Thailand has denied rebuked a local newspaper for its choice of words in describing the Government’s attempts to track down travellers from African countries to test them for coronavirus amid fears of a new strain, Omicron.
This comes after a widely-read Thai newspaper, The Bangkok Post had run the headline “Government hunts for African visitors” on its front page and website.
A spokeswoman from the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), a government agency tasked with managing Thailand’s COVID-19 response, rebuked the newspaper during a press conference on Friday. She said:
Let me state clearly and unequivocally that this headline does not in any way reflect the government’s policy and or approach nor does it characterise any of the procedures the government has put in place thus far.
In fact, it was a very poor choice of words and we hope the editors will take good note of the negative feedback it has already elicited.
According to BBC, the spokeswoman did not mention the paper by name, however, images on social media showed the Bangkok Post had run the headline on its front page on the morning of 2 December.
Meanwhile, the newspaper has since changed the headline to “searched for” instead of “hunted”. The report reads in part:
The Immigration Bureau and the Ministry of Public Health are tracking about 783 African travellers who have entered Thailand since Nov 15.
They want to test them for the Omicron coronavirus variant.
The African visitors are believed to be in tourist destinations including Bangkok.
Thailand has imposed a travel ban on visitors from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.