Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed the deployment of a 100-bed military hospital in Samut Sakhon to assist with the treatment of migrant workers in the province. He also expressed confidence that the situation there and throughout the kingdom will be brought under control.
The Prime Minister has appealed for the cooperation of the public as authorities move decisively to contain the fall out from the Covid 19 outbreak among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon. He indicated on Monday that the next seven days would be critical. During that time, he would weigh the need for further lockdown measures which could put paid to New Year’s Eve celebrations in Bangkok but, at the same time, underlined there was no need to panic.
The Thai Prime Minister has suggested that he will take seven days to assess the current outbreak which emerged in Samut Sakhon over the weekend when asked about the possible imposition of a ban on New Year’s celebrations in the capital.
It comes as the Governor of Bangkok, Mr Aswin Kwanmuang, has already announced a range of lockdown measures over the next 14 days in key districts. These are Bang Khunthien, Bang Bon and Nong Khaem districts.
Schools closed in three district of Bangkok as well as entertainment events without specific permission
The measures include the closure of all schools and an order for workers in Samut Sakhon province to work from home.
Under the current order, no New Year’s celebrations or any entertainment events are allowed by the BMA in those areas for two weeks. There is a provision for approved events if permission is sought and a viable plan is submitted to officials that addresses health and safety concerns.
Meanwhile, the Deputy Prime Minister, Wissanu Krea-ngam has confirmed that the government is looking at legal sanctions against officials responsible for allowing illegal migrants to enter into Thailand.
The government’s top legal adviser also said that currently, under the emergency powers and the Communicable Disease Act, there is enough scope for all provincial authorities to respond to the situation as it develops.
Stock market tumbled on Monday
The Bangkok SET stock exchange tumbled by 5.5% on Monday as fears grew that Thailand, like western countries, could be pushed into an uncontrollable second wave of the virus.
This is still thought unlikely.
Public Health Minister: Current outbreak is not an epidemic and can be controlled by authorities
On Monday, Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, confirmed that a 100-bed military hospital had been deployed in Samut Sakhon to assist with the treatment of predominantly Myanmar migrant labourers after the numbers of those infected zoomed up again on Sunday by more than 300 further cases with more expected as testing continues.
However, Minister Anutin expressed confidence that the situation would be controlled by authorities and said that Thailand is not currently experiencing anything like an epidemic.
There were two further cases announced in Bangkok on Monday, all linked to the Mahachai Market in Samut Sakhon.
Prime Minister concerned about Thailand’s border with Myanmar and lax regulation of migrant workers due to abuses by officials and employers
On Monday, the key concern for Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha was the porous nature of Thailand’s 2,500 km border with Myanmar.
He said candidly that he was not satisfied that the border was fully secure despite a raft of efforts including more on duty personnel, the use of advanced drone technology and equipment such as high powered searchlights to halt illegal crossings.
The PM called on the public to report any underhand dealings by local officials who now appear to have been lenient, in some places, in enforcing the law, aided by contradictions in legal provisions and regulations.
He accepted that some irresponsible Thai employers had evaded the law and had illegally brought back workers without quarantine from Myanmar to Thailand who had previously been sent out of the kingdom.
Warning to employers, you will be closed down
He warned that such employers face immediate closure if they are discovered to have done so while also calling for the public to only pass on firm and substantial intelligence reports of wrongdoing to officials that can be acted upon and not rumour or hearsay.
General Prayut also confirmed that random testing of migrant workers has now been ordered throughout the kingdom.
At the same time, he also expressed optimism that the situation can be controlled and turned around. ‘As a result, the number of infections will rise. Don’t panic, the situation will be resolved,’ he told the public.
He later added, as a condition, that this would be dependent on the public working with the government and behaving responsibly as the country works towards avoiding further and more widespread lockdowns which would prove disastrous for the still-struggling economy at this time.