Thailand Ready for Stage 3 Virus Outbreak, Prayut Says

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday announced on national TV that the government is ready to step up measures to contain COVID-19 if the country reached the so-called Stage 3 virus outbreak, or the full-blown epidemic.

Prayut called for an emergency meeting on Monday after Sunday saw the biggest daily jump in COVID-19 case, with 32 people infected with the virus.

Monday saw another 33 newly infected, bringing the total tally to 147.

“We will be able to contain the outbreak of the virus in a few weeks, as we have strong public health system, but we need cooperation and collaboration from various sectors including the public,” said Prayut.

“There is no need to go on a panic run to supermarkets to stockpile food, face masks and hand sanitizers,” said Prayut.

“I can assure you that the government has enough food supplies and face masks. We have never been complacent in dealing with emergencies and crises,” he said. “And we have worked effectively to identify infected people through screening, all in line with global standard practice.”

“The government is also providing full support to medical personnel in equipment, safety and morale as they hold key in the fight against the virus,” said Prayut.

“We will be endorsing to the Cabinet on Tuesday, more stringent measures to contain the outbreak, including a temporary ban on mass activities and closure of high-risk venues such as sports stadium and entertainment premises,” said Prayut, asking the public not to circulate unconfirmed news.

The Ministry of Industry last week also told the media that it had instructed some 80,000 factories across Thailand to take precautionary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their work places.

According to a ministerial announcement issued to all factories in Thailand, the owners and managers of the factories are told to provide hand sanitizer, soap or alcohol to workers, and that workers are advised to wear face masks.

Factories should disinfect areas most exposed to hand contact, the announcement said.

Employees should delay or avoid foreign trips, especially to high-risk countries, until April or until there is a further advisory from the government, it said.

In case travel abroad is unavoidable, the travelers must exercise caution and follow the recommendations of health officials strictly by entering a self-quarantine for 14 days, it added.