Bangkok shuts malls, schools, restaurants, to curb coronavirus

Bangkok residents stocking up on goods at a fresh market, amid concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 (coronavirus) outbreak in Bangkok on Saturday (March 21). City officials have issued a shutdown order for businesses in the capital such as malls, restaurants, and schools, to last three weeks to contain the spread of the Covid-19. - AFP

BANGKOK: Bangkok city officials have issued a shutdown order for businesses in the capital such as malls, restaurants, and schools, to last three weeks to contain the spread of the (Covid-19) coronavirus.

Saturday's announcement, signed by Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, ordered the closure, from Sunday to April 12.

Affected establishments include restaurants, department stores, markets, schools, barbers, sports stadiums, golf courses, and massage parlours, among others.

The announcement makes exceptions for takeaway sections in restaurants, supermarkets, drug stores, and fresh food markets which are considered "important to sustain life".

"I understand well that using my authority to close these venues will lead to economic consequences, but I want each of you to consider the value of life above all else," Aswin said in a live address on Facebook on Saturday.

Thailand confirmed 89 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, the third record daily jump this week for the country.

It brings the country’s total number of infections to 411.

According to the latest figures from the Public Health Ministry released Saturday, one person who tested positive for the virus had died, 366 people are being treated in hospital, while 44 others were discharged after recovering.

Of the new cases, 51 were people who had been in contact with others who had tested positive for the virus, and 32 had attended a boxing stadium where there was an outbreak, the ministry added. The 38 other cases were new imported cases.

Governor Aswin also urged companies to allow employees to work from home or take time off their jobs.

"I don't have the authority to tell everyone to stop working," Aswin said. "But I want to plead each workplace that can do it to allow their employees to work from home or let them take some temporary time off."

The Thai government on Tuesday announced a number of measures aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, which included the cancellation of Songkran, the biggest holiday in the Thai calender, typically celebrated by waterfights on the streets.

On Saturday, low-cost airline Thai AirAsia announced that it is suspending all international flights in Thailand from Sunday to April 25 due to "travel restrictions being enforced by various governments and relevant health authorities in response to the Covid-19 outbreak."

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand had announced that starting Sunday, everybody coming to Thailand must present a certified health certificate on arrival. - dpa/Asian News Network
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