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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Communicable disease law may be amended to replace emergency decree

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Bangkok Metropolitan Administration

Thailand’s Communicable Disease law is likely to replace the emergency decree from the end of September, after Cabinet approved a draft amendment to the 2015 Act. The emergency decree was enacted in March 2020 and granted the government sweeping powers to control the spread of Covid-19 through the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The decree is due to expire at the end of the month, taking the CCSA with it. However, according to a Bangkok Post report, deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says the CCSA may continue to exist but under a different guise.

“When the new law is in place, a body even larger than the CCSA may be established if needed, so it doesn’t really matter if the CCSA is dissolved or not.”

However, deputy government spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek says no decision has yet been taken on whether or not to extend the emergency decree past September 30. She adds that it’s unlikely the newly amended disease act will be enforced by that date as it still needs to be approved by Parliament.

The Bangkok Post reports that Rachada has also defended the new amendment, dismissing fears it could provide policy makers with an amnesty. She insists the amendment is aimed at improving disease control measures and actions aimed at preventing a new Covid-19 outbreak.

“In case a serious outbreak erupts, the emergency decree will no longer be needed. The amended Communicable Disease Act will be invoked instead.”

Meanwhile, Kiattiphum Wongrajit from the Public Health Ministry says the rate of new infections is coming down, but is still stuck around the 10,000 a day figure. He adds that the virus is likely to become endemic but by then, those who contract it are not expected to become seriously ill and the number of new daily infections is unlikely to be high.

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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