Thailand hopes to end shutdown on July 1


Thailand’s government hopes to completely end its nationwide Covid-19 shutdown on July 1, security officials said, even though they warned that social distancing and hygiene measure would still need to be taken to prevent a possible second wave of infections.

The complete end of the shutdown means that international travel to and from Thailand will restart, as well as the lifting of all restrictions on domestic travel, said Somsak Rungsita, Secretary General of the National Security Council (NSC).

“People’s cooperation is important. This concerns the use of facemasks, social distancing, hand wash and limited activities. As long as the disease is spreading worldwide, we will have to fight against it for a while,” Somsak said.

Somsak said the total reopening would coincide with the lifting of the emergency decree issued by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in late March in response to the pandemic. “Authorities will have serious discussions because after the emergency decree ends, other laws will be used instead,” he said.

Thailand has been largely successful in containing the spread of the coronavirus. Since late January, public health officials have recorded 3,045 cases of Covid-19 and 57 deaths. In recent weeks, daily new infections have been in the single digits most days, creeping into double digits only among Thais returning from overseas. Returning Thais are automatically quarantined and treated if necessary.

A phased reopening has already been underway for about one month. Many businesses and shopping malls have been allowed to reopen as long as they maintain social distancing measures.

However, businesses such as bars, pubs, entertainment centers and others where large numbers of people gather, and especially where alcohol is served, have remained closed. All are expected to be permitted to reopen on July 1.

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