Thailand announces new restrictions in Bangkok, other provinces

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand on Sunday announced new restrictions centred around its capital in a bid to tackle the country’s worst coronavirus outbreak.

The new measures, which will be implemented for 30 days from Monday, include a ban on restaurant dine-ins in Bangkok, the capital, and five surrounding provinces, according to a document published in the country’s royal gazette.

Shopping malls in Bangkok and the five provinces must be closed by 9 p.m., and parties or celebrations, or activities involving a gathering of more than 20 people will be banned for the same duration, the document said.

It also said construction sites in the six areas will be shut down and workers’ camps will be sealed off to contain clusters. The order followed the emergence of more clusters in construction camps in the capital, which has 575 such sites housing about 81,000 workers.

Since May, 37 clusters have been found in Bangkok camps.

Authorities will set up checkpoints in Bangkok and the five provinces to limit travel and relocation of construction workers, the document said, adding that there will also be checkpoints in the country’s four southern provinces near Malaysia.

#BangkokLockdown was trending on Twitter in the early hours into Sunday, with internet users criticising the timing of the announcement and saying they were taken by surprise by the new measures.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Friday he wanted to avoid the word lockdown and that specific businesses and activities would be targeted to contain the virus. – REUTERS

by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Dan Grebler

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