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  • Thai PM given rapid response test for coronavirus following his extensive travels

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that he also at risk of COVID-19 infection because he has travelled to many places in the course of the performance of his duties.

    He was among several officials at Government House who were given rapid response tests to determine their antibody levels.

    Regarding the current infection rate, which is fluctuating on daily basis, the prime minister said that health officials have managed to identify the sources of the infections, but, more importantly, everyone must now wear face masks when they are outdoors and maintain social distancing, adding that this is no time for finger-pointing.

    The prime minister warned people not to get inoculated with COVID-19 vaccines which are not approved by the Food and Drugs Administration, as he referred to the case of Vibhavadi Hospital, which advertised online offering the Moderna vaccine for sale, as reported by Reuters.

    Regarding the 20 million doses of vaccine ordered by the government from AstraZeneca, he said that the initial funds, amounting to 400 million baht, have been set aside to secure the vaccine via the National Vaccine Institute.

    Forty-two more COVID-19 cases, including 21 Thais and 21 foreign migrant workers, were reported this afternoon by the CCSA.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • No travel restrictions over New Year break, but PM wants Thais to stay home with families

      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assured today that no travel restrictions will be imposed during the New Year holidays, but he would prefer Thai people to celebrate the arrival of the New Year at home and travel only if necessary, obeying restrictions imposed in each province.

      After the New Year break, however, he said that the government will assess the COVID-19 situation to determine whether a lockdown is needed.

      “If all members of the public cooperate fully, by strictly observing the preventive measures of the CCSA, we may not reach that point,” he said, as he urged the public not to lower their guard and health officials to exercise caution.

      The prime minister reminded the business sector, especially factory owners, to be truthful and not to cover up information about illegal migrant workers they have employed, warning that they face blacklisting if it is discovered, later on, that they had lied to the authorities.

      Meanwhile, Public Health Permanent Secretary Dr. Kiartipoom Wongrajit urged Thai people not to travel out of their provinces during the New Year holidays, but to celebrate with their families at home, saying that it is difficult to control the virus if many people gather together in one place.

      In Bangkok, Dr. Vicharn Pawon, director of the Tropical Diseases Prevention and Control Institute, said that there have been 108 confirmed COVID-19 cases today, including a cluster of 22 people from Nonthaburi province who visited three entertainment venues in Bangkok, namely the Saeb Isan karaoke bar, Isan Krongkaew and Nong Mai Plaza.

      70 are linked to the central shrimp market in Samut Sakhon province, 22 linked to entertainment venues in Bangkok and the rest related to a shoe factory in Bang Khun Thian district.

      Dr. Vicharn urged anyone who visited the three entertainment venues between December 15th and 20th to monitor their health and to see health officials for screening if they suspect that they may be infected.:

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • Wonder how many Thai’s took the advice……..
        • Stay home, urges Prayut

        Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday urged people to stay at home over the New Year holidays in light of the recent Covid-19 upsurge.

        With the number of new cases continuing to rise in several provinces, including Bangkok, the PM said people should only travel if absolutely necessary.

        "We may have to celebrate New Year at home this year and with a limited number of people," he said on his official Facebook page "Prayut Chan-o-cha".

        After Tuesday's cabinet meeting, Gen Prayut did not directly respond to media questions as he usually does but instead posted a video clip he had recorded at Government House. It's now available on its website.

        The PM urged people to neither panic nor be too complacent but said unnecessary travel and visiting crowded places should be avoided.

        He also stressed that people should heed the health authorities' advice on Covid-19 preventative measures and monitor updates posted by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

        While acknowledging that interprovincial travel has not been prohibited the PM pointed out that each province has its own specific Covid-19 control protocols, which may include strict screening measures which could be frustrating for visitors.

        He also urged everyone to scan the Thai Chana QR Code to check in every time they visit a public place, a measure developed by the government to track those suspected of having come into contact with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

        On the topic uppermost in people's minds, Gen Prayut would neither confirm nor dismiss the possibility of the entire country needing a new nationwide Covid-19 lockdown after the upcoming holidays.

        He said that decision would depend largely on how the situation develops but said he personally thought it unlikely that it would become so severe that a national lockdown would be needed again.

        CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin spoke of the different Covid-19 control measures around the country and said they depended upon the severity of the situation in each area.

        In Samut Sakhon, for instance, a curfew has already been imposed, he said, adding that as of Tuesday 45 provinces had recorded new Covid-19 cases.

        New Year festivities have been banned in the highest at-risk provinces of Samut Sakhon and Rayong.

        A committee overseeing medical emergency operations on Tuesday warned people not to travel this weekend and instead celebrate at home.

        Kiatiphum Wongrajit, permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Health who chaired the meeting, said the four-hour meeting had decided that no New Year gatherings could be held in Samut Sakhon and Rayong.

        Events could be organised in lower-risk areas but only on a small scale. Events with more than 100 participants must get prior approval from their local authority.

        Dr Taweesilp said a further assessment of people's compliance with containment measures would be carried out. The rules could be relaxed if compliance is high or tightened if advice was not heeded.

        Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the next assessment was likely be conducted on Jan 3-4.

        The number of new confirmed Covid-19 cases, meanwhile, continued rising on Tuesday, with Bangkok becoming another province where the cumulative number of infections had passed 100.

        In Rayong, the number of new infections rose to 148, with 56 new cases recorded in one day, prompting maximum control measures to be imposed on five out of all seven districts: Muang, Ban Chang, Klaeng, Ban Khai and Nikhom Phatthana.

        Most entertainment venues in those districts have been shut and alcohol sales prohibited, with only supermarkets and takeaway food stalls allowed to stay open, said an informed source.

        Matthayom Taksin School in Muang district is now shut indefinitely after a female student caught Covid-19 from her parents -- 150 people, including 30 teachers, must now be tested to see if they have the virus.:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • PM asks Thais to reflect on past performance in order to improve in the future

          Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed his wish, in his New Year’s address given against the backdrop of a second COVID-19 outbreak, that Thai people will be happy and safe and that they reflect on their performance in the past year, in order to change for the better.

          He said that people are facing a situation which requires the exercise of great caution by all concerned, adding that the coming year should be the “Year of Family” and a year of happiness at home or in safe places, while admitting that he does not know how long the current challenging situation will last.

          He said he wishes everyone well for the coming year.

          The prime minister has instructed Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to negotiate with all COVID-19 vaccine producers for the procurement of vaccines for the Thai people, in addition to the vaccine from AstraZeneca, which has already been secured.

          Anutin said that the first shipment of two million doses from AstraZeneca is expected to arrive in Thailand between February and April.:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Originally posted by S Landreth View Post
            About those protests and Prayuth's removal……..
            • Thai Youth Party Fails to Make Gains in Local Poll

            BANGKOK (Reuters) - The political successor of a banned party in Thailand that had strong support from young Thais failed to make inroads in weekend provincial elections that were held after months of youth-led protests.

            The ballot was the first since a general election last year and the first provincial vote since Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha first took power in a 2014 coup.

            Unofficial results from the 76 provinces showed the Progressive Movement failed to win in any of the 42 provinces where it had contested.

            Little extra that wasn’t publishing in English…..

            In Rayong, Thailand a Thai Youth Party/Progressive Movement candidate ran unopposed. However there were two choices the voter could make………
            1. Thai Youth Party/Progressive Movement candidate
            2. Vote No

            Guess which garnered more votes.

            Little hint

            Progressive Movement failed to win in any of the 42 provinces where it had contested
            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • Thai PM urges everyone to join forces in again to fight COVID-19

              Prime Minister Prayut has urged everyone to join forces “for one more time” to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic, by strictly following basic safety measures, as lockdown restrictions came into force in Bangkok and several other high-risk provinces.

              Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said today (Saturday) the prime minister had expressed concern that some people are ignoring the preventive measures and would like all sectors of society to be mutually responsible and cooperate fully in the fight against the virus.

              The prime minister believes that, with full cooperation from all sectors, the pandemic will be quickly contained, said Anucha, adding that he also expressed concern over the increased number of road accidents during the New Year break. He has urged motorists to exercise greater caution while instructing the police to enforce the laws strictly against speeding, drunk driving and riding without crash helmets.:

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • Thai PM imposes lockdown restrictions in 28 “Red Zone” provinces from Monday

                A set of lockdown measures, which include travel restrictions, voluntary working from home, school closures, a ban on serving alcohol in restaurants and on all crowd-attracting activities, especially in 28 provinces declared as Red Zones, will come into force tomorrow (Monday).

