NSC proposes extending the SOE until the end of June

The National Security Council (NSC) proposed on Thursday an extension of the State of Emergency (SOE) until the end of June to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

NSC secretary-general Gen Somsak Rungsita said on Thursday that the NSC will propose the extension to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha, at its meeting on Friday.

However, the move will have to be approved by the cabinet next Tuesday before it can come into effect.

The SOE was introduced on March 26 and was intended to last until April 30. It was, however, extended by the CCSA to May 31. 

If accepted, the SOE could be extended until the end of June. According to the constitution, the SOE can legally last up to three months.

Somsak said the proposal is based on preparations for the third phase of the business easing period. Some small and large businesses, including department stores, have reopened since May 17. 

The CCSA will decide by the end of the month whether to introduce a third round of easing.

He said since the SOE contributed to Thailand’s success in containing the virus, the martial law should be extended to make sure that a second wave of infection does not occur within the country. 

The proposal was given a nod of approval by representatives from the healthcare sector and the business sector who joined NSC’s meeting on Thursday, according to Somsak.  

CCSA

On Thursday, CCSA’s spokesperson Dr Thaweesin Visanuyothin refused to answer what kind of businesses will be allowed to reopen in phase three of the easing period. 

He said massage parlors may be one of the businesses that will be permitted to reopen but he would not confirm it. 

The set of businesses that could reopen in phase three are those with a medium-risk of infection. This includes small businesses with air conditioning and limited physical contact, such as hairdressers which have already been given permission.

If the number of confirmed cases shoot up again, the CCSA will have to reconsider progressing to phase three, Thaweesin warned. 

He said there are only nine days of the assessing period left for businesses to propose to the CCSA a set of safety measures they would implement to protect its staff and customers. 

He said the more confidence the businesses can give to the CCSA, the higher the chance their businesses will be allowed to open in phase three.

“We only have five main measures for them to comply by and businesses can propose ten more if they want to,” he said. “The more preparation and confidence they can show and provide us in terms of safety, the more chance they will have to reopen.”   

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