Thailand to shut construction sites, seal off camps to contain virus

Labourers work at a construction site in downtown Bangkok
Labourers work at a construction site in downtown Bangkok, Thailand June 19, 2017. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

BANGKOK, June 25 (Reuters) - Thailand will close hundreds of construction sites and prevent workers from leaving their camps for a month, its prime minister said on Friday, in an effort to tackle the country's worst coronavirus outbreak so far.

The order followed the emergence of more clusters in construction camps in the capital, which has 575 such sites in total housing about 81,000 workers. Since May, 37 clusters have been found in Bangkok camps.

Sites in some provinces near Bangkok and four in the south near Malaysia will also be closed from next week.

"Let's implement this for a month. Things should improve then," Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told reporters.

The labour ministry will compensate for the costs of halting construction projects, he said.

Labour minister Suchart Chomklin said police will inspect camps for safety and make sure no one leaves, while authorities aim to test everyone inside. Many camp residents are migrant workers.

Details of measures targeting specific businesses and areas are expected to be announced before Monday, Prayuth said, adding that he wanted to avoid a blanket lockdown.

He urged people in outbreaks areas to limit their movements.

Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat; Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Martin Petty

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