Nonthaburi, Udon Thani to loosen lockdowns as new virus cases drop

Nonthaburi, Udon Thani to loosen lockdowns as new virus cases drop

A Buddhist devotee takes a mango from a bamboo tube that is used to enforce social distancing as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus as the abbot looks on during Songkran merit-making at Wat Suan Kaew temple in Nonthaburi on Wednesday. (AFP photo)
A Buddhist devotee takes a mango from a bamboo tube that is used to enforce social distancing as a preventive measure against the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus as the abbot looks on during Songkran merit-making at Wat Suan Kaew temple in Nonthaburi on Wednesday. (AFP photo)

The provinces of Nonthaburi and Udon Thani are loosening partial lockdowns following the recent drop in the rate of new coronavirus infections.

Nonthaburi, the province to the northwest of Bangkok, allowed retailers of mobile phones and related services to reopen Wednesday. Udon Thani in the country's northeast aims to relax some restrictions as early as Saturday.

Thailand remains under a state of emergency until April 30 that forced many businesses to shut and banned social gatherings. But, as in some other countries, there are signs officials are mulling how to emerge from the partial lockdown. Provincial governors have the authority to adjust curbs.

Udon Thani will start relaxing rules “but with social distancing guidelines”, for example allowing people to dine at restaurants, Governor Nirat Pongsitthithaworn said in a briefing Tuesday. That’s providing there are no new virus cases in the 14 days through April 17, he said.

Thailand has reported on average about 39 new infections daily in the past seven days, compared with tallies of more than 100 earlier. Total cases stand at 2,643. The government and business councils next week are expected to outline a time-line for reopening parts of the economy.


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