relaxation of mask requirement may start in provinces with improved covid status - Relaxation of mask requirement may start in provinces with improved COVID status

Some provinces in the “Green” and “Blue” zones, where the COVID-19 situation has improved satisfactorily, should be the pilot areas for the relaxation of the requirement to wear face masks in public, according to the Department of Disease Control.

Other factors should also be taken into account before the relaxation comes into effect, tentatively in the middle of June, said department specialist Dr. Taweesap Siraprapasiri.

Chief of the Epidemiology Division of the Department of Disease Control Dr. Chakkarat Pittayawonganon, meanwhile, suggested that easing of the face mask requirement should start in selected provinces or areas such as outdoor spaces.

Regarding COVID-19 situation, he noted that, in the past few days, new daily infections have averaged about 5,000 cases, which is fewer than predicted, while the number of lung inflammation cases and those who need ventilators remains stable.

He said half of the deaths among elderly people and those who have underlying diseases were over 70 years old and the majority of them were not fully inoculated.

The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) readjusted the zoning last week by re-designating 14 provinces from “Yellow” to “Green” zones, which include Chainat, Phichit, Ang Thong, Nan, Maha Sarakham, Yasothon, Nakhon Phanom, Lampang, Amnat Charoen, Buri Ram, Trat, Surat Thani, Surin and Udon Thani.

17 provinces are designated as “Blue” or tourism “sandbox” zones.  They include Bangkok, Krabi, Kanchanaburi, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nonthaburi, Narathiwat, Pathum Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phang-nga, Phetchaburi, Phuket, Rayong and Songkhla.

According to Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiattibhoom Vongrachit, the wearing of face masks in public might be eased for the general public, but they are strongly recommended for people over 60, those with underlying diseases and pregnant women.

People in venues which are not adequately ventilated or where many people are gathering are also advised to wear face masks.