The government has extended lockdown measures for two more weeks from Tuesday, with another 16 provinces added to the dark red zone of maximum restrictions to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
Apisamai Srirangson, assistant spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said on Sunday a curfew from 9pm-4am and other stiff measures will be imposed in Bangkok and 28 other provinces for two weeks from Tuesday.
The dark red zone will then cover 40% of the population and account for three-quarters of Thailand's gross domestic product
The CCSA will evaluate the situation again on Aug 18 and Dr Apisamai indicated that a further extension to the end of August was on the cards.
“It will be highly likely that the extension will continue until Aug 31” if the situation does not improve, she said.
The Covid-19 task force eased restrictions for restaurants in the dark red zones, allowing them to prepare take-home orders, but dining in is still banned.
Other restrictions include the closure of all stores in shopping malls at 8pm except for retailers deemed essential, such as supermarkets, chemists and those selling medical and communications equipment. No public transport is available from 9pm-4am.
The curfew and lockdown measures have been enforced in Greater Bangkok – Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani and Nakhon Pathom - and four southern provinces since July 12. Chon Buri, Chachoengsao and Ayutthaya were included on July 20.
The present measures will expire on Monday.
The meeting on Sunday was chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The CCSA added 16 more provinces to the dark red zone under lockdown restrictions:
- Ang Thong
- Nakhon Nayok
- Nakhon Ratchasima
- Lop Buri
- Prachuap Khiri Khan
- Prachin Buri
- Samut Songkhram
- Sing Buri
- Suphan Buri
The additional 16 provinces have seen new cases surging, with new clusters in factories hampering industry and exports, the CCSA said.
Exports are now the key driver of the Thai economy following the collapse in tourism during the coronavirus pandemic.