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A few more flight cancellations and K-Pop curtailed

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A few more flight cancellations and K-Pop curtailed | The Thaiger
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Airlines around the world are battling to re-assess and refine their flight schedules in response to the dive in passenger bookings following the outbreak and impact of the covid-19 coronavirus at the start of the year. In recent weeks the restrictions on travel, to many parts of the world, have started to bite.

Thai AirAsia announced today that it will halt flights out of KL to and from Kunming, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Hong Kong and Macao, from March 11 until March 31.

The Thai Ministry of Public Health announcement in the Royal Gazette at the start of March that declared “China (including Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea, Italy and Iran as high-risk countries for Covid-19 infection”.

Air Asia says that passengers who already have tickets will have the following options…

• Change the flight without any additional fee

• Keep the amount in their credit with the airline for use in their next travel

• Apply for a full refund.

The airline added that it will immediately contact affected passengers via the given telephone number or email.

Meanwhile, Thai Airways has temporarily cancelled flights on its two routes to Italy as the country has implemented a lockdown of all regions.

Roundtrip flights on the Bangkok-Rome route will be cancelled from March 15 – March 29.Roundtrip flights on the Bangkok-Milan route will be cancelled from March 13 – March 30. Passengers may make changes to airline tickets and/or the route before the flight date specified on the ticket, within the ticket validity date, or extend the departure date at any Thai Airways Sales Office until December 15, for which the ticket change fee will be waived.

For more information about the Thai Airways flight schedules or flight cancellations, visit thaiairways.com, or contact the Thai Airways Contact Centre at 02 356 1111, 24 hours a day.

And the cancellations are impacting just about every sector of the Asian economy. Japan’s travel restrictions on South Koreans over the coronavirus epidemic have now caused cancellations of a string of K-pop concerts which were scheduled in Japan, which will severely curtail the Korean entertainment industry in its most lucrative export.

Starting last Monday, people arriving from South Korea will be quarantined for two weeks. Tokyo also suspended visa waivers and the validity of existing visas for Koreans, followed by a similar move by South Korea, rekindling a diplomatic feud between the neighbours. That includes some of their massively popular K-Pop acts.

South Korean band Super Junior called off its tours scheduled to take place on March 25 and 26 in Japan, citing the Japanese government’s measures to “curb immigration”.

South Korea’s entertainment firm CJ ENM followed suit, postponing its annual K-pop festival KCON in Japan. KCON in Japan last year drew more than 88,000 fans, according to CJ ENM.

Japan’s travel restrictions are a fresh blow to the entertainment industry in the wake of a fast-spreading virus. K-pop events have also been cancelled or postponed elsewhere in the world because of the epidemic.

Back at home, band BTS, the world’s most popular music act at the moment, cancelled its scheduled April concert in Seoul, amid growing concerns of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Japan alone accounted for more than 60% of South Korea’s music exports, marking US$320.6 million (10.1 billion baht) worth of exports in 2017 followed by China and Southeast Asian countries, according to Statistics Korea.

A few more flight cancellations and K-Pop curtailed | News by The Thaiger

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Thailand

CCSA Update: 142 new Covid-19 infections

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CCSA Update: 142 new Covid-19 infections | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CCSA

After the welcome drop of new Covid-19 infections yesterday, the CCSA today reports an increase of 142 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours. 88 cases were found in general health care institutions, while 37 cases are detected on the proactive tests and 17 cases in the state quarantine.

The CCSA says the situation is still not stable with changing numbers, and urges the public to maintain caution.

Among the hot spots of the new outbreak, Samut Sakhon reported 63 new infections… 19 cases are Thai and 44 cases are migrant workers. Meanwhile, Bangkok recorded 14 new cases… 13 Thais and 1 migrant.

The CCSA also says the proactive testing in the community, especially migrant workers in factories, will continue. He says at least 50 factories still need to undergo the test.

Currently, the virus has spread to 63 provinces across the country with a total of 12,795 accumulative cases and 71 deaths since the start of the outbreak in January last year.

