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Thailand imposes nationwide curfew to curb coronavirus

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BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will impose a nationwide night curfew from Friday to try to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister said on Thursday, adding that people had to adapt to survive.

The 10 p.m.-4 a.m. curfew, which will run indefinitely, is the latest measure by the government to curb gatherings and have people stay at home as much as possible.

Exceptions include those people transporting medical supplies and health workers travelling to and from work, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said.

“We prioritise health over freedom,” said Prayuth, a retired army general who seized power in a 2014 coup and was re-installed as a civilian prime minister after a disputed general election over a year ago.

“We might not feel as comfortable as before, but we all need to adapt for survival and have social responsibility, so that we can make it through this crisis.”

Prayuth also said he would ensure that hospitals get the supplies they need, describing medical staff as the “vanguard” against an “invisible enemy”.

In a televised address, Prayuth also asked all Thai citizens abroad to “delay” returning to Thailand until after April 15 in a bid to stop imported cases.

Since March 1, Thailand has seen rising numbers of cases who became infected abroad before returning to Thailand and has put nearly 2,000 people who came into contact with them into quarantine.

Last week, Thailand closed all border crossings for everyone except for Thai nationals, diplomats and their families, and foreigners with permits allowing them to work in Thailand.

Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat, Panarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Nick Macfie

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