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Cabinet Approves Measures to Curb the Spread of COVID-19

18 March 2020 (Readers 2409)

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that the Cabinet, during its meeting on 17 March 2020, approved a package of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In his statement, televised on the Television Pool of Thailand on 17 March 2020 at 19.00 hr, the Prime Minister said that the measures cover six areas: public health; preventive medical supplies; information, explanations, and the receiving of complaints; foreign affairs; prevention; and remedies.

Concerning public health, foreigners coming from six infected zones - China, Macao, Hong Kong, South Korea, Italy, and Iran - as well as countries with continuing transmission of the virus, are required to have health certificates issued in the previous three days, as well as health insurance coverage. They must agree to use the Governments monitoring application to track them. A 14-day quarantine is another measure that may be imposed on them, if considered necessary.

No government officials are allowed to go abroad during this time, unless there is a necessity. People are also warned not to go to infected countries. Thai people staying overseas are urged not to return to Thailand until the situation improves.

All hospitals have been instructed to prepare places to accommodate infected persons, and a sufficient amount of necessary equipment must be acquired in order to cope with a possible Stage 3 of the outbreak.

Regarding preventive medical supplies, the production of hygienic masks, hand sanitizers, and other medical supplies is being accelerated. They will also be imported to meet the demand. Online trading of the products will be monitored to prevent hoarding.

As for the area of information, explanations, and the receiving of complaints, the Ministry of Public Health disseminates specific information concerning medical services and public health, in accordance with the Communicable Disease Act. The COVID-19 Information Center gives information on all relevant issues in the overall picture.

Regarding foreign affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been told to arrange the "Team Thailand, headed by ambassadors in foreign countries, to take care of Thai people overseas.
On prevention, it is necessary that universities, international schools, tutorial schools, and other educational institutions be closed for two weeks, starting from 18 March 2020 onwards. They are required to impose strict preventive measures in accordance with the standards, set by the Ministry of Public Health.

Boxing stadiums, racecourses, and sports stadiums in Bangkok and its vicinity will be closed temporarily. Pubs, entertainment places, traditional Thai massage shops, fitness centers, spas, and theaters in Bangkok and its perimeter will be closed for 14 days. As for other provinces, provincial governors will make decisions on these issues.

Activities that include many people will be suspended, such as concerts, trade fairs, and religious, cultural, and sports programs. Shopping malls, markets, government offices, and state enterprises must take preventive measures, set by the Ministry of Public Health. Shops and restaurants must also impose preventive measures, such as cleaning surfaces, using thermo scanners, and wearing hygienic masks.

Festivities for the Songkran holiday, the traditional Thai New Year, from 13-15 April, 2020, will be postponed. The frequency of public transport services will be increased to reduce congestion. Inter-provincial movements of many people by military camps, prisons, and schools must be suspended.

All government offices have been told to consider overlapping working-hours and homeworking, as well as promoting the use of the internet system, such as teleconferencing. Provincial governors and the Bangkok governor are empowered to impose measures to restrict any movements that may lead to the spread of the virus. Disease control units will be set up urgently in all districts and villages, with the participation of the peoples sector in the surveillance operations.

Concerning remedies, relevant government agencies have been instructed to work out measures to help affected businesses, such as factories, workplaces, and hotels. The Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, and other relevant agencies will come up with measures to help people affected by the economic slowdown and respond to their complaints. Medical personnel will also be given encouragement.

The Prime Minister said that Thailand is in the process of containing the situation in Stage 2 of COVID-19 as long as possible. The Government regards the fight against COVID-19 as the first priority of the country, as the spread of the disease directly affects the lives of the people. More measures will be issued in accordance with the emerging situation.

Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, Office of the Prime Minister
9 Rama VI Road, Bangkok 10400, Thailand

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