BANGKOK: New Covid-19 restrictions came into force in Thailand on Monday to try to halt a spiralling outbreak that saw deaths hit a record single-day high over the weekend, reports AFP.
In Bangkok—where the latest outbreak has been traced back to a nightlife district—as well as 47 other provinces, wearing masks is now compulsory in public spaces, with some locations backing it up with the threat of a 20,000 baht ($640) fine. Authorities in the capital have also closed a raft of venues including cinemas, parks, gyms, swimming pools, spas and nurseries. The new restrictions come a week after authorities ordered bars and nightclubs to close and banned restaurants from serving alcohol.The tightening comes as total infections reached 57,500 on Monday, up from just 29,000 in early April.
Some 2,048 new cases were announced on Monday. The day before, Thailand recorded its highest single-day death toll of the pandemic, with 11 fatalities.
Until the latest outbreak, Thailand had managed to keep infections down, thanks to strict travel restrictions and swift action to isolate confirmed cases.
But there have been complaints about the slow rollout of vaccines, with Thailand lagging behind other countries in the region. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said on Facebook the government was trying to source more doses and ramp up the programme to inoculate 300,000 people a day.
In neighbouring Cambodia, also in the grip of a new coronavirus wave, the World Health Organization (WHO) urged factory owners in the key garment sector to help protect workers.