COVID-19: Thailand plans to extend state of emergency for another month

by BERNAMA / pic by BERNAMA

BANGKOK — Thailand’s National Security Council (NSC) today proposed to extend the state of emergency for another month, until end of July to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections. 

While the kingdom has reported zero local COVID-19 transmission for 31 consecutive days, National Security Council secretary-general Gen Somsak Roongsita said the situation across the globe remains a concern. 

“As Thailand will reopen high-risk businesses and venue such as entertainment outlets and schools starting July 1, there is a necessity to effectively control and prevent another outbreak in the kingdom.

“We need to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak second wave in Thailand,” he said at a press conference here today.

The extension is subject to Cabinet approval next Tuesday.

The current state of emergency will be due on June 30. Thailand has extended its state of emergency three times so far.  

Thailand first declared a state of emergency from March 26 to April 30, and then extended it to May 31 to combat COVID-19 before extending it again. 

Meanwhile, Somsak reiterated that the reason to extend state of emergency is for health security.

“It has nothing to do with politics,” he said.

Earlier, local media reported that the opposition leaders have urged the government to end the state of emergency, alleging that it gives the authorities the power to stop mass gatherings and suppress fundamental freedoms.

Somsak who chaired a meeting on easing COVID-19 restrictions and measures today said the committee recommended to extend the state of emergency which will be due on June 30.

Thailand was the first country outside China to report a case of COVID-19 on Jan 13.

As the COVID-19 situation in the kingdom continues to improve, Thailand began its first phase of relaxation on May 3, followed by the second phase on May 17, third phase (June 1) and fourth phase (June 15), while the fifth and the final phase will begin on July 1.

Meanwhile, the country reported one new COVID-19 case – a Thai student who returned from Egypt, in the last 24 hours, bringing the tally to 3,158 cases with 58 fatalities.