1,200 Violate Virus Curfew on Monday Night, Gov’t Says

Security officers question a driver during curfew hours in Suphanburi province on April 6, 2020.

BANGKOK — Over 1,200 people were caught breaching the nighttime curfew on Monday night alone, government officials said.

The government’s COVID-19 taskforce spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said the number is a massive increase from those caught violating the curfew from Saturday night, when about 308 were arrested. The curfew came into effect on Friday night in a bid to stop coronavirus spread.

Of the 1,293 people arrested for curfew violation on Monday night, 1,047 were sent for prosecution while the rest were let go with a warning, Taweesin said.

Those sent to trial face a maximum imprisonment of up to two years, and fine of up to 40,000 baht. The government said punishment will be swift in order to deter violators.

At today’s news conference, Taweesin asked for more cooperation from the public, otherwise a more restrictive curfew would be inevitable.

The current curfew lasts from 10pm through 4am every night, though PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said he may extend it to 8 or even 24 hours if necessary.

In a related development, Phuket province today began requiring everyone in public to wear sanitary face masks in a bid to control the spread of coronavirus. Violators could be fined for up to 20,000 baht.

Phuket currently has the second largest number of coronavirus infections after Bangkok. As of Tuesday noon, 138 people in Phuket are said to have been infected while Bangkok has 1,201 cases of infected individuals.