State of emergency extended for another month

The Emergency Decree will remain in effect through May, and measures including flight bans, the night time curfew, the ban on social gatherings, and travel restrictions between provinces will continue to be enforced, announced Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesperson Taweesin Visanuyothin on Monday (27 April.)

A disease control checkpoint in Nong Khai, 27 March 2020 (Source: Thai PRD)

In a press conference on 29 April, Dr Taweesin said that the CCSA will be announcing a plan to loosen lockdown measures before 1 May. The CCSA also proposed to postpone all public holidays in May in order to deter travelling and large gatherings, But the proposal was rejected by the Cabinet. Nevertheless, the public is still advised to remain indoors. 

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) also announced that it will be extending its international flight ban until 31 May.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Communicable Disease Committee this morning announced a list of establishments that can reopen under strict precaution measures, including restaurants outside of shopping malls, flea markets, barbers and hairdressing salons, hospitals and clinics, golf courses, and pet grooming services. Meanwhile, tennis courts, badminton courts, and running tracks are allowed to open but competitions and team sports are still prohibited. Public parks may also reopen, but group exercise and gatherings remain prohibited.

Following the announcement of the State of Emergency extension, the Student Union of Thailand (SUT) issued a statement expressing concern that the extension will not be for the purposes of preventing further spread of the virus but for restricting the rights and liberties of the people. The SUT is also concerned that the extension will have too severe an impact on people’s lives.

The SUT calls for the government to reconsider extending the State of Emergency and to consider using other legislation such as the Communicable Disease Act to impose disease control measures, and also to consider extending relief measures to every citizen affected by measures imposed under the Emergency Decree.

The Chulalongkorn University student group Spring Movement, formerly the organizers of the “CU Assemble” student protest in late February, also issued a statement calling for the government to reconsider the State of Emergency extension, and to prioritize both the people’s health and freedom in issuing new disease control measures. The group is also calling for the government to make sure its relief policy covers everyone who has been affected by the Decree.

Chaitawat Tulaton, an MP from the Move Forward Party, a new political party formed by former Future Forward Party (FFP) MPs after the FFP’s dissolution, also told Khaosod English that the move to extend the State of Emergency is “irresponsible” and that “the decree seems to be a remedy for dictators, but it’s not a magic pill which will solve the problem.” Chaitawat also said that the government should be loosening the lockdown measures as people are facing economic problems caused by the pandemic.

For the first time in recent weeks, the number of new Covid-19 cases dropped below 10 cases per day. As of 29 April, Thailand has a total of 2,947 cases of Covid-19, 2,665 of which have already been discharged from hospital, and a death toll of 54.

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