Prayut signals easing of lockdown

Prayut signals easing of lockdown

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after Tuesday's cabinet meeting signalled that an easing of lockdown measures may be deliberated next week.

The government implemented state of emergency measures on March 9 following the global outbreak of the coronavirus. These measures include the temporary closure of schools and businesses across Thailand. A curfew was also put in place.

"I have not announced that the restrictions will ease from May 1," Gen Prayut said. "It is vital to be cautious about making decisions on whether to relax [emergency] restrictions or not."

"This decision [to ease restrictions] will come after we have looked at the figures and numbers," he added.

Gen Prayut said the decision to ease emergency restrictions will be based on how much the public has cooperated to contain Covid-19, adding the data would be analysed to see if there are signs that the number of new infections is receding.

"Although the Covid-19 pandemic appears to be improving at the moment, with new infections declining, we still need more time to observe the situation," he said. "There is no room for complacency here. We have received calls to ease certain restrictions, but we have to think about being prudent," he said.

"At the same time, we have to listen to information from medical experts," Gen Prayut added. "I do not want to make decisions under duress. They should be based on facts."

He said the public and society as a whole must work harder to help the government reduce the number of new Covid-19 infections.

He said the government is aware that the state of emergency measures affected businesses and the government has been willing to listen to private sector suggestions to alleviate some of the economic strain.

"Everyone is suffering, but isn't public health suffering more? What would happen if the number of Covid-19 deaths and infections spike?" Gen Prayut said.

The government on Tuesday reported 19 new coronavirus patients including one death, raising the national tally to 2,811 cases. The latest fatality was a 50-year-old taxi driver who picked up passengers from a Bangkok boxing event last month.

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