(A Thai man uses a spray disinfectant as one of the sanitization efforts at Wat Suthat amid fears about the coronavirus pandemic)[Getty/Kyodo]

BANGKOK - Thailand will declare a state of emergency on Thursday to cope with the fast spreading novel coronavirus in the country, the government said Tuesday.

Measures taken under the forthcoming emergency decree include stepped-up health screenings and the setting up of checkpoints to prevent mass travels to other regions, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said.

Thailand has seen a surge in the number of new infection cases in recent days, with the total cases reaching 827 as of Tuesday. Four people have died from the respiratory disease known as COVID-19.

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Thai people have been urged to stay at their current locations and not travel to their home provinces to stem the spread of the virus. Shopping malls and entertainment facilities have been ordered shut until mid-April.

Prayut, speaking at a press conference after Tuesday's weekly Cabinet meeting, urged the people to follow the government's previous orders and recommendations first given that its emphasis is on curbing the spread of the virus.

The prime minister said that if the government finds cooperation from the public insufficient, it will implement stronger measures. The decree will initially be imposed for a month, he added.