Prayut Declares State of Emergency Amid Virus Outbreak

A file photo of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

BANGKOK — Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said an emergency decree, along with a raft of new restrictive measures, will come into effect on Thursday.

Speaking in a televised address, Prayut said the enactment of the 2005 Royal Decree of Emergency Situations is necessary to stem the coronavirus epidemic, which claimed four lives in Thailand as of the latest count.

Under the decree, the Prime Minister will have the sole authority in implementing policies designed to combat the pandemic through the Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation, Prayut said. The center will meet daily at 9.30am to monitor the epidemic and take necessary actions.

He said specific measures concerning the public will be detailed at a later date, though the emergency decree empowers authorities to impose curfews, ban travels, and close down buildings without warrants.



Security officers will also have the power to censor and shut down media if deemed necessary.

The emergency situation will be in place from Thursday through April 30, according to the Prime Minister.

The last time the emergency decree was invoked was in January 2014, when PM Yingluck Shinawatra adopted it to stop mass protests against alleged nepotism and corruption in her administration. The decree failed to disperse the protests, and four months later, in May 2014, Gen. Prayut staged a coup and toppled the elected administration.