Coronavirus: Surging cases in Asia

Thailand orders entertainment venues to shut ahead of festival

BANGKOK • Thailand has ordered the closure of entertainment venues in the capital Bangkok and 40 other provinces for at least two weeks to contain a flare-up in coronavirus infections ahead of the country's biggest annual festival, Songkran.

Bars, pubs, karaoke and massage parlours will remain closed until April 23, Mr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said in Bangkok yesterday after the measure was approved by a panel headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Provincial governors will have the power to extend the shutdown or revoke them early.

The authorities in Bangkok had already shuttered almost 200 nightlife entertainment venues early this week after they emerged as the epicentre of the latest spike, with tests showing the prevalence of the more virulent Britain variant of the virus.

Separately, at least 12 hospitals in Bangkok said they were halting testing for Covid-19 yesterday due to a shortage of supplies.

Thailand reported 405 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday, and nearly a third of Cabinet ministers are self-isolating due to potential exposure to cases.

BLOOMBERG, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2021, with the headline 'Thailand orders entertainment venues to shut ahead of festival'. Subscribe