BANGKOK — The government on Friday decided to extend the emergency decree for another month through June, although no new cases of coronavirus were reported on the same day.
Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for the COVID-19 Situation Administration, said the extension is necessary to allow the Prime Minister’s measures to be implemented promptly and in unison. He also said the global situation remains largely unstable.
“The world’s graph is increasing steeply, while Thailand’s graph almost reaches zero. If there’s no law to contain the situation, those skyrocketing figures may spill into our country,” Taweesin said. “If we want to proceed to Phase 3 or 4 [of business reopening] without the decree, what will happen?”
The spokesman did not elaborate on which measures will remain in effect for another month. A nighttime curfew and ban on large gatherings are currently in place under the Emergency Decree.
Opposition leaders were quick to criticize the extension, which they suspected PM Prayut Chan-o-cha to be exploiting for his political gain.
“The public is fully aware of the problem and have already adapted to the new norms. There is no reason to extend the decree further,” Move Forward Party general secretary Chaitawat Tulaton said. “The future of Thailand should be decided by the benefit of the majority, not for Gen. Prayut’s security.”
The number of new infections dropped below 10 over the past two weeks, while the total count of confirmed infections now stands at 3,037 cases.
Although the government previously said the vaccines for COVID-19 may be available next year, Taweesin said only a small batch of vaccines will likely be produced by that time. Mass production of the vaccines would then take two years.
As of Friday, 71 infected patients are being treated at hospitals, while 2,910 patients have recovered.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated that the Emergency Decree was extended. In fact, the decision was not yet formal, pending a Cabinet decision.