Deputy Defence Minister Chaichan Changmongkol yesterday instructed the armed forces to gear up for the next phase of lockdown easing scheduled to begin on July 1, said ministry spokesman Lt Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich.
Gen Chaichan stressed the need for the military to assist the government in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus at yesterday’s meeting with defence permanent secretary Nat Intaracharoen, the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) and the armed forces.
Lt Gen Kongcheep said the military will help enforce regulations to prevent a second wave of infections when all remaining businesses and activities are allowed to resume on Wednesday.
Military personnel will also provide support to schools when they reopen on Wednesday, in ensuring social distancing and disease control measures laid down by the Public Health Ministry are observed. Gen Chaichan also urged the armed forces to enhance the capacity of the 14-day mandatory quarantine programme for returnees, which has proved to be effective in curbing the spread of the virus.
The armed forces have worked closely with the Public Health Ministry in conducting screenings and managing the quarantine programme. Troops have also provided relief to local communities affected by the pandemic.
The deputy defence minister also relayed a thank-you message from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to the three military branches for their hard work and support.
Lt Gen Kongcheep said the armed forces have mobilised resources to help alleviate the impact of Covid-19 transmissions by building field hospitals, screening returnees, providing transport for returnees heading to to quarantine facilities and disinfecting public places.
As part of Covid-19 relief efforts, up to 360 food sharing cabinets have been set up in areas around military barracks, and more than 2.3 million fabric face masks have been produced and distributed to the public. The armed forces have also helped alleviate hardship by buying products from local farmers during the travel restriction phase of the lockdown. Some were consumed by soldiers and the rest distributed to residents.
A total of 26,886 people have entered the state quarantine programme since its launch on Feb 4 of whom 147 tested positive for the virus. Currently, 7,371 remain at 43 state quarantine venues.