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No more lockdowns please

The Department of Health posed the question “Are you ready for lockdown?” on its Facebook page on Thursday, triggering a flood of comments from members of the public

As of 3pm, the post had received 1,400 likes, 478 comments and 1,900 shares.

The majority of commenters said they were ready for lockdown but added the government must launch Covid-19 relief measures and speed up the vaccination drive.

Meanwhile, the hashtag #ล็อกดาวน์ (“Lockdown) became the top Twitter trend on Thursday, after the Public Health Ministry proposed a 14-day semi-lockdown in high-risk zones.

Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan have been listed as high-risk zones since May 15.

Under the proposal, interprovincial travel will be banned while shopping and public transport hours will be limited in a bid to keep as many people at home as possible.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said it will consider the proposal at an emergency meeting on Friday.

Thailand’s daily caseload hit a new high of 7,058 infections and 75 deaths on Thursday, driven by the fast-spreading Delta variant which now accounts for over 50 per cent of new cases in Bangkok.

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The Public Health Ministry has proposed stricter measures to encourage people to stay home and not leave their province, to more effectively stem the spread of Covid-19.

The ministry’s proposal to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration would see limits on inter-provincial movements and changes to shopping and public transport hours. 

“The principle is to limit the movement of people out of their locality and ban interprovincial movements. Officials should set up checkpoints to reduce interprovincial movements,” Apisamai Srirangson, a spokeswoman for the CCSA, said on Thursday.

The Public Health Ministry also proposed the maximum use of working from home for both the government and private sectors.

Businesses would be asked to change their operating hours to discourage people from going out, she said.

“This refers to department stores and the likes, to convenience stores and night-shift markets and eateries. Public transport hours would be adjusted accordingly,” Dr Apisamai said.

The Public Health Ministry made the proposals as new daily Covid-19 cases, already high in Greater Bangkok, soar in the provinces, both within and outside construction workers’ camps.

The operations committee of CCSA was of the view that opening hours of stores, including hardware shops, should be changed while ensuring that people would have continuous access to consumer products, food and tools to ensure their safety, she said.

“The Public Health Ministry did not mention any lockdown measure, but discussed changes to the operating hours of businesses and services in specific areas and provinces,” Dr Apisamai said.

No decision had been made, she said.

The CCSA would consider the proposals at its meeting on Friday morning, Dr Apisamai said.

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