Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday imposed an indefinite curfew across the country to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
In a televised address, Prayut said the curfew, beginning Friday, will be in effect from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. of the following day, continuing every day until notice is given otherwise.
People are prohibited from leaving their residences, except those who have specific assignments, including medical teams, bank employees, airport staff and transportation workers.
The elevated measure was aimed at increasing the government's ability to control the virus through reducing the movement of people.
"You may feel that it is inconvenient, but we have to adjust ourselves to survive," Prayut said.
"Do not panic. You can come out to buy products during the daytime, but you have to strictly adhere to social distancing," he added.
During the curfew period, officials or employees with assignments require the documents from their agencies or companies while traveling. Violators will face up to two years imprisonment or up to 40,000 baht ($1,200) fine, or both.
Thailand declared a state of emergency on March 25, under which people were told to stay at home and avoid grouping, while commercial and entertainment facilities were closed. Shops selling items for daily life are allowed to stay open at specific times.
The prime minister also said Thais in foreign countries will be asked for cooperation not to enter Thailand until April 15 in order to protect the health of their compatriots.
Thailand has seen a surge in infection cases recently, with the total reaching 1,875 as of Thursday, including 15 people who died from the respiratory disease known as COVID-19.
Prayut assured public that sufficient medical facilities and medicine are in place to handle any increases in patients.