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Police on alert as Thai shopping malls re-open

Police on alert as Thai shopping malls re-open

About 3,000 traffic police will be deployed on Sunday to manage traffic congestion as shopping malls reopen.

Pol Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsaengek, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said traffic police have been put on standby after the government announced the next phase of economic reopening.

Shopping malls, community malls and department stores are among businesses allowed to reopen fully today after more than a month of a shutdown to contain the spread of Covid-19.

He said police will assess how much manpower is needed in the areas under their jurisdiction. However, he said traffic is unlikely to be as heavy as in rush hours during workdays.

Police anticipate heavy traffic on Rama I Road, Ratchadamri Road, Sukhumvit Road, Phahon Yothin Road and Lat Phrao Road where shopping malls are located.

The Bang Kapi and Ramkhamhaeng areas are also prone to traffic congestion due to ongoing construction of the electric train system.

Meanwhile, a mobile app known as “Thai Chana”, developed to boost disease control when the lockdown measures are relaxed, goes online today.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said businesses can register to use the application from 6 am.

He said the operators will receive QR codes after the registration which can be placed at the entrance to their premises for their customers to scan when entering and leaving.

The app is intended to help public health authorities alert customers who may have come into close contact with Covid-19-infected people at the stores they visit, he said.

He said the app also helps the stores keep logs of their customers and can be used to check the number of customers inside to prevent crowds forming. Dr Taweesilp also moved to allay privacy concerns, saying personal information will be protected.

The Department of Health warned the strict standards of personal hygiene and health safety must be maintained despite the latest relaxation of the lockdown measures.

Panpimol Wipulakorn, the department chief, said businesses, where customers come into close contact with each other, must ensure they practise strict health safety procedures.

Under the guidelines, shopping malls must regularly clean touching points such as lifts, escalator railings, cashier booths and bathrooms. Customers and staff must wear face masks and maintain a social distance while the stores must limit the number of customers.

“We will closely monitor the shopping malls to see if they are able to follow the measures,” she said.

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