CCSA says they won’t deny lawbreakers free Covid-19 treatment

PHOTO: Matichon Online

Labour trafficking, illegal border crossings and gambling are considered to be prime factors in the new wave of Covid-19. Recently, the public health minister toyed with the idea of making the lawbreakers and illegal returnees, who are infected with the coronavirus, pay for their own medical treatment.

The idea was shot down by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration who said they cannot choose who to care based on their actions. The CCSA spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin says they cannot discriminate.

“As for medical expenses, we’ll have to follow the ministry’s regulations… We cannot divide or subdivide. For those with health insurance, it depends on the terms. For migrant workers, the matter will be considered on a case-by-case basis.”

Last month, a number of Thais tested positive for Covid-19 after working in Myanmar’s border town Tachileik. Many crossed the Thai-Myanmar border illegally, evading the mandatory 14 day quarantine. Health officials say they were able to contain the cases linked to Tachileik.

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A few weeks later, health officials reported an outbreak at a seafood market in Samut Sakhon’s Mahachai area, southwest of Bangkok. Hundreds of Burmese migrants who worked around the fishing hub tested positive for the virus.

As the coronavirus spread, a Rayong gambling den became a so-called “hotspot.” The outbreak related to illegal activities made it difficult to track those at risk of infection. Health officials say the virus spread among gamblers. PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is now setting up an investigation committee to crackdown on the illegal gambling dens and prevent Covid-19 from spreading during the unlawful gatherings.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul floated on idea on his Facebook, saying those who broke the law and put the public at risk of infection should pay for their treatment for Covid-19 out of pocket. Many have rejected this idea, including associate professor at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, Thira Woratanarat.

“On the surface, the idea may sound alright because people who do bad things shouldn’t get help… But it can worsen the outbreak because those people won’t come out and get testing even when they fall ill… The virus might have spread far by the time authorities become aware of the extent of its transmission and this poses risks to medical personnel.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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