Entertainment venues closed in the most at-risk areas after hundreds of COVID-19 cases were found spreading through the capital’s clubs, bars and other hangouts.
A raft of new measures from health officials comes after more than 200 new cases across the metropolitan area – Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Nakhon Pathom – were linked to entertainment venues.
The restrictions targeting those places will be in place at least two weeks. They will be most severe in Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Nakhon Pathom, as they have been designated public health “red zones.”
Health officials said they were considering ordering all restaurants in the so-called red zones to close by 9pm and stop selling alcohol for on-site consumption.
Bangkok has ordered closed nightlife venues including bars, nightclubs and sex massage parlors in three districts – Watthana, Bang Khae, and Khlong Toei – affecting 196 places until at least April 19.
They are allowed to operate as same as restaurants if confirmed cases aren’t found there.
City Hall encouraged people who have been to venues including Krystal Club nightclub in Soi Thonglor 25, Barbarbar pub in Soi Thonglor 10, Ekkamai Beer House, The Cassette Music Bar (Ekkamai branch), Baan Phahon Cafe and Bar in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district and entertainment venues inside the EmQuartier and Emporium shopping malls to notify health authorities via hotlines 02-203-2393 or 02-203-2396 or get a COVID-19 test as soon as possible.
Public Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday said red-zone residents can still travel to other provinces during Songkran holidays without having to go through two weeks of quarantine. However, the historical northeastern province Buriram has contradicted Anutin’s by imposing a 14-day quarantine or rapid COVID-19 test for visitors from the five provinces.
Apart from office workers, confirmed cases from this cluster also include Thonglor police officers, celebrities and nightlife sector workers, so far. Thailand’s transport minister became the highest-ranking government official to contract COVID-19, lab results confirmed this morning.
After a second outbreak faded in February, a surge of cases were detected in the capital over the weekend.
Health officials today announced new 334 COVID-19 infections, 216 of which were found in Bangkok.
No broad vaccination campaign is expected to begin for at least two more months.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that health officials had ordered restaurants to close early and stop selling alcohol for consumption on the premises. In fact, that was a proposal they have yet to implement.
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