Accordingly, markets, food shops outside malls, retail businesses, sport and recreation areas including parks, barber shops, and pet salons and nurseries are allowed to reopen their doors.

They, however, are required to maintain strict standards of hygiene, including frequent hand washing, wearing of masks, and social distancing.

The state of emergency and the ban on sales of alcohol will stay until the end of May.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said that if new COVID-19 cases start to rise, the easing will be revoked.

The first stage of the easing of COVID-19 curbs will take effect nationwide on May 3 and it will take 14 days to assess whether or not the next stages, including the reopening of department stores, can proceed.

The government plans to take two months to gauge the ramifications of its planned four stages of relaxation of disease-control restrictions before it makes a decision on whether a full reopening can take place.

An assessment of each stage will be made after 14 days. If the number of daily new infections remains low over the ensuing 14 days, further easing will take place, he added.

Thailand reported seven confirmed infections on April 30, making it the fourth straight day with one-digit new cases. By the end of the day, it recorded 2,954 infections, with 54 deaths.

From May 1, 32 domestic flights and 14 airports around Thailand are expected to start operating to serve a long holiday in early May./.

CPV/VNA