Police have suspended the use of checkpoints to test motorists for drink-driving, citing the need to concentrate on stopping the spread of COVID-19.
The order was signed by deputy police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, on behalf of the national police chief, and came into force on Sunday.
It represents a U-turn after police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk issued a directive last month that drink-driving checkpoints should resume operations nationwide from 1st April, albeit with strict new guidelines.
The checkpoints were suspended last October, soon after Pol Gen Jangyodsuk took office. He promised their operations would be made more transparent.
Pol Gen Jangyodsuk said the new order applied to all police units and was being issued under the state of emergency to stem the latest surge in infections.
This followed 18 provinces being designated red zone “maximum control areas” and 59 provinces as “control areas”.
Police units should instead focus on monitoring mass gatherings and activities deemed to be at high risk of spreading the virus, he said.
The order said checkpoints for alcohol tests and strict enforcement of minor traffic infringements were being suspended, especially in areas of maximum COVID-19 control.
Checkpoints for crime prevention, drug interception and border security could continue to operate but they must not cause the public too much inconvenience, it added.
Police must also stop all social activities being held purely for entertainment purposes. Traditional ceremonies can go ahead but should have adequate disease control measures in place.
Officers must themselves follow disease control measures strictly while on duty, including wearing face masks at all times.
They must have their temperature taken before going out to work, practise social distancing and use the ThaiChana and MorChana apps.
They should also refrain from misconduct, such as heavy drinking and frequenting venues deemed at high risk of spreading disease, the order said.