Thailand to declare state of emergency – virus arrives in Myanmar, Laos

Thailand will declare a country-wide state of emergency on March 26 for at least one month in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s prime minister said in a televised speech on March 24 after a respective Cabinet meeting.

Three more people died of the coronavirus in Thailand on that day, bringing the total death toll to four, with 827 confirmed cases of the virus so far.

The measure gives the government additional powers to implement curfews, censor the media, disperse gatherings and deploy the military for enforcement. Details about what exact measures will be imposed are to be released on the day when the state of emergency comes into force.

Prayuth assured that he was not instituting a lockdown, at least not yet. He said initial measures would focus on reducing transmission of the coronavirus in different areas as a partial shutdown in Bangkok has led thousands of people traveling to their home provinces which raised fears they would spread the virus in regions with poor infrastructure and health services.

Thus, Prayuth advised people to stay where they are and not to travel to rural areas, where many workers in the cities have their permanent homes and families. He said screening and quarantine measures will be applied to those who do travel and announced that the government is preparing isolation centers, field hospitals and additional medical supplies.

However, the prime minister was faced with criticism for leaving a two-day time window before implementing the measures, sparking fears about another mass exodus from Bangkok before the travel restrictions come into force.

Meanwhile, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said the government was not considering imposing a curfew and there was also no discussion of confining uninfected people to their homes.

Myanmar, Laos report two confirmed cases each

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the last two Southeast Asian countries that claimed to be virus-free so far.

Myanmar and Laos each confirmed their first two coronavirus cases. A 36-year-old Myanmar man traveling back from the US and a 26-year-old Myanmar man returning from the UK had both tested positive. However, there is likely more to come since the country’s health authorities have only tested 214 people as of March 23. Medical experts and rights groups have urged Myanmar to stand up and face the pending crisis.

Laos reported a 28-year-old male hotel worker and a 36-year-old female tour guide, both in the capital Vientiane, as infected. The two patients, both Lao nationals, have traveled abroad and worked closely with foreigners.

Lao health ministry officials said the two cases were likely to be imported. The infected female tourist guide went to Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in northern Laos and to Cambodia before showing flu-like symptoms. The other infected male hotel staff is suspected to have been infected in Thailand while receiving a training course there.

According to the officials, medical institutions in Laos have so far tested 131 suspected coronavirus cases.

Thailand will declare a country-wide state of emergency on March 26 for at least one month in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country's prime minister said in a televised speech on March 24 after a respective Cabinet meeting. Three more people died of the coronavirus in Thailand on that day, bringing the total death toll to four, with 827 confirmed cases of the virus so far. The measure gives the government additional powers to implement curfews, censor the media, disperse gatherings and deploy the military for enforcement. Details about what exact measures will be imposed...

Thailand will declare a country-wide state of emergency on March 26 for at least one month in an effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the country’s prime minister said in a televised speech on March 24 after a respective Cabinet meeting.

Three more people died of the coronavirus in Thailand on that day, bringing the total death toll to four, with 827 confirmed cases of the virus so far.

The measure gives the government additional powers to implement curfews, censor the media, disperse gatherings and deploy the military for enforcement. Details about what exact measures will be imposed are to be released on the day when the state of emergency comes into force.

Prayuth assured that he was not instituting a lockdown, at least not yet. He said initial measures would focus on reducing transmission of the coronavirus in different areas as a partial shutdown in Bangkok has led thousands of people traveling to their home provinces which raised fears they would spread the virus in regions with poor infrastructure and health services.

Thus, Prayuth advised people to stay where they are and not to travel to rural areas, where many workers in the cities have their permanent homes and families. He said screening and quarantine measures will be applied to those who do travel and announced that the government is preparing isolation centers, field hospitals and additional medical supplies.

However, the prime minister was faced with criticism for leaving a two-day time window before implementing the measures, sparking fears about another mass exodus from Bangkok before the travel restrictions come into force.

Meanwhile, officials in the Prime Minister’s Office said the government was not considering imposing a curfew and there was also no discussion of confining uninfected people to their homes.

Myanmar, Laos report two confirmed cases each

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic arrived in the last two Southeast Asian countries that claimed to be virus-free so far.

Myanmar and Laos each confirmed their first two coronavirus cases. A 36-year-old Myanmar man traveling back from the US and a 26-year-old Myanmar man returning from the UK had both tested positive. However, there is likely more to come since the country’s health authorities have only tested 214 people as of March 23. Medical experts and rights groups have urged Myanmar to stand up and face the pending crisis.

Laos reported a 28-year-old male hotel worker and a 36-year-old female tour guide, both in the capital Vientiane, as infected. The two patients, both Lao nationals, have traveled abroad and worked closely with foreigners.

Lao health ministry officials said the two cases were likely to be imported. The infected female tourist guide went to Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang in northern Laos and to Cambodia before showing flu-like symptoms. The other infected male hotel staff is suspected to have been infected in Thailand while receiving a training course there.

According to the officials, medical institutions in Laos have so far tested 131 suspected coronavirus cases.

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