Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who has been distributing surgical masks at Bangkok Skytrain entrance, has reportedly stated that European tourists that refuse to wear masks should be 'kicked out of the country'. While speaking to reporters he referred to the tourists as 'farang' which is a commonly used Thai word that is used to describe westerners.
According to reports Charnvirakul said that the western tourists refused to take the masks that were being handed to them and acted like they did not care. Charnvirakul was recorded telling reporters that these kinds of people should be kicked out of the country. Charnvirakul later posted an apology on Facebook for losing his cool because some western tourists were not cooperating with his mask campaign.
Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul suggests that Europeans should be kicked out of Thailand as they have been refusing to wear surgical mask to protect against #coronavirus.pic.twitter.com/vifvn24h0X— Darren of Plymouth 🇬🇧 (@DarrenPlymouth) February 7, 2020
Thailand's economy greatly depends on tourism. While more than 10 million Chinese tourists visited Thailand last year according to reports, it has been projected that this year there will be 2 million fewer visitors from the mainland because of the coronavirus outbreak. The reduced number of Chinese tourists means that US, European and tourists from other nations become more vital.
Coronavirus has claimed at least 636 lives in China, as per the latest government reports. The government reported more deaths on Friday morning, leading to the crisis worsening. The Chinese government also reported that the number of people infected has crossed 30,000 across the country.
The outbreak took place in Wuhan in January and multiple countries have started evacuating their citizens from the country, and have decided to restrict the entry of foreigners returning from China. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Coronavirus as a 'global public health emergency'.
In order to tackle the spreading virus, the WHO stated that the international community has launched a USD 675 million preparedness and response plan covering the months of February through to April 2020.