The Minister of Public Health has sought to allay concerns expressed online that COVID-19 testing for at-risks groups is prohibitively expensive.
Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul has assured that those who are from, or who have traveled to provinces with COVID-19 outbreaks can receive free tests at any medical unit.
On news that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha is considering a lockdown during the New Year period, the DPM explained that meetings have been ongoing as proactive testing has been taking place and infections are still being discovered.
The DPM added that a new Communicable Diseases Act put to Cabinet was drafted to empower relevant bodies better and support flexibility in efforts, as there has been pushback against use of the Emergency Decree. He said the government is considering having the new disease law replace the emergency order after the New Year holiday.
Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit, meanwhile, said that medical face masks are a controlled item, in response to questions on measures to limit the price of masks, explaining that other types of masks must be allowed to follow market mechanisms. He reported that medical masks are being produced at 30 factories in Thailand, with a combined capacity of 4-5 million pieces a day at a cost of about 2.50 Baht a piece. Price gouging on such masks comes with a punishment of five years in prison, a fine of up to 100,000 Baht or both.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan has ordered military personnel to assist in closing gaps along Thailand’s borders, while acknowledging the extensive nature of the nation’s borders. He said more soldiers will be needed to protect the country from illegal migration.
Asked about lockdowns in other provinces, Gen Prawit said it would be up to the PM, who is considering the wider implications
Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Interior, Somkid Chantamaruek, affirmed his office has been working against illegal migration, dividing the border into zones of responsibility, with further checkpoints setup deeper into border provinces. He added that measures are also being enforced more stringently, alongside efforts to promote understanding. (NNT)