23 May 2024

Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) Chairman Sanan Angubolkul disagrees with raising the COVID-19 alert level to the extent that business activities are locked down again, saying that such a decisive measure would drive the country backward.

His remark came a day ahead of a meeting of the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which will consider re-imposing lockdown restrictions after the Disease Control Department decided to raise the COVID-19 alert to Level 4, the second highest level, as new COVID-19 infections have been rising since the start of the year.

Sanan pointed out that the situation is very different from last year, because most of the population are now vaccinated, with many fully inoculated. Last year, however, only a small number of people had received vaccine shots, which were also in short supply.

He said that sledgehammer measures, such as a complete lockdown, may stop the spread of the virus temporarily, but the impacts on the economy will be devastating.

To restart the economic engine again, he said that a huge amount of money will be needed, adding that the TCC has gauged the opinions of businesses across the country and they agree that the government should press ahead with rebuilding the economy and improving the livelihoods of the people.

Instead of sweeping restrictions, Sanan said that the private sector wants the government to impose stringent measures in high-risk areas only, put health care resources on standby in all provinces and reactivate home and community isolation and hospital facilities.

Meanwhile, the private sector must be ready to revive the “Bubble and Seal” program.

The TCC chairman said that the private sector would like the government to consider the risks and impacts of disproportionate measures carefully, before making a decision.