Thai PM says no lockdowns or curfews yet
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha assured today (Friday) that the government will not yet impose lockdowns or curfews in order to contain the COVID-19 spread, adding that he felt the pain every time such restrictions were imposed in the past, because they hurt a lot of people, especially low income, grassroots people.
Speaking to the media, after chairing a meeting of the CCSA this afternoon, the prime minister asked people not to panic about lockdowns or a curfew, noting that the restrictions were imposed before because they were deemed necessary at the time, despite their impacts on the economy.
In the end, he said, Thailand managed to control the first wave of COVID-19 and won worldwide praise for the achievement.
For the current outbreak, he admitted that he cannot make a decision without taking into consideration the repercussions on the people and has to listen to the diverse views of all stakeholders.
In the wake of the current rapid spread of the disease, he stressed the need for tight controls to contain it and to reduce the damage.
On the vaccination program, the prime minister said that health officials have continued to inoculate people, while the Government Pharmaceutical Organization has been trying to procure more vaccines to achieve the target of having 60% of the population inoculated, to develop herd immunity.
He noted that, for the time being, COVID-19 vaccines can only be procured through government-to-government deals, hence, it is impossible for the GPO to sell the vaccines to the private sector and they must be distributed to private hospitals through the Association of Private Hospitals.
He added that attempts are underway to procure the Sputnik vaccine from Russia.
The prime minister also urged retired medics to help out in the vaccination campaign, to speed up the process to cover every province.
He explained that being vaccinated does not mean that a person will not contract the virus, but the vaccine will boost their immunity so they will not get infected easily and will not spread the disease to other people.
He said that he was pleased that about 90% of Thai people are wearing face masks in public, but expressed concern that social distancing is still not being strictly observed.