At a press conference today from Bangkok Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha defended the almost certain to be extended Emergency Decree after the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, announced earlier in the day they voted to extend the Decree for another month.
The final decision on the Emergency Decree extension will be made at the weekly Thai Cabinet meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Tuesday June 30th, in Bangkok. However, as Prime Minister Prayut leads both the CCSA and the Thai Cabinet the decision appears to be nearly certain. The Emergency Decree gives the Thai Government sweeping powers to control the potential spread of Covid-19 and allows management of the process from a single level versus provincial governors. The decree also carries stiff penalties for breaking rules, including gatherings. Critics have claimed the extension of the decree is political and based around fear of allowing opposition to the government and expressing freedoms. The proposal for extension would extend the Decree to the end of July.
Prime Minister Prayut dismissed those claims and said they were incorrect and did not understand the scope of the situation. He stated that the Thai Government was opening the riskiest businesses as part of Phase Five this week, along with schools, and without the Emergency Decree powers to oversee this process there would be more risk for the Thai people as a whole. He attributed the decree as a major reason for Thailand’s success in handling the Covid-19 Coronavirus situation. Thailand has not recorded a single locally spread confirmed case in 35 days.
Prayut said that without the decree being able to close or potentially restrict entire areas and businesses that were found to have the virus would be made much more difficult, as would the process in re-opening businesses like bars, clubs and pubs. He also stated that the Decree was primarily an administrative process at this point and did not affect the day to day lives of citizens with aspects like curfew and domestic travel restrictions having been lifted several weeks before. He also reminded the public that the decree could be canceled at any time and the decree would be reviewed once authorities and the CCSA had time to monitor any issues that arose from opening entertainment venues and schools.