Statement by Prime Minister of Thailand on COVID-19

In his statement televised on the Television Pool of Thailand on 16 March 2020 at 19.00 hr, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha urged the people to be patient and join forces during this difficult time in order to get through the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) situation together.

He also called for cooperation not to spread fake news on the virus, as it would lead to a state of panic among the people. Before sharing any news and information, checking must be carried out to ensure accuracy.

The Prime Minister pointed out that, during the recent weeks, Thailand was able to slow down the spread of COVID-19 because of its strong public health systems and good cooperation from all sides. But in the past week, the number of infected persons increased rapidly, mainly because of the gathering of many people. Rapid increases have also been seen all over the world.

A great number of people have been concerned about the situation. Many news reports on the disease are inaccurate and have not been screened, thus making people panic and unnecessarily stockpiling consumer goods.

The Prime Minister said that the Government and all relevant sectors have been working together to screen patients in accordance with international standards. Thailand’s medical personnel and pharmaceuticals are sufficient to accommodate infected persons.

He has great confidence in medical and public health personnel as the key to contain the spread of the virus. Therefore, the Government fully supports their operations and looks after them, in terms of equipment, safety, and encouragement.

The Prime Minister said that the Government needs to step up stringent measures to contain the spread of the disease. For instance, gatherings that would include many people would be banned and high-risk places would be closed, such as entertainment places, stadiums, and educational institutions. Arrivals in the country would have to pass through a strict screening system.

He stressed that Thailand would overcome COVID-19 through cooperation from the people, by not traveling abroad during this time. Those who are returning from risk countries are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine.

He urged the people to be confident about the Government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation. There are enough hygienic masks, consumer goods, and necessary items. He is well aware of the hardships and pains of the people, as the spread of the disease might continue for a certain period.

The Prime Minister thanked all people for their joint efforts to get through this situation together, saying that Thailand will win.

According to a report from the Ministry of Public Health on 16 March 2020, COVID-19 cases have been reported in 154 countries, with about 167,543-infected persons and 6,455 have died. Thailand has had 147 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Out of this number, 38 have already returned home; 108 are still hospitalized; and one has died.