Emergency decree starts at midnight Wednesday
An emergency decree, which includes a ban of foreigners entering Thailand, will be enforced across the country from Thursday until April 30.
The emergency decree begins at midnight on Wednesday, and remains in force through April 30.
Thais stranded in other countries will be allowed to return, it added.
People under the age of five years and over 70 are encouraged to stay home, and public gatherings are banned, under the announcement.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said after meeting with the prime minister the ban on foreigners was to prevent the importing of more cases into the country.
The decree authorises Gen Prayut to chair the centre to fight the virus, with the permanent secretaries of public health, interior, commerce and foreign affairs to help him. The supreme commander of the armed forces has been given responsibility for security affairs.
"Only necessary measures will be issued, to prevent the spread of the virus," the announcement said.
Gen Prayut said all shops selling food and essential consumer goods can remain open. He warned that anybody taking advantage of the situation for their own benefit will face stern action - an apparent reference to hoarders.
More measures are expected to be announced.
- banned: officially not allowed to do something - ถูกห้าม
- broadcast: a programme that can be seen or heard on television or radio - แพร่ภาพกระจายเสียง
- chair: to be the person in charge of a meeting, committee, or company - ดำรงตำแหน่งประธาน, ทำหน้าที่ในฐานะประธาน
- decree: an official decision or order made by a leader or government - พระราชกฤษฎีกา
- diplomat: an official whose job is to represent their government in a foreign country - นักการทูต
- effective: officially begun to be used ; to take effect - มีผล
- encourage: to cause someone to want to do something - กระตุ้น ให้การสนับสนุน
- exception: someone or something that is different in some way from other people or things and so cannot be included in a general statement - เป็นที่แตกต่าง ที่พิเศษออกไปจากกลุ่ม
- hoard: to collect a large amount of something - เก็บสะสม
- invoke: to use a rule or law as a reason or basis for doing something - ประกาศใช้ (กฎหมาย), อ้าง (กฎหมาย)
- measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
- nationwide: throughout a whole country - ทั่วทั้งประเทศ
- pandemic: a disease that affects almost everyone in a very large area - โรคที่มีการแพร่กระจายหรือระบาดไปทั่ว
- security: protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage - ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย
- stern: serious and severe - เข้มงวด
- stranded: left somewhere with no way of going anywhere else - ปล่อยเกาะ ถูกทิ้งไว้
- take advantage of (verb): to use something to get some benefit or "advantage" from - ใช้เป็นประโยชน์