Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul got a little miffed at Western tourists at an event today when several European tourists rebuffed the protective facemasks that he was personally distributing on a Bangkok street.
Anutin said the rude foreigners should be reported to their embassies and expelled from Thailand. Asian tourists and especially Chinese were meanwhile happily accepting the masks, he said. He used slang terms seen as derogatory to some foreigners during the outburst that was caught on camera.
The Chinese are perhaps in a mood to be grateful after the government decided to keep granting them visas on arrival.
At the same time, Anutin and other officials have been strongly criticised by fellow Thais online for the government’s initially slow and ineffective response to the virus outbreak.
Anutin later apologised on Facebook for his comment, insisting the government is doing its best to tackle the situation and deserved respect for trying – not the kind of rejection he experienced.