Five select groups of foreigners and migrant workers are expected to be allowed to enter the country as the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will consider the 6th phase of COVID-19 easing later this week.
CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said at a press briefing on Sunday that a committee assigned to consider the easing of COVID-19 restrictions has discussed the 6th phase of relaxation and the issue will be tabled to a full meeting of the CCSA this week.
The relaxation will cover migrant workers in the construction business and food export industry, foreign visitors who co-organise trade exhibitions, foreign visitors in film production crews, and foreign travellers who are members of the Thailand Elite Card scheme, Dr Visanuyothin said.
He insisted the government still gives top priority to public health safety while keeping the economy functioning is of secondary importance. Effective disease control measures will restore public confidence, he said.
He said checks by officials have found that operators of businesses that are in the “red” or high-risk category and which have been allowed to reopen have cooperated and complied with disease control guidelines to curb the spread of the disease.
Asked by reporters what factors are taken into account when considering whether to extend or lift the emergency decree, Dr Visanuyothin said the CCSA’s subcommittee will discuss every angle of the situation based on information on public health, the economic impact and national security.
The spokesman denied claims the government had allowed people infected with COVID-19 from abroad, including Thai returnees and foreigners, to enter the country for the purpose of deterring anti-government protests.
“The Mam Pho Dam Facebook page has claimed that a plot is underway to import infected people to trigger a second small wave of infections and extend the emergency decree to prevent student protests,” Dr Visanuyothin said.
The spokesperson said Thai returnees from abroad have been allowed back home so they can go about their businesses which in turn will help improve the economy affected by the pandemic, though the government has made it mandatory for them to be quarantined at facilities arranged by the state upon arrival first.
The regulations also apply to select groups of foreigners who will be allowed to enter the country, Dr Visanuyothin said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Cherdkiat Atthakor said the ministry has been informed by the Thai embassy in Russia that 102 Thai labourers in Uzbekistan who want to return to Thailand were tested and all of them had come back negative for the disease.
Meanwhile, the Disease Control Department reported the latest test results amid public concern about a shopping trip in Rayong by an infected Egyptian military officer and the arrival of the daughter of a Sudanese diplomat who tested positive for the disease late last week.
Last Friday, 1,374 more people were tested in Rayong. Of them, 1,369 tested negative while the test results of the remaining five are still pending.