BANGKOK — The emergency decree is extended through May, the government announced Monday, the same day officials reported yet another fatality related to the coronavirus.
Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of COVID-19 monitoring task force, said the decree would remain in effect for another month, and measures such as a ban on inbound international flights, nighttime curfew, a ban on social gatherings, and travel restrictions between provinces will also be enforced, he said.
“The enactment of emergency decree allowed the prime minister’s orders to be implemented promptly and in unison, causing the number of new cases in Thailand to drop gradually,” Taweesin said. “We also found 70 percent of the surveyed population to agree with the emergency decree.”
Kalin Sarasin, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said that he agreed with the emergency decree extension.
“Businesses worldwide are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and most people are staying at home,” Kalin said. “The private sector sees that lives and safety are the most important thing right now.”
The government is expected to reopen businesses according to the level of risk associated with the venues, categorized into white, green, yellow, and red codes.
But opposition politicians criticized the extension. Chaitawat Tulaton, an MP from the Move Forward Party, slammed the move as “irresponsible.”
Chaitawat said the government should loosen lockdown measures, since people are facing hunger and economic havoc caused by the epidemic.
“The decree seems to be a remedy for dictators, but it’s not a magic pill which will solve the problem,” Chaitawat said. “It might have helped to prepare public health measures, but from now on, the government should relax control measures and listen to people’s voices.”
Lowest New Cases In Weeks
Taweesin also said the 52nd person to die of coronavirus in Thailand is a 64-year-old woman in Phuket who had anaemia prior to the infection. She is believed to have contracted the virus from one of her five family members who tested positive earlier, he added.
The number of new infections also dropped below 10 for the first time in recent weeks.
Three of the nine newly infected were those who were close to individuals previously diagnosed with the virus, four were found during an active case finding strategy in Yala province, while another two were Thai returnees from the US, Taweesin said.
The total count of confirmed infections now stands at 2,931 cases. As of Monday, 270 infected patients are being treated at hospitals, while 2,609 patients have recovered.