Anutin criticises 'careless' health personnel, apologises again

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.

Related search: health personnel, personnel, face masks, facebook account

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Writer: Gary Boyle
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