Prayut apologises, vows to step up measures

Prayut apologises, vows to step up measures

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha apologises for lax measures to let an Egyptian soldier who tested positive for Covid-19 go around in Rayong. (File photo)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha apologises for lax measures to let an Egyptian soldier who tested positive for Covid-19 go around in Rayong. (File photo)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has apologised to the people for lax Covid-91 measures which failed to effectively put dozens of foreign visitors in quarantine.

Gen Prayut made the remark after some of the 31 Egyptian soldiers in Rayong province had gone shopping downtown and one of them was a confirmed case.

The prime minister said the incident should not have happened. "It shows no respect of the rules and a lack of discipline," he said.

As the director of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, he said he would take the responsibility. More importantly, he wanted to find ways to plug these loopholes. 

Gen Prayut said he had sent a team of officials to gather in-depth information, inspect areas where the infected soldier had been, check those who were there at the same time, as well as registration desks where visitors checked in and out at malls via the Thai Chana app.

Those who were in contact with him would be tested to ease public worries, said the prime minister.

He also asked the centre to review health measures for diplomats and their families. Flights from foreign countries, including military aircraft, will have to follow these measures, he said. 

Gen Prayut said the visitors who left the quarantine facility breached the regulations. He had asked the Foreign Ministry to discuss the matter with the Egyptian embassy in Thailand to prevent a recurrence.

He also banned all international flights coming to the country until the problem was solved.

Meanwhile, resort operators, restaurants and ferry service providers in Rayong say they have been dealt a second blow, according to Sarinthip Thapmongkolsap, chairwoman of the Samet Tourism Association.

“All room bookings on Koh Samet have been cancelled. All tourists who were already there also left,” she said.

She urged the government to help tourism operators there. “After reopening businesses for less than two weeks, they are now back to square one,” she said.

She added she would like to see strict measures applied to all foreigners and not just Thais.

The Egyptian case in Rayong and the Sudanese case in Bangkok also triggered a 14-day quarantine requirement in some provinces such as Lampang for all visitors who were in Rayong and Bangkok during the time the foreigners were not in quarantine.

All 127 schools in Rayong were also temporarily closed. A few schools in Bangkok near the condominium where the Sudanese family stayed also shuttered and shifted to the online learning mode.

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