State of Emergency to be declared Thursday, Prayut says; fatality and number of cases rise in Thailand

Thailand will enact its State of Emergency clause on Thursday, March 26 to combat and curtail the outbreak of coronavirus, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said on Tuesday.

Prayut said he asked the cabinet on Tuesday to give him the powers to enact the SOE which will give him the power to impose a nationwide curfew, restrict travel and stop the assembly of people.

The publication of misinformation will also be punishable by law and the government will have the power to shut down media outlets.

The premier said that more details would be made available on Thursday about various restrictions that would be put in place.

Prayut also asked for the public’s cooperation and patience at this time to stop the spread of the virus.

“I do not want anyone to suffer from this decree but it is needed to safeguard the people and our country,” the prime minister said.

It is unclear how long the SOE will last.

Income supplements

The prime minister in his address on Thursday acknowledged that many Thais who are in lockdown will need their incomes supplemented as the crisis wears on.

Prayut said he was discussing with the cabinet and relevant ministries way to supplement the people’s income whether it is through cash handouts or other methods.

Tallies rise as virus spreads

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health confirmed on Tuesday that 3 more people have died from the coronavirus outbreak bringing the total number of fatalities to 4.

The number of confirmed cases in the country has also risen by 106 cases to 827 cases total. It is the third day in a row that cases have risen by more than 100.

Two of the new fatalities were septuagenarians while one was suffering from diabetes.

Since the outbreak began, 57 patients have recovered while 766 still remain in hospital.

Ministry spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanayothin asked the public to shelter in place and avoid all unnecessary travel to help the country flatten its coronavirus curve.

The virus has now spread across 46 provinces (breakdown in numbers here) with more expected as internal migrants return home following the shutdown of large metropolitan areas.

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