Surprise, surprise: Health officials plan to extend the emergency decree for another month.
Although the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in recent months have come from abroad, the COVID-19 task force told reporters yesterday it wants the decree extended through October to enable health officials work quickly and efficiently as they defend the kingdom from the virus, which has resurfaced in neighboring countries.
That vigilance won’t stop them from reopening borders to international tourists next month, however. Several hundred visitors a week will be allowed in on Special Tourist Visas good for up to nine months.
The emergency decree was enacted six months ago and critics have accused the government of exploiting the pandemic to leave the state of emergency in place to rein in growing protests to its rule. While that hasn’t stopped growing rallies, the most recent of which drew tens of thousands, the law has been used to charge organizers.
“Emergency decree extension? to control COVID or last the military career to the never ending?” @ThaiDelphiOoi tweeted.
The extension will likely be rubber-stamped Monday by the cabinet.
Health officials have reported 3,514 infections since the outbreak began in January. Two cases of domestic transmission this month ended a 100-day streak of only imported cases. The 59th fatality from the coronavirus came last week after an embassy translator infected in Saudi Arabia died.