Covid-19: Legal consequences in Thailand

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published on 11 March 2020 | reading time approx. 4 minutes

 

As of 10 March 2020, Thailand has recorded 53 Covid-19 cases: 33 of the patients have recovered, 19 are still in hospitals, and one has died.

 

 

 

Legal Basis and Immigration Laws

On 1 March 2020, Covid-19 was qualified as a “Dangerous Communicable Disease” under the Communicable Disease Act (CDA). The CDA permits measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases in Thailand (e.g., ordering disinfections, closures of buildings and vehicles, examinations, quarantines, and isolations).

 

By Notification dated 2 March 2020 (Notification of the Ministry of Public Health RE: Territories outside the Kingdom of Thailand defined as Disease Infected Zones of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Outbreak B.E. 2563) Iran, Italy, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, and Macau have been qualified as “Disease Infected Zones.” As a security measure, travelers from these countries can be asked to undergo medical examinations upon arrival. In case the test is positive, further measures (quaran-tine, isolation) can be imposed. Everybody is obliged to make truthful statements to badged health officials regarding recent travel history. According to the Ministry of Public Health, providing wrong information to a health official will be fined with THB 20,000 per case.

 

On 9 March 2020, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issued guidelines regarding Covid-19. Airlines are requested only to permit the check-in of travelers from “Disease Infected Zones” if they can provide a health certification confirming that they are not affected by Covid-19. Additionally, before immigration to Thailand, travelers will have to fill in the T8 form, which pro-vides information on travel history. Incorrect information will be fined.

 

Airlines are obliged to bear the costs of isolation, quarantine, and other health costs in case of confirming Covid-19 of a traveler arriving in Thailand.

 

There are particular rules for Thai people returning from work in South Korea (so-called Phi Noi, “Little Ghosts“). This group of returnees shall be subject to a 14-day quarantine on dedicated military facilities.

 

In practice, all travelers are currently checked on temperature by thermal imaging cameras at the airport. If the body tempera-ture exceeds 37.5 degrees, further medical examinations can be ordered, regardless of the destination.

 

Export Regulations

Thailand limited the export of face masks and other safety equipment requiring an export permit. Additionally, the Minister of Economics introduced measures to control the retail price, export, import, and the sales volume of face masks. The goal is to prevent hoarding and excessive pricing. As a consequence, all main manufacturers of workplace safety equipment have to deliver their face masks to the government, which will distribute to hospitals and pharmacies to ensure sufficient supply.

 

Furthermore, the Thai Central Committee for product and ser-vice prices was setting the price by THB 2.5 per item. Infringe-ment will be fined up to THB 140,000 or up to seven years of imprisonment.

 

Labour Law

In general, the Work Safety, Occupational Health, and Environmental Committee has the authority to request employers to introduce measures to ensure workplace safety. As of 11 March, the Committee has not issued any rules yet.

 

However, many companies are following the WHO recommendations by handing out face masks to employees, providing disinfection, and information about the prevention of Covid-19.

 

Employees ordered to self-quarantine by public health officials and showing symptoms such as fever etc. are considered sick and have to take sick leave. In general, employees are entitled to 30 days of paid sick leave per year. However, if the employer closes the office as a precaution or orders an employee to stay at home without the employee showing any symptoms, then the employee does not have to take sick leave.

 

In general, employees in Thailand are not entitled to “home office” under the law. However, in practice, many companies are preparing employees to work from home, if possible.
 

Avert of false Information

The Technology Crime Suppression is tasked to take steps against false information under the Computer Crime Act. People spreading false information on the internet will be subject to fines and/or imprisonment.

 

Stimulus

The Ministry of Finance has announced a stimulus to support the economy in the amount of THB 400 billion (approximately EUR 11,5 billion).

 

The Government Savings Bank will set-up a soft loan program worth THB 150 billion. The GSB will grant loans up to THB 20 million at a rate of two percent.

 

The Social Security Office announced another loan program with a volume of THB 30 billion for entrepreneurs. These loans shall support employment, and the interest rate shall be around three percent.

 

Furthermore, the Ministry of Finance has announced a reduced withholding tax rate (reduced to 1 percent from 3 percent) on certain payments by companies for the period from April to September 2020. Additionally, small and medium-sized enterprises shall be allowed to deduct the costs of employment at a factor of three from April to June.

 

Also, the tax incentives for investments in Super Saving Funds shall be increased to support companies listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

 

The Bank of Thailand announced measures to ease debt restructuring for companies in Thailand affected by the economic slowdown.

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