April 1, 2020 / 4:54 AM / 2 months ago

Bangkok to close parks as Thailand's coronavirus cases rise

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The Thai capital of Bangkok will close all parks as it tightens measures to rein in a coronavirus pandemic by limiting people’s movements, a city hall spokesman said on Wednesday.

Joggers at Lumphini park wear a face shield, after authorities announced all parks will be closed in Bangkok as a prevention due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Thailand, April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Jorge Silva

Nearly half of the 1,771 infections in the southeast Asian nation are in Bangkok, government data shows. Thailand announced 120 new cases on Wednesday, along with two deaths that took its toll to 12.

Apart from closing public and private parks, Bangkok’s new restrictions, which take effect from midnight, include curbs on convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants and street food stalls, which will operate from 5 a.m. to midnight only.

“We understand that the measures will inconvenience you, but please understand that we need to limit social gatherings and have people stay home as much as possible,” said Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, spokesman of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.

The measures will continue for the duration of an emergency decree issued last week that runs until April 30.

Since late March, Bangkok has ordered the closure of shopping malls, schools, and entertainment venues, and limited restaurant operations to takeaway and delivery.

Last week, the closures were widened to facilities such as libraries, museums, playgrounds, sporting grounds, meeting halls, childcare centers and beauty clinics.

Governors of other Thai provinces have also imposed curbs on people’s movement, with Bangkok’s neighboring province of Nonthaburi imposing a curfew from midnight to dawn.

The resort island of Phuket, which has closed since Monday all points of entry by land and sea, will also close its airport from April 10 to April 30.

Interactive graphic tracking global spread of coronavirus: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Clarence Fernandez

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