Thailand tightens Covid-19 curbs in Bangkok and other hot spots as deaths rise

The new restrictions will last for at least two weeks. PHOTO: AFP

BANGKOK (BLOOMBERG) - Thailand announced a set of tighter virus containment measures, including a ban on gatherings of more than five people, closing of spas and beauty clinics, and reducing the operational hours for some businesses to quell a worsening Covid-19 outbreak in its capital and nearby provinces.

The measures, which also include a night curfew between 9pm and 4am and some curbs on domestic travel, will take effect from Saturday (July 10) in the Bangkok metropolitan area and four southern provinces with a high number of infections, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The new restrictions will last for at least two weeks.

The move to tighten restrictions follows a relentless surge in infections and hospitalisations that have stretched the nation's healthcare system, especially in the virus epicentre Bangkok.

The government earlier resisted a lockdown to avoid hurting the economy and targeted its curbs on construction worker camps and night-entertainment venues, where large clusters of infections have been reported.

The new measures were approved by the nation's coronavirus task force, led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Thailand has seen a more than tenfold surge in infections since early April and reported 9,276 new cases on Friday, the second-highest single-day increase since the pandemic began.

The authorities also reported 72 new fatalities during the past 24 hours, taking the cumulative death toll to 2,534.

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