The government will declare an emergency and introduce new measures to combat the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) on Thursday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Tuesday.
In his live televised announcement at Government House, Gen Prayut said new requirements to control the disease would be enforced and a committee would be formed to work them out on a daily basis.
"Requirements will be announced the day after tomorrow. They will be issued on an ongoing basis to reduce the epidemic. Some will be requests for cooperation and others will be compulsory," the prime minister said.
"Do not return to your home provinces, or you will face penalties. There will be checkpoints along the way. Please do home quarantine (at your current location). Quarantine facilities will be opened locally and also by the government." Gen Prayut said. Various places would subsequently be closed, he added.
"Many people have been infected. There must be field hospitals and large-scale quarantine areas," the prime minister said.
"If the situation does not improve, there will be a total lockdown," Gen Prayut said.
During the state of emergency, Gen Prayut warned, people must be careful what they post on social media. Those who abuse social media would be arrested and prosecuted, he said.
Those who raise product prices unreasonably will also face penalties, he said.
The government is taking the new measures by invoking its right to exercise an executive decree on public administration in an emergency situation, Gen Prayut said.