BANGKOK – The Ministry of Public Health handed out 100,000 face masks to members of the general public, setting a limit of three masks per person, while the Ministry of Commerce launched a caravan of 111 cars to sell more face masks to people in different parts of the country.
At 9 a.m., officials started handing out 100,000 protective masks to the public at nine agencies under the Ministry of Public Health’s administration. They were the Department of Disease Control, the Department of Health, the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, the Department of Medical Services, the Office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Medical Science, the Department of Health Service Support and the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine. Many people waited in line to receive the masks. While waiting, officials provided information about ways people can protect themselves from diseases, such as by washing their hands regularly. Health officials were not allowed to accept the masks, because they were intended to be given to the general public only.
People who received the masks said they were happy that the government gave them out for free, but hoped it would still distribute more masks.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, invited 11 face mask producers and representatives of the Public Health Ministry and hospitals to a meeting to revise the distribution of face masks in the country. The ministry can exercise its power to issue measures to regulate products and services, if any irregularities are found.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry launched a caravan of 111 cars to ensure that everyone has access to masks nationwide. Twenty-one vehicles are to operate in greater Bangkok, while the rest will be in other regions, starting March 5. The campaign has set a limit of a pack of four masks per customer, with a price of 2.50 baht per mask, or 10 baht a pack.
The government is dissuading members of the public from hoarding face masks, as they should think of other people who need them too.