Bangkok closes meeting venues, limits in-person gatherings

Infections spike, with Bangkok seen as epicentre of third wave; skywalk at National Stadium BTS station pictured

In its latest effort to stymie the province’s third wave of Covid-19 outbreak, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will be limiting in-person meetings and gatherings to 20 people or less for the next two weeks.

Effective until May 9, the limitations apply to all events, with film or television shootings, religious ceremonies, or family meetings with more than 20 participants.

Infections have spiked in Bangkok over the last few days; skywalk at National Stadium BTS station pictured

The BMA has also ordered the closure of several public venues, including meeting venues, over the next 14 days. These include meeting and banquet venues both in and outside of hotels, exhibition halls, convention facilities, sports stadiums, and outdoor event facilities such as concert stages, outdoor cinemas, and Thai folks theatres.

Additional measures include the compulsory wearing of face masks in both indoor and outdoor public spaces in Bangkok and 44 other provinces, subject to a 20,000 THB (US$637) fine for violations. Shopping mall hours in 18 red zone provinces have been limited to between 11.00 and 20.00, and convenience store hours from 05.00 to 22.00 until May 2.

Schools, bars, and massage parlours have been closed since a week ago. Many agencies and companies are currently working from home until the end of April.

The capital has reported the highest number of cases out of all of Thailand’s provinces, with 8,175 confirmed cases since the third outbreak began earlier this month.

On Sunday, Thailand logged 11 Covid-19 deaths and 2,438 new cases Sunday nationwide. The latest outbreak, catalysed by the highly-contagious B.1.1.7 variant, has now led to 24,000 cases and 35 deaths in less than a month.

Thailand is among the countries that have faced delays in its vaccination efforts. Of its population of 66 million, only a little over one million have been vaccinated to date.

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