Speaking to the press after chairing the general meeting of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) today, Prime Minister Prayut stressed there would be no curfew, but said people would be strongly “encouraged” to stay at home between the hours of 11pm and 4am each night.
CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin explained the details of the new nationwide order, initially dated to be in effect from Apr 18 (00:01am, Sunday) until Apr 30, in the usual live broadcast video this afternoon.
Presenting the English-language segment of the live broadcast, Natapanu Nopakun, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Information and Deputy Spokesman of the Foreign Affairs Ministry, explained that Bangkok had the highest number of new infections today, with 312 new cases. bringing the total number of cases in Bangkok so far during the current outbreak to 2,697.
He also presented the remaining “top 10” provinces with new cases as: Chiang Mai 272 (total 1,749); Chonburi 111 (855); Prachuap Khiri Khan 100 (625); Samut Prakan 40 (515); Narathiwat 5 (330); Samut Sakhon 48 (282); Pathum Thani 26 (188); Nonthaburi 61 (174) and Songkhla 89 (162).
The number of new infections in Phuket did not rate high enough to be included in the top 10 provinces in the country.
Regardless, Mr Natapanu noted that the provinces had been “re-categorised” so that now 18 provinces were considered red-zone “Maximum Controlled Areas”, which include Phuket.
Mr Natapanu identified the 18 ‘red-zone’ provinces as: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Phuket, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nonthaburi, songkhla, Tak, Udon Thani, Suphan Buri, Sa Kaeo, Rayaong and Khon Kaen.
The remaining 59 provinces are considered “Controlled Areas”, with less stringent measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, he added.
“Nationwide, there is no curfew… The prime minister stressed this just now in his statement,” Mr Natapanu said.
“The key word is… encouraging to reduce travel and reduce movement, particularly at night time, from 11am-4am.
“That is the time the CCSA encourages everybody to reduce their travel. Of course it is not banned, it is not prohibited, but the encouragement is to reduce travel, to reduce movement, during those times,” he said.
However, under the nationwide order, all entertainment venues, such as pubs and bars, throughout the country have been ordered closed, Mr Natapanu said.
“Alcoholic drinks will be banned in all restaurants... Not to be served or consumed in restaurants,” he added.
Also, any gatherings of more than 50 people are banned unless there is permission from provincial officials, amusement parks and playgrounds have been ordered closed, and all educational institutions have been closed, Mr Natapanu continued, noting that online classes can continue.
All shopping malls throughout the country have been ordered to close from 9pm, he added.
Red-zone provinces, including Phuket, have more stringent measures,
Restaurants must close to patrons at 9pm, but are allowed to serve takeout until 11pm,
All convenience stores and supermarkets must be closed from 11pm-4am, and all gyms and fitness centres must close at 9pm, Mr Natapanu said.
People were encouraged to work from home, he added.
Mr Taweesilp in his address noted that provincial governors have the authority to introduce more stringent measures where deemed appropriate.