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Thai activist cries foul on government over US diplomat skirting quarantine

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Activist, lawyer and Thailand's "complainer- in-chief" Srisuwan Janya -Thai PBS World

A transparency campaigner dubbed ” Thailand’s complainer-in-chief ” is accusing the government of negligence for allowing the chief of the US army to enter the country without having to go through a mandatory quarantine upon arriving. Activist Srisuwan Janya says he fears the visit of a delegation from the country with by far the most Covid-19 cases (not to mention deaths) in the world might reintroduce the virus to the Thai population.

“The US army chief and his delegation will come from the country with the world’s highest confirmed cases. We can’t be certain whether they will be free of the virus. The government has taken the promised measures for granted, to exclusively subserve the delegation’s benefit. ” The delegation, led by the US army chief of staff James McConville, will visit Thailand tomorrow and Friday, but the government says they’ll be required to follow strict measures.

Thailand began a partial border reopening on July 1 , in which limited groups of foreigners are permitted to fly into the country with the condition of a mandatory 14 day quarantine at specified facilities. However, exceptions are made for official guests and business people traveling on a special agreement with the government.

Srisuwan says he’ll file a complaint tomorrow against the government’s Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration at the Anti-Corruption Commission. He also criticized Deputy PM and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul for not wearing a mask and failing to observe social distancing measures during the Fourth of July party held by the US embassy in Bangkok on Saturday.

“The government has repeatedly preached to the people to not let their guard down, but it turns out that people within the government have the privilege to be spared from those measures.”

American diplomats also did not wear masks in photos posted online by Anutin. The photos have since been deleted.

Thai activist cries foul on government over US diplomat skirting quarantine | News by Thaiger

Taweesin Visanuyothin, the spokesman of the CCSD, says the Thai government could not impose a mandatory quarantine for the delegation because it is only a short visit. The US officials will still be required to take virus tests before and after their arrival in Thailand, and to wear masks at all times. Health and security officials will follow them throughout the trip and they won’t be allowed to stray from the itinerary during their 2 day visit.

The American delegation will be the first group of foreigners to pay an official visit to Thailand on a special agreement during the pandemic. The group is scheduled to meet PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and the army chief Apirat Kongsompong on Thursday.

The US ambassador to Thailand, Michael George DeSombre recently paid a courtesy call on Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak at the beginning of his tour of the Kingdom. DeSombre chose not to wear a facemask during the visit.

Thai activist cries foul on government over US diplomat skirting quarantine | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Khaosod English

 

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, July 8, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    He is right, but the Thai government bend rules when they feel like it.
    Especially if they can get their hand on some money from the USA.
    So you do not have to go into quarantine if it is a short visit.
    Can I enter for two days then?

    • Avatar

      Ryan Lih

      Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 9:46 am

      Unless you are white skinned and holds a US passport and is a government official, you can practically do whatever you want and get away with it. It was an Italian boxer and his team that entered BKK for a fight where the virus broke out at the stadium. The local Thais have a stigma against white people. Here in this case, it’s different.

    • Avatar

      Mike Williams

      Thursday, July 9, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      ‘They were tested and quarantined for 14 days in the US before the trip and would be tested again in Singapore and at the Military Air Terminal 2 at Don Mueang airport.’

      https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1945776/us-army-chief-part-of-first-foreign-group-to-visit

      It’s called Google.

  2. Avatar

    RametinNonta

    Friday, July 10, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    World Health Organization still says the spread is from surfaces unless someone coughs directly on you. Since it is spread by surfaces, why does the Thai government demand everyone sign in with the same infected pen on the same infected paper that everyone else has touched? Just one infected ink pen could infect hundreds. At least they would know who to contact because they signed in. WHO recommends those sick with the corona virus and medical personnel who treat them to wear masks. Anything less than a N95 mask will not block the virus so cloth masks are for show.

  3. Avatar

    Michael Lewis

    Saturday, July 11, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    Activist Srisuwan Janya has a just cause to complain. The CCSD acknowledged the government request that yhe delegation be exempt the14 days quarantine but stressed that they must wear masks at all times. The delegation did not wear masks at all times and Anutin proudly permitted himself and guest to be photographed with together without their masks. This contrasts directly with the same YS delegation visit to Singapore on 8th and 9th July where they were forced to wear masks for the duration of their visit including group photos. Why was the CCSD mask requirement ignored, and why did Thai Health Minister Anutin allow it to be ignored in his presence.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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