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Emergency decree extended

Military personnel who are among 151 members of the Royal Thai Army Combat Team go through a health check at Suvarnabhumi airport on their return from a training session in Hawaii on Wednesday. The personnel, 10 of whom were shown to have fever, are being quarantined in a hotel in Pattaya. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

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The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Wednesday approved the extension of the emergency decree for another month until Aug 31. The current ban on public gatherings will, however, be lifted as soon as the extension takes effect.

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said the extension was necessary because although the coronavirus was still spreading worldwide Thailand was allowing in foreign visitors and easing lockdowns on business and activities that posed a high risk of disease transmission.

The emergency decree allows the government to restrict arrivals, follow up suspected cases of Covid-19 and impose disease control measures on all business and activities, Dr Taweesilp said.

The emergency decree was the government's best tool for imposing a quarantine on infected people, said National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Gen Somsak Roongsita.

"We have already lifted the curfew," Somsak said. "What we will do next is to not enforce Section 9 of the decree, which bans gatherings. That will prove our intentions over disease control."

Meanwhile, the CCSA also approved the entry of foreign business representatives, specialists, diplomats, migrant workers, exhibitors, film crews, medical tourists and Thailand Elite card members.

The Labour Ministry would oversee the arrival of unskilled workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar to meet the demand for labour.

This included 69,235 workers who already had work permits and visas and wanted to return to work in Thailand.

Local employers planned to bring in another 42,168 workers who do not already have work permits or visas.

They would be employed in construction and food production, he said.

The companies demanding these workers would have to arrange for "organisational quarantine" at their own premises, where each room could accommodate more than one worker to save them money.

Such quarantine facilities must, however, meet disease control standards and be able to prevent migrant workers from getting out during quarantine.

Conventional state quarantine, in which a room is only used by one person, would cost nearly 20,000 baht per person and that was not wanted by the companies, Dr Taweesilp said.

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Vocabulary:

curfew : a law that does not allow people to go outside between a particular time in the evening and a particular time in the morning - กฎอัยการศึก คือห้ามออกนอกบ้านในยามวิกาล

emergency decree (noun): a situation where the government takes on special powers in a dangerous situation and the rights of the people are often limited in some way - ประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉิน  

extension : making a period of time longer - การขยายออกไป

gathering : an occasion when many people come together as a group - การรวมตัว, การประชุม

labour : people whose job involves hard physical work that is not skilled, especially work that is done outdoors - กรรมกร, ผู้ใช้แรงงาน

measures (noun): actions taken to solve a particular problem - มาตรการ

migrant worker : someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work - คนงานต่างถิ่น

premises : the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง

risk : the possibility that something dangerous or unpleasant might happen - ความเสี่ยง

tool (noun): a thing that helps you to do your job or to achieve something - เครื่องมือ

transmission : the spread of a disease from one person or animal to another - การแพร่เชื้อ

unskilled : not having enough ability, experience and knowledge to be able to do something well -

work permit (noun): the official permission for a foreigner to work in a country - ใบอนุญาตทำงาน

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