EconThai backs easing of lockdown

The Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry (EconThai) welcomes the government’s easing of lockdown measures starting on Wednesday because relying on a lockdown alone will not flatten the Covid-19 infection curve.

Authorities should follow the US, the UK and Japan as a model for how to co-exist with the pandemic, said Tanit Sorat, vice-chairman of EconThai.

The group does not want to see the government resort to drastic lockdown measures again because they are not always a guarantee for a sharp reduction in daily new infections of Covid-19.

The only thing they guarantee is a heavy blow to the economy, he said, while easing the lockdown is a cure for financial ills.

“Relaxing strict business regulations will help people, especially those in the restaurant and retail segments, regain their jobs,” said Mr Tanit. “It will also increase people’s purchasing power.”

EconThai earlier expressed concern the Thai unemployment rate is likely to increase in the second half this year because of the slow economic recovery and the entry of 300,000 new graduates into the job market.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration decided on Friday to allow the reopening of eateries, some shops at malls, stadiums and public parks in provinces categorised as dark red zones on Sept 1, with strict disease controls in place.

Covid-19 control zoning remains the same.

Dark red zones, which face the strictest controls, are still applied to 29 provinces, including Bangkok.

Mr Tanit suggested the government adopt additional measures to control the outbreak when it relaxes the lockdown in provinces that are prone to infections.

The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) also agrees with the decision to ease the lockdown.

The FTI wants the government to carefully consider allowing more businesses to reopen in the next phase to rev up the economic recovery.

“Allowing more businesses to resume their activities will support the government’s plan to reopen Thailand,” said FTI chairman Supant Mongkolsuthree.