Suvarnabhumi Airport, the country’s prime transportation hub, ensures passengers with disease control measures as it receives more and more of them following further Covid restriction relaxation by the government. Credit: Suvarnabhumi Airport

Latest Emergency Decree extension has nothing to do with politics: CCSA

CCSA is trying hard to balance the restrictions on people’s rights and a smooth transition to the “New Normal” society amid growing calls for dismissal of the Emegency Decree

The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has decided at the meeting today to extend enforcement of the Emergency Decree to help control the COVID-19 situation for one more month, with revocation of extensive domestic restrictions and controls including that on public gatherings.

This will be the fourth time that the decree enforcement has been extended. The enforcement of the decree was first invoked for the month of April, with the state of emergency declared nationwide to help control thesituation.

Section 9 of it concerning much restrictions and controls of activities was invoked along, including measures like curfews and bans on travels and gatherings

It was first extended for the month of May, and renewed twice for the next two months. As the third round of the extension will be finished by the end of this month, the CCSA, with the proposal prepared by the National Security Council (NSC), has decided to extend it again.

The fourth round of the decree enforcement extension this time will be different from the previous ones as it would lift most of the restrictions and controls over domestic activities, including public gatherings, according to the NSC’s Secretary General Gen Somsak Rungsita, speaking at the press briefing today.

The Decree is still necessary to help government officials to control the outbreak of COVID-19 as it authorises them and helps integrate forces in absence of other comparable laws, Gen Somsak pointed.

Gen Somsak said while most of domestic activities have been allowed to resume, the situation outside the country is still much severe with cases still rising up. The country is also considering relaxing rules against foreigners so it needs the decree to ensure such the smooth transition in the country, he said.

As there have been protests against the government’s handling of the situation and the decree itself, the CCSA has decided to revoke Section 9, which concerns extensive restrictions and controls on domestic activities including public gatherings as such.

“You will see that the extension in this round has nothing to do with politics or political gatherings at present. This is only aimed at supporting officials’ authority and duties in controlling the virus. So, we have decided this way to ensure that it has nothing to do with politics,” said Gen Somsak.

Covid-19 restriction relaxation Phase 6

The decree enforcement will cover the whole month of August as the CCSA has also approved the COVID-19 restriction relaxation in Phase 6, supposed to be the last. It involves four main groups of foreigners who will be allowed to enter the country, including migrant workers who are estimated to be around 200,000.

CCSA’s spokesperson Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin said they will be treated under the same quarantine standard, being placed under state quarantine for 14 days. As accommodation provided might be insufficient, the so-called organisational quarantine will be arranged. He did not elaborate what it would be like.

The CCSA has also approved adjustment of the quarantine standard for diplomats and workers of international organisations earlier allowed to be under quarantine in a compound at their choices. They will be from now on also under the state quarantine. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be working on the new regulation in detail with the embassies, Dr. Taweesin said.

The adjustment proposal follows the recent infections that concerned an Egyptian military care and a daughter of a Sudanese diplomat that has spooked Thais’ nerves as they had not seen local transmissions for over 50 days.

As a result, the lax rules under the CCSA’s 7th order, issued only in early this month, have been subject for change as such.

As of today, the testing results on up to 7,207 people out of the two recent infections are negative, according to Dr.Taweesin.

He also stressed on the so-called limited lockdown against future incidents to balance the health and economic impacts. Dr. Taweesin calls it, a targeted lockdown, suggesting that there would be no more wide-area lockdown if the situation is still under control.

He earlier said there could be an infection any time in the future, and this was different from an outbreak.

As of today, the country has seen 6 new confirmed cases in state quarantine. The total cumulative case stands at 3,261 and the number of deaths is 58.

Worldwide, the total number of cases has reached 15 millions already and over 600,000 death cases are reported.