Bangkok schools, malls, places of entertainment to close for 22 days while COVID-19 cases continue to rise

Bangkok’s Governor announced today (21 March) that malls, educational institutions and places of entertainment are to close for 22 days, while the number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand has risen to 411.

Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang announced today that the following places will remain closed from 22 March - 12 April, in an effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Spas and massage parlours
  • Weight loss centres
  • Pet grooming services
  • Skating or rollerblading rinksBeauty parlours, including hairdressing servicesAmusement parks, bowling alleys, and game arcades
  • Internet cafes and game cafes
  • Golf courses and driving ranges
  • Swimming pools
  • Gyms
  • Boxing stadiums
  • Racecourses
  • Tattoo parlours
  • In-home childcare services
  • In-home elderly care services
  • Amulet trading markets
  • Cockfighting stadiums
  • Conference and exhibition centres
  • Theatres
  • All markets, with the exception of stalls selling groceries and other necessary food items
  • Department stores, with the exception of supermarkets and pharmacies
  • All education institutions, both public and private, including kindergartens, schools, universities, tutoring schools, religious schools, and vocational training centres.
  • Eat-in sections in restaurants and convenience stores

The Bangkok Art and Culture Centre (BACC) has also announced that it will close from 22 March - 13 April. 

The Bangkok Metropolitan Agency is also asking for cooperation from private firms to allow employees to work from home, and is asking that government agencies reduce the number of people working together in an office, such as by having employees work in shifts or on alternate days. The BMA is also asking that people do not travel to crowded places and not hoard food and other necessary items as supermarkets and convenience stores remain open, while restaurants are requested to switch entirely to takeaway services.

Meawhile, this morning (21 March), the Ministry of Public Health reported 89 new cases of COVID-19.

56 of the new cases are connected to previous cases, including 32 who were visitors at boxing stadiums, 2 who visited an Ekkamai nightlife establishment, 6 who recently returned from a religious gathering in Malaysia, and 11 who were in close contact with individuals previously tested positive for the virus most of whom are in the three Deep South provinces.

The remaining 38 cases announced today are new, including 12 who arrived from overseas, 6 who work closely with tourists, and 20 who are still under investigation, including Nichaphat Chatchaipholrat, an actor who announced on her social media profiles yesterday that she had tested positive for COVID-19.

50 new cases were also announced yesterday (20 March), most of whom visited a boxing stadium or nightlife establishment. Most of this group are young, working people, with the exception of a six-moth-old baby who also tested positive for the virus.

The cases announced yesterday and today brought the total number of cases in Thailand to 411.

Sophon Iamsirithawon, Director of the Bureau of Communicable Diseases at the Department of Disease Control (DDC), said that he expects the number of new cases will become smaller as the 14-day quarantine period for the boxing stadium cluster, and anyone who has been in the area should be safe if they have yet to show symptoms.

Nevertheless, anyone who is at risk of contracting the virus, along with anyone who has been in close contact with them, should still monitor themselves and reduce their social activities. Anyone who has been in close contact with individuals previously tested positive for the virus must observe a 14-day self-quarantine period starting from the last day they were in contact with the patient.

Ministry of Public Health Spokesperson Thaweesilp Wisanuyothin said that most of the new confirmed cases and young, working people who are not practicing social distancing and reducing their social activities, increase the risk of transmission.

Thaweesilp said that it is crucial that people reduce their social activities, keep a distance of at least 2 metres between each person, cancel unnecessary trips, not travel to crowded places, and work from home.