With Thailand struggling to convey its worst coronavirus outbreak underneath management, Bangkok made it obligatory for residents to put on masks in public starting on Monday. One of the primary to interrupt the brand new rule?

The nation’s prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, who was seen maskless at a authorities assembly in a picture printed on his official Facebook web page.

As a first-time offender, he agreed to pay a advantageous of about $190. Bangkok’s governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, got here round with high police officers on Monday to assist accumulate it.

“I informed the prime minister this was a violation of the rules,” the governor wrote on Facebook. The {photograph} was faraway from the prime minister’s Facebook web page.

For Mr. Prayuth, the gaffe is the least of his pandemic issues. His authorities has struggled to curb transmissions and sluggish to acquire vaccines. As infections ticked upward earlier this month, he determined to let Thais proceed to journey extensively throughout a main vacation.

“Whatever will be will be,” he mentioned then. “The government will have to try to cope with that later.”

Now, his authorities is scrambling to obtain vaccines from a stretched international provide and speeding to arrange subject hospitals at sports activities stadiums and different places as many hospitals report being close to capability. Only 0.three p.c of the inhabitants has been absolutely vaccinated, based on a New York Times database.

On Tuesday, the federal government reported 15 deaths, its highest day by day whole because the pandemic started, and greater than 2,000 new instances for the fifth day in a row. That brings Thailand’s whole for the pandemic to almost 60,000 instances and 163 deaths, based on the federal government.

The numbers are low by international requirements; Thailand was among the many world’s leaders in containing the virus final 12 months. Nearly 90 p.c of its instances have come since Jan. 1.

Many provinces have imposed their very own restrictions, together with Bangkok, which has ordered the closure of greater than 30 varieties of companies, similar to health facilities, cinemas, bars and therapeutic massage parlors. Restaurants, malls and malls can proceed working however with restrictions.

Nearly two-thirds of Thailand’s provinces have imposed fines for failing to put on a masks in public. The most penalty is about $635.

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