Drinking at a bar and having soapy sex at a massage parlor may be possible again in the next phase of lifting restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
COVID-19 task force spokesperson Taweesilp Wisanuyothin said today that such entertainment venues are being considered for the fourth phase of reopening the economy as officials have not detected local transmission in nearly two weeks.
No date was given. He also announced that 17 new cases had been confirmed since yesterday, all involving Thais returned from abroad and placed into quarantine. Thirteen had returned from Kuwait, two from Qatar, and two from Saudi Arabia. All were brought home under a government program to repatriate thousands of Thais stranded overseas after international arrivals were banned.
Other businesses floated for Phase Four reopening included schools, nurseries, science centers, conference rooms, film and TV production, amusement and water parks, national parks, beaches and entertainment events.
As for bars and massage parlors, Taweesilp suggested they were far from ready to move forward.
“I have to say I’m worried about these places because of our reports that a lot of masseuses were infected and there were super-spreader infection cases from bars in foreign countries like South Korea,” Taweesilp said. “If you want to your businesses to gain permission to reopen as quickly as possible, you have to show us how you are going to control disease spreading among 200-300 people,”
He has recited the same report of infections spreading from a South Korean bar for the past month to argue for the ongoing prohibition of bars and alcohol sales at all restaurants, an important source of income.
As of today, limited testing has discovered 3,101 total infections, and the death toll stands at 58.
Cases of Thais infected in foreign countries are not expected to end anytime soon as the government is looking to increase the number of flights bringing Thais from. Students and workers with nearly expired work permits are among its priorities.
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