Virus Emergency Decree To Be Renewed For 6th Time

A file photo of people wearing masks in public space.
A file photo of people wearing masks in public space.

BANGKOK — The government’s response center to the coronavirus pandemic on Monday agreed to extend the emergency decree for another month, the same day officials reported 22 new cases of infection in the country.

Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, said the extension is purely intended for disease control purposes. The emergency rule is set to expire on Sept. 30.

“Its use is still necessary for disease control measures,” Taweesin said. “There are other laws in place for demonstrations.”

Read: Extension of Emergency Decree ‘Not Related to Politics’

The decision is yet to be formally approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday. If approved, it would be the sixth extension of the emergency law since it was enacted March 26.

Taweesin also said that the response center’s meeting, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha this morning, approved the proposal to allow six more groups of foreign nationals to enter the country amid the pandemic.

They include professional cyclists participating in a royal cup tournament, flight crews of Thai Airways, tourists arriving on the “Special Tourist Visa,” and APEC travel card holders, the spokesman said.

Foreign business people holding a non-immigrant B visa and those who wish to visit Thailand for a short business trip are also allowed to enter Thailand, though they must present a six-month bank statement showing at least an equivalent of 500,000 baht in their bank accounts upon their arrival.

Natapanu Nopakun, the English-language spokesman of the center, also dismissed news of another visa amnesty extension, saying that the decision is yet to be made by the Cabinet tomorrow. 

Natapanu’s remark contradicted the immigration police spokesman, who said in a separate interview that an amnesty is very likely. 

The pandemic center reported 22 new cases of infection in the state quarantine on Monday.

The new patients include 16 Thai soldiers returning from a UN peacekeeping mission in South Sudan, four Indian business people from India, a Thai student returning from Pakistan, and a Thai military student returning from the Philippines, Taweesin said.

The country’s cumulative cases of infection now stands at 3,545.