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Thailand’s Security Council eyes extending state of emergency, easing some restrictions



PHOTO: Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA - Thai PBS World

Next Monday, the day before the weekly Cabinet meeting, Thailand’s National Security Council will present a proposal to extend the national state of emergency to PM Prayut Chan-o- cha, recommending the relaxation of some current restrictions to allow some businesses and daily activities to resume amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The NSC met with other security agencies to evaluate the current state of emergency, which are set to expire on Thursday, April 30.

Bangkok Post reports that the NSC secretary-general Somsak Roongsita says the meeting agreed that enforcement of the Emergency Decree should be extended since the pandemic has not yet been fully brought under control.

The government will decide how long the extension will be, according to Somsak, and it will discuss the relaxation of some restrictions with the National Economic and Social Development Council. The PM has the right to extend the current Emergency Decree for up to 90 days under the Thai Constitution.

Somsak says Prayut will call a meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on the same day to decide whether to extend the state of emergency. If the extension is agreed, as now appears likely, the proposal will go before the Cabinet on Tuesday for approval.

Details regarding the relaxation of restrictions will be known after Monday’s meeting, and the NSC will invite business leaders to give opinions on how they can help curb new infections if restrictions are relaxed.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration, says there is concern that a second wave of Covid-19 transmissions will erupt once life starts returning to normal.

Taweesilp denied a report about the lifting of the curfew in 32 provinces in early May, saying any relaxation of the state of emergency must be approved by the Cabinet.

On his Facebook account, Yong Poovorawan, head of the Clinical Virology Department at Chulalongkorn University, explained the criteria which would is likely to be used to decide which areas should be designated as coronavirus-free.

He said an area must have gone at least 28 days without a new infection, or double the 14-day incubation period for Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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