'Lenient treatment' for US delegation

'Lenient treatment' for US delegation

Thai army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong (left) and US army chief of staff Gen James McConville shake hands during the 11th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference held in Bangkok in September last year. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Thai army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong (left) and US army chief of staff Gen James McConville shake hands during the 11th Indo-Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference held in Bangkok in September last year. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Activist Srisuwan Janya is calling on the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) over its preferential treatment of a high-profile US delegation which will arrive in Thailand on Thursday.

Mr Srisuwan, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Constitution, said the CCSA is not requiring the US delegation to be quarantined for 14 days in line with anti Covid-19 measures which apply to other foreigners and Thais overseas seeking to enter the country.

The CCSA says the US delegation will visit Thailand under a special arrangement and must observe six measures imposed by the CCSA but Mr Srisuwan said it was still not known whether its members may be asymptomatic carriers of the virus, pointing out that the US has now the world’s largest number of infections.

He also alleged that the six measures had been designed specifically to benefit the US delegation. They include that the group must be small, up to 10 members; their stay must be short; and members must have certificates showing negative coronavirus tests from both the source and destination countries.

"For this reason, the association will petition the NACC to look into whether the CCSA has exercised its power without any standards and committed malfeasance," Mr Srisuwan said.

According to the CCSA, the US delegation will not be quarantined at state facilities but will be required to wear face masks during their talks with the prime minister.

CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin said yesterday the delegation would be led by US army chief of staff Gen James McConville, who will be accompanied by liaison officers, plus health and security officials.

The group will be limited to 10 people, all of whom will have to test negative for Covid-19 before boarding their flight and on arrival in Thailand, Dr Taweesilp said.

Nor would its members be allowed to visit public places or use public transport.

Gen McConville will meet Gen Apirat Kongsompong, commander in chief of the Royal Thai Army, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha during the two-day trip.


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