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Thai Health Minister laughs at media when asked about his ‘travel restrictions’ document

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PHOTO: Minster Anutin said all foreigners, refusing his face masks, should be thrown out of Thailand

“When asked directly why he deactivated his Facebook account after publishing the official memos, signed by himself, Anutin laughed and attempted to deflect the question.”

The Thailand government, specifically the gaffe-prone Public Health minister, has thrown the holiday plans of thousands into confusion after the Minister’s orders for any new arrivals from 11 destinations to go into self-imposed quarantine (for the Covid-19 outbreak). He removed his Facebook post soon after posting the decision.

Then his official Facebook page was taken down altogether.

Tuesday evening’s post said travellers from affected countries would be subjected to a 14 day quarantine “without exceptions”.

The destinations were China, South Korea, Japan, Germany, France, Singapore, Italy, Iran, Taiwan, and the Chinese territories of Hong Kong and Macau.

Thai Health Minister laughs at media when asked about his 'travel restrictions' document | News by Thaiger Thai Health Minister laughs at media when asked about his 'travel restrictions' document | News by Thaiger

Twitter and Facebook did brisk business yesterday as Thais and foreigners posed thousands of questions about their travel plans. The situation was eventually hosed down by the Public Health Ministry spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin. He said Minister Anutin’s list of countries would have to be “reviewed”.

“We have to wait which country would be designated as a risk country.”

When Thai media reached out for comments from the Minister at Government House, Anutin denied any knowledge about the matter.

“I’m also wondering how the document ended up there, since I haven’t signed it. (That’s HIS signature on the bottom of the official letters). It’s still in my room. I have to revise it again because the issue of undocumented Thai workers returning from South Korea just came in. I need to look back into the issue before making changes.”

When asked directly why he deactivated his Facebook account after publishing the official memos from the Health Department, Anutin laughed and attempted to deflect the question onto another topic, according to Khaosod English.

The post was widely circulated up by both Thai and foreign media, including CNN, causing confusion for travellers who may have been coming from, or transiting through, the 11 destinations.

The Thai PM, or the Thai Government, have not issued any statements providing any clarity on the topic or explaining the actions of the minister.

Thai Health Minister laughs at media when asked about his 'travel restrictions' document | News by Thaiger

It’s not the first time Thailand’s Public Health Minister Anutin has attracted undue attention.

Last month he lashed out at farang “caucasian western” tourists for not accepting his free hand-outs of flimsy paper face-masks at a media gathering by the Health Department at the Siam BTS station last month.

Getting flustered, grasping one of the blue masks and waving it about, he suggested the foreigners should be kicked out of Thailand saying that they were putting others at risk.

“All farangs, those tourists… that’s something the embassies should be notified about and the public as well that are not wearing masks.”

He apologised the next day his Facebook page.

(We note that Minister Anutin and his minions were handing out the masks with their bare hands.)

Thai Health Minister laughs at media when asked about his 'travel restrictions' document | News by Thaiger

Finishing up his remarks to Thai media yesterday Minister Anutin said…

“My son wants me to rest. In fact, I have many Facebook accounts to communicate with the public. Some of the posts were written by myself, while others by my team.”

A rest sounds like a good idea.

SOURCES: Public Health Minister | Bangkok Post | Khaosod English

 

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