BANGKOK: Thailand is preparing to relax some of its COVID-19 control measures nationwide from May 3, including reopening restaurants, cafes and markets with guidelines to prevent a second wave of infections.
Dr Thaweesilp Wisanuyothin, spokesperson for Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said in a press conference on Thursday (Apr 30) that six types of activities and businesses will benefit from the partial relaxation.
While guidelines will be standardised by the CCSA for all areas nationwide, the regulations can be adjusted by provincial governors as they see fit as long as they are made stricter and not less stringent, he added.
The six types of activities and businesses include markets, eateries outside department stores, retailers, sports and recreational activities, hair salons and barbershops, as well as pet grooming and boarding businesses.
“This morning, the CCSA director said (the reopening) can start on May 3 if business operators are ready to do so by then. We’ll then spend 14 days to observe and assess the situation.
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"If the numbers of new infections remain stable, it’ll show you cooperate well and know how to manage yourselves, your businesses and your activities. We’ll then be able to include more businesses and activities in the relaxation,” Dr Thaweesilp said.
However, he said the government will need to reverse the relaxation if the number of new cases increase during the 14-day observation period.
On Thursday, Thailand reported seven new cases of COVID-19 infections, bringing the total cases in the country to 2,954.
So far, 2,687 people have been discharged from hospitals and 54 have died.
Based on the daily tally, the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand continues to improve.
On Wednesday, Bangkok released detailed guidelines for operators who will soon be able to resume their businesses and activities.
However, the nationwide curfew between 10pm and 4am will remain until the state of emergency ends on May 31.
"The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration would like to emphasise that the situation is not yet normal. The country continues to report new cases every day, which means COVID-19 is still spreading in places close to us and a second wave of infections is possible. It could be more serious than the first,” said Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang on Wednesday.
"If the second wave of infections becomes likely, we may need to temporarily ban activities and close different venues again in order to control the situation.”