Goverment’s rough week: Minister with Covid-19, Parliament flood

PHOTO: Minister gets Covid-19, Parliament flooded again. (via Wikimedia, Nation)

This just wasn’t the Thai government’s weekend. Another minister tested positive for Covid-19, while the new Parliament complex has flooded. Again. Minister of Industry Suriya Juangroongruangkit announced today that he has tested positive for Covid-19, just days after Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul announced catching the virus.

The Industry Minister is fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca and has received a Pfizer booster shot, and reports that he began taking medication last night before confirming the diagnosis today. He reports that his symptoms are mild so he will be able to work from home and continue his duties unaffected. He is also made his timeline available for contact tracing for anybody who may have come in contact with him recently and been exposed to Covid-19.

Meanwhile, the 12.2-billion-baht Parliament complex that was under construction for 8 years and opened last year has had its ground floor flooded, the third such incident since opening. This time though, the House secretariat claims that it was not a leak due to shoddy construction, but rather torrential downpours blowing into the ground floor of the building due to tropical storm Chaba. In their defence, they mentioned that the ground floor of the Parliament complex is open on all sides, without any proper walling to stop rain from blowing in on windy days.

Former Democrat MP Watchara Petthong reported the flood, saying it was the third water issue suffered by the new building, considered the largest parliament building in the world, with 11 floors on around 47 acres of land. He pointed to substandard materials, specifications, and quality control leading to construction defects being the source of previous water issues.

The last flood was in March when a pipe burst in the Senate secretariat’s building. The House secretariat claims that photos being spread now are actually of that previous flood. The flooding this weekend drenched an exhibition to commemorate the 90th anniversary of Parliament, with display booths being knocked over by the strong winds of the tropical storm. Cleaning crews have been instructed to restore the booths after drying up the area.

SOURCE: The Nation 1 & 2

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.