The tracking application is introduced to help track cases as the restrictions are further loosened in public premises, May 2020. Photo: Sayan Chuenudomsavad

State of emergency extended for second time

The government is contemplating on a new law to replace it as the country is moving forward to normality with the easing of the restrictions for businesses and activities in Phase 3 and 4 in sight, but no timeframe is given.

The government has decided to extend the state of emergency to control the COVID-19 situation for one more month following the proposal prepared by the National Security Council (NSC) and the resolution of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) chaired by the Prime Minister.

Upon consultation with heads of government agencies last week,the NSC came up with the conclusion to extend the state of emergency for one more month, which would take affect from June 1 to 30.

The state of emergency was first declared and took effect from March 26 to April 30 to help control the COVID-19 situation nationwide. It was first extended on April 28 and took affect from May 1 to 31.

The NSC reasoned that the second renewal of the state of emergency was needed so as to help unify government agencies in tackling the disease. It would also help facilitate the easing of the restrictions in Phase 3 and 4, while ensuring stability as the outbreaks worldwide and in the country are not yet over.

As of yesterday, the Coronavirus cases worldwide stood at 5.58 millions, while Thailand’s was 3,045.

The NSC had proposed its conclusion to the CCSA for endorsement last Friday, before the proposal was approved by the Cabinet yesterday.

Under the second extension of the state of emergency, key restrictions still remain in place. Those include a ban on international passenger flights and inbound trips, restrictions on domestic trips, and the curfew between 11 PM to 4 PM.

It is likely that the state of emergency would be lifted if a new law is introduced to replace it later on to help facilitate the transition to normality, as suggested by the NSC. A timeframe is not provided.

Businesses and activities subject to consideration for the further restriction relaxation this round involve those with high infection risks but have moderate economic implications. They are grouped in a yellow code, comprising mostly businesses and activities concerning lifestyle.

The fourth group is classified in a red code, concerning businesses and activities with high infection risks but have low economic implications, referred largely to entertainment businesses.

The CCSA will decide on the easing of the restrictions for the third group this Friday and if that is the case, the disease control standards of practice as well as social distancing measures for them will be introduced along from June 1 on.

Representatives of civic members from 5 regions, meanwhile, demanded the immediate lifting of the state of emergency, citing the existing laws including the disease control act are enough to control the situation now.

They submitted their petition to the Cabinet and the Ombudsman yesterday.