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Emergency Decree Extended but ban on public gatherings to be lifted

23 Jul 2020

On Wednesday, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved prolonging the emergency decree for another month until 31 Aug. However, the current ban on public gatherings will be lifted once the extension takes effect.

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the extension was necessary because although the coronavirus was still spreading throughout the world, Thailand allowed foreign visitors to lock down businesses and activities that posed a high risk of transmission of disease.

"There must be strict and continuous supervision to prevent a local spread. In emergency situations, the executive decree on public administration allows for the prevention and solution of the problem," he stated.

According to Dr Taweesilp, the emergency decree allows the government to restrict arrivals, follow up suspected Covid-19 cases and impose disease control measures on all business and activities.

He added: "The decree allows civil servants, police and soldiers to be mobilized for effective operations. It will be an important tool to prepare for a transition to the new normal until further laws can be put in place."

Secretary-General Gen Somsak Roongsita of the National Security Council ( NSC), who proposed the extension, said global Covid-19 cases rose by more than 200,000 a day and were occurring in countries close to Thailand.

The disease control law would be amended to provide an effective response to Covid-19, he said, but in the meantime, the emergency decree should be exercised as it was the best tool for the government to impose a quarantine on infected people.

"We've lifted the curfew before," Gen Somsak said. "What we're going to do next is not enforce Section 9 of the decree that bans gatherings, which will prove our intent to control the disease."

The proposed extension and lifting of the ban would go to cabinet next week for endorsement, he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam backed the extension, saying that the emergency decree was still needed to integrate the work of various state authorities, while the doctors exercised the Communicable Disease Control Act.

Under the act, they lacked the power to issue instructions to other agencies.

Meanwhile, the CCSA also approved the entry of foreign business representatives, specialists, diplomats, migrant workers, exhibitors, film crews, medical tourists and members of the Thailand Elite Card. 

Source Bangkok Post