Highlights

Sasin Chula Recommends Countermeasures for the “COVID-19 crisis”


It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic in Thailand has now reached a crisis point.  One important question that urgently needs an answer is: What measures will the government use to handle the crisis?


Asst. Prof. Dr. Chanawee  Suphattarakiat, Asst. Prof. Dr. Pattarake Sarajoti, and Asst. Prof. Dr. Piyachart Phiromswad from Sasin School of Management, Chulalongkorn University presented an article titled COVID-19 crisis in Thailand: Should we choose major to minor, or minor to major symptoms?  The article cited research findings on various measures that governments around the world have used to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

What type of “lockdown” can lock away COVID-19?

Brauner et al. (2021), published in Science, a world-leading scientific journal, and Haug et al. (2020), published in Nature Human Behavior, found that social distancing, bans on public gatherings (e.g. gatherings of over 10 people), travel restriction, closure of schools, borders, and most businesses, offer the most effective and fastest control of the outbreaks.

Which “lockdown” won’t knock people out?

Although the above measures are highly effective in reducing the outbreaks, they have significant economic and social impacts. Therefore, additional measures should be considered, such as meals distribution – three times a day – to help relieve the plight of people who have lost their jobs. The government can recruit restaurants to participate in a subsidized food distribution program. These restaurants are heavily affected by the crisis, so this measure will help the restaurant business.  The budget will not be more than other stimulus projects that the government previously launched. For instance, if 10 million people receive meals during a 14-day lockdown, the budget is estimated at 12.6 billion Baht (based on 30 Baht per meal).

Lockdowns must be effective

Implementation of intensive and comprehensive pandemic control will be a decisive factor to survive the crisis.  However, there have been many loopholes in the past, such as the smuggling of foreign workers into the country bypassing the checkpoints, and quarantine requirements. It is worth noting that many countries such as China can effectively control the outbreaks despite long and hard-to-control natural borders.  The main reason may be China’s strict law enforcement, particularly regarding COVID-19 mitigation.  Though the majority of people earnestly comply with the measures, a few who ignore the rules can lead to new outbreaks. So, the enactment of temporary laws with a strong penalty for violations is the answer.

Reference:

Brauner, J. M., Mindermann, S., Sharma, M., Johnston, D., Salvatier, J., Gavenčiak, T., …&Kulveit, J. (2021). Inferring the effectiveness of government interventions against COVID-19. Science, 371(6531).

Haug, N., Geyrhofer, L., Londei, A., Dervic, E., Desvars-Larrive, A., Loreto, V., …& Klimek, P. (2020). Ranking the effectiveness of worldwide COVID-19 government interventions. Nature Human Behavior, 4(12), 1303-1312.

Viet Nam News (7 July 2021), HCM City to enforce lockdown measures starting July 9 amid worsening COVID-19 outbreak, https://vietnamnews.vn/society/988153/hcm-city-to-enforce-lockdown-measures-starting -july-9-amid-worsening-covid-19-outbreak.html.

Chula’s encouragement and support for research is excellent for teachers, students, and the public.

Associate Professor Dr. Suchana Chavanich Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University