Next restriction easing set for May 17

Next restriction easing set for May 17

A volunteer sprays chemicals to kill mosquitos and virus at Wat Klong Toey Nai 2 community in Klong Toey district, Bangkok, on Thursday. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)
A volunteer sprays chemicals to kill mosquitos and virus at Wat Klong Toey Nai 2 community in Klong Toey district, Bangkok, on Thursday. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The government plans the next round of easing disease control measures and reopening of big premises on May 17 while maintaining restrictions on returnees and efforts to reduce crowd gatherings.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said on Thursday that the centre would gather opinions about the next disease control relaxation from Friday to next Tuesday and draft the relaxation measures next Thursday.

"The relaxation will come unless the [new Covid-19 case] number soars," he said.

After the first round of relaxation and reopening of small premises on Sunday, the second round of easing and reopening of bigger premises with many visitors would hinge on the cooperation of people and operators with disease control measures, he said.

Dr Taweesilp said that on Thursday CCSA agreed to continuously restrict the number of returnees and reduce crowd gatherings, the main factors of ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) infection in the country.

"Most local infection cases in the country came from infected returnees and people in close contact with them," he said.

"Covid-19 is spreading in other countries and the countries that ease their disease-control measures experience a new wave of infections," Dr Taweesilp said.

The first group allowed to return home will be those who are ill, stranded at airports or have expired visas, as well as those who are tourists stranded in other countries. The next group will be monks on pilgrimage, students and laid-off workers, he said.

To reduce crowd gathering, CCSA would maintain strict measures against drinking parties, impose staggered work hours and campaign for working from home.

"Some public offices apply two shifts with 30-minute staggered hours but there should be more work slots... Working from home should be applied to at least 50% of workers," Dr Taweesilp said.

He added that CCSA was also considering the closure of daycare nursing homes to reduce people's movements.

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