Effective from 4 January, 2021, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has declared 28 provinces as “highly controlled areas” following a surge in community transmission. These include the capital Bangkok and (region by region) Central: Ang Thong, Ayutthaya, Lop Buri, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkhram, Saraburi, Sing Buri and Suphan Buri; West: Kanchanaburi, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan Ratchaburi, and Tak; East: Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Prachin Buri, Rayong, Sa Kaeo and Trat, and South: Chumphon and Ranong.
The strengthened restrictions, which are imposed across the highly controlled areas, are:
-Closure of educational institutions at all levels. Exceptions for the utilisation of educational areas are made for e-learning activities, emergency shelters, or government activities.
-Ban on any gatherings that would pose a risk of disease transmission; such as, meetings, seminars, banquets, or charity food donations (except ones organised by government agencies).
-Closure of at-risk venues, including entertainment businesses of all types; such as, pubs, bars, or karaoke.
-Limit the operating hours of businesses:
-Food outlets and restaurants must apply social distancing rules or consider providing only delivery or takeaway services;
-Alcoholic beverages cannot be consumed at food outlets or restaurants, though takeaway is allowed;
-Shopping malls, department stores, community malls, convention centres or exhibition halls, convenience marts, supermarkets or similar services can open per usual operating hours but must apply strict disease control measures.
-The Bangkok governor and provincial governors to impose specific disease control measures according to the level of risk.
-The public are encouraged to cancel or postpone interprovincial travel at this time, or must undergo strict screening measures, which may cause inconvenience.
-The private-sector organisations are encouraged to allow work from home options.
In addition, the CCSA has classified 11 provinces as the “controlled areas”; namely (region by region), Central: Chai Nat, Nakhon Sawan, Phetchabun and Uthai Thani; North: Kamphaeng Phet and Sukhothai; Northeast: Buri Ram, Chaiyaphum, and Nakhon Ratchasima, and South: Phang Nga and Surat Thani.
The remaining 38 provinces are classified as areas under high surveillance.
All provinces in the controlled areas and areas under high surveillance are to impose specific COVID-19 control measures depending on the level of risk as part of the nationwide efforts.
The CCSA has advised the public to take DMHTT precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19: D – Distancing, M – Mask wearing, H – Handwashing, T – Temperature check, and T – Thai Chana contact tracing application.