Thailand's government announced plans Tuesday to declare a state of emergency, taking stricter measures to control the coronavirus outbreak that has infected hundreds of people in the Southeast Asian country.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced the decision in a brief televised address to the nation, saying the one-month state of emergency will go into effect Thursday.
The move will give the government enforcement powers not normally available to it, including implementing curfews, censoring the media, dispersing gatherings and allowing deployment of military forces for enforcement.
Prayuth urged the public to remain calm and warned people against the improper use of social media and hoarding, saying there would now be stricter enforcement against violators.
Thailand also Tuesday confirmed 106 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 827. Four of the new cases were medical staff. Three deaths were reported, bringing the country's total to four.
Prayuth's government had been criticized for failing to take strong action to fight the coronavirus even as the daily increases in cases jumped from single digits in February into the hundreds in the past week.