The Thai Cabinet has approved an extension to the emergency decree until at least the end of September, meaning it has now been extended 13 times. According to a Pattaya News report, the extension comes into effect on August 1 and means the government will retain extraordinary powers, including the ability of the courts to hand down heavy penalties to those in violation of the decree.
The government insists the decree is there to help manage the pandemic crisis, including the allocation and distribution of Covid-19 vaccines. However, critics say the multiple extensions to the decree are politically motivated, accusing the government of using it to quash political protests and to hit anti-government activists with heavy fines and harsh punishments. They say the existing communicable disease laws would be enough to control Covid-19, without the need to continually extend the emergency decree.
For its part, the government continues to refute the allegations, repeatedly stating that the emergency decree is needed to manage the Covid-19 situation across the country, with the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration at the helm. The decree provides the government with additional powers, including the ability to introduce curfews, such as the one currently in place in Bangkok and other “dark red” provinces. Violation of the emergency decree carries a jail term of up to 5 years, and heavy fines of tens of thousands of baht.
SOURCE: The Pattaya News
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