Thailand to reimpose coronavirus brakes to contain outbreak
Thailand will reimpose COVID-19 restrictions on restaurants, construction sites and gatherings in the capital Bangkok and its suburbs from Monday as it tries to contain a wave of coronavirus cases.
After a year of relative success in keeping infection rates low, Thailand’s latest wave began in April when a cluster was found at high-end Bangkok clubs usually frequented by the elite.
Since then, more have been discovered in its overcrowded prison system, as well as among hard-working migrant workers in its construction and service industries.
The government said in an order issued on Saturday that new restrictions would begin Monday and last for a month.
They include closing construction sites in and around Bangkok, banning workers from leaving, banning eating in restaurants, and restricting gatherings to a maximum of 20 people.
Checkpoints will be set up in the southernmost provinces of Thailand, namely Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla. Travelers must have a “letter of intent” to exit or enter.
The new restrictions precede the July 1 launch of a no-quarantine model for vaccinated tourists in popular holiday destination Phuket.
The so-called “Phuket sandbox” has been touted as a way to resuscitate Thailand’s crucial tourism industry and related industries such as services, restaurants, and transportation.
The Thai government has also been widely criticized for its faltering vaccine rollout, with authorities scrambling to import more doses.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha has said he plans to fully reopen the country by October, which would force his administration to meet the goal of vaccinating 50 million Thais in four months.
So far, just over 10 percent of the population has received gunfire.
Thailand has reported more than 244,000 cases and more than 1,900 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
Bangkok, 9 provinces restrict travel to curb increase in cases
© 2021 AFP
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