COVID-19: No rush to lift bans, restrictions – Thai PM

PRAYUTH: We have to closely monitor the situation. We should not rush (to lift the measures) but stay cautious. – Filepic

BANGKOK: Thailand Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha said the kingdom will not rush to lift COVID-19 bans and restrictions as the people’s health and safety are the government’s utmost priority.

As the COVID-19 situation in Thailand continues to improve with low numbers of new cases, Prayuth said the Cabinet will discuss and decide whether to extend the state of emergency, which is scheduled to end on April 30, as well as other bans and restrictions imposed to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, next week.

He said the relevant authorities will decide based on certain key factors including public cooperation and health issues.

“The situation is improving with low numbers of new daily cases. However, we have to closely monitor the situation. We should not rush (to lift the measures) but stay cautious.

“The decision to lift bans and restrictions will not be made under any pressure. The most important things are evaluating the situation and advice from health experts. If we rush to ease measures, the pandemic will return. Our efforts carried out to curb COVID-19 outbreak before will be a failure,” he said after chairing the weekly Cabinet meeting here today.

Today, Thailand reported 19 new COVID-19 cases and one fatality, bringing the tally to 2,811 and 48 deaths.

A 50-year-old Thai taxi driver is the latest fatality reported after three days of zero fatalities.

To date, 2,108 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospitals while 655 remain at hospitals.

On retail and business operators called to resume their businesses, Prayuth said the related operators will propose their operation plans including temperature checks and social distancing.

“If the situation is not ready, the closure will be extended,” he said.

Prayuth also raised concern about the high number of those violating the curfew imposed from 10 pm to 4 am nationwide.

Yesterday, 672 people violated the order, including 65 gathering in large groups.

Meanwhile, Prayuth denied seeking ‘cash donations’ from the kingdom’s 20 richest people for help in addressing the economic fallout from COVID-19 pandemic.

He reiterated that a letter to the 20 richest in the kingdom was to seek proposals and plans to help in post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

“The letter clearly stated that the government does not accept cash donations,” he said.

Meanwhile, Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin said Thailand's to step up screening at migrant workers facilities followed the surge in COVID-19 cases in Singapore’s migrant workers’ dorms.

“There are about three million migrant workers in the kingdom. Volunteers on migrant workers will help to raise awareness and disseminate information to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the kingdom,” he said.