Thailand begins stricter COVID-19 shutdown

·2-min read

Thailand's government has slapped restrictions on travel from India over concerns of imported coronavirus cases and closed more venues in Bangkok, even as it comes under fire for not doing enough to contain a spike in infections.

The government on Monday ordered parks, gyms, cinemas and day-care centres in its capital, the epicentre of the latest wave of infections, to shut from April 26 until May 9.

It has also introduced a fine of up to 20,000 baht ($A815) for not wearing masks in public, with even the prime minister falling foul of mask-wearing rules.

But unlike last year, malls and restaurants have been allowed to operate with earlier closing times, fuelling concerns this could quickly lead to more infection clusters and prompting calls for the resignation of the country's health minister.

Comparing the government's COVID-19 response to playing a game of Whac-A-Mole, Thira Woratanarat, a professor at Chulalongkorn University's Preventive and Social Medicine, warned "shutting places and activities one at a time would not be enough".

People should prepare for more clusters especially in work places, food courts and public transportation, he cautioned in a post on Facebook.

Thailand has managed to keep its caseload lower than many countries, but the latest outbreak has resulted in 57,508 infections and 148 deaths in just under 30 days.

It reported 2048 new cases on Monday, of which 901 were in Bangkok.

The city of Bangkok fined Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha 6000 baht ($A244) after he posted a photo of him not wearing a mask during a meeting.

The photo was later removed.

Thailand plans to procure more vaccines from several producers with a vaccination goal of 300,000 doses per day to inoculate at least 50 million people by end-2021, the prime minister posted.

Thailand has a population of about 66.1 million.