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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break.

Tim Newton

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…. before the next round of restrictions come into force at midnight tonight.

Bangkok and 17 other Thai provinces (there are 77 in total) are now declared maximum control areas. These “red zones” are the feature of the Thai Government’s new restrictions to get a grip on its rising Covid infection numbers since the start of April. The restrictions will last for at least 14 days.

From tonight, at midnight, some new restrictions are in force, not only in the red zones but every where else.

Think nightlife, think gatherings of more than 50 people, think restaurants. These are the area the government has generally targeted. The CCSA spokesperson yesterday, and the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, went out of their way to portray the new restrictions as NOT curfews and NOT lockdowns. But, if you live in a red zone province, including Bangkok, then the new set of restrictions are a lockdown in just about every sense without outright telling people to stay at home.

Everything will have to be closed from 11pm – 4am in the morning, including all convenience stores. Hope you’ve paid your Netflix subscription!

The government is also advising businesses in Bangkok, and other red zone provinces, to allow employees to work from home, or have adequate precautions in place if they need to work in the offices.

Unlike the last two outbreaks of Covid within Thailand, this cluster has emerged from the indulgences of Bangkok’s hi-sos, celebrity and look-at-me culture. The trendy clubs around Thong Lor and Ekkamai are the destination for people that want, or need, to be seen, including some politicians who have either ended up infected or knew someone in the club and pub scene and have had to self-isolate.

The late evening sojourns, with nary a care for masks or social distancing, small spaces, lots of people… it has proven the perfect breeding ground for a new Covid cluster.

Bangkok’s legendary shopping centres and community malls will have to shut their doors by 9pm, a situation now across the board for all Thai shopping centres including places like your local Tesco mall.

But convenience stores, supermarkets, community markets can stay open until 11pm.

At this stage people are being advised not to travel to Bangkok, or any other red zone province, for the next 2 week (after midnight tonight). The travel advisory isn’t an order at this stage, more of a hurry-up-and-get-back-from-your-holidays request.

Last weekend saw the mass exodus out of the city. The same return from the provinces is happening today and tomorrow. Even though the official Songkran holiday ran from Tuesday to Thursday this week, plenty of people have take the Mondays and Friday off last week to end up with an extended 9 day holiday. The government was hoping the longer Songkran break would be a boon for the shattered hospitality and tourism businesses. But last weekends sudden climb of new Covid infections caused some people to cancel or postpone their bookings.

The annual Songkran road toll, usually a national disgrace, was cut by over 50% this year due to the lack of traffic and people deciding to wait it out and catch up with their families later.

Thailand recorded 1,547 new infections around Thailand today, a slight drop from yesterdays’ 1,585 reported new cases. But the last 4 days have revealed the largest list of daily infections since the first case was detected in Thailand on January 13 last year, a 61 year old Chinese passenger on a flight from Wuhan to Suvarnabhumi – the first known case of the novel coronavirus outside of China.

2 leading police from the Thong Lor police station have already been sidelined into inactive posts, a face-saving measure to show the government were being pro-active in reacting to the sloppy enforcement (or non-existent enforcement) of Covid precautions in the district’s active nightlife. Officials are also tracking down the owners of the nightclubs and bars for potential prosecution, principally around Bangkok and in Phuket where parties, promoted and run by a group called ‘Kolour’ ended up becoming Covid spreader events.

Here’s a list of the red zone provinces.

1. Bangkok
2. Chiang Mai
3. Chon Buri
4. Samut Prakan
5. Prachuap Khiri Kan
6. Samut Sakhon
7. Pathum Thani
8. Nakhon Pathom
9. Phuket
10. Nakhon Ratchasima
11. Nonthaburi
12. Songkhla
13. Tak
14. Udon Thani
15. Suphanburi
16. Sa Kaeo
17. Rayong
18. Khon Kaen

 

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Craig

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    “Unlike the last two outbreaks of Covid within Thailand, this cluster has emerged from the indulgences of…..and look-at-me culture.” That would pretty much make up everyone here.

  2. Avatar

    Michael

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    quote:

    “shopping centres and community malls will have to shut their doors by 9pm, a situation now across the board for all Thai shopping centres including places like your local Tesco mall.

    But convenience stores, supermarkets, community markets can stay open until 11pm.”

    This sounds very confusing. The Tesco isn’t a supermarket?

  3. Avatar

    pascal

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:06 pm

    ok so the virus is a nocturne one same than in europe, all peoples can do whatever they want during day time …… yep France did the same thing …….they have just more than 30000 cases a day now ……very good measure. geeezzzzzzz

  4. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    @Thaiger, I think

    “At this stage people are being advised to to travel to Bangkok, or any other red zone province, for the next 2 week (after midnight tonight)”

    should be “… being advised NOT to travel …”

  5. Avatar

    Leo Z

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    What’s with the 11 pm closing time magic bullet? And dine-in is allowed till 9 pm?

    All in all, too little to late. They should have focused on procuring and getting vaccines out months ago.

    But at least it’s heartening to know they are STILL tracking down the owners of the nightclubs.

  6. Avatar

    James R

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:24 pm

    Simon Small aka Issan John.

    Of course it was a tiny typing mistake, the rest of us realised that but are not petty enough to mention it.

  7. Avatar

    James R

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:30 pm

    So still no lockdown then so prepare for what is about to happen re exponential rise in infections as happened in the rest of the world when lockdowns were lifted and infections rose again.

