HealthMin Proposes Removing China From Pandemic List

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Chinese president Xi Jinping during BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China on Sept. 5, 2017.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Chinese president Xi Jinping during BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China on Sept. 5, 2017.

BANGKOK — The government on Friday said it’s still deliberating on a proposal by health minister Anutin Charnvirakul who wants to remove China and South Korea from its list of countries with severe coronavirus pandemic.

Anutin said the move would restore economic and social ties with those two nations, though Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, said the matter is still in the pipeline.

“The proposal is not accepted at the moment. It’s just an idea proposed by the health minister during a meeting,” Taweesin said. “It has to be approved by the national committee on communicable diseases. There’s still a lot of process to go through.”

Anutin’s proposal cites the outbreak situation in both countries, which appears to be under control, Taweesin said.

He said the public should not worry about the return of foreign tourists since travel restriction measures are still enforced.

“This is not an appropriate moment for tourists to come,” Taweesin said. “If they have to face these restrictions, they would not want to come. Please be rest assured that it’s not free movement.”

According to official sources, China reported 17 new virus cases on Friday, including 16 that tested positive but were not showing symptoms. South Korea reported 13 new cases.

Both countries are currently designated by the health ministry as “Disease Infected Zones,” meaning that travelers from these countries are subjected to mandatory 14-day quarantine.

However, the rule has been superseded by the latest measures, which require all travelers from every country to spend 14 days at a government’s quarantine facility.

Foreigners, except diplomats, logistics crews, and work permit holders, are also barred from entering the country regardless of their nationality.

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