Buriram Cancels Gatherings, Imposes Citywide Health Checks

Civil service examination applicants take temperature check in Buriram province on March 14, 2020.

BURIRAM — While the central government debates whether bars and events should be shut down, authorities in Buriram took the initiative on Monday by baning gatherings of more than 50 people.

The ban is part of a series of measures imposed by Gov. Tatchakorn Hatthatayakul today in a bid to contain the outbreak of coronavirus in Buriram, where 46 people are suspected of having the virus. Although none tested positive so far, Tatchakorn called these preemptive measures a necessary “strong dose of medicine.”

“Our province will be the first to adopt the strong dose of medicine to prevent the outbreak,” the governor said.

Measures imposed by the provincial authorities include screening travelers to Buriram, whether they are Thais or foreigners, for possible infections. Health checkpoints will be set up in airport, train stations, hotels, and local communities. Officials will also visit residents for health check ups.

Gatherings of more than 50 people are hereby banned by the governor’s order. The ban extends to academic seminars, entertainment events, traditional ceremonies, flea markets, and even monk ordination rituals.

Hospitals in Buriram are also instructed to set up special wards for coronavirus patients in the event that Thailand enters “Phase 3” of the epidemic.

Buriram has already cancelled the highly anticipated motorcycle racing tournament MotoGP 2020. The grand prix was originally scheduled to take place in the province later this month, but has since been indefinitely postponed due to the coronavirus concerns.