No Big Nationwide Lockdown Needed!

7 Jul 2022

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Public Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul said the government is confident that it would be able to fix the current Covid-19 crisis without the need for a nationwide lockdown.

"We have seen no use of imposing a lockdown for the time being," an upbeat Mr Anutin said after a meeting of the national committee on communicable diseases.

"The [current] disease cycle has only extended two weeks, and all stakeholders have been cooperative." We need to see less mobility for now. If we work, we will definitely see a declining number of new infections by next month."

On Thursday, Covid-19 infections set a record for the consecutive day in a row, with 1,543 cases (1,540 local and three imported) raising the total to 37,453.

The committee decided to suggest to the government that it bans drinking in restaurants around the nation and forbids large gatherings, as well as requiring schools and universities to conduct all of their courses online.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Phuket, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nonthaburi, Songkhla, Tak, Udon Thani, Suphan Buri, Sa Kaeo, Rayong, and Khon Kaen were classified as ultimate control (red zone) areas.

Mr Anutin said the committee agreed to a compromise on some measures to counter the disease, including ordering restaurants to shut at 9 p.m. in red zone provinces and 11 p.m. elsewhere. Members believe that the sale of alcohol in restaurants should be banned nationwide.

Other proposals included banning parties and gatherings of more than 50 people, banning all in-person classes, and closing amusement parks, including those inside department stores.

Mr Anutin stated that the national committee would not ask the CCSA to ban interprovincial travel, instead of allowing provincial communicable disease committees to decide.

"We only suggest that people who visited home for the Songkran festival work from home for two weeks in their hometown," he said. "When going outside, facemasks must be used the entire time."

The minister did not say if a curfew would be considered on Friday; in April of last year, the government implemented both a lockdown and a curfew to stop the disease from spreading in its early stages.

"However, certain provinces with a critical Covid19 situation could need a curfew," said the same source, who refused to spell when the CCSA would impose curfews.

"At the very least, the Covid-19 outbreak would not stall the new parliamentary session on May 22," the source said.

The daily rise was four digits for the second day in a row, according to Dr Chawetsan Namwat, acting director for emergency health hazard and disease control at the Department of Disease Control.

Covid-19 has been reported in 75 provinces since April 1, only with the two southern provinces of Ranong and Satun untouched.

This month, Bangkok has seen the highest number of new Covid cases every day.