BANGKOK– Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, has instructed the Revenue Department to consider exempting import duties on face masks and medical supplies related to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. He has ordered related units to hand out surgical masks to health care workers immediately.
The Government Spokeswoman, Prof. Dr. Narumon Pinyosinwat, said today the Prime Minister, at a meeting of the cabinet ministers, instructed the Ministry of Public Health to produce a handbook on plans to manage the outbreak and measures to protect and treat the people. Gen. Prayut instructed the Ministry of Finance to compile remedial and assistance measures for those affected, and the Ministry of Culture to produce an archive on the COVID-19 pandemic around the world and in Thailand.
The Prime Minister also ordered the Revenue Department, under the Ministry of Finance, to consider exempting import duties on face masks and medical supplies related to the COVID-19 situation. He assigned the Ministry of Public to speed up the certification and inspection process by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to one day and for the Department of Medical Science to four days. The Ministry of Commerce had been instructed to closely oversee domestic prices of chicken eggs and suspend the export of eggs at this time.
Gen. Prayut ordered the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of the Interior to close border passes in Phuket and the three southern border provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala, to contain the viral spread.
The Prime Minister ordered relevant units to closely monitor social activities and events and take strict measures on televised boxing. The Royal Thai Police will ensure that all motorcycle taxi riders wear face masks and arrest those who participate in gambling and other illegal gatherings.
Related units are distributing 2.3 million face-masks per day over a five-day period. They will deliver 800,000 masks to the Ministry of the Interior and 1.5 million masks to the Ministry of Public Health. The Ministry of the Interior will hand the masks to the Bangkok Governor and 76 provincial governors, who will distribute them to public health volunteers, police and military officers and vulnerable groups. The Ministry of Public Health will distribute them to clinics and hospitals in Bangkok and 76 provinces nationwide. (NNT)