Thailand tightens rules ahead of holiday

Authorities in Thailand are tightening restrictions in response to a surge in coronavirus infections in the capital. This comes ahead of the country's traditional New Year holiday that starts next week.

The government says more than 300 new cases were reported nationwide on Wednesday.
The latest surge follows a series of cluster outbreaks linked to bars and night clubs in central Bangkok last month.
In response, local authorities on Monday ordered nearly 200 bars and entertainment facilities to close for two weeks.

The latest wave of infections comes as the country is preparing to celebrate the Thai New Year, known as the Songkran water festival.
Usually, crowds of local residents and tourists fill the streets and splash each other with water. But the government has banned such activities this year. Some concerts and other events have been cancelled.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on the public to refrain from unnecessary gatherings.
He said, "Please be careful when you go out to have fun and celebrate. It could have consequences that affect your families and society at large."

Prayut said the situation is still controllable but the government may take additional measures to prevent further outbreaks.