They delayed or perhaps denied the issue for as long as they could. Perhaps this was in the interest of keeping as much of their tourist season somewhat profitable for as long as they could, perhaps it was because they could no longer deny that the situation was much worse than they were allowing the media to portray, but as of yesterday, Thailand is completely cut off from foreigners.
There are of course exceptions to the rules such as foreign diplomats and people with work permits but that is about it. I was speaking to a friend of mine who is married and has 3 children who all live in Thailand but he works in Indonesia. The next week when he leaves to return to work in Jakarta, it is unknown when he will be allowed back in. He has no work permit in Thailand and apparently the fact that he has a family in Thailand will be irrelevant - which i find a bit strange.
This comes after weeks of Thailand authorities pointing fingers at who to blame and of course doing a half-assed effort to lock down events that once again, were closed based on how connected a particular business owner was with local police. All of that has come to an end as of yesterday.
Thailand has a massive issue with corruption and the allowance for certain places including boxing stadiums to remain open depending on who the owner is was definitely a bad idea... But I do want to be fair and say that the country did do a pretty decent job in slowly addressing the problem as it became more and more of an issue.
As global medical preparedness is concerned, Thailand actually ranks in the top 10 in the world if you can believe the data that is used to create this chart. Personally, I can attest the the fantastic mix of private and public health services but I think it should come as no surprise that the private hospitals will likely only help if mandated to do so since they are, for-profit businesses.
On a personal note: I was weighing my options as far as whether or not I was going to stay in this country after mid April and it appears as though this might have been answered for me as I will most likely not have the option of leaving at this point. At the moment, panic has not set in just yet but I am actually a bit enthusiastic about getting back to my "home" in Ayutthaya, simply because there are fewer people here than the other 2 places I have been residing in the past year.
Here's to hoping the Thais can do a fantastic job containing the pandemic!