Health minister Anutin throws Prayut under the bus in public self-defense

Thailand’s Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul defended his record in a late night Facebook post on Monday by saying that all major decisions were made by the prime minister and that his ministry had to carry out government policies.

Anutin had come under criticism over the last fortnight after the third wave of the pandemic has seen tens of thousands infected since April 1.

One of his party’s ministers was also implicated in the spread of the disease, accused by the public of visiting entertainment parlors, catching Covid-19, and not revealing his personal timeline in a transparent manner.

Anutin has also come under criticism for the country’s poor vaccination program which has seen the country lag behind other regional neighbors due to perceived inaction. As a result the public health minister has been under fire from the public with a petition calling for his resignation garnering more than 100,000 signatures. (Read more here)

Anutin defended his conduct late Monday and said that all major decisions had come from the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration which is shared by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha.

“The ministry is subordinate to the prime minister who is the chief executive and I have a duty to follow the policy,” Anutin wrote. “The CCSA has operated under a single command policy all along.”

Anutin added that his ministry had always provided the necessary recommendation and information to the prime minister on everything from vaccines to lockdown measures and the prime minister was the one to make the final decision.

Among decisions made by the government that have been criticized by the opposition and the public was the decision by the government to not lockdown and postpone the Songkran holiday despite growing infection numbers.

It is unclear what recommendation the public health ministry made in that regard. Calls to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Public Health went unanswered.

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