thailands pm defends further extension of national state of emergency - Thailand’s PM defends further extension of national state of emergency

Thailand’s Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, defended Monday’s decision to extend the national state of emergency until end of July, noting that there is still a high risk of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, as the country enters the 5th phase of lockdown relaxation.

While emphasizing the need for everyone to continue to observe basic anti-COVID-19 safety guidelines, the Prime Minister attributed Thailand’s success in containing the pandemic to good cooperation from the public and the emergency decree which, he said, has enabled the Government to take immediate steps to stem the spread of the virus, including the closure of the country’s borders, and of business and leisure activities in the initial stage of the outbreak.

He stressed the need for pro-active measures to prevent the spread of the disease, especially regarding retail businesses and tourism, while he expressed his sympathy for the poor, who have been particularly badly affected by the lockdown measures.

He also dismissed, as irrelevant, criticism that the state of emergency has violated the freedom and liberties of the people.

Meanwhile, CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin said today that the CCSA has agreed to allow pubs, bars, karaoke bars, massage parlors, internet and game cafés and tea houses to resume businesses, but under certain conditions.

Bars, pubs and karaoke bars can operate up to midnight, but they must observe social distancing, with each table separated by at least two metres, each chair by one metre and each group must not exceed five people.

Convenience stores can operate around the clock, but shopping and community malls can operate up to 10pm.

Age and time limits are applied in internet and game cafés.  These venues are open to youth under 15 from 2pm to 8pm on weekdays and 10am to 8pm on weekends.  For those between 15 and 18 years old, they are open from 2pm to 10pm on weekends and 10am to 10pm on weekends.  No time limits for people over 18 years of age.

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