    It had to happen, it is good they are opening extra field hospitals to cope with the expected rise, they did not build them for no reason.

    No standard reply needed from Issan John, who constantly states Thailand acted quickly and hence avoided massive numbers of cases, my reply is maybe that is true at the start, but you can not get away with keeping your free movement of people in place without getting a second wave of infections and it looks like it is happening now.

  8. Avatar

    Richard Cabeza

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 6:59 am

    Over 80 million people in the US have been fully vaccinated, more than Thailand’s 70 million population. Thailand govt said they have “ordered” 1.8 million doses, but some confusion as to the allocation?

    Type “How many people in Thailand have been vaccinated” into the search field and look at the chart.
    .01% of the Thai population. 81,500.

    I’d encourage others to read The Great Barrington Declaration… and the follow up round table chaired by Ron DeSantis which is on AIER dot Org is an excellent read (there’s a video also). Enjoy

  9. Avatar

    Kash

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:02 am

    @Toby ANdrews, typical so called colonial expats attitude. Come to Thailand, get western salary, live like a king as everything is Soo cheap. While average Thai could not afford to do that in any western country. Not even to come on holidays for one week.

  10. Avatar

    Richard Cabeza

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 9:39 am

    My mistake. 0.1%.

  11. Avatar

    Damnedifidodont

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Still no deaths? Must be a really serious virus if it can’t even kill 1% of the infected.

    Anyways how am I supposed to interpret these orders… I left bkk on the 10th for Chiang mai and the unforced directives were to stay at home self quarantine 14 days. Now he’s saying if I need to go back to bkk.. which I do, I need to leave Chiang mai now?

    And if at any point i come into contact with a covid +person I will need to get the covid pcr test, at cost to me, if positive but not symptomatic, another 14 days in a field hospital at cost to me. Possibly even jail for not following the original 14 day stay at home order?

    I expect nothing less than this Thailand! Still better than usa

  12. Avatar

    Imgettingtooold forthis

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    Where’s all the dead folks we were promised? What about all those people who need ventilators that more often than not do more harm than good.

  13. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 10:50 am

    EXCELLENT article, Thaiger.

    Accurate, informed, well written, and all original.

    What happened?

  14. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Monday, April 19, 2021 at 11:05 am

    “This sounds very confusing. The Tesco isn’t a supermarket?”

    Not that “confusing”, @Michael. Big Tesco Lotus are malls, small ones are supermarkets.

    If you want to be technical, they have big versions called “Extra” which are malls, and medium and small ones called “Talad” and “Express” which are supermarkets.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Bangkok. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

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.

Politics

Deputy PM declares Thammanat Prompow controversy finished

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Thailand's Deputy Agriculture Minister Prompao talks to reporters after a government cabinet meeting in Bangkok (via Reuters)

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the debate is over regarding Thammanat Prompow, the controversial Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives and influential Palang Pracharath Party ‘fixer’.

The Constitutional court has already ruled that he is qualified to hold office under Thai law and will keep his position, though a huge backlash followed the ruling, and the public wondered how his 1993 heroin trafficking conviction in Australia. Then using the name ‘Manat Bophlom’, he was convicted of conspiring to import a traffic able amount of heroin, serving 4 years of a 6 year sentence.

According to Wikipedia, Thammanat parliamentary declaration of assets in August 2019 listed “2 wives, 7 children, and a net worth of about $42 million, including a Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, and Mercedes-Benz along with 12 Hermès and 13 Chanel handbags, luxury watches, and Thai Buddha amulets.”

Thai law says that no one who has been convicted of an indictable offence is eligible to hold public office, but the new decision seems to imply that anything that happens outside of Thailand’s border does not qualify. A legal expert, the Deputy PM says that this ruling is not in opposition to the rules about convicts holding office.

He says that a conviction by Australia’s New South Wales Court is not legally binding in Thailand and therefore does not disqualify Thammanat. Only a jail sentence from a Thai court would be considered a roadblock to a candidate being confirmed to hold government office.

Thai immigration law, however, determines that convictions in home countries will bar people from entry into Thailand. The decision also calls into question the legitimacy of the Australian/Thailand extradition treaty which saw Thammanat deported back to Thailand after serving 4 years of his 6 year sentence.

But the Council of State had declared that someone in jail for 2 years cannot hold office within 5 years of release, regardless of whether the jailing was in Thailand or in another country. The 4 year jail term Thammanat served in Australia ended in 1997 so the 5-year grace period has already passed.

The Deputy PM says that this ruling by the Constitutional Court does set a new precedent for future issues of possible MP candidates that may have been in trouble with the law outside of Thailand. But he stopped short of supporting Thammanat’s prior conduct unconditionally, declining to comment.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission has been under pressure to investigate Thammanat and whether his conduct has been ethical. The Deputy PM said that the Constitutional Court ruling does not whitewash any other issues Thammanat may face.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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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)

Friday Covid UPDATE: 27 more deaths, 2,044 new infections

Tanutam Thawan

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By

The Friday report, compiling the regional totals from Thursday, indicates that has been 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections in the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

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.

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.

He also disclosed that the government are planning to set a levy of 300 baht to be collected from foreign tourists starting from January 2020 “to set up a tourism fund for emergency use”. Speaking to Bangkok Post…

“Once the spread is under control, the government will resume travel bubble discussions with Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Laos and Malaysia.”

 

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