:16 am

    Russell, agree 100 %, he hasn’t got the b###s so passes it to someone else.

  7. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 10:23 am

    The idea of “home isolation” is a joke, it was tried in the UK only to find 80% totally ignoring it and carried on as normal spreading the infection. The only way is a controlled, enforced quarantine period, not much fun for anybody but essential until the vaccine program is speeded up exponentially, when do you think that will happen? not anytime soon I would wager.

  8. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 10:33 am

    So much emphasize on lockdown. Sure it does control the spread but Covid will still be here when the country comes out of lockdown. How about trying
    to acquire more vaccines and put the emphasis on getting people vaccinated Without the vaccine they might as well stay in lockdown. Which is slowly breaking the economy.

  9. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 11:03 am

    Their methods are not working, and they are creating more damage by not allowing citizens to work.
    They have vaccines but are not using them. Why is a mystery.
    Now is the time to state. The citizen must protect themselves. No lockdowns. If you catch the virus you will be quarantined at home. Anyone serious will be in hospital.
    The death rate is 2 percent and that is among the ones that catch the virus. Many catch the virus, recover and never knew they had the virus. The fat, old, and sick must take extra care.
    They rest must be allowed to take their chances.

  10. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Here are numbers of deaths per million so far: USA – 1,730, United Kingdom – 1,901,Thailand – 1.68. What a gutsy brave leaders run USA and UK!

    Nazis (word “racist” is so overused, I do not want it) are arrogant as always.


  11. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    Excuse me Tim Newton, but is this a news story or an opinion piece? If its a news story why are you advocating for a lockdown? (“The PM’s “later” is now.) Maybe you should work on reporting the real news and inform people as to how many of these “infected” are asymptomatic or ever become ill at all? I’m not sure if your readers have noticed but the Thiager constantly bombards us with the daily “infected” total but never bothers to mention what percentage of people are actually sick. This appears to be more like a PCR outbreak than a “Covid” outbreak (and the PCR test has been shown to be wildly inaccurate) and then based on this unreliable information you and others call for lockdowns which may very well end up destryong the lives of, and killing more people, than the “virus”. And have any of you lockdown proponents ever bothered to think about what the end game will be? Do you just keep locking down the country year after year every time there is a PCR testing scare to keep people “safe” while you destroy the country and the lives of so many people? That doesn’t sound like a good plan even though it might make you feel better. Think about it.

    • Thaiger


      Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks for your advice. “The PM’s “later” is now” is not an opinion, it’s a simple statement of fact. We repeated the PM’s quote because, although clumsy at the time has not dated well. The Thaiger, nor anyone at The Thaiger (as far as I know), advocates for a lockdown. We will continue to report the news without fear or favour, without pushing one agenda or another. We’ve reported the number of people that are in serious condition and the numbers on ventilators. Th Covid figures are very important to many of our readers – we track the numbers of people that read various articles every day – we’ll deliver what our customers want to read. You’ve clearly got your own feelings on the matter and you’ve expressed them here.

  12. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    And they kept on saying do not lower your guard down… government did lower their guard.. this is what happened…

  13. Avatar


    Sunday, April 25, 2021 at 9:09 pm

    Seriously Thaiger?? My god you people are disingenuous and will twist anything to suit your fancy! Your writer was not quoting the PM. Your writer only used one word of the PM’s sentence to state his own opinion. You can laughably call this a “fact” but in context it is nothing but his opinion and, without a doubt, he was advocating for a lock down. And yes, you can always be relied upon to print whatever is sure to scare people, like the number of new “infections” and how many people are in critical condition or on ventilators, but the information that might give your readers a true grasp of the situation and offer some reassurance instead of panic is somehow always missing. Not withstanding your denials, this fact alone reeks of an agenda. I guess I can expect that you won’t have the integrity to post this comment but if you are an honest player I hope you will.

  14. Avatar

    Michael Hall

    Monday, April 26, 2021 at 6:57 am

    Looks like the Asian leaders again think incorrectly that its safer to allow the domestic travelers to play than open up the economy to responsible foreigners who don’t mind relaxing on the beach safely and spending money!! Same case in Indonesia. Bali opened up for Jakartans opening little money and bring the virus. Dumb!!!

  15. Avatar


    Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Follow Florida, keep people working, with sensible precautions.boarder control is not working.
    22,000 road deaths in a year is normal, against 203 CV death’s in 16 months.
    Don’t panic.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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