‘Phase 4’ remains in flux, Thai back from Kuwait is only new COVID-19 case

Thai travelers wait for flights home Monday at Dubai International Airport. Photo: Royal Thai Consulate-General, Dubai
Thai travelers wait for flights home Monday at Dubai International Airport. Photo: Royal Thai Consulate-General, Dubai

A Thai man recently repatriated from Kuwait was the single new COVID-19 infection announced today by health officials who signaled that they won’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to the next phase of reopening the economy.

The 45-year-old factory worker had been placed in government quarantine upon his arrival late last month and tested positive Wednesday. As for the list of possible business reopenings in the next phase, outbreak response spokesman Taweesilp Wissanuyothin said today that they will be granted permission based on their ability to come up with effective disease control measures. 

“These days we have meetings with business representatives every morning and afternoon. If they come with disease control plans we consider effective, we will make a proposal to the team meeting the next week,” Taweesilp said. “If we still see flaws, we will give them homework to come up with new plans.”

Bars, concert venues and some commercial sex massage parlors are under consideration for what would be the fourth phase of lifting restrictions since the spread of the virus appeared to halt last month.

He was asked by reporters why some provinces, such as Phitsanulok and Chiang Rai, have relaxed mandatory quarantine measures for a interprovincial travel rule while they remain in place elsewhere, such as in Phuket and Korat.

Those decisions are up to local officials, Taweesilp said. 

“We should respect their decisions because they do what they see fit and work for them,” he said. “It’s like when in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

Under the state of emergency declared by the prime minister, provincial authorities have near absolute power to enact measures deemed necessary to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

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