Thai Minister of Public Health suggests charging people who are caught illegally gambling and other Covid-19 violations for their treatment and tests

Thailand-

The Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, made a suggestion at a meeting of the Ministry of Public Health yesterday, January 9th, 2021, to charge people who are caught violating Covid-19 measures such as illegal gambling or holding private parties for their treatment, testing, and other related fees if they are Covid-19 positive.

This follows hundreds of cases being traced from illegal gambling establishments, especially in Rayong and Chonburi, that were breaking not just the law but also Covid-19 related safety measures like not holding large gatherings.

Currently, Thailand provides free treatment for all Thai nationals for Covid-19 regardless of the source. They are also providing free treatment for migrant workers who are unable to pay and free testing for anyone identified as a high-risk contact of a positive Covid-19 case. This is covered under the constitution, Section 47, which states that “A person shall have the right to prevent and eliminate dangerous communicable diseases from the state free of charge.”

However, Anutin has stated that he believes those that continue to violate and break the rules despite many warnings and clear public notice should not get the same benefits as an honest citizen. He also stated that the behaviors of those holding illegal gatherings, parties, and gambling were causing thousands of business owners and estimated millions of people lack of jobs and work currently due to Covid-19 related closures, regulations, and measures in many provinces, including Chonburi.

Anutin concluded the meeting and a social media update on the event by stating he would be meeting with relevant agencies next week to determine what legal precedent there could be for enacting these changes and concluded by saying that “People who do the wrong thing should not get the same rights as those who do the right thing.”

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