Photo: Eakarin Ekartchariyawong

EDITORIAL: More social and economic resilient society needed to withstand future impacts

Coronavirus has laid bare fragile Thai society and the extended state of emergency should serve as a means to consider building back more social and economic resilient society to withstand any future impacts as well

9 is the latest figure of the country’s new Coronavirus cases that has helped confirm public health officials and authorities concerned that they are on the right track.

Since mid March when the first few cluster cases were reported and the local transmission turned into a full-blown state with over 100 new cases reported each day, the government as well as public health officials have been trying hard to suppress the Coronavirus outbreak, implementing various strict measures, including the curfew between 10pm to 4 am.

From over hundred per day, the number of new confirmed cases of Coronavirus patients have over time dropped, with today being below 10 for the first time since mid March.

It’s not suprising that the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration has decided today to renew the state of emergency that would end tomorrow, which has nearly a month empowered concerned authorities to enforce strict rules against citizens in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.

It was cited by the National Security Council,which had proposed the renewal to the center, as the key of sucess in suppressing the virus.

“The declaration of the state of emergency (March 26) has enabled immediate and unified action among authorities responsible in response to directives from the center’s chair (PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha), resulting in the consecutive drops in the number of new cases in the country.

“The poll on some 40,000 citizens also shows over 70% agree with the government’s enforcement of the state of emergency” the council had reported to the center.

But all restrictions which have pushed the country into a semi-lockdown come with a high price. A tremedous number of Thai citizens, said to be millions of them, especially the poor and workers who almost make ends meet or eke out a meager living, are now suffering due to disrupted economic activities.

Their shops are closed, jobs lost, income disappared, and so on.

So, to fight this disease cannot totally be considered only from public health aspects.

The center seems to realise the point as it said it is now considering which businesses or economic activities that could be re-opened. 

Apparently successful in controlling the situation of the virus spread, it should be the time too for the government to bring a social context on the table and look into reality that we are facing; how long we have left social and economic safety nets behind on behalf of economic prosperity and growth.

The virus has just laid bare to us such a bleak reality of how socially and economically fragile we are, and it’s the time to heal this along with our health; our chronic social and economic ill.

As the government is about to ask people to take a second round of pain under the state of emergency to cure the virus, it should also take this time to re-design and build back the society with more social and economic resillience.

The fragile state we are in cannot allow any further impacts on people any more.