BANGKOK, Thailand will extend the country’s state of emergency until the end of September – its fifth extension – citing the COVID-19 situation across the globe as a remaining concern.
The current state of emergency will end on August 31.
Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) spokesman Thaweesilp Wissanuyothin said a CCSA meeting, chaired by Prime Minister General Prayuth Chan o-cha today, agreed to the extension of the Emergency Decree, which has been in place since March 26 to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“As all restrictions eased, there is a necessity (of the extension) to prevent another outbreak in the kingdom. It is also to manage Thais returning from overseas,” he said at a COVID-19 briefing, here, today.
The extension is subject to Cabinet approval next Tuesday.
To date, Thailand has recorded 3,390 COVID-19 cases with 58 fatalities.
On Thursday, the National Security Council (NSC) reiterated that the extension of the state of emergency is made to prevent another outbreak in the kingdom.
As Thailand has recorded zero local transmission for almost three months, the extension fueled the speculation that it seeks to stop the spread of student-led protests against the government.
“NSC will not enforce the Emergency Decree to control protests. There should be no problem if protests are held lawfully,” said *the secretary-general of NSC*, General Somsak Rungsita.
Since July 18, student-led protests are held almost daily, defying the ban of mass gathering under the state of emergency.
On Sunday, Thailand witnessed the gathering of about 10,000 protesters – one of the biggest since the 2004 military coup in the country – at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument, repeating their demands for the dissolution of Parliament, ending of harassment against government critics, and rewriting of the constitution.
Source: NAM News Network