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Brazilian court rules President Bolsonaro must wear face mask

Maya Taylor

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Brazilian court rules President Bolsonaro must wear face mask | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

A judge in Brazil has ruled that the country’s controversial leader, President Jair Bolsonaro, must wear a face mask in public as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the country. Brazil is second only to the US in terms of the number of confirmed cases and deaths. To date, 53,874 people have died from the virus, with 1.2 million infected. In the last 24 hours alone, the country has recorded nearly 40,000 new cases.

However, its populist leader continues to defy medical authorities, with his latest act of rebellion being to attend a political rally, where he shook hands with supporters and held babies for photos, all without wearing a face mask. He has also publicly criticised contagious disease experts for recommending lock-downs and social distancing, which local governors and mayors have put in place. Bolsonaro claims the damage caused to the economy by such measures is worse than the virus itself. And, in line with US President Donald Trump, the Brazilian leader continues to advocate for unproven treatments, such as anti-malarial medication.

Now, in a ruling made public on Tuesday, a Brazilian federal judge has mandated that Bolsonaro be fined 2,000 reais a day (around 11,600 baht) for every day he disregards measures put in place to get the Covid-19 outbreak under control. The Brazilian government’s legal representatives say they are looking at ways to have the ruling overturned.

The huge number of Covid cases in Brazil make it an ideal location in which to conduct vaccine trials, with tests on an Oxford University vaccine already underway. The country’s interim health minister says the government is likely to agree a deal this week that will allow for manufacture of the vaccine in Brazil.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Reuters

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Pexels

A medic for the Royal Thai Army was dismissed and his medical license revoked after injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccines during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The “vaccine” was actually just water. The medic, who is also a lieutenant, apparently injected 273 Thai troops with the water shot and charged 607 baht, or around $20 USD, per injection.

A soldier noticed the bottles the medic was using for the injections were unlabelled. A superior then launched an internal investigation and found that the bottles were just filled with water. Under the UN’s orders, the medic was dismissed and sent back to Thailand. His medical license was also revoked.

Thai media first reported the news, saying that a Thai army doctor at a South Sudan field hospital was suspended from duty due to an investigation into alleged fraud. The medic reportedly worked at the hospital from December 2019 to December 2020.

Following the news report, Thai Supreme Commander General Chalermphol Srisawat confirmed that a medic had been injecting troops with water and claiming it was a Covid-19 vaccine.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Japan asks China to stop anal Covid-19 tests after travellers report “psychological distress”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Japan asks China to stop anal Covid-19 tests after travellers report “psychological distress” | The Thaiger

After complaints that China’s anal swab Covid-19 test caused “psychological distress,” Japan has asked China to stop using the new, much more invasive method of testing on Japanese citizens entering the country.

For the anal test, reportedly done on some travellers entering China from overseas, a 3 to 5 centimetre long cotton swab is inserted into the anus and gently rotated to collect the sample. While it’s unclear exactly how many people have gone through the procedure, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato says some Japanese citizens have reported mental discomfort after the test.

“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused great psychological pain.”

The Japanese government made a request through the embassy in Beijing to stop using the anal swab test on Japanese citizens. Katsunobu says China has not yet responded to the request.

China started using the anal swab test in January. The anal tests are controversial with many experts backing the oral test as the most efficient way to detect a coronavirus infection.

SOURCE: BBC

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Thailand considering vaccine passport policy in bid to revive international tourism

Maya Taylor

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Thailand considering vaccine passport policy in bid to revive international tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving the devastated tourism sector. According to Pipat, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a decision on the matter.

The Tourism Minister adds that having a scheme in place that would allow foreign visitors to bypass quarantine could lead to 5 million tourists arriving in the Kingdom this year. Nation Thailand reports that the government’s Covid-19 task force is also considering allowing quarantining tourists to leave their rooms after 3 days of self-isolation. Pipat predicts that the Russians could be first to return, with tour agents in Russia saying demand is high enough to support regular flights of between 300 and 400 passengers.

The ministry also hopes to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the 5 major tourism provinces of Phuket, Surat Thani, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Krabi. The vaccines would be given to employees at alternative quarantine hotels. It’s understood there are currently 58 alternative quarantine facilities across the 5 provinces, with over 6,700 rooms and 13,000 employees.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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