The Thai PM has been put in sole charge of handling the Covid-19 crisis, assuming all powers previously delegated to various ministers. Thai PBS World reports that yesterday, the Cabinet agreed to designate Prayut Chan-o-cha as the chief authority with responsibility for all decisions related to the pandemic. These include the issuance of all orders, permits, and approvals aimed at curtailing the spread of the virus and assisting the people.
The transfer of power from government ministers to the PM is understood to be temporary and has been agreed in order to guarantee efficiency in the handling of the latest outbreak in Thailand, which is the worst yet. Some of the laws that now fall into the PM’s remit include the Communicable Disease Act, the Immigration Act, National Health Security Act, and the Medical Equipment Act, as well as several others.
The PM will now be in charge of everything pandemic-related, including measures to prevent the further spread of infection, medical treatment for patients, the procurement of anti-viral drugs, and the management of hospital beds. Crucially, he is also in sole control of the procurement and distribution of vaccines, essential to combatting the pandemic’s hold in the Kingdom. The PM and his administration have already been heavily criticised for bad decision-making in vaccine procurement, having until now favoured just 2 manufacturers – Sinovac and AstraZeneca.
The PM says he has asked the Foreign Affairs Ministry to liaise with foreign governments in an attempt to obtain more Covid-19 vaccines. He will also meet with business representatives, including the Federation of Thai Industries, the Thai Bankers Association, and the Board of Trade of Thailand, to hear their views and recommendations on working together to fight the pandemic.
SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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