Bangkok, 9 provinces restrict travel to curb increase in cases

BANGKOK – Faced with a sharp increase in coronavirus cases, the Thai capital announced on Sunday the ban on indoor meals and gatherings of more than 20 people, in addition to the closure of construction sites and the cordoning off of workers’ quarters in Bangkok and nine other provinces.

The measurements will be maintained for 30 days.

Thailand has reported 3,995 confirmed cases and 42 deaths in the past 24 hours. The numbers have doubled recently, and health officials blame the lack of cooperation from migrant workers employed in construction and factories.

“The camps have been closed but workers have sneaked into markets and communities, and spread the disease,” Apisamai Srirangson, spokesperson for the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said on Friday. within 28 days in the management of clusters in the province of Samut Sakhon, south of Bangkok, but not in the capital.

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The situation has become critical as the number of hospital beds in Bangkok for critically ill COVID-19 patients is limited despite the establishment of several field hospitals. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Friday that a proposal for a seven-day curfew for all of Bangkok had been rejected for the time being.

Under the new restrictions, construction workers will be isolated in camps in Bangkok and five neighboring provinces, as well as the country’s four southernmost provinces, all virus hot spots.

Department stores and malls in Bangkok can stay open until 9 p.m., but restaurant food and drink is only allowed for take-out. Seminars, meetings and parties are canceled. If more clusters are discovered, the governor can seal these communities.

Travelers from the 10 provinces, including Bangkok, will be isolated and quarantined.

Authorities, meanwhile, plan to move forward with a plan to allow fully vaccinated foreign tourists to visit the southern resort island of Phuket without undergoing an otherwise mandatory 14-day quarantine. Thailand is eager to begin the recovery of its lucrative tourism industry, which has been devastated by the pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions.

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Thailand has administered around 8.66 million doses of the vaccine, with around 9% of its 69 million people having received at least one injection. Critics accuse Prayuth’s government of failing to secure adequate and timely vaccine supplies. He says Thailand now has agreements that will ensure enough vaccines for about 70% of its population by the end of the year.

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