BANGKOK — The health minister on Wednesday declined to explain why he removed an order that required people arriving from nine countries hit by the coronavirus to be placed in a self-quarantine.
According to the now-deleted document Anutin Charnvirakul posted on his official Facebook page, nine countries were designated “disease areas” and people traveling from there could be subject to health measures. He also added his own message that they include a compulsory quarantine.
“Everyone arriving from these nine countries which have been declared as ‘disease areas’ will have to self-quarantine for 14 days without exception. We will fight through this together,” Anutin wrote in the post.
The countries and territories mentioned in the document are Germany, Japan, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, France, Singapore, Italy, and Iran.
But just hours after the announcement appeared, the post – as well as Anutin’s page itself – became inaccessible without any apparent reason.
When reached for comment today at the Government House, Anutin denied any knowledge about it.
“I’m also wondering how the document ended up there, since I haven’t signed it. It’s still in my room,” Anutin said. “I have to revise it again because the issue of undocumented Thai workers returing from South Korea just came in. I need to look back into the issue before making changes.”
When a reporter pressed him on why he deactivated his Facebook account after publishing the post, Anutin chuckled and attempted to sidetrack the question.
“My son wants me to rest,” Anutin said. “In fact, I have many Facebook accounts to communicate with the public. Some of the posts were written by myself, while others by my team.”
The now-deleted post, which was shared for at least 900 times, showed scanned images of the official announcement completed with Anutin’s signature.
The post was also widely picked up by both Thai and foreign media outlets including CNN, causing much confusion for some travelers.
It’s not Anutin’s first gaffe related to his communication. In early February, he raised much controversy by suggesting foreign tourists who don’t wear face masks in Thailand should be kicked out.