The Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan O’Cha, has approved a proposal by the National Security Council (NSC) and Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to extend the Emergency Decree until the end of August.
The Emergency Decree gives the Thai Government sweeping powers to manage from a “top down” perspective. It also gives the potential of strict penalties for those who disobey or break measures and regulations that are part of the decree.
The Thai Government has repeatedly stated that the Emergency Decree is needed to properly manage aspects of the Covid-19 situation, especially quarantine and measures to control groups of people who can enter the country. The NSC has stated that without the decree individual provincial governors will have to manage the process directly and that this could see different styles of management and approaches that could potentially cause issues.
Opponents, however, state that current laws such as the communicable disease control act, give more then enough protection to manage the situation without needing the decree. They also claim that the decree is or will be used to stop mass gatherings and anti-government protests versus control the virus.
Prime Minister Prayut strongly disagreed with those claiming the decree is to stop anti-government protests in a speech yesterday afternoon. He also said that the aspects of the decree which affected people’s lives, such as domestic travel restrictions, curfew and all gathering bans have been removed and essentially the decree is now a management tool and not a set of rules and measures.
The decree also takes precedence over region specific “exceptions” such as Pattaya’s special administrative status in which, in normal times, the city has a variety of special exceptions such as later entertainment closing times.
The decree, once it appears in the Royal Gazette which is expected shortly, will officially extend until the end of August. Thailand has not had a single confirmed locally spread case of Covid-19 in over 55 days.