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24 Mar 2020 | 07:45 AM UTC

Thailand: Government to declare state of emergency March 26 /update 14

Officials set to declare state of emergency beginning on March 26 due to COVID-19; follow government directives

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THA

Event

On Tuesday, March 24, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that an emergency decree will be implemented beginning Thursday, March 26, providing extra authority to declare further restrictive measures to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As of Tuesday, all border crossings with Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Malaysia have been temporarily closed, with exemptions laid out exclusively for trucks carrying goods.

Authorities in Bangkok announced on Saturday, March 21, that all malls will be closed in the capital from Sunday, March 22, until Sunday, April 12. Only supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open and residents are being asked not to hoard goods. Restaurants will also be open for takeout orders. Boxing stadium, beauty salons, and arcades are also closed, along with schools and bars.

As of March 24, there are 827 confirmed cases reported nationwide. Further international spread of the virus is likely over the coming weeks.  

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.