PM sounds warning as easing confirmed
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha was upbeat on Friday as the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved the easing of coronavirus control measures in large parts of the country.
"Restrictions will be eased, including the resumption of businesses and schools, but everyone must still follow heath safety protocols," the PM said after a meeting of the CCSA.
"Otherwise, some businesses may have to be closed again."
A widespread easing of regulations will take effect on Monday, although substantial controls remain in place throughout red-zone provinces in the greater Bangkok cluster and cockfighting and bullfighting remain banned nationwide.
"Businesses will be allowed to restart so people's lives can return to normal," the prime minister said "But everyone must still observe precautions -- and don't conceal information. Businesses that are permitted to resume must be extra careful. It is everyone's responsibility."
Gen Prayut said the second outbreak had dealt a blow to the economy and the government needed to devise measures to contain the disease.
The CCSA continued to monitor and assess the situation on a daily basis, Gen Prayut said, and disease control measures will continue to be eased unless people fail to comply.
Police and soldiers will step up patrols in at-risk areas and businesses that fail to comply will be dealt with severely, Gen Prayut said.
He also said that Samut Sakhon, the epicentre of the second wave, would remain a "strict and maximum" control zone and adjacent provinces must also be under close surveillance to prevent the spread of Covid-19 into the province.
CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin announced details of the easing of Covid-19 curbs and said strict restrictions would continue in greater Bangkok but will be further relaxed in those provinces where the disease was under control.
The resumption of business and recreational activities would help the national economy, but would be reviewed if the Covid-19 situation deteriorated, he said.
Everyone must continue to practise social distancing and wear face masks.
These practices were key to Covid-19 control, he said, adding that businesses in most areas could resume but gambling-related activities were still banned.