Nation-wide curfew imposed from Friday night
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced a nation-wide curfew, from 10pm until 4am, effective from Friday night, as authorities in Thailand intensify their attempts to control the movement of people and the continuing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are certain exceptions to the curfew, including medical professionals, vehicles delivering medical supplies, food and fuel, those going to airports to catch departing flights, bank staff and those in need of urgent medical care, all of whom need official permission from the local authorities.
The Prime Minister also gave a stern warning to those hoarding basic food items and medical items, that they will face harsh penalties of up to seven years imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 140,000 baht.
In his nationally televised address, the Prime Minister said he has personally taken charge of ensuring that the county’s medical personnel are adequately equipped with medicines, PPE and other medical equipment, essential in the treatment of those infected with the coronavirus.
“Doctors and nurses are on the frontlines, fighting an invisible enemy with sacrifice and patience. As their commander, I will not let our main force fight without the equipment they need. They must be strong and in a positive frame of mind to weather this crisis,” said the Prime Minister.
He gave an assurance that there are sufficient drugs available to treat infected patients, saying that the Government has procured additional supplies from abroad, to meet current and future demand.
The Prime Minister also referred to the economic support packages for people affected by the closure of their work places, including the three month 5,000 baht/month cash support payments, the cuts in electricity and water charges, the extension of loan repayments for house and car purchass and electricity meter refunds, among others.
He said all travel to Thailand from abroad must now be postponed until after April 15th, regardless of the traveller’s nationality.
He pleaded with media outlets, including social media, to exercise caution when disseminating reports related to the COVID-19 situation and to refrain from sharing fake news.
He again asked that everyone strictly adheres to the stay at home advice and to observe social distancing, in order to avoid new infections overwhelming the country’s healthcare system and its staff.
With all these measures implemented, he said Thailand can keep the new infection rate below 20%.