                Invoking the Emergency Decree, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha imposed eight preventive measures, aimed at curbing the current and relentless surge of COVID-19 infections in the country.

                There is a ban on the use of all buildings or premises, deemed to be at risk of spreading the contagion, for teaching, examinations, training or other activities which would bring people together, except for official and charitable activities.

                People living in the Red Zones are advised to suspend or postpone any plans to travel out of the provinces, unless it is absolutely necessary. Police will be deployed to check vehicles leaving and entering the Red Zones.

                To reduce congestion in offices, businesses will be asked to arrange staggered working hours, or alternate day working for their staff.

                Sale and consumption of alcohol in restaurants will be banned, but customers will be allowed to dine in.

                All shopping malls, community malls, department stores, exhibition centres, conference halls, convenience stores, super markets can remain open as usual, but must follow the guidelines laid down by the CCSA.

                All crowd-based activities, such as conferences, seminars, banquets, distribution of food or other items, are banned in all Red Zones, except for activities organized by official organizations and with the approval of the authorities.: -

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • The site above will change with daily updates

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • PM overrules BMA, allows dining-in until 9pm at city restaurants

                    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha overruled City Hall on Monday and decided Bangkok restaurants should be allowed to provide table service until 9pm, not 7pm, from Tuesday.

                    He announced the decision after chairing a meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

                    The prime minister said the Thai Restaurant Association had complained to the government about the early closure announced earlier in the day by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration as part of measures to halt the spread of Covid-19.

                    The BMA had said diners would be allowed table service from 6am-7pm, but no alcohol, with only takeaway service after 7pm.

                    BMA spokesman Pongsakorn Kwanmuang said this applied to shops serving all kinds of food, including bars and cafes, effective from Tuesday until the end of the month.

                    However, proprietors must strictly enforce social distancing measures, including 1.5 metres distance between the tables.

                    Alcoholic drinks were banned from all food shops, to discourage customers from staying longer, he said.

                    The spokesman said all weddings and ordination ceremonies should be deferred.

                    Organisers were required to seek permission from the Health Department first if they insisted on holding the events.

                    He said details would be finalised later on Monday.

                    The prime minister subsequently overuled the BMA, extending table service until 9pm.

                    Bangkok is one of the 28 provinces most affected by the new coronavirus outbreak. City Hall is encouraging people to stay home and avoid social activities that bring together a large number of people.:

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Prayut cancels ban on Bangkok restaurant dining

                      The order banning restaurant dining in Bangkok was cancelled on Monday, a day before it was due to take effect.

                      Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha scrapped the ban after Monday’s meeting of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA). Instead, from Tuesday dining in restaurants will be permitted until 9pm, after which they can only offer takeaway services.

                      Prayut said he had listened to suggestions and concerns from restaurant associations over the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA)’s announcement of seven new restrictions.

                      “In response, I have postponed the order [banning restaurant dining]. Customers will be allowed to eat in restaurants until 9pm. However, restaurants need to arrange their tables in line with social-distancing practices. If not, they will be shut down temporarily,” Prayut said.

                      However, restaurants are still banned from serving alcohol.

                      Meanwhile anyone planning to hold a party or large gathering must seek permission from the BMA or health officials first.

                      The order is effective from Tuesday until January 31.:

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • PM modifies Bangkok governor’s 7pm dine-in deadline to 9pm

                        Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has adjusted the order of Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, mandating eateries in Bangkok to end dine-in service at 7pm, to allow customers to remain until 9pm.

                        The prime minister’s revision came four and a half hours after the spokesman for City Hall, Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, announced the 7pm limit for restaurants, food shops and pavement food stalls, after which only takeaway services are permitted.

                        The prime minister said, after chairing a meeting of the CCSA, that he had extended the deadline until 9pm, but that eateries must strictly observe safety regulations, such as social distancing and limits on the number of customers, in order to ease the negative impacts on businesses.

                        The prime minister insisted that all the measures being imposed, to stem the spread of COVID-19, do not amount to a lockdown, saying that each respective province is authorized to impose additional measures, on top of those imposed by the government.