SOURCE: CCSA

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Migrant workers risk losing their legal status, the Cabinet to extend work permit amnesty

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Migrant workers risk losing their legal status, the Cabinet to extend work permit amnesty | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Frontier Myanmar

Over 1.7 million migrant workers in Thailand are going to lose their legal working status because they can’t submit work permit renewal and a health certificate with Covid-19 test results in time. The Labour Ministry then proposes the cabinet will extend the registration period (amnesty) for migrant workers to help maintain their legal status. Migrant workers, including those illegal and unemployed workers, are required to register with authorities via the ministry’s website from January 15 until February 13.

According to the Labour Minister, every migrant worker to renew their work permit must receive a Covid-19 test at hospitals designated by the Public Health Ministry. The Department of Medical Sciences will be responsible for the testing costs.

Illegal and unemployed workers, who registered with the Ministry, will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for 2 years without penalties. Only those migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar are allowed to overstay their current visas, but are required to register with the provincial employment office in the area they work, as part of the amnesty.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand’s poorer areas may suffer if vaccines funded by local municipalities

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Thailand’s poorer areas may suffer if vaccines funded by local municipalities | The Thaiger

Thailand’s poorer areas may suffer if Covid-19 vaccine distribution is given the green light to be funded by local municipalities. Suspicions are already being raised as critics say many municipalities who offer to fund the vaccines may have alterior political motives. As many as 20 municipalities are reporting that they have already set aside funding.

Ratchaburi Town Municipality, for example, has set aside more than 200 million baht to purchase the Covid-19 vaccines but is waiting for the government’s approval to go ahead with local funding. In Bangkok, which has over 5 million residents, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is on standby to use 10 billion baht towards vaccinating its residents.

While those in charge of “richer” municipalities say they are confident they can afford Covid vaccines for their residents, their eagerness is being met with suspicion as local administrations historically have limited experiences and capabilities in this area. Many municipalities have shown to lack medical or public health specialists required to administer such vaccinations.

Nonthaburi Municipality mayor Somnuek Thanadechakul and other local administrators agree on the idea of inoculating residents using local funds as they say it can help speed up the vaccination process.

“If the government gives the green light, we can complete vaccinations in a month instead of three months.”

Pita Limcharoenrut, leader of the opposition Move Forward Party, disagrees as he says it is the responsibility of the government alone to get quality vaccines for everyone. If local administrations are allowed to buy vaccines, he says poorer ones will be at a disadvantage.

“It’s clear that local administrators are using this opportunity to boost their popularity ahead of the next elections.”

Former transport minister Chadchart Sittipunt, has also suggested that the BMA has enough funds to vaccinate 8 million people living in the capital for free.

“The BMA has enough money to shoulder this responsibility immediately.”

Elections for mayors and municipal council members are set to take place in the first half of this year, while Bangkok’s gubernatorial election is likely to take place in the latter half, in which Chadchart is contesting.

PM Prayut has, indeed, confirmed local administrations can acquire vaccines for their residents using their own funds. But the vaccines they purchase must be approved by the FDA to prevent possible side effects. The spokesman for the BMA, Pongsakorn Kwanmuang, is echoing those concerns as he says they are taking into consideration the safety and quality of the vaccines they receive.

“Talks are ongoing over vaccine imports. We are trying to get the vaccines as soon as possible, but they must be the best and safest.”

Supakit Sirilak, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, is also worried about quality and safety during inoculation and allocation of the vaccines and proposing a rhetorical question.

“Could there be misuse of vaccines that stray from the original goal and target group?”

PM Prayut has also joined in on the concerns by recently saying he wouldn’t let Thai people be “guinea pigs” and is waiting for see more evidence of the safety and accuracy of the vaccines.

According to the Public Health Ministry, Thailand is set to receive China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine in 3 batches starting next month with the first batch seeing 200,000 doses arrive. 800,000 more doses are expected in March, and 1 million in April.

The government has also ordered 26 million doses from AstraZeneca in an agreement that facilitates a “knowledge transfer” for Siam Bioscience, a Thailand firm, to produce the vaccine locally. 35 million more doses from AstraZeneca are also reportedly planned. The government plans to have half of the population or 33 million people inoculated against coronavirus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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