Troops to man 145 Covid checkpoints

Troops to man 145 Covid checkpoints

Army gets tough on curbs busters

Pak Klong Talad was quiet hours before a curfew on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Pak Klong Talad was quiet hours before a curfew on April 23, 2020. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Some 145 checkpoints, of which 88 are in the capital, have been set up to control the movement of people with the supreme commander warned that decisive legal action will be taken against those who break the rules.

The moves follow fresh stringent measures rolled out on Saturday to curb a soaring Covid-19 infection rate which new cases hit 9,326 and the death toll reach 91 in the last 24 hours.

The measures approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), including a 9pm-4am curfew, were published on the Royal Gazette on Saturday.

Gen Chalermpol Srisawat, Royal Thai Armed Forces (RTAF) commander-in-chief, ordered 88 checkpoints in Bangkok be set up to accommodate the partial lockdown, while another 22 checkpoints were erected in surrounding provinces and 35 more in the four southern border provinces.

The general instructed authorities to strictly enforce the measures.

Anyone who flouts the restrictions would face legal action based on the emergency decree and the Communicable Disease Act, said Teerapong Pattamasingh Na Ayuthaya, RTAF deputy spokesman.

Published on the website of the Royal Gazette was a 9pm-4am curfew that is planned for at least the next two weeks from Monday in the 10 provinces of Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla, the provinces which are considered dark red zones.

Travelling for medical reasons during the 9pm-4am curfew is allowed for both patients and their caretakers.

Other crucial activities will also be allowed including the transport of goods, food, medical supplies, agricultural products, fuel, letters and packages.

Workers who need to travel during the curfew are required to show their ID cards and documents pertaining to them being allowed to travel to security officials at the checkpoints, according to the curfew order.

Defence Ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep said security forces consisting of soldiers, police and administrative officials were deployed early Saturday morning to security checkpoints in the dark-red zone provinces.

To raise public awareness about the partial lockdown, the authorities will tell the public what they can and can't do during the period, he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA, said travelling into the 10 most critical provinces for certain reasons such as vaccination will still be allowed, while travelling from those dark-red provinces to other parts of the country will largely depend on measures imposed by the destinations.

Bangkok's communicable disease control committee on Saturday decided to order key service businesses in the capital to close at 8pm and open again after 4am, throughout the partial lockdown, effective tomorrow.

The order applies to eateries, shopping malls, convenience stores, and most types of markets, said the source.

A gathering of more than five people in public is also prohibited under the partial lockdown rules.

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