At a meeting between members of the National Security Council and the CCSA (Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration) both parties approved this afternoon a proposal to extend the emergency decree, which will now be presented to the Prime Minister to make a final decision on tomorrow.
The decree gives the government and the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha, sweeping powers. The Government states these powers allow them to better manage the situation with the Covid19 Coronavirus. Opponents of the decree claim it is not needed now that Thailand has gone over 55 days without a single locally spread case and that other laws can handle issues like repatriation of Thai Nationals and quarantine for foreigners.
The Government states that due to the pandemic still raging around the world and more phases planned around loosening rules and regulations introduced to control the Covid-19 Coronavirus that the decree is necessary. They also stated that exisiting rules do not allow them to properly control the situation and could lead to “piecemeal” solutions by provincial governors.
The head of the committee that decides what regulations and restrictions to loosen, Somsak Roongsita, has said the extension of the decree has nothing to do with the recent case of two foreigners on state quarantine exemptions in the country that were infected with Covid19. One, a 43 year old Egyptian soldier, visited a shopping mall on July 11 in Rayong province causing a panic but no sign of new infections as of today.
Opponents of extending the decree on Thai media fear the decree could be used to potentially curb anti government protests that have begun again, with large crowds gathering over the past weekend to protest Thai government policies. The decree contains a ban on mass gatherings and draconian penalities for violations.
In Pattaya, the decree supercedes the city having special administrative status which allows many benefits such as later closing for entertainment venues and special rulesets. Currently, all nightlife venues are ordered by a national order to close at midnight.
The proposal to extend the decree is not final and needs approval from the Prime Minister who is widely expected to extend it. He is scheduled to review the proposal tomorrow, Wednesday, July 22.