The government will allot 45 minutes airtime on a TV program that will be broadcast on channels 5, 9 and 11 immediately after the national anthem is played at 6pm, said Lt Gen Sansern Kaewkamnerd, a government spokesman.
The show is called Dern Nah Prathet Thai (Thailand Moves Forward). It will be hosted by a senior reporter and all of the questions will be screened beforehand. Doctors, psychiatrists, family members and Navy Seals will also participate, he said.
Chiang Rai Governor Prachon Prachsakul suggested the team would only be talking to the media for a short part of the program. Afterwards, the boys, their coach and their parents have been advised to avoid the media spotlight, the spokesman said.
A multidisciplinary team has been formed to address their needs and ensure all 12 boys, who are under 16, and their 25-year-old coach receive due legal protection, Mr Prachon said.
Public health permanent secretary Jessada Chokdamrongsuk said the doctors treating the 13 footballers at Chiangrai Prachanukroh Hospital reported that their health has improved considerably, with each gaining 2-3 kilograms.
Dr Jessada said they all are expected to return home tomorrow (July 19) so they can be reunited with their families.
The first group of four boys was admitted for treatment on July 8 and has now completed a seven-day course of antibiotic treatment. Their state of health was described as “normal”.
The second group of four boys admitted on July 9 are also in good health and now eating normally, doctors said. Chest X-rays showed no inflammation in their lungs.
The third group are still on antibiotics but no health threats have emerged yet, Dr Jessada said.
The 13 entered Tham Luang cave in Chiang Rai on June 23 and were trapped inside by rising floodwater. An international rescue operation located them after 10 days and brought them out in batches over a three-day period from July 8-10.
The Thai Navy SEALs posted a statement on their official Facebook account from Bill Whitehouse, vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC), praising the SEALs’ efforts during the rescue operation, which has been praised by others involved as “unprecedented” and “miraculous”.
“BCRC officers supporting and following the rescue operation from the UK have been in awe of the courage displayed by the Thai Navy SEALSs and what they managed to achieve without the specialist equipment, knowledge and experience we all know to be necessary to operate safely in the harsh environment of a cave diving situation,” it said.
“We were all devastated and saddened when one of the SEALs lost his life ... I do hope the Thais have medals big enough for those guys!”
Chris Jewell, a BCRC diver who took part in rescue mission, said: “The SEALSs were extremely brave and talented divers – they simply aren’t used to operating in caves. However, it is a testament to their skill and adaptability that they managed to achieve what they did in an unfamiliar environment.”
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