BANGKOK — In a televised address, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday evening announces a nationwide curfew for the entire country, effectively from Friday onward.
The order banned people from leaving their homes between 10pm and 4am in a bid to stop the spread of the coronavirus, which killed at least 15 people in Thailand so far. The ban was issued under the emergency decree imposed earlier by PM Prayut to lessen commuting among the public.
Those with necessary causes, medical professionals, banking employees, cargo and delivery workers, those traveling to and from the airports, and individuals who receive special permission from security officers are exempted from the curfew.
Those violating the order could face a two-year imprisonment and a fine up to 40,000 baht.
The announcement came hours after the government’s coronavirus pandemic response team on Thursday advised PM Prayut to impose the curfew over Bangkok just as new fatalities are reported.
A government spokesman also alluded to the possible curfew in today’s news conference when asked about further travel restrictions.
“Please keep your eyes on the television,” COVID-19 center spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said. “The Prime Minister will make announcements on this matter.”
He added, “The Prime Minister has already said that he would escalate his measures gradually from soft to harsh.”
Army chief Apirat Kongsompong is also reported to have ordered the force to stand by for instructions to man checkpoints and enforce the travel lockdown tonight if PM Prayut goes ahead with the curfew.
Taweesin earlier announced that three more people died of coronavirus in Thailand. He identified the victims as a 57-year-old man who recently visited Pakistan, a 77-year-old man with a pre-existing lung disease, and a 55-year-old man who worked as a chauffeur at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The news brought the coronavirus death toll in Thailand to 15.
Thailand also saw 104 new cases of confirmed infections, raising the cumulative count to 1,875, with about 500 recoveries so far.
Despite the government’s request for members of the public to stay indoors, there have been cases of people violating the social distancing measure and gathering at night to party. Many businesses also employed night shift workers until the City Hall’s closure order was issued yesterday.