Restrictions may be eased at some Bangkok construction sites, Essential work could be allowed to proceed

Construction News
Construction workers board trucks to return to their camp in Bangkok’s Laksi district on Sunday. All construction sites and workers camps in Bangkok and surrounding provinces were sealed off for at least 30 days from Monday afternoon under tightened Covid-19 restrictions. (Photo: Arnun Chonmahatrakool)

Restrictions may be eased at some Bangkok construction sites, Essential work could be allowed to proceed

Restrictions on movement may be eased at some construction camps and sites in Bangkok to allow essential work to proceed and to prevent engineering problems.

National Security Council chief Gen Natthapol Nakpanich, who heads the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) operations centre, said on Tuesday a meeting would discuss easing some measures that had been implemented.

This would include reviewing suspension of construction work that may pose a danger for engineering reasons or in cases such as hospital construction.

Any work deemed essential for construction purposes may be allowed at some sites, Gen Natthapol said.

He defended the timing of the authorities’ latest announcement around 1am on Sunday of new restrictions in Bangkok and five surrounding provinces, insisting it was appropriate.

The CCSA’s operations centre had met on Friday and continued the meeting on Saturday. The Covid-control restrictions were then drafted and forwarded to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for endorsement at 9pm that night, on June 26. The announcement was then published in the Royal Gazette at 1am on June 27.

This showed that they had worked around the clock to issue the announcement as soon as possible, Gen Natthapol.

The centre has been criticised for issuing the new restrictions at a time that did not allow restaurants time to prepare for the changes. It was also criticised for announcing the shuttering of construction camps and sites long before implementing it from 4pm on Monday, leading to workers fleeing the camps.

Gen Natthapol maintained the CCSA had tried its best to issue the restrictions at the proper time.

Issuing of Covid-19 restrictions must be done carefully and was screened by agencies such as the Public Health Ministry, the Interior Ministry and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration’s public works and town and country planning department, he said.

He said the CCSA had earlier held talks with the associations of construction operators and Thai restaurant operators regarding the restrictions, and explained the Covid-19 situation to them before the announcement was issued.

He blamed poor communications for the problems and apologised for any inconvenience it caused.

He said the authorities did not want to impose harsh measures, but had to take into consideration the recommendations of medical experts.

The new measures, in force for for 30 days from Monday, include a ban on restaurant dine-ins in Bangkok and five surrounding provinces of Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon and Nakhon Pathom, according to the document published by the Royal Gazette.

Shopping malls in Bangkok and the five provinces must be closed by 9pm, and parties or celebrations, and activities involving a gathering of more than 20 people are banned for the same duration.

The announcement also said construction sites in the six areas would be shut down and workers’ camps be sealed off to contain infection clusters.

The order followed the emergence of more clusters in construction camps in the capital, which has 575 such sites housing about 81,000 workers.