PM, CEOs to discuss virus crisis
Covid-19's economic impact on the agenda
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will on Wednesday meet executives of national oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc and King Power Group plus 40 other leading CEOs to discuss the Covid-19 situation and its economic impact on the country.
According to Wednesday's Government House's published work schedule Gen Prayut will from 2pm meet in person a group of PTT Plc and King Power Group executives who have requested to donate money and basic necessities to support the government's fight against Covid-19.
Later from 2.20pm, Gen Prayut will hold a video conference with 40 CEOs where they will discuss progress in efforts to contain Covid-19 and related issues.
Previously when the government began lifting Covid-19 restrictions, Gen Prayut invited 70 leading business operators to meet with him at Government House on Sept 3 last year.
Representing three core groups of the country's businesses -- real estate, retail trade and e-commerce -- these business operators at that time discussed with Gen Prayut their proposals and ideas regarding the government's efforts to salvage businesses in the aftermath of the previous wave of the outbreak.
More recently, a group of leading business operators known as "40 CEOs Plus" held a meeting on July 8 to brainstorm what the government should and shouldn't do as a new lockdown was imminent.
After the meeting, the group forwarded their opinions to the government, saying a blanket lockdown could do more harm than good as Thailand appeared unlikely to secure sufficient Covid-19 vaccines to be administered during the then expected lockdown.
The group was concerned such an expansive lockdown would fail as the number of new Covid-19 cases might not decrease as expected while many sectors would end up suffering more.
The group instead proposed for the government to partially lockdown only areas where the Covid-19 situation was very serious while speeding up inoculating the population.
The group also advised the government to prepare more hospital beds for more Covid-19 patients, adopt home isolation for those infected with no or mild symptoms, and improve access to Covid-19 tests by making rapid test kits available at reasonable prices.
In another development, Dr Chakkrarat Phitthayawong-anan, director of the Division of Epidemiology, said with stringent Covid-19 restrictions being implemented in 13 provinces, the number of new Covid-19 cases is expected to begin declining in at least one to two months from now.
These 13 provinces comprise Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Ayutthaya and the southernmost provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla and Yala.
The healthcare system in Bangkok will regain its ability to cope with Covid-19 patients again when the number of new cases drops to between 500 and 1,000 per day, he said.
Greater Bangkok recorded 5,468 new cases and 45 more fatalities on Tuesday that were among 80 Covid-19 fatalities and 11,305 new cases recorded for the entire country, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
During the partial lockdown, people are advised to avoid going out as much as possible for at least 14 days to help stem the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the coronavirus, Dr Chakkrarat said.
Even while staying home, everyone is advised to isolate themselves from the rest of the family, especially from the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions, he said. Wearing a face mask and social distancing while at home is now highly recommended, he said. Since eating a meal together has been found to be a key source of spreading the virus among family members, eating alone and separating food for each person is also recommended, he said.
In case of suspected infection, a free Covid-19 antigen test kit can be obtained at medical clinics in the primary healthcare network of the National Health Security Office (NHSO), he said. Infected people are now included in the NHSO's home isolation programme if they have no or mild symptoms, he added.