                        Full details of the latest restrictions will be announced tomorrow.:

                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Prayut rejects proposal to seal off 5 provinces

                          Prime Minister Prayt Chan-o-cha on Tuesday rejected a proposal to completely seal off five provinces to stop the spread of Covid-19 disease, amid a surge in new cases.

                          Gen Prayut said before the weekly cabinet meeting that the government had no plan to lock down Samut Sakhon and four eastern provinces, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat.

                          Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam also rejected the proposal, made public by Deputy Public Health Minister Satit Pitutecha on his Facebook page, to block the transmission of the novel coronavirus, including a travel ban.

                          Mr Wissanu said authorities in the five provinces were already applying strict measures to control the outbreak, but residents in the five provinces could still move around.

                          Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri, Rayong and Chanthaburi were targeted by the deputy public health minister. They are declared red zones, each with more than 50 patients.

                          Trat is zoned yellow, with fewer than 50 cases, but authorities there are also enforcing stringent health measures.

                          The five provinces have set up roadside checkpoints, screening the health of travellers entering their areas. Chon Buri alone has 47 checkpoints to screen motorists arriving in the province and in Pattaya.

                          The country logged the highest number of new cases on Monday with 745 confirmed infections, most of them migrant workers in Samut Sakhon.

                          Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the government strongly encouraged people to limit all travel, to keep the virus at bay.

                          The strongest measures will be applied in the five provinces, as they were hit the hardest by the surge of the disease, he added.

                          "People in the five provinces will face greater inconveniece due to the measures being applied," the spokesman said. He cited more checkpoints than other provinces as an example.:

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Censure bid to come later this month

                            The opposition will submit a censure debate motion by the end of this month against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha over his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

                            Pheu Thai secretary-general Prasert Chanthararuangthong said opposition parties had agreed to submit a censure motion around the end of January and expected the debate could take place next month.

                            Asked what the opposition would do if parliament was adjourned for longer than one month, Mr Prasert said that would be okay as long as the length of time was reasonable. However, he suggested parliament consider holding an extraordinary session.

                            The opposition would discuss again if parliament could be adjourned for longer than expected and possibly adjust censure debate plans so they are in line with the current situation.

                            Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said Section 154 of the constitution stipulates that the opposition can submit a censure debate motion once during each ordinary session of parliament.

                            Mr Wissanu said the opposition should submit the motion within the current parliamentary session and ruled out the possibility of holding a censure debate during an extraordinary session.

                            A censure debate could even take place on the last day of the current session on Feb 28, he said.

                            Once the opposition submits a censure motion, the House speaker must examine it before including it on parliament’s agenda, he said.

                            Mr Wissanu also expressed concern over the effects a suspended parliament would have on reviewing legislation, including charter and referendum bills, and amendments to the criminal code on narcotics and on abortion.

                            Parliament needs to urgently review the abortion bill since the Constitutional Court had ruled the law must take effect on Feb 12, Mr Wissanu said.:

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • Govt u-turns on Mor Chana

                              Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday urged people to download onto their smartphone a Covid-19 contact-tracing app called "Mor Chana". However, there would be no punishments for those who do not download it, so long as they inform officials of their travel plans when crossing provincial borders.

                              His remark came on Thursday afternoon after an announcement made by Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman. He said use of the app would be mandatory in the declared maximum-control zones, a statement that was strongly opposed by some critics and sparked uproar online.

                              Many pointed towards the fact that there are many Thais who still don't have access to a smartphone and would be unable to download the app.

                              The CCSA spokesman earlier told a daily press briefing on the Covid-19 situation that people would have to install the Mor Chana app onto their mobile phones and use it together with Thai Chana, an app used for checking into and out of public places.

                              This mandate was meant to strictly apply to people residing in areas declared maximum-control zones who might otherwise be liable to a jail term of up to two years and/or a fine of up to 40,000 baht if found violating the directive, he said.

                              "Anyone who is infected with Covid-19 and fails to have downloaded the Mor Chana app will be regarded as having intentionally defied the directive and may face up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of 40,000 baht, not to mention more punishments for covering up their travel history," he said.

