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Emergency decree could be coming to an end as infections decline

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Facebook/PR Thai Government

It’s been with us since March 2020, but the emergency decree declared by the PM at the start of the pandemic may be coming to an end. According to a Bangkok Post report, Natthapol Nakpanich from the National Security Council says the government may decide not to extend the state of emergency as new Covid-19 infections continue to drop. Natthapol says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will soon decide on the future of the decree.

“We are aware that society is unhappy about it. We have lived under the decree for such a long time. It was invoked to control the disease and its enforcement must come to an end sooner or later. It is likely that the decree will not be extended if the situation remains stable like this due to the cooperation of the public.”

Under the emergency decree, the PM has ultimate power to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, allowing for restrictions to be imposed at short notice and banning large gatherings. Critics of the decree have long argued that its repeated extensions are politically motivated. If the decree is lifted, the power to manage the Covid-19 crisis would revert to the Public Health Ministry. According to Natthapol, the ministry is in the process of amending the Disease Control Act, which would replace the decree and include disease prevention measures that may prove more effective.

“The new law should be adequate or even better than the emergency decree. This is because the decree focuses on tough restrictions, though in some cases it does not provide an adequate response.”

The end of the emergency decree would also mean the end of the government’s Covid-19 task force, with the Public Health Ministry assuming the duties of the CCSA.

The Bangkok Post reports that the PM will chair a meeting of the CCSA on Friday, with officials set to review the situation following the lifting of some restrictions recently. Officials are also expected to discuss the future of the emergency decree.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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