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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

A Thailand Covid update that you won’t read in the news

Tim Newton

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Tim Newton goes through some of the moving goal posts regarding Thailand’s Covid situation RIGHT NOW. Vaccines for expats, what will happen after Songkran, provincial restrictions, new quarantine requirements. Reading the tea leaves and reading between the lines, Tim provides his personal opinions on many issues expats and foreigners in Thailand are worried about at this time.

 

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Peter Notley

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Well balanced report Tim. Thanks !

  2. Avatar

    TV

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks, Tim

  3. Avatar

    neil talley

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Dear Mr Newton, having been visiting Thailand for the last fifty years, and living there for the last 10, I wonder why ALL of the European, Aus, and American expats don’t pronounce Pattaya correctly EVER ? Patt thai yaah with the emphasis on the last syllable is the correct pronunciation. Not patti ah, nor pat tie ya or pats. I watched you on TV last night, and your pronunciation of the different provinces was outstanding. So why do you and everybody else mispronounce this cities name? My wife is Thai. I guess this is the wrong place to post this, but maybe you could talk about it on your TV media show or email me directly.

    Thank you Mr. Newton

    Neil Talley

  4. Avatar

    Kristof

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6:03 am

    This report is appreciated. There is one other aspect that i think deserves consideration, and that is the new characteristics of the virus variant that we may be dealing with. My understanding is that something very similar to the UK variant has broken in likely thru Cambodia, and if it has similar characteristics this will mean approximately a 1.7x greater ability to spread and a near 50% greater mortality rate. These are game-changing attributes, and it greatly amplifies your assertion of this coming at the worst time given the Songkran migration. I sense you are correct in that the way the govt will try to deal with the after-holiday spike will be similar to the 2nd wave targeted measures, but take note that even with full lockdown in the UK the new variant was spreading for quite some time. If this variant gains a dominant hold, it is likely another drastic lockdown may be imminent after targeted measures prove ineffective. This will be a huge test and we will need Thailand to respond as unified as possible. Thanks again for your report.

  5. Avatar

    denis

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6:47 am

    You should have equipped yourself with a crystal ball and recited some magic formulas, before sharing your divinations with us.
    No one is able today to say what will happen in Thailand or elsewhere, with regard to the evolution of the pandemic and even less what measures will be taken by the Thai government …

  6. Avatar

    TS

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:07 am

    Good report & personal insights Tim-thanks!

  7. Avatar

    John_2

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Good synopsis of whats currently happening.

  8. Avatar

    Patrick

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    “Thais first, expats need to get their head around that”. . .

    Well ahem, has there been some official announcement that vaccines won’t be issued on medical need, but on nationality?. . . because in my 20 years living and working in Thailand I never saw even a shred of evidence that this is how Thai doctors think.

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Patrick. I hear you but that’s what’s been happening so far. And, in my opinion, will continue to happen.

  9. Avatar

    TS

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Denis- the man said from the get go his report contained his opinions and speculation along with straight up facts. He emphasized that again several times. It was an opinion piece. He sure as hell gave people a heads up as to what they might expect down the line. Which is more that this miserable excuse for a government leadership is doing

  10. Avatar

    denis

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    @TS
    Even though English is not my native language, I heard and understood what was being said. To stay in the same spirit of “personal opinion and speculation”, it would have been enough to avoid the touting title “A Thailand Covid update that you won’t read in the news”

  11. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Very, very disappointing.

    I understand from the video that this is Tim Newton’s opinion rather than an “update” as headlined, but the information given for “Expat Vaccines” is not correct and, as my wife (Thai) said when she saw it, “not fair at all”.

    My wife doesn’t read the “Comments” so doesn’t see the routine abuse all Thais (not just politicians or some groups, but all Thais) are subjected to everyday here, without moderation, and I’ve only recently started to, but this was supposed to be an “Update”.

    I’m not a supporter of the government and I think the vaccine programme has been inexcusably terrible, but saying that “there is no confirmed information about what’s going to be happening with foreigners living in Thailand … about getting a Covid vaccine” is not correct.

    The Health Ministry, Health Minister (Anutin) and CCSA have all confirmed, several times, that “foreigners living in Thailand” will get the vaccines in just the same way as Thais and that’s already started happening. It’s been confirmed and it’s happening now.

    What’s “not fair at all” was the statement that “at the end of the day it’s going to be Thais first and the expats in the country and other foreigners probably need to get their head around that”.

    My elder son has asthma and will almost certainly die if he gets Covid, but tens of thousands of “foreigners” and “expats” here will be vaccinated, free, before he can be vaccinated.

    He’s Thai, but he’s not going to be “first”. He’s only going to be vaccinated after all the “foreigners” and “expats” in Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and the other tourist centres have been vaccinated and most of those will be far, far less vulnerable to Covid than he is.

    Most “foreigners” and “expats” living here will be vaccinated well before most Thais have been, just because of where they live and where they have the money to live.

    My son doesn’t resent that, although it could be a death sentence for him, nor do my family or any Thais I know. It’s the way things have to be for the good of the country and the economy, although there’s no excuse for the delays.

    What he and my wife do resent, though, is being told that it’s “Thais first” when it isn’t.

    Very, very disappointing.

    • Thaiger

      Thaiger

      Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      We will see. I stand by my speculation and observations.

  12. Avatar

    Eager to travel again

    Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 6:08 am

    Thank you for a good walkthrough. I’m curious about how the reopening phases will affect travelers with children. How will a family of vaccinated adults and an unvaccinated child be affected by the quarantine rules? I understand that it’s difficult to get a non-fluid answer but would love if you could try to cover it in your continuous updates.

  13. Avatar

    Look ni

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 1:28 am

    From all I hear, apart from public service people, the rest pay for the vaccine or die. Is that a fair, unethnic, summary?

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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