Thailand closes more public facilities as coronavirus cases top 1,100

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Thailand closes more public facilities as coronavirus cases top 1,100

Empty chairs are seen on a beach amid fears of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pattaya

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The Thai government on Friday ordered the closing down of more public facilities and businesses in a bid to curb the spread of coronavirus, and extended existing closures until the end of April.

Thailand reported 91 new coronavirus cases and one fatality on Friday, bringing the total to 1,136 cases and five deaths, a health official said on Friday. So far, 97 patients have recovered and gone home.

The latest death was of a 50-year-old man in Narathiwat province, bordering Malaysia, who apparently contracted the disease from attending a religious gathering at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur last month, a Thai health official said.

The death has led to the lockdown of the southern province by its governor, preventing traffic in and out except for ambulances, trucks carrying essential supplies and official vehicles.

The government's new Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) in Bangkok says provincial governors now have the authority to implement strict regulations to contain the outbreak.

"Now is not a normal situation, but its an emergency and people's movements may be difficult, so everyone should stay home," said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for CCSA.

Authorities in Bangkok, the city with most of the coronavirus cases, have ordered the further shutdown until April 30 of facilities including libraries, museums, playgrounds, sporting grounds, meeting halls, childcare centres and beauty clinics.

The government has also extend the closure of shopping malls, eat-in restaurants and other businesses that were shut down earlier this week to April 30 as well.

Essential businesses such as supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open in Bangkok, while the government has reopened phone shops, food courts in hospitals and flower shops in markets in the capital.

Several provinces have also issued orders to restrict the opening and closing times of 24-hour convenience stores to reduce the time when people are out in public places.


(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Panu Wongcha-um; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Alex Richardson)