Army officer shunted to inactive post
The Covid-19 infected chief of the Army Welfare Department and other officials involved in a boxing event at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium on March 6 have been transferred pending a probe, said a well-informed army source.
These officials are facing a disciplinary probe for defying a March 3 cabinet resolution which asked all parties to avoid organising a sporting event as it could exacerbate the spread of Covid-19.
Maj Gen Rachit Arunrangsi, directorgeneral of the Army Welfare Department, has been infected with Covid-19 and is being treated at Phramongkutklao Hospital. He was present at the army-owned stadium on March 6 in his capacity as the chief of the stadium.
“Whoever has done anything wrong will be held responsible,” army chief Gen Apirat Kongsomgpong was quoted by the source as saying.
Army spokesman Col Winthai Suvaree confirmed that Gen Apirat has ordered an investigation into the alleged defiance by the boxing stadium of the cabinet’s March 3 resolution.
“Despite the March 3 cabinet request, the boxing stadium held an event on March 6 which has become a major source of many of the reported Covid-19 infections,” said Col Winthai.
Along with the probe, Gen Apirat has also ordered all military officials involved in the organisation of the March 6 boxing event to be transferred to an inactive post at the army’s headquarters while facing investigation.
Gen Apirat has also ordered the army to step up Covid-19 prevention measures at all army units. All army officials who travel to another province for work must prove their case for travel along with a copy of an instruction stating their requirement, Col Winthai added.
Gen Apirat has also ordered a survey of all military personnel with a medical or health care background who no longer practice, in preparation for emergencies.
In related news, Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has also signed an order postponing a new round of conscription scheduled to be held on April 1-12 to an unspecified date between July and August.