Appealing for patience, Prayuth coy on lifting restrictions

Thailand will relax some of the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha said this afternoon following a meeting with his cabinet at the Government House.

Saying they had agreed to extend the state of emergency another month, Prayuth did not elaborate on which restrictions would be lifted in the meantime. He said they would be detailed in a later announcement.

With the economy cratering and facing anger and despair over his government’s response to the crisis, Prayuth appealed to business owners to understand the government’s priority was in protecting the public from the coronavirus.

“Please give us your cooperation. Please endure for a bit longer. I’m in pain as well as you guys,” Prayuth said.

He also asked the public not to violate the limits put in place under the state of emergency declared last month to grant unfettered power to the authorities:

“Please don’t violate the Emergency Decree because it has kept us safe, even foreigners have praised us for these measures.” 

Airlines are expected to resume domestic service on Friday, and most bans on alcohol sales are set to be lifted that same day. Many are expecting some businesses including shopping malls, hair salons and massage parlors will be allowed to reopen as soon as Monday.

His national address, steamed live online, came only minutes after the cabinet rejected a proposal to cancel this month’s four public holidays, as had been proposed by the national COVID-19 task force.

Health officials today reported seven new confirmed cases of COVID-19, the fewest in a day since mid-March.

This is a breaking story and may be updated without notice.

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