11 July 2024

The opposition Pheu Thai party has renewed its call for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to revoke the Emergency Decree, claiming that the special law, which was imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 more than two years ago, is no longer relevant because the status of the pandemic is steadily improving.

Pheu Thai party leader Chonlanan Srikaew said today (Friday) that retaining the law, as the country is moving towards classifying COVID-19 as an endemic disease, will be counter-productive to economic development and rehabilitation of the country, as well as public participation in matters of public interest.

A statement, issued by the party today, said that the decree was supposed to contain the pandemic, but it has been misused, through the issuance of a regulation to control public gatherings and arrests of students and many other people who defied the decree.

The decree has been used for political purposes to restrict freedom of expression and to muzzle criticism of the government, read the statement, adding that there is no justification whatsoever to keep it.

Even without the decree, the party said that the government still has the Disease Control Act to deal with COVID-19.

The Emergency Decree was imposed throughout the country on March 26th, 2020. It has since been extended 18 times and is currently scheduled to expire on July 31st.

Under the law, officials who performed their duties in enforcing the law will be exempt from civil, criminal and disciplinary accountability.