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Thai authorities propose tighter curbs as COVID-19 deaths climb

BANGKOK — Thailand’s health ministry said on Thursday it had proposed new travel curbs and tighter restrictions in high-risk areas to contain coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, as the country reported a daily record of 75 deaths from the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is due to consider the new restrictions in a meeting on Friday.

“The health ministry will propose measures first to limit travel and so that people do not leave their homes unless necessary,” the ministry’s permanent secretary, Kiatiphum Wongrajit, told reporters, noting a halt to inter-provincial travel was also being proposed.

Other measures being proposed include closing down non-essential venues and areas that attract crowds, Mr. Kiatiphum said.

The rules would be in place for 14 days and would cover the Bangkok metropolitan area and “buffer zones,” Mr. Kiatiphum said, without elaborating.

“This has similar intensity as April 2020,” he said referring to lockdown measures last year that included a nationwide curfew.

Currently, Thailand has in place measures in “high-risk zones,” including Bangkok and surrounding provinces, to close malls early and prohibit dining in at restaurants, but they have not been able to halt an acceleration of infections in the past month.

Thailand’s COVID-19 task force on Thursday reported 7,058 new coronavirus cases, taking the total number in the country to 308,230. The country has recorded 2,462 fatalities since the pandemic started last year. — Reuters

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