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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: China coronavirus deaths reach 1665, Taiwan reports first fatality

Greeley Pulitzer

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UPDATE: China coronavirus deaths reach 1665, Taiwan reports first fatality | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Streets across much of China are empty as the governmentthere tries to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus - AFP
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UPDATE: Taiwan has confirmed its first death from the coronavirus. Malaysia says it won’t allow any more passengers from the Westerdam cruise ship to enter the country from Cambodia, after an American woman who flew into Kuala Lumpur was diagnosed with the coronavirus.

China said today the number of coronavirus cases nationwide had reached 68,500, with the death toll rising to 1,665. Hubei province reported fewer new infections for a second straight day, and 139 deaths. It had 1,843 new cases, dropping from 2,420 a day earlier.

SOURCE: Bloomberg

ORIGINAL STORY: New cases of COVID-19 coronavirus infection dropped for a third consecutive day today, as World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned it is “impossible” to predict how the outbreak will develop. Concern remains high around the world about the spread of the virus, which emerged in China’s central Hubei province in December. The first death outside Asia was reported in France yesterday. An 80-year-old Chinese tourist was the fourth person outside of China to die from the virus, with the other deaths occurring in the Philippines, Hong Kong and Japan.

The death toll climbed to 1,665 in mainland China today after 142 more deaths were reported. More than 68,000 people are now infected, but the number of new cases of the COVID-19 strain is falling. In Hubei, the number of new cases slowed for a third day and at 139, the number of deaths was equal to Saturday’s toll. The number of new cases in other parts of the country has dropped for twelve straight days.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was cautious, however. Speaking at the Munich Security Conference, he said:

“[It is] impossible to predict which direction this epidemic will take. We ask all governments, companies, and news organisations to work with us to sound the appropriate level of alarm without fanning the flames of hysteria”

“China has bought the world time. We don’t know how much time.”

The UN health body has asked China for more details on how diagnoses are being made, after a spike in reported cases on Thursday when authorities in Hubei changed their “methodology for diagnosing the coronavirus,” retroactively adding thousands of new patients to their tally. Hubei added more than 14,000 cases in a single day after officials there started counting people clinically diagnosed through lung imaging, in addition to those with a positive lab test result.

Chinese authorities have placed around 56 million people in Hubei, and its capital Wuhan, under quarantine, virtually sealing off the province from the rest of the country and the world, in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus. Beijing’s municipal government has enacted a rule requiring all people coming to the capital to quarantine themselves for 14 days, warning that violators would be punished, according to state media.

The biggest cluster outside China is on a quarantined cruise ship off Japan, with 335 infections as of today. A US State Department spokesperson says Americans stranded on the vessel will be evacuated and face further quarantine of two weeks in the United States. Hong Kong also announced it will charter a flight for the city’s residents on the ship, who will stay at a quarantine centre for 14 days on their return. Several countries have banned arrivals from China and major airlines have cut services to the country.

With China’s government facing criticism over its handling of the crisis, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for tighter policing “to protect social stability.”

“[The government must] increase use of police force and strengthen the visible use of police to ensure stability during the crisis.”

China’s central bank says it will also banknotes with ultraviolet light or high temperatures and store them for up to 14 days before they are put back into circulation.

SOURCE: AFP

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Some southern provinces stop interprovincial public transport

Greeley Pulitzer

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Some southern provinces stop interprovincial public transport | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English

Thailand’s Department of Land Transport announced today that four southern provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Phuket – are closed to all public transport, except essential goods vehicles, medical and government vehicles, after witnessing an increasing number of Covid-19 coronavirus patients. Director-general Jirut Wisanjit made the announcement and the closures began today (Monday, March 30) to help prevent the virus from spreading.

“All modes of public transport are now cancelled and passengers must contact relevant agencies to get a refund.”

So no public transport, at all, can travel in or out of those four southern provinces.

The measure follows Phuket Governor Phakkhaphong Thawiphat’s announcement yesterday that all modes of transport except air would be halted until April 30 in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Air travel will also be halted on April 10.

Meanwhile, the Department of Airports has suspended services at Narathiwat Airport due to the pandemic, according its director-general Tawee Gasisam-ang.

Some southern provinces stop interprovincial public transport | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

In response to the provincial governor closing some locations, the airport shut its doors from yesterday and will remain closed “until the virus situation is resolved.”

Passengers who have booked Thai AirAsia or Thai Smile tickets have the following options :

Thai AirAsia

• Change to another domestic route and schedule travel within October 31 with no service charge;

• Register under Big ID for a new booking with the flight being in the next 365 days;

• Refund tickets via www.airasia.com (though according to the airline you might not receive a full refund).

Thai Smile

• Full refund HERE

• Change your route or schedule another flight without a fee.

In another development Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said today that Thailand Post will deliver 2.3 million face masks across the country, starting this evening.

He says that the 11 manufacturers nationwide can now produce 2.3 million masks a day. Of that total, 1.3 million will be given to the Public Health Ministry for healthcare workers while the Interior Ministry will take the balance of 1 million for distribution to village health volunteers and officials providing services to the public.

The distribution of masks will gradually expand to cover the general public, while exports will be banned without permission.

Wissanu added that the Finance Ministry is working out a plan to lower import taxes on medical equipment, after cutting the import tax on masks to zero. He denied a report that the government had prepared a plane to repatriate Thais stranded in Italy.

SOURCES: The Nation | The Nation | The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus spreads to Lamphun province

Greeley Pulitzer

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Coronavirus spreads to Lamphun province | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The northern province of Lamphun, near Chiang Mai, has reported its first 2 Covid-19 coronavirus cases. Provincial Governor Pongrat Piromrat made the announcement yesterday.

A 39 year old man is the first case. He returned from abroad on March 19 and began home quarantine from March 20 until today, when he tested positive and was transferred to a local hospital. Because he self-isolated, he has not been in close contact with many people, and the few he was close to are now under investigation.

The second case is a 30 year old man who is known to have visited entertainment venues. He was on home-quarantine beginning March 17 before testing positive.

“His fever is low and his symptoms are not severe. Those in close contact with him are now being tested for infection.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

27 Bangkok police officers confirmed with Covid-19

Anukul

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27 Bangkok police officers confirmed with Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: matichon.co.th

Not only do medical staff take much of the risks, but police offers are also staffing the front lines in battling the Covid-19 pandemic. Today, Bangkok Police Chief Lieutenant General Pakkapong says…

“As many as 27 Police offer in Bangkok have now been confirmed as positive with the Covid-19 and 326 others are in quarantine awaiting their results.”

The infected officers fall into two groups…

  1. Those who recently returned from a work tour in Spain.
  2. Those who visited two major transmission sites — the Lumpinee boxing arena and the Thong Lor entertainment complex.

“One of the infected officers is the deputy traffic police chief of Taling Chan police station and people close to him have already been quarantined.”

The Public Health Ministry says they’re investigating how he ended up with the virus, but Pol Lt Gen Pakkapong insisted the deputy traffic chief had not contracted the disease from a Covid-19 screening point.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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