Entertainment venues are closed in the most at-risk areas after dozens of Covid-19 cases were found spreading through the capital’s clubs, bars, and other hangouts.
A raft of new measures from health officials comes after at least 71 new cases across the metropolitan area–45 in Bangkok, 11 in Pathum Thani, eight in Nonthaburi, and seven in Nakhon Pathom–were linked to entertainment venues.
The restrictions targeting those places will be in place at least two weeks. They will be most severe in Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, and Nakhon Pathom, as they have been designated public health “red zones.”
Restaurants in the so-called red zones cannot be open after 9pm and on-site alcohol consumption is banned.
Bangkok has ordered nightlife venues including bars, nightclubs, and sex massage parlors in three districts–Watthana, Bang Khae, and Khlong Toei–to close, affecting 196 places until at least Apr 19.
They are allowed to operate as same as restaurants if confirmed cases aren’t found there.
City Hall encouraged people who have been to venues including Krystal Club nightclub in Soi Thonglor 25, Barbarbar in Soi Thonglor 10, Ekkamai Beer House, The Cassette Music Bar (Ekkamai branch), Baan Phahon Cafe and Bar in Bangkok’s Chatuchak district, and entertainment venues inside the EmQuartier and Emporium shopping malls to notify health authorities via hotlines 02-203-2393 or 02-203-2396 or get a Covid-19 test as soon as possible.
The list of venues has since been extended to IconSiam, Siam Paragon, several condos and luxury hotels, and more, according to Thai Enquirer
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday said red zone residents can still travel to other provinces during Songkran holidays without having to go through two weeks of quarantine. However, the northeastern province Buriram has contradicted Anutin by mandating a 14-day quarantine or rapid Covid-19 test for visitors who arrive from the five red zone provinces.
Apart from office workers, confirmed cases from this cluster also include Thonglor police officers, celebrities, and nightlife sector workers, so far. Thailand’s transport minister became the highest-ranking government official to contract Covid-19
, lab results confirmed this morning.
This morning, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha expressed concern about the new outbreak, which has largely affected the city’s well-heeled, while urging the public to act responsibly over the Songkran holiday, suggesting a lockdown was not forthcoming.
After a second outbreak faded in February, a surge of cases were detected in the capital over the weekend, leading many international schools to close through the Songkran holiday.
Health officials today announced new 334 Covid-19 infections, 216 of which were found in Bangkok.
No broad vaccination campaign is expected to begin for at least two more months.
Correction: An earlier version of this story said that health officials had ordered restaurants to close early and stop selling alcohol for consumption on the premises. In fact, that was a proposal they have yet to implement.