Virus Decree Extension Proposed for Another Month

A pro-democracy protest on Aug. 16, 2020 at Democracy Monument.

BANGKOK — The government’s coronavirus response center will propose to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha for the emergency decree to be extended another month, an army commander said Wednesday.

Deputy army chief Gen. Nattapol Nakpanich said precautionary measures must be taken to prevent a second wave by extending the decree, which expires Aug. 31.

“The emergency decree does not affect the lives of citizens and even allows for demonstrations to be held,” Nattapol said. “Therefore, its use is still necessary.”

If approved, it would be the fifth extension of the emergency law since it was enacted March 26.

Government officials insist the decree was solely for combating the coronavirus, but it has also been used as a tool to charge pro-democracy protest leaders; activists Arnon Nampha and Panupong Jadnok were arrested Aug. 7 for sedition and breaking the emergency decree.

National Security Council sec-gen Somsak Rungsita had said the extension is unrelated to the ongoing protests, and the provision banning public assemblies will be removed.