‘Health before freedom,’ says Prayut while announcing nationwide curfew

“In prevention and assisting the people, we will follow the principle of health before freedom,” said Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday (2 April) during a televised announcement of a nationwide curfew starting today (3 April), as an additional measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Starting from tonight, the public will be prohibited from leaving their residences between 22.00 – 4.00, with the exception of medical professionals, banking employees, delivery workers and cargo workers transporting essential goods, those traveling to and from an airport, personnel transporting patients to a quarantine location, night shift workers, and other individuals who receive permission from security officers.

Violators may be punished by up to 2 years in prison, or a fine of up to 40,000 baht, or both. 

Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan provinces had previously announced a curfew, while Phuket has closed all of its land and water entry and exit points. Bangkok’s governor Aswin Kwangmuang also announced on Wednesday (1 April) that all restaurants, street food stalls, and convenience stores are to close between midnight and 5.00.

Due to the curfew, the BTS Skytrain and MRT will run until 21.30.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said in a press conference today that this is not a national lockdown, as flights are still allowed to come and go from Thai airports, but foreigners are asked to postpone trips to Thailand.

As of 3 April, Thailand has a total of 1,978 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and a death toll of 19, while 581 patients have so far been discharged. Of the 103 new cases reported today (3 April), 48 are connected to previous confirmed cases, 44 are new cases, and 11 tested positive but the sources of the infection are still under investigation.