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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Australian government warns citizens not to let down their guard as restrictions ease

Maya Taylor

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Australian government warns citizens not to let down their guard as restrictions ease | The Thaiger
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The Australian government is warning its citizens not to let their guard down as some restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus are lifted. The country has had 98 deaths from around 7,000 cases to date. Given the devastating figures coming from many other parts of the world, Australia (and neighbouring New Zealand) appear to have been relatively successful in managing the pandemic up to date.

However, Thai PBS World reports that Australian PM Scott Morrison and Cabinet Secretary Philip Gaetjens warn of the dangers of complacency, saying dealing with the virus is a “marathon, not a sprint”. As if to illustrate his point, the state of New South Wales recorded zero cases yesterday, but six today. Three of those are believed to be cases of community infections.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian says people must remain alert to any symptoms they develop as parts of the country begin to open up.

“It is important for us to all take precautions because there will be many more people out and about (from Friday), and out and about for recreation as opposed to other reasons. We should feel very fortunate we are in this position as we ease restrictions, but it also means we have to maintain our vigilance and get tested if we have the mildest symptoms.”

Australia is gradually lifting restrictions that have been in place since March, with the aim of seeing nearly a million people return to work in the coming 3 months. The Covid-19 pandemic means the country expects unemployment to double to 10% by June, although the government remains hopeful of a rapid bounce-back once restrictions are fully lifted.

The New Zealand and Australian governments have discussed the probability of a short-medium term “travel bubble” for the two countries to kick off travel and tourism before they allow their citizens to start flying overseas again.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Mayor’s statement sparks hope Chonburi beaches may reopen soon

Maya Taylor

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Mayor’s statement sparks hope Chonburi beaches may reopen soon | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bang Saen beach, Chonburi - Wikimedia

A Facebook post from the mayor of Saen Suk, home to the renowned Bangsaen beach, says beaches “may” reopen from June 1. (Before you ask, there is currently no official information on when Bangsaen, Pattaya or Phuket’s beaches may actually reopen.)

Beaches in the eastern province of Chonburi were closed nearly two months ago as authorities enacted strict lockdown measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Chonburi has now had no new reported cases of the virus for more than 30 days and residents are getting antsy over the ongoing beach closures.

Authorities continue to state that the closures are to prevent unlawful gatherings and the risk of people travelling from nearby provinces, such as Bangkok, thereby causing a second wave of infections. Bangkok has the highest number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Despite this, local expats and Thais are demanding that Chonburi’s beaches be reopened, particularly in light of this happening in other resort areas such as Hua Hin.

The Pattaya News reports that Bangsaen beach reopening does not necessarily mean Pattaya’s beaches could also reopen as that decision lies with Pattaya’s civic officials. Despite Pattaya not having any new reported cases of the virus for over 40 days now, Pattaya City Hall authorities remain concerned about mass gatherings, the consumption of alcohol and the risk that social distancing measures would not be adhered to were they to reopen the city’s beaches.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Emergency Decree extended through June amidst accusations of political motivation

Jack Burton

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Emergency Decree extended through June amidst accusations of political motivation | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin - NNB

As widely predicted, the Cabinet yesterday extended the Emergency Decree for a third month, to its limit at the end of June. Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, quickly explained that the decree was enforced because it enabled more than 40 laws to be tied together to allow for quick enforcement at the national level. He says this helps the government tackle the crisis more efficiently.

Last week, government spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat hinted that the National Security Council wanted to extend the decree “because it would save lives”. She also dismissed as “illogical” claims that the state of emergency was being extended so PM Prayut Chan-ocha could tighten his hold on power.

But non-profit organisation iLaw says the government should use a less restrictive, less severe method to impose controls on businesses, travel and public health. For instance, it could enforce the Contagious Disease Control Act to stop people gathering outside their homes, and close high-risk venues, as the act is more flexible than the Emergency Decree.

The panel chaired by the National Security Council’s secretary-general is meeting today to discuss the third phase of easing lockdown measures, as well as whether the curfew hours should be cut a second time, from the current 11pm-4am to midnight-4am. The third phase of easing measures is thought to begin June 1.

The meeting’s resolution will be proposed to the CCSA on Friday and guidelines for businesses and activities under the third phase will probably be announced Saturday.

Meanwhile, police in Bangkok are denying using the Emergency decree as a political tool after the arrest of 2 activists on Friday, saying they were simply doing their job.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 update: 9 new cases, all imported (May 27)

Jack Burton

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Covid-19 update: 9 new cases, all imported (May 27) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Reuters

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced 9 new cases of Covid-19 at this morning’s daily press briefing. All 9 were ‘imported’ cases by Thai nationals returning from overseas, “bringing attention to the importance of the state quarantine process and border control”, according to CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

Of the 9 cases, two recently returned from the US. The two males, aged 18 and 27, flew back on May 12 and were found to be infected yesterday, the last day of their state quarantine. Both were asymptomatic. 6 students, aged 23 – 33, returned from Saudi Arabia. They first flew to Malaysia and then transferred to the Padang Besar border checkpoint. Officials of both countries suspect that the checkpoint is now a Covid-19 hotspot and should be closed for sanitation. 4 of the patients had high fever and cough, while two were asymptomatic.

A 34 year old masseur returned from Qatar on Friday with a high fever, coughing and no sense of smell during state quarantine. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

Covid-19 update: 9 new cases, all imported (May 27) | News by The Thaiger

Dr. Taweesin suggested Thai nationals in Malaysia hurry up if they want to return home as the checkpoint is likely to be temporarily closed soon.

All international arrivals are banned until at least the end of June, and borders are closed, with the exception of Thai Nationals returning from abroad. Every Thai national must go through a mandatory state quarantine of 14 days which includes Covid-19 testing.

The fact that all 9 cases are imported makes today the second day in a row without a new locally transmitted case. Thailand has had a total of 3,054 cases of the virus since the start of the outbreak. 2,931 of the cases have fully recovered and been released with 2 new recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving the recovery rate at 96%.

There are 66 cases remaining in hospital under treatment nationwide, with the majority being imported cases according to CCSA officials.

No new deaths were reported today, leaving the nation toll at 57.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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