NSC insists virus cases won't be used to extend decree
The National Security Council (NSC) insisted on Thursday two controversial Covid-19 cases involving a military official from Egypt and a nine-year-old girl from Sudan would not be used as an excuse to extend enforcement of the state of emergency set to expire at the end of this month.
NSC chief Gen Somsak Roongsita said whether or not enforcement of the decree, invoked in March to bring the pandemic in the country under control, is extended would depend on the overall Covid-19 situation and the number of infections.
He admitted that both Covid-19 cases posed public health risks, but said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has not made a decision on the emergency decree yet.
The first case involved an Egyptian delegation, including a military official confirmed to be infected with Covid-19, when they broke quarantine rules during their stay in Rayong.
The other involved a nine-year-old Sudanese girl who tested positive and her family who were reportedly self-isolating at a Bangkok condominium.
The two cases triggered widespread anger among the public.
Gen Somsak also said that while the relaxation of lockdown measures creates risks, those risks are calculated with measures put in place to mitigate them.
However, there are loopholes that need to be addressed too, he said.
"It doesn't mean the disease control measures have failed. The incidents should serve as a lesson for the government which will eventually have to reopen the country.
"We have to admit the CCSA has erred and the officials have been lax. We will address these concerns," he said.
Meanwhile, air force commander ACM Maanat Wongwat said on Thursday Thailand will just have to do better with its disease control measures as he insisted the country cannot simply close its airspace to military flights.
He said that like other countries, Thailand has allowed military flights during the lockdown but there had been no untoward incidents until now.
ACM Maanat said authorities in charge of disease control will have to make sure foreign delegations strictly comply with regulations and measures to prevent the spread of the virus. The government has given such an assurance in the wake of the incident.
"The world is still fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and we have yet to neutralise this virus threat. At the same time, countries throughout the world still have to interact with each other, but they pick their own sets of rules to curb the virus," he said.