Government Considers Extending Current Covid-19 Restrictions

Authorities will decide tomorrow whether to expand lockdown measures as the Covid-19 case toll continues rising.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, is set to meet Monday to discuss the pandemic situation and determine if current restrictions should be tightened.

Previously, the government extended lockdown and curfew measures in 29 dark red provinces, including Bangkok, for two weeks.

The current measures have been in effect from August 3 and were expected to end on Wednesday.

However, authorities will evaluate the Covid-19 situation to define if existing controls need to be further expanded.

On Friday, CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the CCSA and the Disease Control’s Department predicted that infections and coronavirus-related deaths would increase in September.

Experts forecasted that Thailand could register 60,000 to 70,000 new cases a day next month if restrictions are lifted.

Dr. Taweesilp said that, without lockdown measures, more than 800 deaths are expected daily.

But restrictions, which now have a 20% efficiency rate, can reduce cases and fatalities to 45,000 and 500, respectively.

Furthermore, if the lockdown reaches a 35% efficiency rate over two months and the government speeds up vaccinations for at-risk groups, daily infections could drop to 20,000 with fewer than 200 deaths per day, Dr. Taweesilp added.

He also explained that 185 pregnant women were diagnosed with Covid-19 between April 1 and August 11. Eight died because of the infection.

Moreover, between May 1 and August 12, 353 public transportation drivers caught the virus, and 104 died, Dr. Taweelsip stated.

Most people who tested positive for the virus had not received vaccinations, he said.

In response, Dr. Taweelsip urged those who have not been vaccinated to get their Covid-19 shots in order to avoid the worst effects of the disease, including death.

“If we work together more closely, we can flatten the curve of infections,” he went on.

The CCSA spokesman also said he had received a request from the Thai Shopping Center Association to ease restrictions to allow four types of businesses to reopen in shopping malls and department stores’ premises.

Such businesses include general stores, banks and financial institutions, electronic device stores, and appliance stores.

Dr. Taweelsip said the CCSA acknowledged the difficult situation people and companies have faced due to the lockdown measures.

But the matter would be decided by the CCSA on Monday, he added.