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Broke and stranded, Russian tourists take shelter in Phuket temple

Jack Burton



Broke and stranded, Russian tourists take shelter in Phuket temple | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Post/
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When their flight was eventually cancelled, they had no money left and decided to walk from the airport. They didn’t know where to go. When they came across Wat Mai Khao they asked to take refuge there.

Tourism authorities in Phuket are now trying to help the 3 stranded Russian tourists who have taken shelter at the local temple. Their flight home from was cancelled because of national state of emergency declared to fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

According to the Bangkok Post the trio were booked to return to Russia on March 25.

The director of the Phuket office of the Tourism Authority of Thailand says officials have been asked to contact the Russian embassy about the plight of the 3 Russians.

31 year old Alexsei Galiev, 29 year old Nikolai Sharov and 24 year old Sofia Sharova say the airline they were booked on stopped flying from Phuket due to restrictions imposed by Phuket’s governor. The closure of the airport was in an effort to control the coronavirus.

The trio sleep inside a run-down building and have turned a concrete platform into a makeshift kitchen. Someone provided some little camping tens for them to sleep. They live off instant noodles donated by local residents. They’ve been given face masks to wear while the authorities try and relocate them to proper accommodation, according to TAT officials and local police.

The head of Mai Khao village says provincial public health officials visited the tourists and thermal scans showed none of them had a fever.

Broke and stranded, Russian tourists take shelter in Phuket temple | News by The Thaiger


The TAT estimates 200 to 300 foreign tourists might be stranded in Phuket following the governor’s recent lockdown order (The Thaiger has had anecdotal comments from a few people with knowledge of these matters saying the number is more like 600-800). Cancellations of all flight arrivals over this weekend, up to Monday night, hasn’t helped the situation.

Many are now left stranded with no place to go after their flights were cancelled and are unable to re-book flights home on other airlines. Meanwhile Phuket’s Governor has also closed all hotels to guest that weren’t already staying there.

Local administrative authorities and municipalities are accommodating some of the stranded tourists in schools, which are now closed for the summer holiday. Patong, Phuket’s seaside party town, is presently a hotspot for the coronavirus in Thailand and in a 24 hour ‘lockdown’ since Sunday morning. There are checkpoints now set up at all roadways in and out of the city.

Kudos to the monks at Wat Mai Khao for hosting the trio.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and 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.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor



Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth



Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton



Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over around 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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