Hospitals have been overwhelmed by the surge in April, which has strained the economy and put doubt on tourism recovery plans. Supply problems are causing delays in vaccine rollout. Only 5% of the population is fully vaccinated, and 15% only partially.
"I want everyone to see that we need to take more severe measures quickly." On Friday, Prime Minister Prayuth Chau-ocha posted a Facebook post that warned of the possibility that we all might be affected and inconvenienced.
Particularly in Bangkok and the surrounding provinces, cases have been increasing. Additional measures were taken by the government overnight, including an interdiction of any gatherings or activities that could spread the virus. This includes anti-government rallies which have criticised Prayuth’s handling of the pandemic.
Violators could face up to 2 years imprisonment and/or a fine up to 40,000 baht ($1,220).
Prayuth stated that the new measures will limit mobility, shut down non-essential places, and make it impossible to work from home. He stated that the government's medical panel will carefully review the lockdown measures from other countries before it approves the new ones.
Prayuth stated that authorities are looking into allowing individuals to perform antigen testing at home in order to relieve pressure on hospitals.
Thai health officials announced Wednesday that they would seek to limit exports of AstraZeneca vaccine locally made because Thailand doesn't have enough. The target production of AstraZeneca jabs in a Thai factory fell short, likely delaying the government’s plan to purchase 61 million doses by next May.
Prayuth stated on Facebook that the government would speed up the security of vaccines from all countries and that he has never stopped the private sector from procuring alternative vaccines. This was in response to some criticisms of his handling of the crisis.
He previously announced that he would allow vaccinated travelers to enter the country without them having to be quarantined upon arrival, beginning in October. The government has opened Phuket's tourist island to fully vaccinated tourists since July 1. They also enforce strict health conditions, including 14-day stay on the island while they test for COVID-19. It previously vaccinated all Phuket residents.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in Thailand, there have been 391,989 confirmed cases as well as 3,240 deaths.