Thailand will impose a curfew on Friday, as the kingdom’s confirmed coronavirus cases approach 2,000, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced in a televised address Thursday evening.
People will be ordered to stay home from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Exceptions will be made for certain reasons, such as seeking medical care and transporting consumer goods, newspapers, fuel and parcels.
The Thai government invoked a nationwide state of emergency a week ago. Strict measures, such as prohibitions on public assembly and hoarding of goods, were imposed to reduce contact between people and ensure supplies.
International observers had already questioned the necessity of these measures, let alone a curfew. But Prayuth stressed in his speech that the country is in a situation where it should put “health before freedom.”
Prayuth did not specify when the curfew would be lifted. The emergency decree is effective until April 30, but it could be extended depending on the epidemic situation. Curfew violations are punishable with up to two years in prison, a fine not exceeding 40,000 baht ($1,200), or both.
On Thursday, Thailand reported 104 new infections, bringing the total to 1,875 with 15 deaths.