Shopping mall to reopen for two-day trial

Shopping mall to reopen for two-day trial

The CentralWorld shopping centre prepares to reopen after being closed since March 30. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
The CentralWorld shopping centre prepares to reopen after being closed since March 30. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

A shopping mall will be allowed to reopen for a two-day trial period on Thursday and Friday to gauge the effectiveness of their disease control measures, Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said on Saturday.

An assessment will be made on Saturday and, if the trial is successful, the government will announce the next stage of easing the coronavirus lockdown next Sunday, Dr Taweesilp said.

Only some shops inside the chosen mall would be allowed to restart businesses and at certain hours, he added. The mall has yet to be named.

He said the proposal for the trial period was raised by a CCSA working panel at a meeting on Saturday.

"The panel drafted the proposal that a mall be reopened as a trial to see how they implement their measures [to prevent transmission among customers and workers]," he said. "We will study the trial period carefully before making an assessment on May 16."

When details are finalised, the CCSA will inform the public so they can prepare, Dr Taweesilp said.

Meanwhile, four new cases of coronavirus disease and one death -- a Thai man living in Bangkok -- were reported on Saturday, raising the nationwide total to 3,004 cases and 56 fatalities.

A total of 2,787 people had fully recovered and 161 remained in hospitals as of on Saturday, Dr Taweesilp noted.

The number of new cases has been in the single digits almost every day for the past three weeks.

Some critics of the government's approach say this reflects a low rate of testing, but virologist Yong Poovorawan has rejected those claims.

One of the new cases was a 36-year-old Thai woman from Bangkok who had been in contact with a previously infected person.

Another new case was a 28-year-old woman who worked at a shopping mall in Phuket, which has recorded the second-most cases in the country. She later returned to her home province of Prachin Buri.

The other two new cases were found during active case finding in Yala province.

They were a 41-year-old woman and a 44-year-old man who had been in contact with confirmed Covid-19 patients who had returned from Malaysia.

Dr Taweesilp said the latest death was a self-employed 68-year-old Thai man in Bangkok. He became ill on March 19 with a high fever, muscle pains and breathing difficulties. He died on Saturday.

Infections have now been found in 68 of the country's 77 provinces, but 43 provinces have reported no new infections for at least 28 days.

Bangkok and Nonthaburi have 1,700 cases or more than half the national total. Other cases by region are in the North (94), Central Plains (381), Northeast (111) and South (718). In the South, the cases are concentrated in Phuket (220), Yala (130) and Songkhla (128).

The youngest patient was one month old, the oldest was 97 and the average age was 39. The biggest age group was 20-29, the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, border patrol police and local authorities arrested 29 Thais -- 18 men and 11 women -- who sneaked through natural border channels from Malaysia into Saba Yoi district of Songkhla to avoid screening for Covid-19.

They will all be placed under quarantine for 14 days.

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