State of emergency declared in Thailand

  • Thailand
  • Thursday, 26 Mar 2020

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus pandemic, unveiling tougher restrictions on normal life in Thailand as the Ministry of Public Health confirmed 107 new infections in the country over a 24-hour period.

The emergency came into effect nationwide on midnight yesterday and remain in force until April 30.

The decree has barred travel to Thailand via land, sea and air, though certain exceptions have been made for goods transportation, diplomatic missions and foreigners with work permits. In addition, Thai citizens with embassy permits and health certificates, besides any other journey approved by the prime minister, will be exempt from the travel ban.

All nightclubs, playgrounds and sports venues in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon – which were adjudged to pose a high risk of infection – were ordered to close down indefinitely, as were spas, gyms and massage parlours, reported Khaosod English yesterday.

Under the emergency decree, hoarding of food, drinking water and medical supplies will be punished.

People aged younger than five and older than 70 - who are seen to be more vulnerable to the disease - have also been told to avoid leaving their homes unless absolutely necessary. The decree suggested that these vulnerable people should venture outside only for essential activities, such as medical appointments, banking activities, the purchase of food, to contact the police or carry out law enforcement orders.

People with pre-existing conditions were also asked to stay indoors. All large gatherings have been banned.

In a separate development, about 60,000 migrant workers living in Thailand have fled the country since the authorities shut malls and many businesses at the weekend to curb the spread of the coronavirus, a Thai interior ministry official said yesterday, reported Reuters.

A Thai interior ministry official told Reuters about 60,000 migrant workers from Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar had returned home as of Tuesday. — The Straits Times/ANN

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