Anutin: Most Covid controls to be lifted
Virtual full-scale resumption of business expected
published : 16 Jun 2022 at 14:09
updated: 16 Jun 2022 at 14:44
writer: Apinya Wipatayotin
The Public Health Ministry expects the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to lift nearly all Covid-19 restrictions nationwide, meaning the virtual full-scale resumption of business and other activities including entertainment.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Thursday that he expected the CCSA to announce nationwide green Covid-19 zones on Friday and also set the date for the relaxation to begin.
In green zones, entertainment places can reopen and there are no restrictions on gatherings or the use of school buildings and sports facilities.
From June 1, restriction-free business and activities including entertainment venues and massage parlours were allowed in 14 green-zone provinces and 17 blue zone provinces, to support tourism.
Forty-six other provinces were yellow zones where the number of people in each gathering was capped at 1,000 and the closure of entertainment places and massage parlours continued. There were also disease control measures at schools and the number of spectators at indoor stadium events limited to 75% of seats.
There were no restrictions at open-air stadiums and theatres were already permitted to operate as normal nationwide.
Also from June 1, disease control measures were enforced at entertainment places, where, for example, staff singers and musicians must be fully vaccinated and undergo weekly antigen tests. People must not share glasses and there must not be promotions for alcohol sales.
As for the use of face masks, Mr Anutin said the Public Health Ministry would not announce a complete end to face mask use on Friday. Officials would consider lifting the requirement in particular areas.
On a proposal to extend the opening hours of entertainment places from midnight, he said the CCSA would consider the matter.
Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said the Public Health Ministry would on Friday propose the CCSA impose green zones nationwide and in practice there would not be any restrictions on business and other activities.
Health authorities had no concerns about the operation of pubs, bars and karaoke shops. The number of serious Covid-19 cases dependent on ventilators had dropped to 200-300, he said.
On the use of face masks, Dr Opas said the Public Health Ministry had never arrested anyone who failed to wear a face mask. It only recommended people wear masks as long as they could do so, he said.
The ministry suggested people remove face masks while eating, when alone or a fair distance away from others, or when outdoors or in well-ventilated places, Dr Opas said.