Thailand imposes fines of up to $640 for not wearing masks

Thailand imposes fines of up to $640 for not wearing masks


BANGKOK — Authorities in Thailand are imposing fines of up to 20,000 baht ($640) for people who fail to wear face masks in public in 48 provinces, as the government struggles to cope with a new wave of coronavirus cases that is straining the medical system.

The capital, Bangkok, which has the largest number of cases, is also closing more than 30 types of businesses and services, including cinemas, parks, zoos, bars, pools and massage parlors. Gatherings of more than 20 people are banned. Shopping malls and department stores may continue operating, but with abbreviated hours.

Despite rapidly rising numbers, there currently are no nationwide lockdowns, curfews or travel bans, though individual provinces have been allowed to issue their own restrictions, including mandatory quarantines for visitors from other provinces. Forty-eight of the 76 provinces have imposed fines for not wearing face masks.

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Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was among the first to be fined for the offense on Monday, when

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