A crucial weapon in the battle against Covid-19 coronavirus is concise information that can be understood by every one. However, since the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand, information released by the Prayut government has been anything but clear.
Already in a panic over the daily rise in infections, people nationwide are having to tackle a tsunami of information – both real and fake. – While their daily lives are disrupted by stringent measures like the lockdown and night-time curfew to contain the contagion.
Worse still, with no sign of an end to the epidemic, people are losing hope and confidence in policymakers, Thai PBS reports. At a time when the public desperately needs clear and accurate information, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, has emerged as a beacon of trustworthiness. Even more calming the nerves of citizens across the country.
The face of the 54-year-old has become a regular and reassuring sight on TV since he was appointed as spokesman for the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on March 26. His job is to update the public daily about the number of Covid-19 cases, how many have recovered and how many have succumbed to the virus.
Delivering bad news every day can be difficult for even the strongest among us. But his job is to spur confidence in people when infections are dropping and let them know that there is light at the end of the tunnel when they rise.
Right Man for the Covid-19 Coronavirus Situation Center
So far, Dr Taweesin has proved to be the right man for the Covid-19 Coronavirus Situation Center job. He has coped well with the pressure, and thanks to his background in psychiatry, he knows how to handle anxiety and panic.
During daily press conferences he conveys his messages gently, never issuing brusque threats to control the public with the force of law. He has repeatedly pleaded for the public to cooperate by wearing face masks outside, practising social distancing and staying at home to stop the virus from spreading.
“We plead for your collaboration. It will be better if the authorities are not driven to enforce the law. If you provide cooperation and the number [of patients] drop, then no more measures will be imposed,” Taweesin tells the press daily.
With his calm manner and willingness to answer all questions in a well-prepared, polite and non-aggressive manner, simplifying medical terms for the layman, Dr Taweesin’s messages and advice have won wide support from Thais.
“People pay attention and listen to Dr Taweesin because he is the only person with a deep knowledge of [the current situation]. The more he can make people understand, the more beneficial it will be. We should follow what he says and advises,” commented one netizen while watching the psychiatrist on Facebook Live.
As of Monday (April 6), Thailand had recorded more than 2,200 Covid-19 infections in 66 provinces, with 26 deaths. The Kingdom stepped up measures to combat the contagion by announcing a nationwide state of emergency and a “soft” lockdown from March 26 to April 30. On April 3, the government imposed a night-time curfew from 10pm to 4am, enforced until further notice.