Thailand’s prime minister announced a nationwide 10 p.m.-to-4 a.m curfew starting Friday to combat the spread of the coronavirus, as cases continue to mount both in Southeast Asia’s second largest economy as well as in the region more broadly.
The measure announced Thursday evening by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is the latest in a slow tightening of restrictions since the country’s cases began rising sharply in mid-March. Thailand announced 104 new confirmed cases of the disease on Thursday, bringing its total to 1,875 as the virus cases rise in Southeast Asia more generally.
The restrictions are still not as sweeping as in some other countries, where people have been told to stay home throughout the day except for necessary tasks. But it nonetheless marks yet another manifestation of the Thai government’s incrementally escalating response to what is a worsening situation for the country.
Prayut said exceptions under the curfew will be allowed for people who work in medicine, banking, and delivery of consumable goods, crops, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, newspapers, and gas; people who work shifts; people who are traveling to and from an airport; and people with permission from their district officials.
Last week, the government enacted a one-month state of emergency allowing it to impose harsh restrictions not normally allowed under law. They include the power to implement curfews, censor the media, disperse gatherings, and deploy the military for enforcement.
Financial packages to aid businesses and individuals affected by the restrictions have also been approved.
Measures instituted before the state of emergency include shutting down all schools, postponing a major three-day holiday, and allowing provincial governors to close any gathering spaces and closely regulate travel. Restaurants have been closed except for takeout and delivery service.
International arrivals have been tightly restricted, requiring medical clearances prior to departure and 14-day self-isolation after arrival.
By The Associated Press, with additional reporting by The Diplomat.