Entertainment closures to go nationwide
Two-week shuttering to combat outbreak
The remaining provinces are expected to order the temporary closure of all entertainment venues for 14 days to strengthen efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said on Friday.
In addition to Bangkok, five provinces have so far ordered those venues to close for 14 days -- they are Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chon Buri, Nonthaburi and Phitsanulok.
Establishments affected include fitness clubs, sports arenas and entertainment venues including pubs and cinemas. In Bangkok and surrounding provinces these public places will be closed until March 31.
Gen Anupong said provincial governors are authorised to close public places for public health reasons now that Covid-19 has been declared a dangerous communicable disease.
Asked what assurances the government could give to the public that the measures will work, Gen Anupong said the public must now do its part to keep the outbreak under control and prevent a spike in cases that could strain resources.
As of yesterday, more than 23,000 entertainment venues has been closed across the country.
Meanwhile, passengers using the electric mass transit systems will be required to wear face masks if the Covid-19 situation enters the third phase where community transmission is present, according to Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.
Mr Saksayam said the Department of Rail Transport is looking at whether such an announcement is necessary and noted that the measure will also be adopted by Transport Co and Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) which operate inter-provincial buses and buses in Bangkok respectively.
He added that the government is considering guidelines for the operators of entertainment venues to follow after the 14-day closure.
The Department of Health has also announced measures for the operators of public transportation to follow to help prevent the spread of the virus.
These measures include frequent cleaning of contact areas at least every two hours and providing sufficient supplies of toilet papers and hand-washing soap. Food vendors at terminals must maintain strict personal hygiene and use food covers and those who are sick must stop working and see a doctor.
PM's Office Minister Tewan Liptapallop, who oversees the Consumer Protection Board, said yesterday the operators of delivery services have signed a memorandum of understanding on food-safety rules and food-handling practices and staff will wear face masks and gloves in addition to existing standards.