BANGKOK: The government today has announced a state of emergency to come into effect on Thursday next giving the government sweeping powers to control the virus. One of its first challenges is to control the exodus of people out of Bangkok where the infection rate is higher and into the provinces. With 3 new deaths on Tuesday, the real war against this virus now begins as the government moves to deploy its limited health resources to keep control of the situation. The kingdom is expected to face a major challenge in the coming weeks.

Thailand has announced an emergency decree which comes into force on Thursday. The measure is aimed at controlling the Covid 19 virus and its outbreak.

Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha and the government have been given sweeping powers following a state of emergency decree which becomes effective on Thursday. It includes the power to order the lockdown of the population and control over the media in order to prevent panic or the distortion of information.

The decree gives extraordinary powers to the government in a state of emergency. The new order will be in effect for not more than 3 months.

A spokeswoman for the government today said the emergency is foreseen to last until April 30th next.

However, the order gives the prime minister the power, in consultation with the Council of Ministers, to extend the period of the emergency decree if required. He may also decide to cancel the state of emergency if circumstances improve and the threat facing the kingdom recedes.

The new order gives the prime minister the power to appoint a deputy prime minister to chair an emergency situation committee which will review measures to deal with the Covid 19 emergency.

State of Emergency decree effective on Thursday

Following the order which comes into effect on Thursday, the prime minister will have a wide range of powers to order a lockdown.

This will mean people may not leave their homes without permission from a competent official.

There will be no assemblies or meetings which may agitate or promote unrest under this new state of governance.

Government can order the prohibition of media for creating fear or distortion of information

The prime minister may also order the prohibition of any publication or media which publishes information which instils fear in the public or which distorts information leading to a misunderstanding during this emergency.

The prime minister may also prohibit transport activities or stipulate conditions for transportation within the kingdom.

He may also order a prohibition on the use of buildings or entry into any such place. There is also a power to order an evacuation of designated areas or to make an order prohibiting anyone from entering such areas.

2005 Emergency Decree Act being used as the legal vehicle to give the government sweeping powers

Under the new emergency decree as provided for in Section 18 of the 2005 Emergency Decree Act, anyone found in contravention of these powers shall be liable to a term of imprisonment of up to 2 years or a fine of ฿40,000 or both.

Cabinet decision followed a presentation from General Anupong Paochinda, the Minster of  Interior

The decision of the cabinet on Tuesday followed a briefing by the Minister of The Interior, General Anupong Paochinda.

He recommended the 2005 Emergency Decree Act as the best available legal apparatus to deal with emergency situations and the crisis facing the country.

He underlined that the purpose of the sweeping new powers was to support the work of the Ministry of Public Health in combating the virus which poses such a threat to the country.

3 deaths, 106 new infections and high infection rates

Thailand earlier today announced 3 more deaths from the Covid 19 virus and 106 new infections. The government is currently reviewing the situation with plans for economic supports and urgent action being considered to stem the spread of the virus. 

Top medical officials with the Ministry of Public Health on Tuesday revealed that the infectiousness rate of the disease is 1:3 in Bangkok and 1: 2 in the provinces, both of which are high numbers equivalent to a basic reproduction number of 3.0 and 2.0 for the Covid 19 virus which is spread to airborne droplets.

Further reading:

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