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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand under a State of emergency – Prime Minister

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha told a news conference today that Thailand will be under emergency decree from this Thursday (March 26) until the end of April, 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in the Kingdom.

The decree means the PM will have the executive power to declare further measures to contain the virus, including giving extra authority to officials and creating checkpoints to reduce people’s movements.

The Emergency Decree act of 2005 gives the government sweeping powers to enact these measures.

Prayut says some requirements would be mandatory while others would be “requests.” A special committee will be formed to implement policy and procedures for the requirements. He did not state how this committee will be chosen.

He urged people not to return to their home provinces and said there will be checkpoints and quarantine measures taken along the way for those who do. Provincial governors have full authority and are cooperating to quarantine those trying to return. Violator of quarantine or self isolation face fines of up to 20,000 baht.

The emergency decree gives various powers, including the potential restriction of domestic travel, censoring media, curfews, commandeering or closing building, among others.

None of these measures has been officially announced and will not be until at least this Thursday. Rumours of a curfew taking place as early as this evening are false.

The PM also said that social media will be “very closely monitored” during the emergency decree period. Those sharing fake news or making claims of cover-ups or conspiracies “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Thailand reported 3 deaths and 106 new coronavirus cases today. The country now has 827 cases and four fatalities since the outbreak began.

SOURCE: Reuters | The Pattaya News

 

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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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