By Linda Khoo
BANGKOK, May 18 -- A 55-year-old man and a 29-year-old woman who had close contact with positive COVID-19 patients at their workplaces in Nonthaburi province, near here, are among the three new cases reported in the last 24 hours in Thailand.
The other case involves a 27-year-old woman in the southern province of Phuket, taking the tally to 3,031 with the death toll remaining at 56 as there were no new fatalities.
Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin said to date, 2,857 patients have recovered and were discharged from hospitals while 118 remain warded.
The second phase of easing restrictions had gone smoothly but there was room for improvement, he said at the COVID-19 daily briefing here today.
Starting yesterday, department stores, shopping malls and community malls are allowed to open from 10 am to 8 pm but premises such as cinemas, bowling alleys, amusement parks, spas and massage parlours remain closed until further notice.
Restaurants and cafes in office buildings and food courts are allowed to resume operations although alcohol sales remain banned at the venues. Other businesses now allowed include manicure and pedicure salons, cosmetics and clothing stores, and electrical appliances, sports equipment and office supply stores.
Large turnouts were reported at a few shopping malls including IKEA store at Bang Na as they resumed business yesterday. Later in the afternoon, IKEA announced on its Facebook page that it had to temporarily close the outlet following high foot traffic, reported Bangkok Post.
Thaweesilp said 2.7 million shoppers and 45,000 premises and shops nationwide had used On Thai Chana, a website for contact tracing.
Meanwhile, 35 villages which were under total lockdown in Pattani reopened after no new COVID-19 cases were reported for at least 28 days.
Pattani Governor Kraisorn Visitwong said the villages are in Nong Chik, Yarang, Mayo, Sai Buri, Khok Pho, Mueang Pattani and Thung Yang Daeng.
“All villagers must continue to observe social distancing and practise good hygiene as well as avoid mass gatherings,” he said.
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