May 22, 2020 / 5:09 AM / 8 days ago

Thailand to extend coronavirus emergency to end of June

Police officers stand near the Democracy monument as Thai government maintained its state of emergency amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) until the end of June in Bangkok, Thailand, May 22, 2020. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand will maintain its state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of June, its COVID-19 task force said on Friday, in an effort to keep infections under control as the government prepares to ease restrictions further.

Shopping malls and department stores reopened at the weekend after almost two months of closure as the number of cases slowed, but bars, nightclubs, cinemas, playgrounds and some sports remain off-limits.

The government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) proposed the extension in response to developments with the global pandemic and to allow time to prepare for further easing at the start of next month.

“The reason for extending the emergency decree for one more month is health security, enabling a unified and continued operation by officials in a pandemic situation that has not been resolved,” said CCSA spokesman Taweesin Wisanuyothin.

The extension is subject to Cabinet approval on Tuesday.

The government has extended a ban on international passenger flights, which has been in place since April, until the end of June. Schools remain closed and are scheduled to reopen in July.

Thailand has been recording daily infections in single digits for most of the past month and on Friday reported no new coronavirus infections or deaths.

Its total confirmed cases are 3,037, of which 56 were fatalities, with 2,910 recoveries.

Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty

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