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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chinatowns around the world fall quiet over coronavirus fears

Jack Burton

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Chinatowns around the world fall quiet over coronavirus fears | The Thaiger
PHOTO: London’s Chinatown stands eerily deserted as revellers keep their distance - Mail Online
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Chinatowns around the world, some centuries old, are quiet, as businesses to survive the effects of global concern over the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses in Australia’s oldest Chinatown enclave, dating back to the influx of fortune-seekers during an 1850s gold rush, report their earnings have dropped by more than half and they have been forced to cut staff hours dramatically, a situation echoed in Chinatowns across the world.

Although China’s Hupei province, the epicentre of the epidemic is more than a ten hour flight way and Australia has seen just a handful of cases, the stigma of a disease that has now claimed more than 2000 lives is pervasive. One restaurant owner in Melbourne’s historic Chinese district complains: “Scaremongering is rampant. Customers won’t come in if they can avoid it.”

At the popular Empire Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver’s Richmond suburb, getting a table is now easy.

“Usually we’d have a large line-up time of approximately five-ten tables, but today there is no line up at all. Some people have already cancelled their parties and banquets. Many restaurants are seeing the same thing. Hopefully, this gets back to normal really soon.”

A ban on travellers from China has hit many neighbourhoods hard. In Australia, the travel ban has been compounded by almost 100,000 Chinese students being prohibited from flying in to start the academic year.

Hoping to reassure, many businesses have put up notices informing customers that they disinfect their interiors regularly to prevent disease. Others have even installed hand sanitiser for guests and give staff face masks and rubber gloves. But such measures appear to have limited success.

Many believe xenophobia has worsened the situation, and many people of Asian descent, Chinese or otherwise, complain of racism and say they feel ostracised. One Thai man working in the United Kingdom was assaulted in what he claimed was a racist attack linked to the current virus outbreak.

Fred Lo owns a souvenir store in San Francisco that’s usually frequented by tourists from Europe and South America.

“But for the past two weeks, there’s been a lot less people, at least 50% less, even though nobody is sick or has even been to China.”

Said Eddie Lau, president of Melbourne’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce:

“It’s unfair that a lot of people are scared of Chinese people,” “We tell people, ‘we are fine, don’t be scared’.”

One Chinese man in London says he’s clearly noticed others avoiding him in recent weeks, but understands why people are afraid and tries to take it in his stride.

“I travel by train every morning. One day last week, all the people were standing, and I’ve got an empty seat next to me. I laughed about it.”

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. 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. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid task force orders strict hygiene measures for Bangkok construction sites

Maya Taylor

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Covid task force orders strict hygiene measures for Bangkok construction sites | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 123rf.com

The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority has been ordered to implement tough hygiene and safety measures at construction sites in the capital, to prevent any resurgence of the Covid-19 virus. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration says the city must take rigorous steps to mitigate the risk of workers contracting and spreading the virus.

A report in Nation Thailand says city officials are fully prepared to comply with the order, with BMA permanent secretary Silapasuay Raweesangsoon saying instructions on the strict hygiene protocols have already been communicated to all district offices.

“Since April, BMA has ordered all district offices to employ measures at construction sites to prevent the outbreak, which include screening of personnel before entering the area, providing alcohol gel and face masks, cleaning the areas after work, separating personal items and maintaining social distancing practice.”

“To comply with the CCSA, the BMA has sent health officials to perform aggressive tests on construction workers that are at high-risk, like those who come from neighbouring countries or provinces.”

Her statement comes as central Thailand prepares for the return of thousands of migrant workers from Myanmar in the coming month. The government has already said employers are responsible for quarantining their workers for the required 14 days, as well as providing them with masks and hand sanitiser, and carrying out regular health checks.

Covid task force orders strict hygiene measures for Bangkok construction sites | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Silapasuay says thousands of construction workers in Bangkok have already been tested for the virus. Bosses at construction sites are also asked to check the health of their employees regularly, both at their workplace and their accommodation.

“We have already tested 49,728 workers, while we aim to increase this number further to ensure safety at all construction sites in Bangkok.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

All Pattaya area beaches to reopen June 1, pending CCSA approval

Jack Burton

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All Pattaya area beaches to reopen June 1, pending CCSA approval | The Thaiger
PHOTOS: The Pattaya News

Pattaya City’s mayor, after meeting with the Communicable Disease Committee of Chonburi told reporters that all Pattaya area beaches are scheduled and “likely” to open June 1, for all activities. The tourist town’s beaches have been closed for around months due to the Covid19 emergency decree. The reopening still requires approval from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, who gave conflicting information at a press briefing today.

All activities, including swimming, sunbathing, relaxing on deck chairs and non-contact sports can resume when the beach officially opens, according to the mayor. Beach chairs must be placed at least a metre apart and visitors, including all beachgoers, would have to practice social distancing. The beaches that would be effected are Pattaya, Jomtien, Phra Tamnak Beach, Cozy Beach, Wong Amat Beach, Krating Rai Beach, Lan Pho Naklua Public Park, Samak Beach and Bali Hai Pier.

As for Koh Larn, just off the Pattaya coast, the island’s residents have considered the request to reopen the island and it has initially been approved. This is being forwarded for final approval to the Chonburi Communicable Disease Committee. The final decision will likely be made by May 31 on when to reopen the island. Arguably one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Pattaya area, it’s been closed since March 27.

Not a single case of the virus was confirmed on the island, which has a permanent resident population of about 500 people. The island was reopened on May 1, 2020, to local residents to come and go from the island to the mainland but all non-residents were still banned.

Beaches remain closed by order of the Governor of Chon Buri province, although a decision is likely as soon as this weekend following official announcements from the Thai Government on the next phase of loosening restrictions. That announcement is expected tomorrow.

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | The Pattaya News | 77kaoded |

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Transport Company interprovincial bus services to the South remain suspended

Jack Burton

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Transport Company interprovincial bus services to the South remain suspended | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Transport Company, Thailand’s interprovincial bus company, announced this week that it is continuing its suspension of all services to the southern provinces as the country will be under the state of emergency until June 30.

It did not say when services will resume. The company was expected to resume services from Bangkok to Koh Samui, Phuket and Trang from June 1.

The Cabinet decided on Tuesday to extend state of emergency in line with measures to control the spread of Covid-19.

Transport Company announced in April, when the national curfew came into force, that services on routes longer than 300 kilometres would remain halted nationwide until further notice.

Services on routes under 300km operated by minibuses are still allowed, from 5am-4pm, and parcel services can operate from 5am-8:30pm.

The decision is in line with the decision of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to maintain the night curfew, from 11pm-3am, and discourage travel between provinces to restrict the spread of the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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