The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, in Bangkok, Thailand has warned governors of high risk provinces in Thailand with large numbers of Covid-19 cases to implement stronger restrictions or a centralized approach will likely take place as early as Monday, January 4th.
This includes Chonburi, home of Pattaya, where the governor is currently allowing in store dining in restaurants despite the protests of the CCSA. The Chonburi Governor, meanwhile, says the impact of putting tens of thousands out of work without financial aid is not acceptable. The majority of the affected businesses, The Pattaya News notes, hire “informal” workers who do not have social security and would not be eligible for support. No alternative financial support programs have yet been announced for this second cluster of infections.
Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesperson of the CCSA, has said that 28 provinces that are considered “highly controlled” are being proposed to enter a set level of restrictions from the CCSA and Prime Minister that would fall under the authority of the current emergency decree to control the Covid-19 Coronavirus. This would be similar to actions taken over last spring and summer and would allow governor’s to make stronger and stricter measures but not allow them to decrease measures beneath that which the CCSA sets.
This proposal has come as some governors, including Rayong and Chonburi, have implemented “relief” or lighter restrictions in some areas (such as in store dining) or keeping department stores and malls open (Bangkok) than the CCSA would like. If the proposal is approved this would implement universal restrictions, similar to last year, that all high risk provinces would need to follow.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan O-Cha will reportedly make a decision in conjunction with the Thai Cabinet and National Security Council today or tomorrow on this proposal. The Pattaya News notes that it is highly likely this is approved.
The effected provinces would be: Tak, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Lopburi, Singburi, Ang Thong, Nakhon Nayok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Ratchaburi, Suphanburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Chachoengsao, Prachinburi, Sarakaew, Samut Prakan, Chanthaburi, Chonburi, Trat, Rayong, Chumphon, Ranong and Bangkok.
The exact restrictions would be announced if the order is approved, Dr. Taweesin stated, but would likely include all the previous strict requirements as well as take away only for food during the start of the first level of restrictions and measures last year in April for high risk provinces.
Dr. Taweesin stressed, however, that it was not a national lockdown and warned against using the word lockdown, saying that word made people nervous and there was no current stay at home order or curfew. (However, he did state that if the situation grew worse domestic travel restrictions to and from high risk provinces, road checkpoints and “requests” to stay inside during certain hours may take place.) He stressed also to people that even if the proposal was approved there was no need to stockpile food or panic as there were no shortages and would not be a strict stay at home order.
If the proposal is approved it would likely take effect from 6:00 AM on Monday Morning, January 4th, until at least February 1st at 6:00 AM. The proposal would be in two levels of measures, level one and two.
Level one would possibly contain things like the aforementioned business and venue closures, limitation of business hours, active contact tracing and not allowing inter-provincial travel from highly controlled areas as well as encouraging people to work from home. Again, this is a proposal at this point and not yet finalized.
If the CCSA needs to move to level two, which means cases continue to rise in highly controlled and at risk areas, it would require more travel restrictions including for vulnerable groups (he did not into this in depth), all of the measures from level one with more intensity and stricter periods of enforcement/rules. More information would come if this was needed.
The Pattaya News will provide more information as this comes in.