PM Prayut Chan-o-cha chairs a special Cabinet meeting on April 3, 2020.

BANGKOK — The Prime Minister may impose a total lockdown order if the number of those infected and killed by the coronavirus do not drop within a week, a government spokeswoman said, even as four more people died of the virus.

Spokedwoman Naruemon Pinyosinwat said PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is “seriously considering” the drastic measure, which would bar anyone from leaving their home at all time, and his decision will be based on the pandemic numbers in the next seven days.

The news came as the figure of those infected increased by 103 to 1,978 and the number of those killed by the coronavirus and related health complications rose by four to 19 on Friday.

PM Prayut already called for a curfew to be imposed over the entire country starting tonight, from 10pm to 4am. Those who violate the curfew face an imprisonment of up to two years.

Naruemon said Prayut does not wish to impose harsh measures, but his decision depends on the level of the public’s cooperation in staying home and practicing social distancing.

Many on social media also question why the Prime Minister limited his curfew order to nighttime, instead of a round-the-clock ban as seen in some other countries hit by the coronavirus. Speculations include attempts to discourage people from partying or hanging out in a large group at night, and to deter crime amid growing unemployment.


When asked about the curfew, police spokesman Kissana Phathanacharoen said he is not best suited to answer.

“I think police may not be best suited to answer the questions. We will be waiting for orders from the government and the military as to what to do,” Kissana said.

Asadang Ruayjin, spokesman of the Department of Disease Control, also refused to explain the rationale of the curfew, saying the press should wait for the government’s daily briefing for any official comment.