Decision on relaxing anti-Covid rules next week

Decision on relaxing anti-Covid rules next week

A hairdresser wears a face mask at a shop in Samut Prakan province last month, before the coronavirus shutdown. A decision will be made next week whether barber shops and some other businesses can reopen. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)
A hairdresser wears a face mask at a shop in Samut Prakan province last month, before the coronavirus shutdown. A decision will be made next week whether barber shops and some other businesses can reopen. (Photo: Somchai Poomlard)

The government will next week decide whether to relax disease control measures, including the possible reopening of some shops and banks.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Friday that discussions were being held with relevant experts and business representatives. 

The aim was to ensure effective disease control if some business premises were allowed to reopen.

A proposal would be put to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for a decision next week.

Premises which may be allowed to reopen included mobile phone and electrical appliance shops, banks, barbers and hairdressers, and general stores.

"There must be measures in place to control the disease. What is important is enforcement and compliance," Dr Taweesilp said.

He said hairdressers and clients would be required to wear masks. Clients would have to clean their hands with alcohol before entering the shop. There would be hair-cutting services only, and instruments would have to be cleaned for each customer.

"Customers' chairs would have to be placed clearly apart, and waiting clients would have to stay outside. 

"Other shops may be allowed to reopen if they limit the number of customers inside at one time, to prevent crowding, and refrain from promotional activities that would attract crowds.

"These are possible proposals for a relaxation. They have not been approved," Dr Taweesilp said.

He cited the World Health Organization's six criteria for the relaxation of disease control measures.

Thailand was doing well with local disease control; patient detection; low risk at vulnerable places such as elderly-care homes; disease control measures at schools, offices and public places; and measures for inbound travellers.

The most difficult, he said, was the sixth criterion concerning people's knowledge and participation in disease control measures.

"More people are wearing masks, but some groups of people still continue to party and gamble," Dr Taweesilp said.

On Thursday night 820 people were caught breaking the nationwide curfew and 109 for defying the gathering ban, he said.


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