CCSA to discuss re-introduction of mask-wearing in public areas today
Thai PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha is meeting with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration today at Government House. The prime minister is also the Chairperson for Thailand’s Covid taskforce that has overseen ongoing policy since April 2020 when the country enacted the emergency decree. The emergency decree remains in force.
Today’s CCSA meeting is held as Thailand copes with a levelling-off of Omicron infections whilst there’s a rise in the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variant infections. On today’s agenda is concerns from the public health department about the late-June decision to make the wearing of face masks in open spaces voluntary.
This week Thailand’s public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he expected an increase in new infections over the next 10 weeks and claimed his ministry did not support making the wearing of face masks voluntary.
Also, the head of the Faculty of Medicine at the Siriraj Hospital recommended the government “to reinstate Covid-19 measures, including the requirement for everywhere to wear face masks.
“The government should reintroduce stringent control measures, including wearing masks indoors. This is urgent, and we should not wait until there are not enough hospital beds. BA.4 and BA.5 may not be as not as severe as the Delta variant but they are more infectious, and if the number of cases continues to increase, they may mutate further.”
The proposal is supported by several Thai doctors and medical associations. In reality, The Thaiger notes that almost all Thais, around Bangkok at least, never stopped wearing their masks in public.
The meeting will also discuss proposals from the Tourism Authority of Thailand to waive tourist visa fees for countries that are currently charged for visa-on-arrival services. Tourism authorities are also recommending extending the time on tourist visa stays – countries with 15 day stays to 30 days, countries with 30 day stay to 45 days.
Today, Thailand recorded 2,144 new Covid infections and 20 Covid-related deaths.
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