Emergency decree rules tightened

Emergency decree rules tightened

Government clarifies curbs on mass gatherings, migrant movements to deal with new outbreak

Workers clean up the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon, the centre of a new Covid-19 outbreak that has resulted in hundreds of new infections among migrant workers and dozens more among Thais. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)
Workers clean up the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon, the centre of a new Covid-19 outbreak that has resulted in hundreds of new infections among migrant workers and dozens more among Thais. (Photo by Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Curbs on mass gatherings, restricted movement in and out of disease-control areas and restricted movement of migrant workers are among the rules that will be strictly enforced under the emergency decree to curb the new outbreak of Covid-19, the government says.

The announcement published on Friday in the Royal Gazette details a set of regulations under Section 9 of the decree, which was first imposed nationwide on March 26 and has been extended several times since then. The latest extension is valid until Jan 15.

The announcement said that the government has regularly issued disease-control measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease. As a new wave of infections has occurred in some areas, authorities have seen fit to increase the effectiveness of measures to deal swiftly with the situation to prevent the pandemic from spiralling out of control. 

The latest outbreak was first detected on Dec 18 among migrant workers at the central shrimp market in Samut Sakhon. Cases linked to the market have since been confirmed in 33 provinces, with dozens of Thais and hundreds of migrant workers infected.

According to the Royal Gazette, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has decided to exercise his power under Section 9 of the Emergency Situation and Section 11 of the State Administration Regulation to issue the following regulations:

  • no entry to areas deemed at risk of coronavirus infection;
  • closure of areas at risk of infection;
  • a ban on gatherings or illegal assembly in crowded areas or any activities that would incite unrest;
  • strict screening of the movement of migrant workers by health authorities.

The public must strictly abide by any measures to prevent the spread of the disease enforced by health officials and other agencies, the announcement says.

The Centre for the Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will continue to be the main body responsible for coordinating and following up the work of all relevant agencies to prevent the spread of the disease.

All agencies must follow the same guidelines on disease control measures, while any related instructions issued by provincial authorities will also be enforced under the announcement.

The government has faced criticism from rights groups in the past for continuing extend the decree. They say laws related to public health and other regulations should be sufficient to keep the pandemic under control. But the government disagrees, saying that without a nationwide decree, enforcement of rules province by province could be inconsistent and lead to problems.


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