Stopping second wave of infections, and not politics, is behind extending the emergency decree

26 May 2020

The government's need to extend the implementation of an emergency decree as lock-down measures are set to relax, forestalling the second wave of infections and not politics, said Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

He stated that extended use of the special law, which was first implemented at the end of March in order to slow the spread of Covid-19, is not motivated politically.

The assurances of Gen Prawit were as the cabinet is expected to approve a recommendation by the Covid 19 Situation Administration (CCSA) center to extend for another month the implementation of the emergency decree.

However, the opposition and opponents disagree with the expansion of the emergency declaration and argue that the Communicable Disease Act alone would be adequate to contain the transmission of the virus. They say that the government has a hidden purpose and wish to have control under urgent decrees to ban democratic actions that threaten it.

CCSA spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin has repeatedly spoken in support of utilizing the declaration by stating that it is a much stronger method than other regulations as it incorporates virus prevention measures under Prime Minister 's order.

Dr Taweesilp urged on Monday that the public remain vigilant and wear masks, often wash their hands and distance themselves socially as the next lockout phase begins.

"There is a week to go until the third relaxing process. If more facilitation can occur this week is significant. I will advise everyone to remain healthy at all times," he said at the regular CCSA briefing at the Government House.

However, officials of public safety on Monday reveal signs of a decrease in caution as the amount of new regular infections decreases.

Thanarak Plipat, Deputy Head of the Disease Control Department, said that some organizations started relaxing prevention, such as canceling work from home. As a result, BTS stations become overcrowded again at peak hours.

However, Dr Thanarak said the situation in Covid-19 has improved in Thailand, with the amount of new regular infections decreasing to levels not seen since the early phase of the pandemic in February.

He said that the public health authorities want to keep up, but it is not necessary to add lock-down actions when the number of new daily infections is below 5 per 1 million.

"For instance, Bangkok has an 8 million population. When there are 40 patients with Covid 19, transmission is considered restricted," he said.

Dr. Thanarak said the situation would become critical when there are more than 10 new patients per 1 million people across the country, prompting stricter lockout measures.

Additionally , two additional reports of coronavirus and one death were confirmed by the CCSA on Monday.

One of the new cases was a Chinese citizen, who was the wife of an Italian with the virus. The other woman was a masseuse who returned from Russia to Thailand on Wednesday in the province of Chon Buri under state quarantine.

The most recent fatality was a 68-year-old woman who died on Sunday in Chumphon province. Previous to presenting complications, she was in touch with another nurse who therefore suffered from asthma, renal disease who elevated blood pressure. After the epidemic began, Thailand has reported 3,042 recorded cases and 57
fatalities.

Dr Taweesilp said the medical researchers also sought to identify a 72-year-old patient who had symptoms on May 17 and who screened the virus positive the next day. He said that from 30 April to 16 May health inspectors tracked the communications with the individual and noticed that he went to many locations, including two state hospitals and a store.

Source Bangkok Post