CCSA to relax lockdown measures starting 1 June

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) announced the relaxation of some Covid-19 control measures as the number of new cases per day continues to drop.

According to BBC Thai, Gen Somsak Rungsita, Secretary-General of the National Security Council (NSC), said that businesses that reopen must strictly follow disease control procedures, including temperature screening and symptom monitoring for both employees and visitors, registration on the Thaichana platform, and developing ways of controlling the disease in the long run.

Malls will now be allowed to stay open until 21.00, while the nationwide curfew hours will be changed to 23.00 – 3.00.

Massage parlours and hairdressers are allowed to open, but each visitor must spend not more than 2 hours at each establishment. Gyms and other sport clubs must set a time limit for visitors, while theatres are not allowed to have more than 200 people in an audience at one time.

Meanwhile, schools are to remain closed until 1 July, but venues may be used for entrance examinations and short courses. The Ministry of Education may also allow some low-risk schools, such as vocational schools or smaller schools, to re-open first.

These changes take effect on Monday (1 June).

Gen Somsak also said that the ban on international travel will remain in place, and that Thai nationals returning from overseas must still follow quarantine procedures. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has already extended its international flight ban to 30 June. The Emergency Decree, which has also been extended, also states that only foreign nationals with work permits or smart visas, members of diplomatic missions, or those granted permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs may enter the country.

According to the Bangkok Post, the government is planning to lift the lockdown completely on 1 July, allowing interprovincial and international travel as well as lifting the Emergency Decree and the curfew.

The Thai government’s decision to extend its state of emergency has been criticized by several human rights organisations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as unnecessary, unjustified, and a move which is being used as an excuse to limit freedom of expression and silence anti-government voices. Several activists have been arrested in May, with the police claiming that they have violated the Emergency Decree.  

As of 29 May, Thailand has a total of 3076 cases of Covid-19, only 74 of which still remain in hospital, and a death toll of 57. The CCSA reported 11 new cases on 29 May, all of which were Thai nationals returning from Kuwait and in state quarantine.