COVID-19: Thai PM hints at tougher measures

By Linda Khoo Hui Li

BANGKOK, March 31 (NNN-BERNAMA) — Thai Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha has hinted that tougher measures may be put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the kingdom as the total number of positive cases rose to 1,651 while the death toll stood at 10 today.

Since the kingdom was placed under a state of emergency on March 26, Prayuth said, the number of new cases had continued to rise.

As of 1 pm today, 127 new cases and one more death have been reported.

“If there is no improvement, stricter measures may have to be introduced,” he told a press conference here today.

Thailand declared a state of emergency starting midnight March 26 to April 30 to contain the pandemic in the kingdom.  However, no curfew or travel ban has been imposed. 

Meanwhile, Prayuth said the Transport Ministry would find ways to reduce public movement and activities.

“A high number of people are still travelling via public transport in Bangkok. We may consider reducing the frequency of public transportation, including buses and trains. If that doesn’t work, then we may consider temporary suspension of the services,” he said. 

The government plans to cut public journeys by 90 per cent in a bid to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infection.

Meanwhile, Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin confirmed that a 48-year-old Thai man from the Maha Sarakham province died at 5 am yesterday due to COVID-19. He had a history of diabetes and cancer.

Of the 1,651 cases so far, 1,299 people are still undergoing treatment at hospitals, including 22 in critical condition, while 342 have been discharged.

 A total of 61 of the 77 provinces in the kingdom have reported COVID-19 cases.

As more cases are being recorded outside Bangkok, provincial governors are taking tougher measures, including closing tourist destinations, beaches and entertainment outlets, to stem the spread of the virus.