Calls for lockdown mount
Chuan set to forward proposal to Prayut
published : 20 Mar 2020 at 06:00
newspaper section: News
writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth
Six former House and Senate speakers have called on the government to put the country under lockdown and ban entry to foreign travellers.
Two former Senate speakers, Suchon Chaleekrua and Nikhom Wairatpanich, presented the proposal on Thursday to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai who promised to forward it to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The proposal was raised at a meeting attended by the six former speakers. Four others who support the proposal are former House speaker Arthit Ourairat, former Senate speakers Sanit Worapanya, Gen Thiradej Meepian, and Prasopsuk Boondej.
Mr Suchon said the former speakers wanted parliament to convene a special session to discuss ways to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic as it is a national emergency.
The former speakers agreed that parliament should be used as a mechanism to solve problems related to the virus which has gripped the country, Mr Suchon added.
Mr Suchon said Mr Chuan agreed with the lockdown proposal in principle and would forward it to the prime minister.
Mr Nikom said that he supports the government's work, however, from now on, it must show unity and work together to come up with tough measures to deal with the virus.
Mr Nikom said the six former House and Senate speakers' proposal involves a lockdown and strict measures such as a ban on entry for foreign travellers. However, under the proposal, people in the country would still be allowed to travel domestically.
Meanwhile, 48 civic groups on Thursday also issued a joint announcement calling on the government to treat the Covid-19 outbreak as stage 3 in order to pave the way for health officials to screen, isolate and treat infected patients with greater efficiency.
They also want the government to ban people from entering and leaving the country for three weeks to prevent spread and for the government to declare a brief state of emergency in order to ban gatherings of more than five people for three weeks.
They also asked the public to avoid movement except when they need medical attention or need to engage in activities associated with essential needs. The government must also allocate a budget to ensure the public can access sufficient supplies of food during the lockdown, the groups said.
They also said that the government is duty-bound to provide sufficient face masks, hand sanitisers, and other necessary medical supplies for hospitals, medical personnel, and members of the public among other proposals.