Thai PM defends decision to extend state of emergency
Tuesday - June 30, 2020 8:45 am , Category : WORLD
Bangkok, June 30 (IANS) Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has defended his government's decision to extend the national state of emergency until the end of July, noting that there was still a high risk of a second wave of COVID-19 infections.While the country has entered the 5th phase of lockdown relaxation, Prayut on Monday said the decree had nothing to do with his government clinging onto power, reports Xinhua news agency."The presence of emergency decree will empower the government the legal means to contain COVID-19," explained Prayut. "For example, state agencies can take immediate steps including the closure of Thailand's borders, businesses and leisure activities should a second wave occur."Prayut also praised the Thais' collaborative effort in helping the country stay free from local COVID-19 transmission for more than 30 days."The state of emergency will only be for pre-emptive purposes only," said Prayut, noting that the government has already relaxed almost all restricted measures imposed previously to stem the virus.Meanwhile, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said on Monday that pubs, bars, karaoke bars, massage parlours, internet and game cafÃ©s and tea houses can resume businesses, but only under certain conditions."Bars, pubs and karaoke bars can operate up to midnight, but they must observe social distancing, with each table separated by at least two metres, each chair by one meter and each group must not exceed five people," said Taweesin.Convenience stores can operate 24/7, but shopping and community malls must close no later than 10 p.m.Thailand has reported a total of 3,169 COVID-19 cases, with 58 deaths.