Thailand prepares for possible 2nd wave of COVID-19 despite no new infected cases

Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha.

At the Outer Santi Maitri Building, Government House, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the meeting of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), gist of which is as follows:

The Prime Minister ordered CCSA to be prepared for the 2nd wave of disease spread which could possibly occur anytime even though there has been no new infected case in Thailand for over 30 consecutive days. This is especially from July 1, 2020 onward when schools are open and additional businesses/activities will be reopened. People and other concerned sectors are also urged to strictly maintain preventive measures against COVID-19.

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The Prime Minister mentioned his attendance at the 36th ASEAN Summit via a video conference, hosted by Vietnam, where he had proposed three paths for actions to advance ASEAN in the post-COVID-19 era, that is, 1) More connected ASEAN; 2) Stronger ASEAN by building strength from within; and 3) Better-immune ASEAN.

The Prime Minister also emphasized that CCSA should set example to the public on adjusting their way of life and thinking to the new normal. He has recently announced the ‘new normal’ ways of working in the way that the government works, which is to make sure all sectors and all levels of society have a greater role in developing the nation’s way forward in the post-COVID era. Representatives of various sectors have been called upon and asked to propose a plan on how they can contribute to helping Thailand make giant strides forward, as well as their vision for their sector and transformative ideas that can transform their sector and improve people’s lives and incomes.

The Prime Minister also stressed the importance of the Emergency Decree as a tool for CCSA to administer COVID-19 situation, and affirmed that the Government does not have any hidden agenda in maintaining the Decree. He called for the public to be aware that although there has been no new infected case in Thailand for over 30 consecutive days, the number of COVID-19 infected cases in several countries across the globe has continuously risen.

The Prime Minister also thanked all concerned sectors and the people for their collective effort in successfully curbing and fighting against spread of the disease. The ASEAN leaders have come to terms on the establishment of the Covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund to support research and development in medicines and vaccines, to which Thailand has contributed USD 100,000. He also ordered the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) to expedite deliberation of plans and projects for economic and social remedy and rehabilitation, taking into account the country’s post-COVID direction and goal, e.g., regional medical hub, global food supply, eco-friendly tourism, etc.

With regard to the easing of entry of foreign nationals to the Kingdom, the Prime Minister assigned the Operation Centre for Measures on the Entry into and Departure from the Kingdom and the Protection of Thai Nationals Abroad to work together with other concerned agencies in preparing plans, measures, and priorities for the easing of entry into and departure from the Kingdom. Security units must continue to strictly implement screening process. Measures to be deliberated by Ministry of Foreign Affairs include: 1) expansion of groups of foreign nationals who will be allowed to entry into the Kingdom; 2) special arrangement with other countries; 3) guideline for the entry of foreign business people; and 4) criteria for the entry of Government’s guests.  (