Prayut Says He Prioritizes Health Measures Over Economic Ones

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha visits a charity event on May 12, 2020.

BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha reconfirmed on Tuesday health safety measures will be continually given higher priorities in face of the global pandemic than social and economic ones.

Asked how soon emergency rule and curfew could be lifted, the prime minister, who concurrently acts as head of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said the government will continue to put the health safety measures above the social economic relief measures to which the sustained emergency rule and curfew may be considered as obstacles.

Prayut made his comments in response to news reports that he had ordered the National Security Council and the Internal Security Operations Command to conduct an opinion poll to find out whether most people may prefer to see emergency rule and curfew effective beyond the end of this month or not.

The CCSA will continue to take into account the public health measures to stem the pandemic ahead of the social and economic measures, Prayut said.


The authorities cannot become reckless about the health safety measures even if the number of newly confirmed cases might come down to zero, he commented.

Meanwhile, the prime minister said the CCSA is scheduled on the upcoming Friday to consider easing up restrictions under anti-pandemic measures for department stores, shopping malls and other businesses.


Prayut said the authorities are currently assessing results of the waiver of the ban on relatively small businesses in order to consider how the restrictions to the big businesses will be eased up as well.

That referred to the reopening of restaurants, food shops, cafes and open-air markets where the seating for customers may only be provided under social distancing rule and the sales of alcoholic beverages at supermarkets, convenience stores and liquor stores.

Those restaurants and others might be ordered to close again only if they failed to observe the social distancing order among their customers, he said.