Thailand Shutdown, cancels Major Holiday to Contain Virus

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The Thai Government on Tuesday introduced a string of measures in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus including the cancellation of a big public holiday and the closing of schools and shops.

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The spokeswoman for the Thai Government, Narumon Pinyosinwat, said the cabinet had decided to close all universities and schools, bars, night clubs, massage parlours movie theatres and fitness centres for 14 days.

Songkran, considered one of the most important holidays in the Thai calendar, from April 15 to April 18 which is typically celebrated by countrywide water fights, has also been cancelled to prevent millions of people from travelling out.

However, other events that could lead to a large gathering of people such as concerts, religious ceremonies, sporting events or exhibitions had also been suspended to minimize risks of the virus spreading.

Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said foreigners from countries that were considered at risk for the virus must have a medical certificate from within three days, health insurance and accommodation.

Charnvirakul added that they also expected to use a mobile phone application where they could be tracked by the government and self quarantine to monitor their condition for 14 days.

The health ministry reported 30 new cases of the virus on Tuesday, pushing the total number of cases to 177.

One person in Thailand who had tested positive of the virus had died while 41 had been discharged and 135 others still receiving treatment.

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