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Thai schools open with strict hygiene

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Students, socially distanced, attend a flag-raising ceremony at a secondary school in Bangkok. AFP

Thai schools open with strict hygiene

Mask-wearing pupils catching up with friends at one Bangkok high school were quickly told to spread out as they headed back to lessons on Wednesday after months of distance learning due to the novel coronavirus restrictions.

The teenagers, resuming classes along with all other public school students in the country, chatted animatedly before being called to sit in widely spaced rows for the opening session.

Ahead of Wednesday’s nationwide resumption of classes, authorities recommended that class sizes be restricted to 20-25 students while doorknobs, desks and other areas at risk of spreading infection be sanitised frequently throughout the day.

The country’s nightlife will also come back to life on Wednesday, with bars, clubs and massage parlours, which are sometimes fronts for brothels, expected to reopen in the evening.

Despite the push for normality in daily life, the Cabinet on Tuesday extended its state of emergency for another month.

Authorities insist the emergency laws – which critics say could be used to target political dissent and censor the press – are necessary as they prepare to receive certain travellers such as businesspeople and medical tourists.

Thailand has recorded more than 3,100 coronavirus cases and 58 deaths – a low toll considering it became the first country outside China to detect an infection in mid-January.

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