The night curfew in dark-red zones may be shortened or lifted, depending on the COVID-19 situation, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Wednesday.
Gen Chan-o-cha was responding to reporters as he arrived at parliament for the second day of the no-confidence debate against him and five other cabinet ministers.
He said the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) had eased some disease controls, effective from Wednesday, and he hoped everyone would strictly comply with them.
The restrictions could be further relaxed if the situation improved, he said.
As for the 9pm-4am curfew, which remained unchanged, Gen Chan-o-cha said it could be shortened or lifted entirely — depending on the number of infections, fatalities and other indications of the seriousness of the situation.
The prime minister said he knew the curfew had affected entertainment places. His advice was for associations of owners of pubs, bars and other nightspots to discuss the matter with the CCSA, and make suggestions for consideration.
Gen Chan-o-cha said he could not decide the matter without advice from health personnel.
Asked about the purchase of 8.5 million sets of antigen test kits (ATKs), he said this was the responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Medicines and medical products approved by the FDA were certain to be of good quality and reasonably priced, he said.
He said the government would distribute the 8.5 million ATKs for free in dark-red zoned provinces.
The prime minister said he still had confidence in the health system, although it had been battered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would not be fair if only the numbers of infections and fatalities were used to judge the efficiency of the system. The number of COVID-19 patients who had recovered should also be taken into consideration, Gen Chan-o-cha said.
Health personnel recorded 252 more COVID-19 fatalities and found 14,802 new cases on Tuesday — the sixteenth consecutive day of significant caseload declines — the Public Health Ministry reported on Wednesday.
There were 14,585 cases in the general population and 217 among prison inmates.
Over the previous 24 hours, 18,996 COVID-19 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovering from the disease.