Bangkok plans to reopen some businesses as coronavirus infection slows

Many businesses in the Thai capital have spent more than a month under closure orders.
Many businesses in the Thai capital have spent more than a month under closure orders. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK - The authorities in Bangkok plan to lift restrictions to allow some businesses, including shopping malls, markets and hair salons, to reopen under certain conditions, as the pace of new coronavirus infections slows.

The Bangkok Post, citing the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), reported on Tuesday that certain businesses will be allowed to reopen in May.

These businesses must be necessary to people's daily lives and have a low risk of disease transmission, CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin was quoted as saying.

The situation will be assessed every 14 days and "if an outbreak erupts, the business will be shut down immediately", he added. The details will be announced later.

Reuters quoted a civic administration spokesman as saying on Tuesday that "it will not be a return to normal like before".

Spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang added that markets, sporting grounds, public parks, medical facilities and golf courses are among the places eligible to re-open first.

"All activities in these places will be regulated," he said, adding that the announcement would set out strict social distancing measures and other rules to prevent a fresh virus outbreak.

Many businesses in the capital have spent more than a month under closure orders, crippling the economy.

The CCSA decided to extend the enforcement of the executive decree - due to end on Thursday (April 30) - for another month, but will allow some businesses, including shopping malls and hair salons, to reopen to ease the impact of business shutdowns, the Bangkok Post reported.

 
 
 

On Tuesday, Thailand reported seven new infections and two more deaths for a tally of 2,938 cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in January, while 2,652 patients have recovered.

The numbers fit a trend of fewer new cases, down from past weeks in which more than 100 were recorded each day, according to Reuters.

The government is considering how to relax curbs nationwide, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said, while urging people to keep up vigilance against the virus.