Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha was among the first to be fined in his country over a new government regulation slapping up to 20,000 baht ($640) for people who fail to wear face masks in public in 48 provinces.
A photo on Prayuth’s official Facebook page showed him maskless as he chaired a meeting about Covid-19 vaccinations, drawing criticism online.
The city’s governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, said he, the city police chief and another officer went to collect a 6,000 baht ($190) fine from Prayuth, since it was his first offense under rule. The incriminating photo was deleted from the prime minister’s account.
Health authorities on Monday announced 2,048 new infections and eight new deaths, the fourth day in a row with more than 2,000 new cases. That brought the country’s totals to 57,508 cases and 148 fatalities.
The high number of cases has created shortages of hospital beds and intensive care units. It has also underlined the government’s failure to obtain adequate supplies of vaccines. Less than 2 percent of Thailand’s 69 million people have been vaccinated.
Thailand has struggled to cope with the new outbreak, which originated in March in nightspots in and around Bangkok, as Prayuth’s government has been reluctant to impose harsh restrictions that would further hurt businesses already battered by the pandemic.
Apisamai Srirangsan, a spokeswoman for the national Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the government on Thursday will discuss whether to impose additional measures in some areas, including the country’s two major cities, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.