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By Linda Khoo Hui Li
BANGKOK, April 29 -- Thailand will increase the current mandatory quarantine period for international travellers from seven to 10 days, to two weeks and make wearing mask mandatory in all provinces in the kingdom, starting May 1 in bid to contain a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases in the kingdom.
Besides that, dining in services banned at restaurants in maximum and strict controlled areas including Bangkok and five other provinces - Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan - deemed as high risk areas for infections.
All takeaway services in maximum and strict controlled areas allowed until 9 pm (local time) while markets and convenience stores will be open from 4 am to 11 pm and shopping malls will stay open until 9 pm.
The latest restrictions and measures were approved during the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan o-cha today.
CCSA’s spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said all arrivals who hold Certificates of Entry (CoE) issued on or later than May 1 would undergo 14-day quarantine, regardless their nationality and vaccination status.
Earlier, starting April 1, visitors to the kingdom were required to undergo 10-day quarantine while vaccinated travellers only need seven days of isolation.
“We take this into consideration following COVID-19 variants around the world posing serious risk,” he said at a press conference here today.
However, he added that travellers who have obtained their CoE prior to May 1 and arrived before May 6 will be quarantined for seven or 10 days, depending on their vaccination status.
Besides that, Taweesin said travellers checking into alternative state quarantine facilities were required to stay in their rooms at all times and not allowed to use any facilities in the hotel.
“They are required to undergo three COVID-19 tests during the 14-day quarantine period,” he said.
Meanwhile,Taweesin said wearing of face mask in public places became compulsory in Bangkok and all 76 provinces in the kingdom and violators risk a fine of up to 20,000 baht (RM 2,628).
To halt the spread of COVID-19 in the kingdom, he said the CCSA meeting approved the proposal that gathering of more than 20 people is not allowed nationwide.
He also advised people to stay home and limit their movements.
Besides the new restrictions announced today, the government earlier ordered educational institutions and entertainment outlets to close for two weeks, since April 18.
Thailand is facing a rapid surge in COVID-19 cases since early this month. The fresh wave of infections that linked to nightspots in Bangkok spread to all provinces in the kingdom.
To date, a total of 34,707 COVID-19 cases and 94 deaths reported since April 1.
Meanwhile, Thailand recorded 1, 871 new COVID-19 cases and 10 deaths, over the last 24 hours, bringing the total infections in the kingdom to 63,570 and 188 fatalities.
CCSA said the new fatalities involved Thai nationals aged 45 and 91 years old with underlying health conditions where six in Bangkok, one each in Nakhon Sawan, Samut Prakan, Yasothon and Ayutthaya.
Of the 1,871 new cases, it said 1,864 were local transmission and seven imported cases including two from Malaysia (one Thai national and one Malaysian).
“To date, there are 27,988 patients in care including 21,306 in hospitals and 6,682 in field hospitals. A total of 786 people are now in serious condition and 230 are on ventilators,” it said.