Saturday, April 4, 2020

Coronavirus: Thailand declares state of emergency

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Thailand will declare a state of emergency in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha announced on Tuesday. The country counted on Tuesday a total of 827 infected patients, a number multiplied by ten in ten days.

As of Thursday, all laws will be “under the authority of the Prime Minister,” said Prayut Chan-O-Cha in a televised address, adding that the state of emergency would be maintained for at least a month.

During this period, the government will be able to put in place curfews, prohibit or disperse any gathering, authorize the use of the armed forces to enforce the law. He will also be able to censor the media or comments on social networks in the event of dissemination of false information.

No freedom of speech on social networks

“Those who use social media must be careful what they say,” warned Prayut Chan-O-Cha. Authorities announced on Monday that they had arrested a man who lamented on Facebook the lack of temperature readings at Bangkok’s main airport.

Thailand is ruled by General Prayut Chan-O-Cha, who took power through a military coup in 2014 and retained it after controversial parliamentary elections in 2019.

For the moment, the head of government has not announced the specific measures he intends to put in place, nor did he specify whether the state of emergency concerned only Bangkok, which concentrates a majority of infected patients, or the whole country.

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