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Alcohol association begs government for trial re-opening of bars

Jack Burton

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Alcohol association begs government for trial re-opening of bars | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Lifestyle Asia

But they know it is unlikely to happen.

The Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing Emergency Decree have caused immeasurable economic impact across the country.Probably no sectors has been harder hit than hospitality, entertainment and nightlife. Although alcohol sales appear set to resume in restaurants next week, around 10,000 pubs, bars and entertainment venues nationwide – and their many casual staff – are struggling to survive after being shut for nearly 3 months, and the alcohol industry is asking the government to allow a trial reopening of the entertainment sector.

The government faces a quandary, since the entertainment sector has been a hotspot for potential contagion, as customers drinking alcohol are likely to be lax in observing measures such as social distancing (according to the mantra from the country’s CCSA). In Phuket, the popular Bangla Road entertainment district became a Covid-19 hotzone and the host for most of the island’s infections.

So the president of the Alcohol Beverage Business Association says the government should relax restrictions to enable businesses to survive. Thanakorn Kuptajit proposes running a trial reopening of hotel bars and restaurants’ alcohol service, to gauge whether the rest of the sector can safely resume operations.

He expects about half of the country’s 10,000 pubs and bars will end up being closed permanently if they remain locked down for much longer, considering they are making zero revenue but still paying rent to intransigent landlords, and often wages.

The alcohol business, mainly beer, spirits and wine, is valued around 370 billion baht annually. Since the outbreak in February, that revenue has fallen by 40% year on year after on-site sales fell to nothing.

Thanakorn also suggests that the government temporarily allow online distribution of alcohol while venues remained closed.

“Online shopping would help reduce traffic at pubs and bars and could still be traced. However, under the current law, posting pictures and basic product information of alcoholic products is considered as promoting alcohol and therefore illegal. So, we want the state to be lenient, given the situation.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Researchers claim Thailand’s bats not responsible for Covid pandemic

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Researchers claim Thailand’s bats not responsible for Covid pandemic | The Thaiger

Thai researchers are claiming that horseshoe bats are not responsible for transmitting the Covid virus to humans. Supaporn Wacharapluesadee, a researcher with the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre, says hat even though the bats have tested for a coronavirus, it is not the strain that is transmissible to humans.

“They are in the same family [of coronaviruses], but they do not cause Covid-19. As of now, there is no evidence to show that the strain we found in bats [in Chachoengsao] can be transmitted to humans.”

Supaporn is an expert on emerging infectious diseases in bats and made the statement after a Russian news agency claimed that researchers found a new strain of coronaviruses in a Thai bat colony which closely resembles the Sars-CoV-2 virus that causes Covid-19.

Supaporn admitted that a research team from the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Diseases-Health Science Centre is studying emerging pandemic threats in bat populations, she said the study’s findings were misrepresented.

Rungnapar Pattanavibool, deputy chief of the DNP, says the department is aware that wild animals can transmit diseases to humans and they are working with other agencies to check imported animals for such diseases.

But Supaporn insists that public fears over the horseshoe bats are unwarranted as she says there is no evidence that the bats carrying a similar strain of Covid can transmit the strain to humans. The new strain’s genetic code does, however, feature a 91.5% match with Sars-CoV-2.

And, that’s not to say the bats cannot spread other strains of coronaviruses as scientists say it is likely that bats across Asia are doing the same thing. Infectious diseases such as SARS, MERS, Hendra, Ebola and Nipah, are thought to have emerged from bats, making research into Asian bats all the more necessary.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Samut Sakhon shrimp market, recent Covid-19 wave’s epicentre, is back open and bustling

Caitlin Ashworth

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Samut Sakhon shrimp market, recent Covid-19 wave’s epicentre, is back open and bustling | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGR Online

The Samut Sakhon seafood market, the epicentre of the recent wave of Covid-19 infections, has reopened. The Central Shrimp Market had been shut down, sealed off and sprayed down after hundreds of vendors, migrant workers and visitors were infected with the coronavirus. Now, 10 weeks later, the market at a fishing hub just southwest of Bangkok, is not only back open, it’s bustling.

A waiting area now has rows sectioned off by plastic dividers to ensure social distancing. Those bringing fish to the market to sell must take a queue card and sit in the proper seat. The seafood will also be now sorted on a raised platform.

Market operators, vendors and customers are required to follow disease control measures. Screening points are set to check all vehicles entering the area including trucks delivering seafood as well as vendors and customers.

Workers are required to wear face masks, gloves, rubber boots and rubber aprons. Members of the market must have documents from a recent health screening.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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CCSA Update: 80 new Covid-19 cases, active infections on a downward slope

Caitlin Ashworth

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CCSA Update: 80 new Covid-19 cases, active infections on a downward slope | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Post Today

80 new Covid-19 cases were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing while 142 new cases were reported on Saturday and Sunday. Since the start of the pandemic, Thailand has reported 26,031 coronavirus infections and 83 deaths.

There are currently 624 active Covid-19 infections, a record low for Thailand since the December outbreak at a Samut Sakhon seafood market. The number of active Covid-19 over the past month drastically dropped after health officials slowed down mass testing efforts in high risk areas.

Out of the 80 new cases reported today, 28 were exposed to the virus in areas considered to be at “high risk,” including 19 in Samut Sakhon, 3 in Tak, 2 in Nakhon Pathom, 2 in Bangkok, 1 in Chon Buri and 1 in Ratchaburi.

36 cases were detected through proactive testing, including 35 cases in Pathum Thani and 1 in Nonthaburi.

The other 16 cases were detected in quarantine for those arriving to Thailand from overseas.

CCSA Update: 80 new Covid-19 cases, active infections on a downward slope | News by The Thaiger

CCSA Update: 80 new Covid-19 cases, active infections on a downward slope | News by The Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of February 28, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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