BANGKOK: Thailand announced 2 more deaths on Wednesday bringing the total to 12 with 120 new infections. There are currently, however, 1,771 confirmed cases with 1,417 people under care for the disease. The government on Tuesday extended its programme for self-employed and informal workers to cover 9 million of the 21.7 million who applied for the aid since Saturday. The Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha, in a stern warning, said that those who received the money on a false basis would be pursued. On Tuesday, the government agreed to automatic visa extensions to those who arrived in Thailand after March 1st.
The Thai Prime Minister suggested on Tuesday that the current Covid 19 emergency could be extended by up to three months. His comments come as the number of new infections has dropped off in Bangkok and Nonthaburi province. However, the PM hinted that the increase in infections being announced, was linked to testing numbers but that the number of people presenting themselves at hospitals has increased. He also warned that if the public does not heed calls to stop travelling, an order could be given to halt all public transport.
The Thai Prime Minister has indicated that the government could feasibly extend the state of emergency which came into force last week beyond the April 30th date.
This was provided for in the initial order which also has a mechanism to cut short the emergency if the prime minister decided to do so. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan ocha was speaking after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday when he floated the prospect.
Government unlikely to lift the state of emergency early even as infections slow in Bangkok
He told reporters that the government was unlikely to lift the state of emergency at an earlier stage. He did suggest however that some orders may be rescinded if the situation on the ground was to warrant it.
He said that the rising numbers of infection were the result of increased testing in Thailand and significantly, more people presenting themselves to hospitals seeking care with symptoms of the virus.
Transport network in focus as calls grow to close it down and Prayauth’s warning that it may happen
General Prayuth said that the government had heard calls to shut down transport networks within the country to prevent mobility between the provinces and the spread of the infection but was weighing up such an action which would have severe consequences for those most in need.
He warned, however, that it may still be necessary and he urged the general public to stay put in whatever abode they find themselves in now and not to move during this crisis.
2 more deaths bringing the total to 12
On Tuesday, the Covid 19 Administration Centre announced a further 120 infections from the virus and 2 more deaths.
One was a 79-year-old man from a southern border province who died from the effects of the disease coupled with diabetes and renal failure.
One victim had been at a wedding in Malaysia, the other a business executive returned from the UK
The elderly man was one of those who attended a religious gathering in Malaysia to mark a wedding on March 7th. He had fallen ill on March 20th and died at 8 am on Tuesday.
The other death was that of a 58-year-old business executive who had returned from the United Kingdom to Thailand on March 14th.
The patient had symptoms of the disease from March 12th and was admitted to hospital on Wednesday, March 15th dying on Tuesday at 9 am.
Government spokesman highlights that the number of infections remains at over 100 on a daily basis
The information was given by Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin. He drew attention to the number again being over 100.
‘The increased rate of local cases is not good because the daily new cases exceed 100,’ Dr Taweesin said.
The spokesman did, however, highlight that the number of infections in Bangkok and its adjacent province of Nonthaburi where a curfew was imposed on Tuesday, had fallen.
Dr Taweesin, however, still urged people to stay away from the capital.
Government agrees on automatic visa extensions for tourists who arrived in Thailand after March 1st
The Thai cabinet on Tuesday also agreed on a measure for foreigners in Thailand seeking visa extensions.
All those who arrived in Thailand after March 1st will now automatically have their visas extended by one month and will not need to attend local immigration offices.
While the extension is now being reported to be for a further 30 days, the Immigration Bureau had been looking for an extension to June 30th.
Still concerns for foreigners in Thailand before March 1st and crowding at immigration centres
This will mean that foreigners in Thailand, before March 1st, will still be required to attend to immigration issues and requirements on a normal basis.
Concerns have been expressed at the level of activity at Immigration Bureau facilities particularly at the Chaeng Watthana Road centre, the largest in the country.
The measure announced on Tuesday will help this.
The Immigration Bureau last week even opened new offices in Muang Thong Thani, near the centre, to cope with the increased demands from foreigners seeking to keep their paperwork in order.
The extent of the foreign population in Thailand right now can be seen from a statement by Nonthaburi Governor, Sujin Chaichumsak, on Tuesday claiming that there were 700,000 foreigners alone living in Nonthaburi province adjacent to Bangkok.
PM warns those who improperly receive the ฿5,000 monthly payouts that there will be a reckoning
The Prime Minister, Prayuth Chan ocha, also on Tuesday warned that many of the 21.7 million applicants for the ฿5,000 payouts to self-employed and informal workers will not qualify for the payments.
It is now expected that up to 9 million will receive benefits under the scheme. This was agreed also by the cabinet on Tuesday.
After the meeting, General Prayuth said that those who received the funding on a false or unjustified basis will be pursued by authorities and the money must be returned.