Prayut explains govt 'handling' of crisis

Prayut explains govt 'handling' of crisis

Soldiers pack surgical masks for distribution to hospitals courtrywide as part of a special mission at the Internal Trade Department, which is struggling to deal with a shortage. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Soldiers pack surgical masks for distribution to hospitals courtrywide as part of a special mission at the Internal Trade Department, which is struggling to deal with a shortage. (Photo by Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

In the face of harsh criticism of the government's response to the Covid-19 crisis, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that people had the right to ask questions and demand action but they should not cross the limit.

In a public message, Gen Prayut said the government was open to criticism about its handling of the health emergency, but urged critics to be fair and make comments that are in the best interest of the public.

Gen Prayut delivered his message amid growing criticism surrounding his government's handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, ranging from a severe shortage of face masks that has also hit state-run hospitals to being slow to restrict the movement of those who have a travel history to Covid-19 afflicted countries.

The total number of Covid-19 cases in Thailand rose to 75 yesterday -- 35 of whom have recovered and 39 remain at hospitals. One person has died from the virus so far.

Gen Prayut said the measures taken by the government to contain the spread of the virus were adopted based on several factors, including the rate of transmission, and that these cannot be compared to the steps taken in other countries.

He said the government was mobilising resources to address the problems and that it needed cooperation from all sectors to win the fight, adding that it is not fair to accuse the government of being incompetent.

Be it Covid-19, poverty or other challenges, the prime minister said, each country has different factors that can restrict efforts to address these problems.

However, Gen Prayut said the government will continue doing its best in the face of the economic slump, trade wars and the impact of Covid-19.

He also insisted the country will win the fight against the virus and urged the public to heed health advice.

Meanwhile, according to government critic Dr Supat Hasuwannakit, who is director of Chana district hospital in Songkhla as well as a community rights and environmental activist, the vast majority of the population has realised that they can no longer trust this government to continue leading the country due to its failure in handling the Covid-19 crisis.

Anusorn Iamsa-ard, spokesman of the Pheu Thai Party, meanwhile pointed out that the government's incompetence with public communication during the Covid-19 crisis and refusal to take responsibility for its mistakes were obvious signs that it is in a crisis itself.

"Under the circumstances, it will take a miracle for the government to remain in power until May," he said.


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