April 25, 2003
ASEAN SARS summit kicks off next week in Bangkok
One rule for the rulers and one for the ruled: Bangkok is gearing up for a special ASEAN summit on how to deal with the SARS crisis [see our breaking SARS news page] for next Tuesday, a sensible choice as Thailand has had only a few cases of SARS and 2 deaths in the early stages. Whether ASEAN nations can uncharacteristically move beyond "non-interference" and agree among themselves on such an important matter is unknown.
However more interesting as a side-point is the policy on health checks for delegates arriving in Thailand for the summit. Yesterday Thailand PM Thaksin Shinawatra said that "leaders and ministers" would be exempt from health checks, but that "lower-ranking delegates" will have to undergo testing just like any other great unwashed business traveler to Thailand like you and me.
Thaksin has great faith in country leaders obviously, while doubting the intelligence and honesty of their underlings. According to Thaksin - "Those leaders and ministers should know what to do" if they feel "unwell".
Not a great portent for a summit that we taxpayers would hope ignores concepts of privilege when dealing with a crisis where every citizen is just as susceptible.
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