The spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has been dragged into politics amid the coronavius crisis as anti-government elements accused him of "serving as a mouthpiece" of the government.
However, spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin insists he is duty-bound to explain a variety of information regarding the fight against the coronavirus.
The criticism stems from a daily media briefing on Friday when Dr Taweesilp mentioned the 5,000 baht financial aid granted by the government to people affected by the economic slowdown caused by the virus.
He said the aid would make life easier for those who live in the provinces as they also grow vegetables in their own backyards, which should help them save money during the pandemic.
His remark drew flak from critics -- mostly from anti-government groups -- on social media. They said the spokesman acted beyond his remit and was serving as a mouthpiece for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
His critics demanded he focus on providing the public with medical information, which in turn led another group of people to throw their support behind the spokesman, with a #SaveDrTaweesilp hashtag on Twitter, and hit back at his critics on social media.
Speaking at the CCSA's daily press conference yesterday, Dr Taweesilp said he was willing to accept criticism.
However, as the CCSA's spokesman, he is duty-bound to give the public the information they need covering all aspects of the CCSA's work. Giving medical information was only part of the job.
He has also been assigned to give information on measures to help affected people concerning the distribution of sanitary masks, control of consumer goods, travel into and out of the country, communication, social media and resolution of problems related to security and emergency.
"There might be some connections between various issues and politics, but I have no intention to link them to politics. The connections are only meant to make people understand the measures," Dr Taweesilp said.
"Those who hold different opinions should try to distinguish [what is right and wrong] at this time. Providing a daily update ... is a duty.
''We should help to create an atmosphere which shows the world that we are united and leave behind all the conflict, and that we have a common enemy which is the virus," he added.