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Virus Control Won’t Trample STV Tourists’ Rights, Anutin Says

The Public Health Ministry said Thailand would protect the rights of foreign tourists about to enter the country under strict coronavirus-prevention measures.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said Monday that strong disease control and prevention measures were prepared for the first batch of arrivals under the Special Tourist Visa Oct. 8 so that Thailand’s virus-free, “normal” life can continue unimpeded.

But given the reputation Thailand has earned for its extreme approach from preventing Covid-19, human rights agencies have expressed concerns that the rights of travelers will be trampled in the name of disease-control, enabled by the extension of the government’s extraordinary emergency decree.

Anutin confirmed that the imposition of the executive decree on public administration in emergency situations was deemed necessary for effective disease control. But it has been imposed without political motive or human right violation.

He explained that, without the state of emergency law, officials would not be able to arrest illegal migrants swiftly and it would be difficult to control Covid-19.

Anutin said decisions to accept arrivals will depend on the Covid-19 situations in the tourists home countries. Those from the nations that have effectively controlled the disease may not be required to be quarantined for a full 14 days. However, anyone arriving in October will stay isolated for two weeks.

In November the proposal to shorten quarantine for certain groups will be considered based on the test results of the first foreign arrivals, he said.