Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul attacks health personnel and then apologises. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul criticised medical personnel infected with the coronavirus, drawing anger in social media until he apologised.
The Bhumjaithai Party leader told reporters no health personnel caught the virus while on duty.
"As far as I know from a report, no doctor has been infected while they were treating Covid-19 patients," he said, when asked about the ministry's measures to better protect medical personnel.
"We're not happy with some health personnel who do not take good care of themselves. They should have set an example for others," he said.
The ministry reported earlier at least 11 health personnel were among the new infections.
People reacted angrily to his controversial remark on social media, making the "anutin" hashtag top-trending on Twitter.
The minister later came out to apologise. In an online video clip, he said he was under pressure and had not carefully listened to the question from reporters.
One Twitter account wrote after his video appearance: "Too late though. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all."
It is not the first time Mr Anutin has said something controversial.
In February, he apologised to the public for saying that a group of foreigners should be "kicked out of Thailand" for refusing to wear face masks.
He shut down his Facebook account on March 4 after posting a message that said all visitors from certain countries would face mandatory self-quarantine for two weeks when the announcement had not yet been made. He later claimed it was not him who posted the message.
The minister later returned on March 12 with the @anutin_c Twitter account which was also closed later after he wrote the western tourists he saw during a visit to Chiang Mai were dirty.
angrily (adv): in a way that shows you have strong feelings about something that you dislike very much or about an unfair situation - อย่างโกรธเคือง
apologise : to say you are sorry for doing something wrong or for causing a problem - ขอโทษ
controversial : causing disagreement or disapproval - ความไม่ลงรอยกัน
kicked out : removed; taken out by force -
mandatory : ordered by a law or rule - ตามข้อบังคับ
on duty : working at a particular time - อยู่ในหน้าที่
personnel : the people who are employed in a company, organization or one of the armed forces - บุคลากร, เจ้าหน้าที่, พนักงาน
protect : to make sure that somebody/something is not harmed, injured, damaged, etc - ป้องกัน,อารักขา,คุ้มกัน
set an example (idiom): act in a way that others can see and follow; to be an example for others in your actions - เป็นตัวอย่าง(ที่ดี)
under pressure : made to feel anxious about something you have to do - ภายใต้ความกดดัน