Colour coded system designates Bangkok as an ‘orange’ area where increased public and official caution is required over the coming days as the kingdom hopes to avoid a catastrophic second national lockdown.
Thai officials are still holding out hope that a nationwide lockdown can be avoided as the Prime Minister has signalled his displeasure at the kingdom’s employers who put the country at risk because of greed. It comes as the government has introduced a colour-coded system to help the public to understand the extent of the threat in highlighted provinces where vigilance is required. One of these, notably, is Bangkok.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan ocha has excoriated employers who brought illegal migrant workers into Thailand to exploit them for cheap labour.
General Prayut revealed that the government is looking at upgrading the system for the registration of migrant labour after the outbreak in Samut Sakhon, last weekend, has exposed the underbelly of Thai industries which are dependent on cheap foreign labour.
The PM made it clear that he does not blame the migrant workers who, he pointed out on Thursday, must be provided for and treated in this current emergency.
He blamed the employers and said that those responsible should be ashamed of themselves.
Prime Minister apologises to the public for curtailing end of year celebrations in some areas over the virus
The prime minister apologised to the public in some of the provinces for the fact that end of year celebrations would be limited in scope.
After a meeting of the Covid 19 Situation Administration on Thursday, chaired by General Prayut, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin told the media that there would be no national lockdown at this stage, as authorities fight to curtail the outbreak in Samut Sakhon and several other smaller provincial clusters such as one in Tak.
Officials have now confirmed that New Year’s Eve and end of year celebrations will be impacted in key provinces to facilitate efforts to control any potential spread.
30 provinces now have local infections
The virus has now spread to 30 provinces but the government has introduced a simple colour-coded system to keep the public abreast of the current situation and to encourage individual responsibility.
At present, only Samut Sakhon province is designated as red.
This means strong controls within the province including restrictions on travel for migrant workers and road checkpoints. No gatherings of any nature are allowed at this time.
Factories in Samut Sakhon and offices are still open although work from home is being encouraged. Schools and entertainment venues are closed.
4 provinces including Bangkok are code orange
The next colour coded group is orange and this comprises of four provinces where more than 10 local cases of infection have been recorded.
These provinces are Bangkok, Samut Songkhram, Ratchaburi and Nakhon Pathom.
Public gatherings here are restricted in size while some venues have been closed in specific districts. Authorities and the public are encouraged to be attentive and aware of the possibility of new cases.
25 provinces have been coded yellow and these have less than 10 cases.
These are Angthong, Ayutthaya, Chainat, Chaiyaphum, Chachoengsao, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nonthaburi, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Prachin Buri, Krabi, Pathum Thani, Phuket, Phetchabun, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Prakan, Saraburi, Suphan Buri, Surat Thani, Udon Thani and Uttaradit.
47 provinces are green including Chonburi
The remaining 47 provinces are all still Covid-19 free and have been coloured green.
One of these is still Chonburi where on the 17th December last, a 19-year-old Cambodian woman, found entering the country illegally and who tested positive, was brought for treatment at a local hospital even though the woman was asymptomatic.
James Morris is a pename for an international writer based in Bangkok who works on various international news media. He is a sub editor with the Thai Examiner news website since it began in 2015. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.