World

Thai government reverses Bangkok's easing of COVID-19 measures

Thailand's government has reversed a decision by authorities in its capital Bangkok to ease some COVID-19 restrictions, as the city battles its worst outbreak of the virus so far.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) late on Monday (May 31) said the national coronavirus taskforce had overruled the city's move to allow massage shops, clinics and parks to reopen from Tuesday. It did not provide a reason.

Bangkok and the provinces around it are the epicentre of the two-month-old outbreak, during which the vast majority of Thailand's coronavirus cases and deaths have been recorded.

Massage shops, clinics and public parks must remain closed along with schools, cinemas, gyms and zoos for at least 14 more days.

The decision comes as the government faces growing public criticism for a slow and chaotic vaccine rollout, which is due to start on Jun 7.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration had earlier said it would relax restrictions in venues where there had been no clusters of infections "to ease the suffering of the business sector and allow people to go on with their jobs under strict measures".

Thailand reported 5,485 new cases on Monday, with 1,356 of those in Bangkok. It also reported 19 new deaths on Monday, bringing its total to 1,031 since the outbreak started.