April 27, 2020 / 6:00 AM / a month ago

Thailand to extend coronavirus emergency measures, sees improvement

People wearing protective masks cross the tracks in a slum, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bangkok, Thailand April 27, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will extend a state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of May, but will consider easing some restrictions on businesses and public activities as the number of new cases has eased, a government spokesman said.

Thailand on Monday reported nine new coronavirus cases and no new local virus transmission in Bangkok for the first time since the outbreak began in January. It has reported 2,931 cases in total and 52 fatalities, while 2,609 patients have recovered.

Concerns over a possible second wave of outbreaks prompted the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to recommend extending emergency powers and a nationwide night time curfew for another month.

It also recommended continuing restrictions on travel between provinces and large scale public activities, extending a work from home policy and delaying four public holidays in May.

“The state of emergency has enabled swift and effective actions that led to the domestic reduction of new daily infection,” said CCSA spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin.

The new measures are subject to Cabinet approval on Tuesday.

Cabinet would also discuss easing some restrictions for businesses and public activities due to the improvement in the number of cases, Taweesin said. He did not give details on the types of changes or a date when restrictions will be lifted.

“The prime minister wants to pick activities that can be restarted at the same time throughout the country, but we have to be confident and ready for it,” Taweesin said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand also extended a ban on all incoming international passenger flights, introduced on April 4, until May 31.

Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Richard Pullin

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