PM cautious as easing quickens
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will consider more proposals to further ease Covid-19 restrictions this Friday, as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed that public safety remains the top priority.
Any proposed changes will first be deliberated by the CCSA's operations centre before being forwarded to the CCSA's main committee, said National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general Supoj Malaniyom in his capacity as the chief of the CCSA's operations centre.
According to the centre's latest assessment, everything has been running smoothly since the June 1 reopening of the country, while the centre continues to welcome new proposals regarding ideal changes to the current Covid-19 restrictions submitted by various parties, he said.
These proposals include rearranging the colour-coded Covid-19 situation zoning and relaxing more restrictions for nightspots currently allowed to reopen in certain provinces, he said.
In terms of reopening nightspots, he said, all weak points in the current reopening configuration will first have to be addressed before a proposal to expand the reopening to cover more provinces can be considered. Night entertainment outlets are keen for further easing measures to help them get back on their feet.
As for calls for removing the face mask-wearing mandate and declaration of Covid-19 as an endemic disease, he said, the Ministry of Public Health has a clear plan and timeline as to when and how to implement each.
The government sees the face mask-wearing mandate as a key mechanism to ensure continuity in its efforts to revive the country's economy, so any further easing of this particular restriction will have to be carefully considered, he said.
There already are a number of exceptions to the law regulating requirements for their use, he said.
The ministry is preparing guidelines for all healthcare facilities to follow during this transition to a new period when Covid-19 will eventually be treated as an endemic disease, expected to begin July 1, said government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.
These guidelines will be crucial for ensuring prompt public access to healthcare services in case of Covid-19 infection, given several services previously brought into being specifically to support the handling of Covid-19 patients are being scrapped due to the falling number of patients, he said.
In this regard, Gen Prayut has stressed that any further changes to the country's current Covid-19 prevention and control measures will have to correspond to the actual Covid-19 situation and public safety must still be treated as a top concern, said the spokesman.
Thailand on Sunday recorded 2,474 new confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total number of infections to 2.26 million since the beginning of this year.
The number of severe cases with lung infections being treated in hospital is 659 and the number of Covid-19 deaths recorded on Sunday was 20.
Some 138.44 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered to people in the country.
About 84.59% of the population has received their first shot of the vaccine, 78.68% their second shot, 37.35% their third booster shot and 5.45% their fourth booster shot.