The fresh COVID-19 outbreak in Bangkok has spread to different areas and sectors, including political circles. MPs have isolated themselves and refrained from attending parliamentary meetings. Some cabinet ministers, who are at risk, have had to suspend their duties to observe the 14-day quarantine. Transport Minister, Saksayam Chidchob, is one such minister, after a transport official tested positive for the virus.
Mr. Saksayam had already received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and was to receive the second dose today (Apr 7). However, he was admitted to Buri Ram Hospital this morning, after his body temperature rose to 38 degrees Celsius. He tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Saksayam and a group of officials attended a merit-making ceremony and a Bhumjaithai Party meeting yesterday. All 61 Bhumjaithai MPs have entered quarantine and have not attended parliamentary meetings, to show their sense of social responsibility.
The Bhumjaithai MPs, including Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and Chairwoman of the Advisory Board to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, Natee Ratchakitprakarn, traveled to Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute to be tested today. Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Chalermchai Sri-on, also went to the institute, after he attended the Bhumjaithai Party’s merit-making ceremony and had been in close contact with Mr. Saksayam.
Education Minister, Trinuch Thienthong, is also quarantined, after a person, who later tested positive for COVID-19, came to congratulate her on the day she reported to work. Ms. Trinuch’s test result was negative. Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Dr. Wissanu Krea-ngam, and Deputy Minister of Education, Kanokwan Wilawan, are now isolating, as both ministers attended a meeting with Ms. Trinuch on April 5.
In addition, three deputy ministers reported that they will not join the cabinet meeting today. They include Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Capt. Thamanat Prompow, Deputy Minister of Labor, Dr. Narumon Pinyosinwat, and Deputy Minister of Education, Khunying Kalaya Sophonpanich.
Today, the cabinet meeting was held via video conference. The venue was relocated from Santi Maitri Building to Command Building 1 at Government House, Bangkok. Results of the meeting will be posted on the ThaigovSpokesman Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the extraordinary parliamentary session, to consider the referendum bill in the second reading today, will not be attended by Bhumjaithai MPs or some Democrat Party MPs who joined the Bhumjaithai’s merit-making ceremony. MPs and Senators, who met with the Japanese Ambassador to Thailand, attended the session, after completing their 14-day quarantine. The ambassador has tested positive for COVID-19.
The meeting continued as planned, with President of the National Assembly, Chuan Leekpai, instructing officials to step up disease-control measures and legislators to be tested before attending the meeting.