Thailand bars entry as state of emergency bites Mar 26, 2020 0 76 12345 AFPBangkokThailand barred entry into the kingdom late on Wednesday, enacting sweeping emergency powers in a bid to stem the local spread of the coronavirus outbreak. The measures, which stopped short of a full lockdown after days of vacillation by the government, are a hammer blow to the country’s vital tourism sector.Tens of thousands of travellers remain in the kingdom, facing uncertainty with airlines in chaos and restrictions on return to their countries. Bangkok, a city of 10 million, was hushed on Wednesday as shops and restaurants shuttered, and Buddhist monks seated a metre apart led an anti-virus prayer session televised nationwide.But social media showed thousands of foreigners jammed in chaotic lines at the capital’s immigration office to file for visa extensions. The Royal Gazette announced Wednesday night that authorities would “close all checkpoints and gates” for its land borders, while entry by air and ship will also be halted.Diplomats and returning Thais who have health certificates will still be allowed to return.All gatherings are also outlawed, and authorities have asked vulnerable people -- like the elderly -- stay home.But festive ceremonies, like weddings or family activities, may continue under rules issued by the government. Authorities also banned “reports of untrue news which could lead to fear”, under penalty of up to two years in prison. The state of emergency will continue until April 30. Thailand currently has 934 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including four deaths. The highly infectious virus has killed more 18,000 globally, spurring governments to introduce harsh measures forbidding citizens from leaving their homes.The kingdom was the first country to confirm a case outside China in January, but incremental measures were taken due to its flagging economy’s reliance on tourism. The tripling in cases over the past week has sent Thais in a panic, and many have taken to social media to criticise the government’s spotty containment measures. Pages 12 RELATED ARTICLES Hubei residents rush to leave virus epicentre as China lifts lockdown Mar 26, 2020 0 1941 India’s supply lines buckle as sweeping coronavirus lockdown starts Mar 26, 2020 0 401 Kabul temple attack leaves 25 dead, questions about attacker Mar 26, 2020 0 382 Tokyo residents urged to stay home as virus cases climb Tokyo Tokyo’s governor urged residents to stay home this weekend, warning of a possible “explosion” of the coronavirus with a record 41 new cases discovered on Wednesday. Yuriko Koike said the Japanese capital, so far .. Coronavirus cases in Pakistan reach 1,000 Islamabad The number of coronavirus cases in Pakistan has reached 1,000, the country’s health ministry said on Wednesday. Around 100 new cases were identified in the last 12 hours, a spokesperson for the health ministry .. Australia condemns China’s ‘indictment’ of academic Sydney Australia on Wednesday hit out at China’s apparent decision to indict a prominent author on spying charges, insisting he is at risk from COVID-19 and must be freed. “The government strongly objects to the formal .. Infected Philippine senator under fire for bringing wife to hospital DPA Manila A second Philippine senator on Wednesday confirmed he had tested positive for the coronavirus, but had brought his pregnant wife to hospital before he found out, triggering public outrage for possibly ..