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Thailand declares state of emergency to control coronavirus; tourism hit

A long queue snaked through the building, and many were told to come back another day.


Thailand | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Thailand's prime minister says his government has agreed to declare a state of emergency to implement stricter measures to control the outbreak.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said his Cabinet agreed Tuesday at its weekly meeting to put a one-month state of emergency into effect on Thursday.

It will give the government enforcement powers not normally available to it.

Powers available to the government under the law governing public administration in emergency situations include implementing curfews, censoring the media, dispersing gatherings and allowing deployment of military forces for enforcement.

Prayuth in a brief televised address urged the public to remain calm and warned people against the improper use of social media and hoarding, saying there would now be stricter enforcement against violators. hit In Thailand, the main immigration centre in the capital Bangkok was crowded on Monday with hundreds of tourists and other foreign nationals trying to extend visas before they expired.

"I've been here since 8.30 a.m.!" one man cried on being told officials could not process his application that afternoon.

A long queue snaked through the building, and many were told to come back another day.

The problems are by no means confined to Bangkok.

Rada Sereseanu and her husband, touring Southeast Asia in a camper van, had planned to drive into Myanmar but the German couple find themselves stuck in southern as the country shuts its land borders.

"We thought the situation would get better, but it seems to be getting a little bit crazy," Sereseanu said by telephone from near the seaside area of Hua Hin.

has seen sharp spikes in cases, bringing its total number of cases to 721 from 147 in the last week.

First Published: Tue, March 24 2020. 15:03 IST