UPDATE: The Thai Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, has had a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease since this morning, after being panned in social media for his comments at a government PR gathering to promote the wearing of face-masks following the coronavirus outbreak in China.
The minister has apologised for his earlier comments about ‘farang’ , when he said that they “should be kicked out” for not wearing face-masks. The outspoken minister posted on his Facebook page an apology for his racially-charged remarks. He blamed his outburst… “on ill manners displayed by some foreigners”.
(Full video of the minister’s comments below)
“I’m sorry for losing my temper to foreigners today. I couldn’t tell where the foreigners came from or how much risk they pose.”
Anutin said that he, his entourage and the Bangkok media “experienced’ some bad responses from “farang” when offering free paper face-masks at the busy Siam BTS this morning.
“We expected respect and cooperation in mitigating the outbreak from them, not slapping our hands away or looking at us in a demeaning way.
Earlier story today….
Thailand’s mercurial Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has slammed foreign tourists who aren’t wearing face masks, or refuse to wear them when offered a free one offered by the government, says they “should be kicked out.” He was handing out government freebies this morning at the Siam BTS station as part of the Thai government’s education about coronavirus.
“They don’t care about the big picture. They don’t have any consideration to the situation.”
At a door-stop interview with the Bangkok media this morning, the minister also insisted “non-compliant behaviours of foreigners should be reported to embassies”.
“All farangs, those tourists… that’s something the embassies should be notified about and the public as well that are not wearing masks.”
Anutin’s use of the term ‘farang’ is often associated in a derogatory sense when referring to foreigners. The term can also refers simply to caucasian foreigners but the Minister’s scorn for “farang’ was evident this morning as waved some of the free face-masks around whilst making his point.
“We’re handing them out and they still refuse. They need to be kicked out of Thailand!”
The Government PR stunt at the Siam BTS, one of the busiest public transport terminals where two BTS lines meet together, was hosted by Minister Anutin who spent his time handing out free surgical masks to travellers using the ‘Skytrain’. He said that the masks will help people to protect themselves against the coronavirus.
Some foreign tourists didn’t take them, which led to the Minister’s outburst by him suggesting they “should be kicked out.”
“They don’t care about the big picture and these tourists are in the country. We’re giving the masks to them and they still refuse.”
“The Chinese, the Asians… they are all taking the masks, but those Europeans… that’s unbelievable.”
Wearing medical masks when not indicated may cause unnecessary cost, procurement burden and create a false sense of security that can lead to neglecting other essential measures such as hand hygiene practices. Furthermore, using a mask incorrectly may hamper its effectiveness to reduce the risk of transmission – World Health Organisation
SOURCE: Khaosod English
Thai Public Health Min Anutin Charnvirakul was handing out surgical masks today for people to protect themselves against the Novel #Coronavirus. Apparently some foreign tourists didn't take them, which led to this unusual outburst by him suggesting they "should be kicked out." pic.twitter.com/UcVJtYCqeM
— Saksith Saiyasombut (@SaksithCNA) February 7, 2020