Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, said the ban applied to any gatherings that would pose a risk of disease transmission, exploit opportunities to compound people’s hardships or were intended to spread the disease.
In COVID “maximum control zones” and “control zones”, gatherings and activities that would draw crowds are prohibited except for household gatherings and government activities.
Gatherings and activities in government-designated “close surveillance zones” and “surveillance zones” can take place if they receive prior approval from provincial governors. Household gatherings and government activities are again excepted.
Provincial governors are to declare which areas are designated maximum control, control, close surveillance and surveillance zones. They will also set their own policies on quarantine for arrivals, Dr Taweesilp said.
Violators will face punishment under Section 18 of the Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations. The section carries a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to B40,000.
The ban was issued by defence forces chief Gen Chalermpol Srisawasdi in his capacity as the official tasked with handling security-related emergency situations.
The announcement came after the latest COVID-19 outbreak was found to have spread to a majority of Thailand’s provinces.
The 48 affected provinces are Samut Sakhon, Bangkok, Rayong, Nakhon Pathom, Samut Prakan, Phetchaburi, Chachoengsao, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Ratchaburi, Chon Buri, Tak, Chaiyaphum, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chai Nat, Krabi, Phichit, Ayutthaya, Khon Kaen, Phuket, Uttaradit, Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Nayok, Prachin Buri, Songkhla, Satun, Chiang Mai, Phetchabun, Sukhothai, Ang Thong, Lop Buri, Suphan Buri, Loei, Udon Thani, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Trang, Narathiwat, Lampang, Chanthaburi, Rayong, Amnat Charoen and Trat.