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Thai PM says emergency decree stays… for now

Facebook/ประยุทธ์ จันทร์โอชา Prayut Chan-o-cha

Thailand’s emergency decree is going nowhere – at least for now. That’s according to Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who insists the measure is needed, despite most Covid restrictions being eased. The decree was introduced in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic, and has now been extended a total of 18 times in 2 years. According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM was responding to Rangsiman Rome, an MP from the Move Forward Party, who is leading the call for the decree to be cancelled.

Despite Covid infections continuing to fall and practically all entry restrictions being lifted from July 1, the government appears determined to cling to the decree, which the PM credits with curbing the spread of Covid-19.

Responding to claims from Rangsiman that the decree is being used, not to control the virus but to silence anti-government protesters, the PM says if the decree is lifted, the government only has public health laws at its disposal – seemingly not enough to control what to most is now a waning pandemic.

As head of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, the decree has handed the PM total control over Thailand’s anti-Covid measures. He says while the economic situation is looking up since the country re-opened to international tourists, there are still some issues that need to be addressed, including overcrowding at immigration checkpoints.

He adds that some Covid restrictions must remain for now, in order to ensure there is no resurgence in cases, and insists the government is trying to balance economic recovery with protecting public health.

“The people are in (economic) hardship. Don’t you think the prime minister is troubled by that? We’re trying to help to the best of our ability without causing more problems.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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