BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand extended a nationwide ban on alcohol sales until April 30 as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases reached 2,792 on Monday, but the health ministry suggested some measures could soon be eased.
The extension of the alcohol ban will help control the spread of the coronavirus by discouraging social gatherings, said Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, spokesman for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
All other provinces have also extended the ban to the end of the month, an Interior Ministry official said.
A previous 10-day ban in Bangkok, coinciding with an annual national holiday, had been due to end on April 20. The scheduled end date had varied in other provinces.
The majority of the 27 new cases reported on Monday were in Bangkok, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
The health ministry said it would propose to the CCSA that some measures imposed to curb the coronavirus’ spread could be eased, starting with 32 provinces in Thailand where no cases have been reported in the last two weeks. This would include re-opening markets and malls next month, but not entertainment venues.
“A transition will be cautious. There will be a balance so that businesses can more forward, but things will be different. There will be no waiting in barber shops and social gatherings at restaurants,” Kumnuan Ungchusak, adviser to the Department of Disease Control said in a statement.
Thailand has confirmed 47 deaths from the coronavirus. No new deaths were reported on Monday, for the third consecutive day.
(Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng, Editing by Timothy Heritage)