Thailand’s PM fined for breaking face mask rule

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Bangkok

Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was among the first to be fined for not wearing a face mask in public after the new rule was introduced in 48 provinces in the country on Monday.

A photo on the official Facebook page of the prime minister showed him maskless as he chaired a meeting about Covid-19 vaccinations, drawing criticism online.

The city’s governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, said he, the city police chief and another officer went to collect a 6,000 baht ($190) fine from Prayuth, since it was his first offence under the rule. The incriminating photo was deleted from the prime minister’s account.

Authorities in Thailand are imposing fines of up to 20,000 baht ($640) for people who fail to wear face masks in public 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 parlours. 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..— AP

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