Thailand reports 136 new COVID-19 cases, PM repeats call for social distancing
As COVID-19 infections continue to rise, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm has again told people to stay at home, practice social distancing and avoid all social activities, or face harsher measures, like mandatory home confinement.
Thailand reported 136 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total so far to 1,524, with a likelihood that the rate of new infections in the provinces will soon overtake that of Bangkok.
Dr. Thaveesilp Wissanuyothing said today that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha continues to urge the public to observe strict social distancing.
According to the Public Health Ministry, the contagion has spread to 59 of Thailand’s 76 provinces, with most of the 1, 524 confirmed cases still in Bangkok and its vicinity, but with signs of an increase in new cases in Phuket, Krabi, Yala, Pattani, Narathiwat, Sa Kaeo and Ubon Ratchathani.
Lockdowns have been imposed in Phuket, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, with people are forbidden to travel into or out of the province without official permission.
In Phuket there are currently 41 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 298 people have been quarantined, including 37 foreigners. An 8pm to 3am curfew is in effect and all beaches and public parks are off-limits.
Dr. Thaveesilp said that, since the imposition of the state of emergency last Saturday, many people have been staying at home, adding that there has been a 45.58% drop in the use of public buses, a 41.32% reduction in the use of private cars, a 58.63% decrease in the number of commuters using mass transit and a 64.67% drop in train travel.
Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai said that, on March 27th and 28th, about 71% of Thais avoided crowded places and 67.9% practiced social distancing, adding, however, that the figures are not yet high enough, as he urged the public to be more pro-active.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu said that assessment of the public’s response to the Government’s measures over the past week was satisfactory adding, though, that there were shortcomings in some areas.
He warned that, if people want to avoid having to take a bitterer pill, such as mandatory home confinement, they should just stay at home, adding that he has already instructed all TV stations to suspend the broadcasting of boxing matches and other sporting events.