Reporters Told to Stay Away From Gov’t House After Infection Report

The locked gate at Government House on March 30, 2020.

BANGKOK — A government spokeswoman on Tuesday asked reporters not to report on-site at Government House after a health officer working there tested positive for the coronavirus.

Naruemon Pinyosinwat said she reached out to editors and media outlets nationwide asking them to watch broadcasts via state channel NBT or the government’s Thai Khu Fah Facebook page for updates instead of attending the news conferences.

“We have to increase safety measures to protect people at Government House,” Naruemon said. “Media can work from home.”

Naruemon also said the media will start receiving information and photos about the cabinet meeting via Google Drive, the government’s website, and Line groups for Government House beat reporters.

Even the Cabinet meeting itself will take place via video conferencing, although Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha will still show up at Government House in person and chair the meeting.

Read: 2-Meter Interviews: Thai Media Forced to Adapt to Coronavirus Pandemic

Health ministry spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin previously said a 46-year-old male health ministry worker from the COVID-19 Response Center at Government House tested positive for the virus.

He fell ill on March 26, but assumed he only had an allergy. He became a confirmed infected case on March 29 and is now at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute.

The unnamed official was not involved in patient treatment duties, Taweesin said. About 30 officials who worked in close contact with the man are currently in self-isolation.

The Santi Maitri building at Government House, where the response center is housed, has been disinfected and will be closed for four days. The entire complex will be disinfected at 3pm Tuesday.

Despite the spokeswoman’s request, some media agencies still dispatched reporters to cover Government House Tuesday.

The media room at Government House on March 31, 2020.

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