Thailand extends state of emergency until end of next month
BANGKOK: Thailand will extend a state of emergency until the end of next month, a senior official said yesterday, maintaining the security measure put in place to contain its outbreak.
The announcement comes after nearly two months without local transmission and with many people in Thailand questioning the need for an emergency decree.
The decree, first introduced in late March, will be subject to Cabinet approval next week.
"It is still necessary to have the decree because we are opening up the country for more business meetings and tourism to stimulate the economy," said General Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council, adding that doctors had requested it be maintained.
The extension comes after political protests took place last week against the government, in defiance of a ban on gatherings.
Gen Somsak, however, said the emergency decree would be used only to contain virus outbreaks and not rallies.
Thailand has reported a total of 3,261 infections and 58 deaths.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian government is considering whether to go with a fine or jail time for those refusing to "mask up" once the use of face masks is made mandatory in public places, said Health director-general Noor Hisham Abdullah.
He said the growing number of infections was worrying, as the number of new cases hit double digits for the fourth straight dayyesterday.
There were 16 new cases yesterday, taking the total infections to 8,831.
The death toll remains at 123.
If the wearing of a face mask is made mandatory in public places, Dr Noor Hisham said those flouting the law could either be fined RM1,000 (S$325) or put in jail.
"We are still looking at the punishment - whether to fine or give jail time for those not wearing face masks - once its use is made compulsory," he said on Tuesday.
Indonesia reported 139 deaths yesterday, the country's highest daily increase and bringing the total number of fatalities to 4,459.
Infections rose by 1,882 to bring the total number to 91,751.
The Philippines reported six deaths and 1,594 additional infections. Total deaths have reached 1,843 while cases rose to 72,269. - REUTERS, THE STAR