Bangkok (VNA) Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has declared stricter measures for 28 "red zone" provinces, including the capital of Bangkok, amid COVID-19 spikes across the country.

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the CCSA and the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) agreed on the stricter controls following a rise in local infections. The restrictions will be effective from January 4 until February 1.

The heightened restrictions, which will be submitted to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for approval on January 4, are divided into two tiers, Taweesilp said.

The first tier limits the operating hours of businesses, closes at-risk ones, searches and arrests people who gather illegally, discourages inter-provincial travel, closes academic institutions, and encourages work from home across the red zones, he said.

Other measures in the first tier include travel restrictions for people who come from the red zones, urgent active case finding and disease investigation.

If the first tier is unsuccessful in controlling the virus, second-tier measures will be introduced, Taweesilp said.

In the second tier, the restriction on operating hours will be expanded to more businesses and some types of businesses will be closed. Gatherings of many people will be prohibited.

The CCSA spokesman insisted that dining in at restaurants is still allowed for now and there was no need to hoard goods at this stage.

If a dine-in ban was issued, the CCSA would ensure restaurants have time to prepare, he said.

Last week, Bangkok announced that schools will be closed for two weeks after the New Year holiday as part of tighter measures against the new wave of the novel coronavirus.

On January 1, Thailand confirmed 279 new coronavirus cases, with the majority of them linked to a cluster among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province south of Bangkok, and another cluster linked to illegal gambling dens that started in the eastern province of Rayong.

These new clusters have started to spread into Bangkok, prompting the city's administrator to tighten measures to curb the spread of the virus.

Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, the spokesman for the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, said the city begins to detect new cases linked to students and other service businesses so it decided to close more places.

All schools, daycare centres for the young and elderly, preschool and tutorial centres will be close from January 4 to 17, he said.

Thailand’s national COVID-19 tally has reached nearly 7,700 as of January 3./.
VNA