11 July 2024

Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree has expressed doubt that the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)’s decision to tighten lockdown measures in 13 “Dark Red” provinces will successfully contain the rapid surge in COVID-19 infections.

Pointing out that the new restrictions will cause damage to the national economy, estimated at about 100 billion, instead of between 50-60 billion baht as earlier projected, he said that the increasingly restrictive measures must be complemented by an acceleration in active screening, including the widespread use of antigen test kits and mass vaccinations, without which the enhanced lockdown is bound to fail.

The FTI chairman also voiced his disagreement with the idea of adopting the Wuhan lockdown model in Bangkok, noting that such a drastic measure will bring the entire production sector to a complete halt, which will devastate the economy “because there won’t be any engine to drive it.”

The Wuhan lockdown strategy is brutal but effective. Initially, all transport into and out of the city of 11 million people was stopped with no exceptions, even for personal and medical emergencies. All shops were closed, except those selling food or medicine. Private vehicles were banned from streets without special permission and most public transports stopped.

Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree / Photo from Supant Mongkolsuthree Facebook

Initially, people were allowed out of their homes, but restrictions were tightened later. Residents were barred from leaving their homes, but were allowed to order food and other supplies for delivery.

Officials went door to door for health checks and forced those who fell ill into isolation. Most buildings had security guards checking the temperatures of anyone going in.

On Sunday, Thailand’s Disease Control Department Director-General Dr. Opart Karnkawinpong said a complete lockdown following the Wuhan model may be imposed in the next two months if the situation does not improve.

Meanwhile, CEO of LPN Development Opas Sripayak, said the private sector would have no alternative, if the government goes ahead with the Wuhan model of lockdown, noting that the company’s sales of condominium units have already dropped about 30%, compared to the same period last year.