Royal Thai Government issues emergency decree to fight pandemic.

Responding to the advice of public health experts, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha issued an emergency decree on Thursday to take the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the next level with measures designed to slow or stop the spread of the deadly virus.

The Prime Minister said the state of emergency would last until April 30. The authorities have temporarily barred entry to the Kingdom except for Thai nationals with fit-to-fly certificates, and foreigners such as diplomats, shippers, pilots, drivers, and others needed to provide essential services.

Thailand has not been as hard hit by the pandemic as some other countries. The pace of infections and their geographic spread have been increasing, however, and so the government felt compelled to apply stronger medicine than previously prescribed.

As of 26 March 2020, public health officials have recorded 1,045 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths. The first cases were recorded in January.

“From now the measures to be imposed will be more intense and will affect people’s lives. I’m asking you to comply and be responsible. All this is being done to protect lives. If we take things seriously, we can get through this,” Prime Minister Prayut said.

All public gatherings have been banned.

The government is now discouraging people from leaving cities and traveling upcountry. Domestic travelers are required to install an app on their mobile phones for tracking and must undergo screening at several checkpoints. Children under five and adults above the age of 70 and those with underlying health problems are strongly recommended to stay home.

Government officials assured the public that food supplies are plentiful and supermarkets, pharmacies, and other essential business and services remain open. The prime minister warned action would be taken against anyone hoarding food or other necessary items.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said a curfew might be imposed later if necessary.

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