Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has issued Regulation No. 17, setting more stringent measures to contain a new wave of local COVID-19 transmission in many areas of the country.
The regulation, issued under Section 9 of the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations B.E. 2548 (2005), is in effect from 7th January 2021 onwards.
The Government stressed the need to have stringent measures in order to stem the spread of the disease rapidly and decisively, especially in the declared maximum control zones. The regulation will also serve as guidance for government agencies, as follows:
- Upgrading the enforcement of preventive measures against the disease: Officials and disease control personnel are responsible for ensuring that service users, travelers, and the general public strictly follow disease prevention measures in various places and activities. The measures include maintaining a physical distance, wearing face masks, washing hands, measuring body temperature, and downloading onto their smartphone a COVID-19 contact-tracing application, as well as staying in quarantine.
The Government has urged the people to download the “Mor Chana” app, which will provide users with useful information and warnings about COVID-19 to reduce their risk of infections, especially those staying in the declared maximum control zones. The Mor Chana app should be used together with the “Thai Chana” app for effective control of the disease.
- Upgrading the maximum control zones that need very stringent measures: Officials will check and control the use of transportation routes or vehicles by the people travelling into and out of the “maximum and strict control zones,” namely Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Trat, Rayong, and Samut Sakhon. Checkpoints will be set up to screen travel into and out of these zones. People living in these areas should download the Mor Chana app onto their mobile phones. However, downloading this application is not mandatory, according to Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri.
Those who want to travel out of the maximum and strict control zones will need to give an explanation as to their necessity and show their ID cards or other documents, together with travel permits issued by relevant officials or local authorities identifying the need to travel.
- Suppressing and punishing wrongdoers who cause the spread of COVID-19: The Government is determined to suppress and punish state officials and any persons involved in smuggling foreign workers without passing through disease investigation, screening, and quarantine in accordance with measures set by the Ministry of Public Health, as well as those involved in the opening of gambling dens, which lead to the spread of the disease. The authorities have been instructed to take legal against the offenders. A committee will be set up to propose measures to prevent the problem from reoccurring.
Security officials have been told to strictly prevent illegal entry into the country and the opening of gambling dens, which cause the spread of the disease. Both disciplinary and legal actions must be taken against wrongdoers.
The Government has encouraged the participation of the people in monitoring this issue. They may give information to the Prime Minister through the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) at Government House.
- Punishment: Violators of this regulation may be liable to a jail term of up to two years, or a fine of up to 40,000 baht, or both.
Infected persons who intentionally conceal their travel information or give false information to the authorities, which may cause obstacles to disease control and lead to the spread of the disease, might be found guilty in accordance with the Communicable Disease Act B.E. 2558 (2015).