Thailand’s emergency decree extended until mid-January

Health officials today approved an extension of the country’s emergency decree, which will last for 45 days this time.

Although the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in the past several months have come from abroad, the COVID-19 task force today gave the greenlight to extend the decree for the eighth time during the pandemic. Instead of the usual monthly extension, the decree is set to expire on Jan. 15. 

Task force spokesman Taweesilp Wisanuyothin said the emergency decree will enable health officials to work quickly and efficiently to defend the kingdom from the virus during an expected spike in holidaymakers for the New Year. 

Furthermore, Thailand is welcoming international guests as it’s set to host the Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Championships in January.

The task force today also approved golf courses to be alternative quarantine sites for tourists. A proposal to cut mandatory quarantine for incoming tourists from 14 days to 10 days has been scrapped due to the emergence of recent imported cases.  

The emergency decree was enacted in March and critics have accused the government of exploiting the pandemic to leave the state of emergency in place to rein in growing protests against its rule. While the emergency decree hasn’t dissuaded protesters, it has been used to charge organizers.

Health officials have reported 3,878 infections since the outbreak began in January. The 60th fatality from the coronavirus was reported Nov. 6 after a retired government worker who returned from the United Kingdom suffered from shortness of breath while in state quarantine. 

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