Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on residents in Rayong to return to their normal lives while Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha confirmed no local transmissions had been reported in the province after an infected Egyptian soldier stayed there without being quarantined.
The PM travelled to Rayong yesterday by helicopter to monitor disease investigations and Covid-19 tests for the public.
PM Prayut and his staff, including Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul visited D Varee Diva Central Rayong and Passione Shopping Destination mall — the places where the infected soldier spent time while staying in Rayong. He also visited Star Market to offer moral support to the locals.
The prime minister apologised to the people of Rayong and assured them this kind of event “would not happen again”, referring to the infected soldier who violated the quarantine measures while staying in the province.
He called on people to remain confident in the public health system and doctors, asserting there would be no more VIPs going astray and that everyone must be tested for the virus.
Gen Prayut said he would take full responsibility for the incident and urged everyone sides to treat the Rayong event as a lesson. He called on the media to avoid publishing news reports that stir up nationwide panic and suggested to focus on reporting the fact that there have been no new local transmissions in the country.
When the PM was asked “what scares people into not leaving home”, his reply was “the press,” says a report in Nation Thailand.
Meanwhile, business people and members of the general public in Rayong submitted a petition to the prime minister at the Government House , asking to cancel the 14-day quarantine exemptions for foreign visitors and VIPs.
One representative, Thatchaya Chuangsanthat, said the people of Rayong always cooperated with the government’s preventive measures against Covid-19 but now they faced discrimination.
They started to get back on track after the government relaxed lockdown measures and no community infection had been detected for over 100 days, she said. “The people of Rayong have lived without much income for the past four to five months but we accepted the situation and complied with every measure,” Ms Thatchaya said.
“But we could not accept that the government and the CCSA allowed foreigners in without state quarantining.
“We do not want an apology. We want the government to respond to what happened and treat everyone equally.”
Ms Thatchaya added she planned to go to the Egyptian embassy in Bangkok to demand answers from them.
The Rayong Chamber of Commerce is also calling for an apology from the government and moves to restore the tourism sector, after mass hotel cancellations were sparked by fears of catching coronavirus.
Provincial trade body chairman Noppadol Tangsongcharoen said on Wednesday local operators needed measures to aid their businesses, not just a government apology.
Original writer: Mongkol Bangprapa
Source: Bangkok Post