The Thai government is reportedly considering an amnesty bill, granting medical personnel and related Covid-19 officials legal protection from criminal charges in order to fully allow operations among government officials to cope with the Covid-19 situation and the ability to “make tough decisions” without legal repercussions, according to prominent Thai government officials.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced today, August 9th, that the proposed draft law would grant legal protection to medical service staff, doctors, and those involved working on the Covid-19 situation without having to worry about various liability charges or criminal charges around the Covid-19 situation, vaccine rollout, and similar items.
It was not, however, clarified by Anutin if top-level officials like himself or the Prime Minister would also be granted amnesty by this proposed bill, which was a major concern of opposition parties on social media this afternoon who have been unhappy with the Covid-19 response from the Thai government.
According to Anutin, the law is aimed to protect those people from legal battles and criminal charges who are working very hard to battle the Covid-19 crisis in Thailand, including doctors, nurses, volunteers, CCSA officials, medical advisors, and others. However, the draft is under preparation and has not yet been proposed to the relevant departments, according to his statement.
Anutin stated: “This proposed draft law would also build confidence among Covid-19 related officials to relieve concerns about diagnosis, medical treatment, vaccine procurement, etc. The government wanted all medical personnel who have dedicated themselves to helping the people to have full morale during this hard time. This would also benefit Thai people and patients in the end.”
Anutin did not, however, specifically clarify how this would benefit patients.
Today’s announcement followed oppositional Move Forward Party’s accusations that the draft was primarily to exempt top officials who were involved with the controversial vaccination policy and allocation from criminal prosecution, which could include government officials such as the Prime Minister and the Public Health Minister himself. The Move Forward Party stated that they believed the government’s claims that it was primarily to legally protect doctors, nurses, and line-level officials was a “smoke shield” for their primary purpose.
As stated, however, as of press time the Thai Government has not specifically clarified whether the Prime Minister and other government ministers would be included in the draft and did not respond to questions from either government opposition parties, or the press, stressing that the pre-proposal was still a draft and in very early stages of discussion.
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