On Wednesday, The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved the extension of the emergency decree for another month until 31st Aug 2020. The current ban on public gatherings will, however, be lifted as soon as the extension takes effect.
CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the extension was necessary because although the coronavirus was still spreading worldwide Thailand was allowing in foreign visitors and easing lockdowns on business and activities that posed a high risk of disease transmission.
“There must be strict and continuous supervision to prevent a local spread. The executive decree on public administration in emergency situations enables the prevention and solution to the problem,” he said.
The emergency decree allows the government to restrict arrivals, follow up suspected cases of COVID-19 and impose disease control measures on all business and activities, Dr Visanuyothin said.
He added: “The decree enables the mobilisation of civil servants, police and soldiers for efficient operations. It will be an important tool to prepare for a transition to the new normal until other laws can be put in place.”
National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Gen Somsak Roongsita, who proposed the extension, said global COVID-19 cases were rising by more than 200,000 a day and were occurring in countries near Thailand.
The disease control law would be amended to provide an efficient response to COVID-19, he said, but meanwhile, the emergency decree should be exercised because it was the government’s best tool for imposing a quarantine on infected people.
“We have already lifted the curfew,” Gen Roongsita said. “What we will do next is to not enforce Section 9 of the decree, which bans gatherings. That will prove our intentions over disease control.”
The proposed extension and the lifting of the ban would go before the cabinet for endorsement next week, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam backed the extension, saying the emergency decree was still needed to integrate the work of various state authorities, while the Communicable Disease Control Act was exercised by doctors.