Thai government officials Friday announced a seven-hour overnight curfew in the capital, Bangkok, and at least six surrounding provinces as COVID-19 surges in the nation.
The announcement came following a lengthy meeting of Thailand’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). In a televised statement, CCSA spokesman Natapanu Nopakun said the curfew will run from 9pm to 4am beginning Monday, July 12.
The curfew includes the closing of public transportation networks and all businesses except supermarkets, restaurants, banks, pharmacies and electronics stores which are considered essential.
People have been asked to work from home and leave their houses for only essential purposes, and public gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. Non-essential travel has been banned as well.
Thailand reported 9,276 new daily cases and 72 deaths Friday, as it battles a severe third wave of infections.
Those new restrictions come as Vietnam Friday enacted a two-week lockdown on movement in Ho Chi Minh City to battle a its own growing COVID-19 outbreak. Hanoi also announced plans to vaccinate 50 percent of its adult population by the end of the year and set a goal of vaccinating 70 percent of its population by next March.
The country of 100 million had registered fewer than 3,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as of April. As of Friday, Vietnam had 24,810 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 104 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Research Center.
France battles delta variant
Meanwhile, France’s health minister said Friday he expects the highly contagious delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 to become the dominant strain in the nation by Saturday.
In an interview with French radio, Health Minister Health Minister Olivier Veran said the delta variant, originally identified in India, already accounted for nearly 50 percent of the new COVID-19 cases in France as of Thursday. The variant has been found to be as much as 60 percent for contagious that the original virus.
Veran also said he expects a fourth wave of COVID-19 infections to hit France, as soon as later this month. He said senior government ministers will meet Monday to discuss the threat and will consider, among other actions, the possibility of making vaccinations compulsory for health workers and care takers.
White House sends vaccines to Moldova
Also on Friday, White House officials told VOA the United States is sending 500,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine to Moldova. The officials said the shipment will be the first of the U.S. commitment to send 60 million doses of vaccine to Europe.