                              For the five provinces in the "maximum and strict control zones," namely Rayong, Chon Buri, Trat, Chanthaburi and Samut Sakhon, travellers leaving those provinces will need travel permits issued by their local leaders identifying the need to travel and their itinerary.

                              Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul later on Thursday responded to growing public frustrations over the Mor Chana app mandate announced on Thursday morning, saying in a Facebook post he had already convinced the PM that the mandate would be a burden to many people.

                              He was prepared to ameliorate the government's stance.

                              "The PM has agreed with my explanation and will amend the order (requiring all people to have the Mor Chana app on their smartphones) and allow the use of paper-based [Covid-19 contact-tracing] instead," said Mr Anutin.

                              Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said anyone who feels uncomfortable with using the Mor Chana app may instead record his or her travel history and submit his or her travel itinerary at a Covid-19 checkpoint when travelling.

                              However, if that person is later proved to have covered up his or her travel information intentionally in a situation that may cause a new spread of Covid-19, the person will be held responsible for such actions, said the spokesman.

                              Dr Taweesilp said he relayed the CCSA's announcement of the Mor Chana app mandate as he intended it to be a call for public cooperation to stem the spread of Covid-19 via use of the mobile app.

                              It's been almost a month since the first new Covid-19 case was reported in this new wave of the pandemic and although the curve of new infections detected isn't very steep, the situation is still worrying, which justified the use of this control measure along with other key measures, he said.

                              Other measures include declaring Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat as Covid-19 maximum control zones and cracking down on the illegal smuggling of migrants and illegal gambling houses, he said.

                              Gen Prayut and Mr Anutin have also agreed on a proposal for every province to set up its own field hospital for treating Covid-19 infected patients so they would not have to be transferred to another province, said Dr Taweesilp.

                              As soon as the Mor Chana app directive was announced by Dr Taweesilp on Thursday, it sparked strong criticism, which was regarded by some critics as a violation of people's rights.

                              Ponson Liengboonlertchai, a law lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, said compulsion could be against the constitution as it would result in a burden on the public and would severely limit their rights and freedom, an act prohibited under Section 26 of the charter.

                              Mr Anucha also assured the government now has the ability to pool budgetary resources of up to two trillion baht to fund its new Covid relief measures.:

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Thai PM “baffled” by allegation of involvement in illegal gambling activities

                                Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said today he is surprised that he is being implicated in benefiting from illegal gambling activities, as he declared his determination to crack down decisively on the illegal activity.

                                Speaking on the “Meet the People” podcast, the prime minister vowed to do his best in national administration, for the benefit of all society, and sought their cooperation in solving the country’s various problems.

                                On illegal gambling, blamed for a cluster COVID-19 infections, the prime minister said that officials do not want the virus to spread further, but he claimed there are some “bad officials” and people offered bribes to them, resulting in the virus outbreak related to such activities.

                                He said that illegal activities suchas gambling, illegal logging, the illicit drug trade and trafficking, has been going on in Thailand for a long time and, to get rid of the problem, the government must find appropriate solutions, based on legal principles.

                                The prime minister said he despises people who offer bribes to officials, so they will turn a blind eye to their illegal gambling dens, and warned them not to claim “they are my relatives or my friends.”

                                He insisted that he has never received any ill-gotten gains from illegal gambling dens, as was being implied.

                                Citing the rapid daily increase in new infections, the prime minister asked for full cooperation from the public by taking care of themselves, strictly observing safety measures and refraining from visiting high-risk locations.

                                While admitting that he does not want to punish anyone who breaks the tough travel restrictions, recently imposed in the five coastal provinces, or those who conceal information from authorities, he said that the restrictions are necessary and must be strictly enforced for the common good.

                                He reiterated that not downloading the Mor Chana tracing application onto smart phones is not an offence, but he urged members of the public to tell the truth when questioned by officials about their travel to high-risk areas.

                                He dismissed, as a fake news, a report that the government is to roll out another stimulus package, to give 4,000 baht cash to people affected by the pandemic, saying that the government must spend the taxpayers’ money carefully.

                                He said that the government still has an emergency fund and residues from two previous loans, which are being considered by the Finance Ministry and the National Economic and Social Development Council for lending to those affected by the latest outbreak.:

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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