Thai PM says news of Egyptian delegation incident was like being hit by a plane
Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, said today he felt as though he had been hit by a plane when he learned of the Egyptian military mission’s transgression of Thailand’s health safety protocols, as a nation-wide search for people who were in close contact with the Egyptian soldiers was launched.
During his opening speech, at the launch of an economic model for sustainable development, organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovations on Wednesday, the Prime Minister explained his shock, after it was discovered that one member of the Egyptian military delegation, staying at a hotel in Rayong, was found to be infected with COVID-19, after several of them broke health regulations by visiting a local shopping mall.
He also expressed concern over the high-risk behavior of people frequenting night entertainment venues, warning them to exercise extra caution.
He stressed that it is everyone’s responsibility to prevent the spread of coronavirus, as he urged his fellow countrymen to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to work together in nation building.
Accompanied by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul and director-general of the Disease Control Department, the Prime Minister is due to fly to Rayong province by helicopter at 4pm today (Wednesday), to visit the Passione Mall, the D Varee Diva Central Rayong Hotel and a wet market, and to offer moral support to the townspeople.
Interior Permanent Secretary Chatchai Promlert issued an order today, to all provincial governors, to locate anyone in their respective provinces who was at Passione (formerly Laem Thong) Mall or D Varee Diva Central Rayong Hotel between July 8th and 10th and to ensure they are tested for COVID-19.
More than 1,000 residents of Rayong, including a van driver and a cabbie, have been given swab tests by health officials. Both the van driver, who took the Egyptians from U-tapao airport to the hotel, and the cabbie, who took some of the Egyptians from their hotel to the mall, have been cleared of the disease.
The honorary president of The Rayong Chamber of Commerce, Anuchita Chinsiriprapa, disclosed today that over 90% of hotel room and seminar bookings in the province have been cancelled, after news of the Egyptian incident went public.
She said, however, that hotel officials have tried to convince their customers, who made advance bookings, that their hotels are safe and not connected to the Egyptian delegation.