Anutin favours ending Thailand Pass for Thai returnees

Anutin favours ending Thailand Pass for Thai returnees

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul favours ending the Thailand Pass system for Thai returnees. (File photo)
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul favours ending the Thailand Pass system for Thai returnees. (File photo)

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul plans to propose ending the Thailand Pass system initially for returning Thais, and later also for foreigners.

Mr Anutin, also deputy prime minister, said on Thursday that coronavirus-related deaths had gradually declined, as predicted by the Department of Disease Control.

The hospital bed occupancy rate was just 20%, which meant the country had enough doctors, medicine and beds to treat Covid-19 infected patients. Infections among people returning from abroad was only 0.001%, he said.

The health ministry would continue monitoring the Covid-19 situation for now. If the situation could be controlled, more restrictions would be eased in preparation for the declaration of Covid-19 as an endemic disease, Mr Anutin said. 

He planned to propose to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) that the Thailand Pass system be scrapped for Thai returnees. Later, this could be expanded to include foreign visitors.

Mr Anutin.was speaking after a meeting with senior officials of the Public Health Ministry.

Whether the emergency decree should be extended or not was for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the CCSA to decide, he said.

In his view, the imposition of the emergency decree was not a problem because it made it easier to control the disease. If Covid-19 was declared endemic, the emergency decree may no longer be necessary. The public health system was at readiness, and it was not necessary to rely on the enforcement of a law to control the disease.

He urged people to get fully vaccinated in accordance with the government's goal, because in less than two months Covid-19 disease would likely be declared endemic. Full vaccination would help reduce the severity of the disease and the number of deaths, he said.


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