Thailand has imposed restrictive measures on Bangkok and its suburbs to combat a new wave of COVID-19, including closing restaurants and construction sites.
The country has managed to keep infections very low throughout 2020 thanks to strict travel restrictions and the rapid isolation of positive cases.
But since April, the kingdom has witnessed an unprecedented epidemic after the emergence of a source of pollution linked to high-end clubs in the capital.
Since then, the Thai authorities have been overshadowed by a sharp rise in infections affecting the prison system, one of the most overcrowded in the world, as well as migrant workers working in the construction and service sectors.
The government announced, on Saturday, that the new restrictions will come into effect on Monday for a period of one month.
In Bangkok and its suburbs, construction sites will be closed and workers will not be allowed to leave, restaurants will only be able to eat out and gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 20 people.
Checkpoints will be set up in the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and Songkhla.
Only people with a letter explaining the reasons for their trip will be able to leave or enter.
These new restrictions come a few days before launch, at 1he is July, for a pilot project that would allow COVID-19-vaccinated tourists to stay, without quarantine, on the popular island of Phuket, a measure aimed at reviving the vital tourism sector severely affected by the pandemic.
The Thai government has been criticized for its handling of the crisis, particularly the slowly unfolding vaccination campaign.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has announced that he plans to fully reopen the country by October, with 50 million Thais receiving at least one dose.
So far, just over 10% of the population has received the first dose of the vaccine.
Thailand has recorded more than 244,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the epidemic that has killed more than 1,900.
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