A leading Thai doctor, Dr. Thira Woratanarat, is trying to garner support for a national “at least” four-week lockdown, giving dire predictions and forecasts of horrible outcomes if it does not happen.
The Pattaya News notes Dr. Thira is well known for making predictions of worst-case scenarios that, so far, have not emerged. His calls for a national lockdown come as prominent business organizations, pro-democracy protesters, government opposition groups and even some Thai Governors are stating that the current round of already strict restrictions in high-risk provinces are “too much” and will put too much pain on the countries economy and citizens, especially the millions of informal workers. Several Thai Governors and even the Bangkok Mayor were recently involved in heated discussions with the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration on shutting in-store dining, even with heavy precautions, for fear of the effect it has on the poor.
The Thai Government has not announced any sort of financial aid plan for this round of restrictions and closures other than social security paying out 50% of daily wages to qualified employees, which the vast majority of workers in the country, such as food cart vendors, restaurant workers, service staff, maids, most retail workers, security, etc. would not qualify for. From an official standpoint, the government has claimed they simply don’t have the funds to support everyone that needs to be supported.
It is also, The Pattaya News notes, why Thai officials dislike using the word “lockdown” “curfew” “roadblock” “travel bans” and other similar phrases as those words, according to Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration who stated so at a press conference on January 3rd, could legally require financial aid being given.
Dr. Thira stated in a social media post that if Thailand does not “lockdown” immediately with measures similar to the lockdown last April the country could see a mortality rate as high as Japan, which has chosen a suppression style strategy, of 1.5%, significantly higher than Thailand.