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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australia on guard as Covid-19 cases jump in Victoria

Maya Taylor

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Australia on guard as Covid-19 cases jump in Victoria | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Weyne Yew on Unsplash

Restrictions have been tightened once again in the Australian state of Victoria, as a surge in new Covid-19 cases has officials on high alert. A state of emergency has been prolonged by a further 4 weeks, and private homes can now have no more than 5 visitors at a time, down from the previous 10. Plans to increase the number of customers allowed in bars and restaurants at any one time have been shelved for the time being.

Australia’s relatively small number of 7,461 cases in total is the result of the country closing its borders early on in the outbreak and placing strict quarantine requirements on returning residents, as well as instigating extensive testing and tough social distancing rules. Out of 116 new cases recorded in the state last week, 87 of them are cases of local transmission.

Brendan Murphy, Australia’s Chief Medical Officer, says the rise in cases in Victoria appears to be linked to family gatherings, with some people who tested positive or had come into contact with an infected person, not self-quarantining.

Authorities in Victoria are now warning against travel to six areas in Melbourne, the state capital, and other states seeing what’s happening in Victoria may decide to keep their borders closed past July. Meanwhile, PM Scott Morrison is calling for inter-state travel to be allowed in order to revive domestic tourism and help the country’s devastated economy.

However, a report in Nation Thailand says the spike in cases in Victoria comes as South Korea, the US and Israel also experience a surge in new cases, leading to the quandary of how to jump-start the global economy while simultaneously trying to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April

Maya Taylor

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Thailand to introduce “area quarantine” for international visitors from April | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Andreas M on Unsplash

From next month, foreign visitors to the Kingdom will be able to experience the delights of “area quarantine”, after the government confirmed the scheme for 5 provinces. Following a meeting with the Public Health Ministry, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn confirmed that Phuket, Krabi, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya), and Surat Thani (Koh Samui and Koh Pha-ngan) have been chosen to pilot the scheme.

Foreign tourists opting for area quarantine will be required to remain in their hotel rooms for the first 3 days of their stay. They will be tested for Covid-19 and, if negative after 3 days, will be allowed to leave their room and roam freely around the resort for the remainder of their 14-day quarantine. At the end of the 14-day period, they will once again be tested for the virus and, if negative, allowed to travel around the quarantine area.

In order to avail of the scheme, tourists will still need to fulfil the other requirements for travel, including obtaining a Certificate of Entry, a negative Covid-19 test 72 hours prior to travel, and adequate health insurance. Nation Thailand reports that the area quarantine plan will be run by 29 travel agencies, under TAT supervision.

The area quarantine scheme comes as the TAT hails the success of the first “golf quarantine” scheme, which operates in a similar manner. Travellers from countries considered “low-risk” for Covid-19 can come to Thailand for a golf holiday at approved golf resorts in the Kingdom. Conditions are similar to those attached to area quarantine, with the golfers having to spend the first 3 days in their room, test negative for the virus, and then enjoy free rein of the resort, with a few rounds of golf thrown in.

Thailand’s economy has been decimated by the fallout from the pandemic, in particular the loss of international tourism. The current mandatory 14-day quarantine period is seen as the biggest hurdle to overcome in order to re-ignite the sector. In 2019, international tourism contributed 2 trillion baht out of a total 3.01 trillion baht tourism trade. In the same year, tourism made up 17% of Thailand’s GDP.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Thai Air Asia urges government to re-open the country to foreign tourism

Maya Taylor

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Thai Air Asia urges government to re-open the country to foreign tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The low-cost carrier, Thai Air Asia, is calling on the government to accelerate the re-opening of the country to international tourism. TAA chief executive Santisuk Klongchaiya says Thailand risks losing its status as a regional hub if the country does not re-open soon in order to re-ignite tourism and airlines. According to a Bangkok Post report, he warns that Thailand could lose out to places like Vietnam, should international carriers decide to move direct flights to other countries.

“After facing the pandemic for a year, the key factors that can strengthen Thai tourism are re-opening borders and financial aid such as soft loans to help airlines maintain their business and save jobs. If the plan to welcome foreigners is not ready, Thailand may lose those potential tourists to other competitors that have prepared to attract them with a practical scheme.”

TAA is one of 7 local carriers that have been calling for a 14 billion baht soft loan since March last year. In 2020, the airline reported 16.2 billion baht in total revenue, a year-on-year decrease of 61%, with a 57% drop in passenger numbers. Santisuk says the carrier is planning for similar numbers this year, with 15% of total passengers expected to come from the international market in the last quarter of the year. He is also hopeful that cost-saving initiatives, such as placing some staff on furlough, should help lower operational costs by up to 20%.

In other tourism-related news, the Tourism Authority of Thailand says it will add a further 2 million room nights to the “We Travel Together” domestic tourism stimulus campaign. TAT is also planning another scheme aimed at tour operators, between now and July. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the scheme will be put to cabinet for approval next week. TAT is proposing a “buffet-style” ticket scheme for airlines, aimed at frequent travellers. Passengers receive their subsidy once they use the first flight that is linked to a hotel booking at their destination. Each tour operator can have up to 3,000 customers.

“These additional stimulus measures will boost travel sentiment for the upcoming regional holiday in the North on March 26, as well as the Songkran festival.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave

Caitlin Ashworth

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CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล

54 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Thailand now has 515 active cases, a record low since the start of the new wave of Covid-19 infections. An enormous 1-day spike in cases was reported on December 20 with more than 500 cases among migrant workers at a Samut Sakhon fishing hub. The virus quickly spread to the majority of Thailand’s provinces.

The number of daily cases continues to be on a downward slope with Samut Sakhon now the only province classified as a “red zone” under maximum control.

Since the start of the pandemic, the CCSA has reported a total of 26,162 infections and 85 deaths. Out of the new cases reported today, 36 were exposed to the virus at areas considered to be at “high risk,” including 28 in Samut Sakhon, 2 in Bangkok, 1 in Nakhon Nayok, 1 in Pathum Thani and 1 in Chon Buri. Active case finding detected another 8 cases in Samut Sakhon. The other 10 cases were detected in quarantine for those entering Thailand from overseas.

A 63 year old Thai man in Bangkok died after testing positive for Covid-19. He had underlying conditions of diabetes and high blood pressure. On January 9, he developed symptoms of a cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing. He tested positive for Covid-19 that day. He was put on a ventilator on January 12. His symptoms worsened and he died on Sunday.

CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave | News by The Thaiger

CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave | News by The Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 3 March 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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