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PM says Thailand needs to guard against easing lock-down too early



FILE PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is appealing to Thai citizens to be patient when it comes to entering Phase 4 of the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. Phase 4 would be the final phase and include the re-opening of bars and pubs. The PM says easing of the lock-down must be done gradually and with caution and will require full cooperation from the public if it is to succeed.

“The government plans to make decisions based on ongoing compliance with hygiene regulations and the success of those measures.”

Thai PBS World reports that people will have to continue adhering to social distancing, regular hand washing and the wearing of masks, adding that healthcare staff and other workers will have put in months of diligent work for nothing if the public does not continue to cooperate with efforts to avoid a “second wave” of the virus.

Prayut’s show of reserve foreshadows a possible push back of dates for the re-opening of the country’s airports to allow foreigners to return to Thailand. Thai officials had designated June as the month they would repatriate Thais from overseas, and foreigners with work permits and others on a ‘case-by-case’ basis (urgent) could also apply for re-entry.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has a ban on international flights, except for specially-chartered repatriation and official flights, until at least the end of June. No announcement has been made on the lifting of the ban at this stage.

The current repatriation of Thais from overseas has revealed many new Covid-19 cases, many from Middle East destinations. All passengers are required to enter mandatory state quarantine for 14 days.

The PM says he understands the need to lift some restrictions in order to give the economy a chance to get back on its feet, but he warns against complacency, urging citizens to not let their guard down.

The PM says although Thailand continues to make progress in its efforts to develop a vaccine, this will not happen overnight. Meanwhile, while welcoming Japan’s decision to grant entry to Thai visitors, he says the government has not yet decided when Thailand will allow international flights to resume, saying this will depend on “several factors”.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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