People line up to take a coronavirus test at Bangkok Youth Center on Apr. 17, 2021.
People line up to take a coronavirus test at Bangkok Youth Center on Apr. 17, 2021.

NONTHABURI — The governor of a province northwest of Bangkok on Saturday issued an order asking residents to stay indoors during nighttime in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the order issued by Nonthaburi governor Sujin Chaichumsak, residents are asked to “cooperate” with the authorities by refraining from leaving their homes from 9pm to 4am, except those who have urgent needs.

It remains unclear how the measure will be enforced. No punishment for not staying home is mentioned in the governor’s order.

The same order also made wearing a mask mandatory in public spaces, with violators punishable by fines of up to 20,000 baht.

As of Saturday, 42 provinces, which include Chonburi, Samut Prakan, Surat Thani, and Udon Thani, have issued a similar mask wearing requirement, though the list does not include Bangkok, which remains the epicenter of the ongoing wave of outbreak in the country.

Nonthaburi’s order is effective tonight until further notice.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha had previously said in a televised address last week that neither a curfew nor a lockdown is imposed at the time being. However, he said in his Friday night’s address that the government may introduce more restrictions if the situation worsened.

Thailand managed to contain a second wave of domestic outbreak last month, though a new surge of infections, which could be traced back to Bangkok’s nightlife scene, has spread throughout the country and caused more than 24,000 infections with 35 fatalities in just 24 days.

The number of new daily infections surpassed the 2,000 mark for the first time on Friday. Today’s new cases brought the total confirmed cases to 53,022 since the outbreak began, with 129 deaths overall.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, also warned during a daily briefing Friday that the capital, which saw the highest number of cases, could run out of ICU beds soon if the rate of infections does not slow in the coming days.

Nonthaburi is one of the 18 provinces designated by the government as a “Red Zone,” where opening hours of certain establishments are curtailed. The province discovered 154 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday, raising the provincial total tally to 1,400.