Send conscripts home or risk army-camp Covid cluster, Move Forward Party says

The army should cancel this year’s military conscription because camps could become a new cluster for Covid-19, the Move Forward Party said Wednesday, after the army started training recruits and requested thousands of vaccines last week.

“Why doesn’t the military sacrifice a little and not train recruits right now while the pandemic is taking place,” said Rangsiman Rome, a member of the Move Forward Party and a current parliamentarian.

“The conditions in an army camp and in the prisons are not different, we’ve seen what could happen in the prisons and that can also happen in the army camps.

The number of infections among the military, their families, and related personnel was already on the rise, the party’s spokesperson Nattacha Boonchaiinsawat said in parliament las tweek.

There were 136 confirmed infections in that population in May, and 271 in June, he said, while the number of those isolating after suspected contacted with an infected person more than doubled from 2,215 to 5,190.

Nattacha also revealed that the Ministry of Defense requested 60,000 jabs for its first batch of conscripts, who started training on Thursday.

Conscripts’ living conditions and nature of the training bring them into close proximity, making a cluster bound to happen, Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, another Move Forward MP, told Thai Enquirer.

“There is no reason for conscription to take place. It risks increasing the spread of the virus, especially with the Delta variant.”

He also said there have been pressure to go ahead with this year’s round of conscription as from people in the military waiting to exploit the source of labour.

The military is widely known to use conscripts to work in homes of high-ranking officers.

The army’s requests for vaccines is not wrong, Wiroj added, but because our troops deserve protection, but inoculating healthy young new conscripts will put a burden on limited vaccine supplies.

“Active service members in the military, from conscripts to officers, should have access to the vaccines. But stop conscription so that the military can use the vaccines sparingly as we do not have enough right now and are still waiting for more to be delivered.”

“It is absolutely absolutely unnecessary to enlist all these soldiers right now,” Nattacha said Thursday, according to local news reports. “These vaccines should be given to the real front line troops which are the medical workers.”

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