With the upgrading of Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan comes warnings that a consideration of the Prime Minister on January 4th may see a further tightening of the current restrictions and a review of the overall anti-COVID measures.
Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health will ask Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to impose lockdown restrictions on the entire eastern region of Thailand for 28 days, to stop the continuing surge of COVID-19 infections.
Prime Minister Prayut has urged everyone to join forces “for one more time” to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, by strictly following basic safety measures, as lockdown restrictions came into force in Bangkok and several other high-risk provinces.
New orders from regional provincial governors following this change of status have not been received at the time of this publication, however orders similar to those already in effect in Bangkok, which have closed many businesses, may be anticipated.
Dr. Taweesil Wissanu Yothin, spokesman for the Coronavirus Disease Management Center 2019 (COVID-19) (CRC) said concerns are mounting about the increase in infected people and the spread to different locations. He described two key areas of concern:
Many infected people have visited high risk locations but refuse to quarantine, avoid contact with others and do not consult a doctor. This is causing the infections to spread especially when gatherings are continuing at illegal gambling venues. There is still part of the lack of caution with further cooperation needed.
The number of people infected and having symptoms requiring medical attention is now an issue for the capacity of public health services, both personnel and medical supplies.
The Department of Medical Services has prepared over 22,690 hospital beds to serve COVID-19 patients nationwide. Deputy Director-General Dr Natthapong Wongwiwat said Bangkok and its vicinity has 2,778 beds reserved for coronavirus patients from Samut Sakhon and other “red” provinces with more than 50 cases. He added that there are currently 11 COVID-19 patients critically ill in ICUs, 8 in Bangkok and its vicinity.
There are now 28 provinces understood to be in the highest control zone (red). However it is unclear whether this upgrading of the provinces named, including the two regional provinces has been formally agreed. The provinces named are:
Tak, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Lopburi, Singburi, Ang Thong, Nakhon Nayok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Chachoengsao, Prachinburi, Sarakaew, Samut Prakan, Chanthaburi, Chonburi, Trat, Rayong, Chumphon, Ranong and Bangkok.
The Minister of Education has signed an order to close all schools under their supervision in these high risk provinces until 31 January. The students will switch to online learning.
The official update provided by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) presented the following information:
– There are 216 confirmed cases, with 214 local transmissions, and another two cases in state quarantine, with 53 provinces affected. The total number of cases is 7,379.
– There is one new fatality in Chonburi; the victim had personal health problems and was linked with visits to a gambling area.
– On 1 January 2021, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) issued an order for the temporary closure of 25 types of businesses, while department stores, restaurants, and hair salons may be opened with tight restrictions for hygiene and sanitary conditions.
– Considering is being given to allow restaurants in highly controlled areas to open for delivery services and takeaway only.
– In the 28 provinces, including Bangkok and Pathum Thani, that are in the highest controlled area, provincial governors may announce specific provincial measures themselves if they are not lower than the CCSA standard.
– Two control measures are under consideration – to limit business hours, and to restrict traveling across provinces.
– The CCSA invites people to download the Mor Chana (ThaiChana), Thailand Plus, and contact tracing applications, which have useful updated information and measures.
Meanwhile it has been announced that Samut Sakhon’s famous Talay Thai shrimp market will reopen for business on Monday (4th January) after being closed since December 21st. The Samut Sakhon Shrimp Trader Club have announced that the market will start serving customers from Monday during its normal 4pm to 10pm service hours. It also said all visitors to the market will be required to wear a mask and clean their hands regularly. Those violating this order will be prohibited from entering the market.
Regular customers and vendors need to always carry ID cards issued by the club. Delivery persons and people who are not regular buyers are required to have a certificate showing they are free from Covid-19.