Thailand Imposes Partial Lockdown of Capital as Virus Cases Soar

Thailand’s capital imposed a partial shutdown from Sunday after novel coronavirus cases surged past 400 with a rising number of people in critical condition.

Malls in Bangkok will be closed, and shops offering food and essential services will be among the few that can remain open, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang said in a briefing Saturday. The restrictions will last from March 22 to April 12, he said.

Schools and universities, along with many entertainment and recreation venues, were shut earlier this week and the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha said it’s prepared to take further action.

“We’re ready to announce the most intense measures when the time comes,” Narumon Pinyosinwat, a government spokeswoman, said in a statement late Friday. “The administration’s priority is ensuring the safety of Thai people.”

Further action will be step-by-step to minimize disruption as much as possible, she said. The World Health Organization said Friday it suspects community transmission is increasing and that social distancing is becoming increasingly important.

Thailand reported 89 more infections Saturday, taking the total to 411, with seven people in critical condition, according to the Health Ministry. Officials said there’s now a severe shortage of testing materials for Covid-19 as suspected cases spike.

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