Chiang Mai has issued a ban on mass gatherings at indoor venues in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the province.
The move came after the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, declared that Chiang Mai is among six dark red zones, or maximum and strict-control zones. The declaration took effect on Saturday.
The other five provinces are Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Chonburi.
On Saturday, 55 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Chiang Mai, bringing the total number of patients to 3,630. Of the figure, 1,981 have recovered from the disease, while 15 are in critical condition and five have died.
The provincial committee on communicable diseases, chaired by the governor, has decided to temporarily ban people from participating in mass gatherings at places like indoor stadiums and restaurants.
However, up to 10 people are still allowed to participate in funeral rites.
Outdoor stadiums and restaurants can open until 9pm, but people are restricted from dining in.
Those travelling from red and dark red zones are required to report to disease control officials for 14-day observation. Those who are not being observed cannot leave the observation area without a proper reason.
Travel in Chiang Mai will be controlled. The wearing of face masks is required for going out in public, or else violators will be fined up to 20,000 baht.
Meanwhile, Gen Chaichan Changmongkol, deputy defence minister, has ordered officials to expedite the setting up of a field hospital at the Chiang Mai Central Prison, according to a spokesman.
Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the Defence Ministry, said the Royal Thai Army is working with the Ministries of Public Health and Justice to support the Department of Corrections in setting up the field hospital. The prison is home to 6,500 inmates.
Measures will be carried out to isolate inmates before they enter or leave the prison, he said, noting infected inmates will be sent to the hospital.
The ICU rooms at Mae Taeng Hospital in Chiang Mai will also be used to accommodate COVID-19 patients.
Gen Changmongkol also instructed officials to support the setting up of field hospitals in Klong Toey district where a recent spike in cases was reported.