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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korea tops 156 cases, Ukrainians attack evacuee bus

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korea tops 156 cases, Ukrainians attack evacuee bus | The Thaiger
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The total number of infected worldwide cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) stands at over 76,735. At least 2,247 people are now dead from the virus, with all but 11 of those deaths in mainland China. 18,561 people are now registered as ‘recovered’ from the virus. The fatality rate still sits around 2%.

• There has been a sharp spike in new cases of the virus in South Korea according to the country’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. A total of 52 new cases have been diagnosed in just one day, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 156.

Among the new cases, nearly 40 are linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southern city of Daegu. Authorities are now attempting to test the entire congregation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke on the phone yesterday, agreeing to share information about the two countries’ clinical treatment experiences.

President Xi told Moon that “the Chinese people has broken away from the initial fear and are seeing the prospect and hope of overcoming the infectious disease.”

• Dozens of protesters in a Ukraine town have mobbed buses carrying evacuees from coronavirus-hit China. The evacuees were being brought to a hospital in the central Poltava region, where they will be quarantine for 14 days.

Many residents fear the virus could spread through the town, which has a population of about 10,000. Earlier yesterday, 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreign nationals were flown from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the deadly outbreak, to eastern Ukraine. Six buses then drove them to the hospital in Novi Sanzhary, where they were met by demonstrators lighting bonfires and hurling stones.

The country’s health ministry says none of the passengers were sick, whilst the Ukraine PM has issued statements trying to calm the panic in the town.

Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korea tops 156 cases, Ukrainians attack evacuee bus | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Protesters in the Ukraine react violently to the arrival of a bus load log evacuees from China

• 11 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, marooned in Yokohama Bay, and flown out by US authorities on February 17, have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 13 of the US evacuees were taken to the University of Nebraska Medical Centre for testing. All but two tested positive.

Ten of the evacuees taken to UNMC remain in a quarantine unit, while three others are in a state Bio-containment unit, according to the release.

• Meanwhile, 2 passengers from Australia, also evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan, have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. 164 evacuees from the cruise ship arrived at the Howard Springs Quarantine Facility yesterday to begin a 14 day quarantine period.

6 passengers were identified to have minor respiratory symptoms or fevers and were moved into isolation and tested. 2 tested positive for the virus.

Australia now has 17 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus with 11 people registered as “recovered”.

• In further scientific research, the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) spreads mostly through respiratory droplets and contact with infected patients. But new research suggests that it can also spread through feces.

There are currently more cases of coronavirus than would be expected if the virus were spreading only through respiratory droplets and contact with infected patients. The report was published February 15 by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous tests have found that the coronavirus can be present in faeces, but it was unclear if the virus would be ‘viable’ and able to spread to another person, according to a previous Live Science report. So, a group of researchers analysed stool samples from patients with coronavirus.

According to the Live Sciencewebsite, they isolated the coronavirus from one patient who had severe pneumonia and examined the virus under an electron microscope. They found that the coronavirus was viable.

“This means that stool samples may contaminate hands, food, water, etc. People who use the bathroom and then don’t wash their hands could spread the virus to others, for instance.”

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A Burmese teenager who lives near the Thai-Myanmar border tested positive for Covid-19. Now, Thai border patrol officers are tightening security even more to make sure Myanmar’s outbreak doesn’t cross the border and cause a second wave in Thailand.

The 17 year old Burmese boy tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Reports say the teen was in Myanmar’s Payatongsu district, about 5 kilometres from the Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint bordering Kanchanaburi. The teen started having symptoms on September 11 and tested positive on September 17.

Only around 13 people were reportedly in close contact with the teen and they are now in quarantine at a district school. Health officials suspect the teen was exposed to the virus from his uncle who had travelled to Moulmein, a large city near Yangon which had a spike in coronavirus cases. The uncle has been tested and is in quarantine, but his test results are still pending.

In another case, a 2 year old Burmese child tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand. A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department says the child most likely contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar around September 4 to September 10. The family travelled to Mae Sot and entered Myanmar through natural passageways. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Since Myanmar reported a surge in cases, starting mostly in the country’s Rakhine state on the western coast, Thailand has been increasing border patrol to make sure people are not entering Thailand illegally and potentially spreading the virus. Now that there are cases in some Myanmar border towns, Thailand checkpoints are on high alert.

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. The country reported a total of 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

In some border districts, police have placed barbed wire along the border to prevent people from entering illegally. Security has increased and dozens of migrants have been arrested in the past month for allegedly entering Thailand illegally. Even volunteers have stepped up to patrol the borders. No migrants arrested for allegedly crossing the border have tested positive for the virus.

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Myanmar

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. As of September 22, the country reported 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

Maya Taylor

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Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy | The Thaiger
Shuttered businesses along Bangla Road in Patong yesterday

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew was addressing a Public Health Association forum, where he highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, shutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money flowing into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years, including accommodation, tours, tour boats, tours buses and passenger vans, international shows, new roads, restaurants and rentals – all aimed at the many levels of traveller budgets.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that will attract more visitors to the province.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the south to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship.”

Meanwhile, PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, says the forum gives those attending the opportunity to share knowledge and advice on tackling the spread of disease, with presentations and competitions addressing all public health activities.

Phuket usually receives around 14 million visitors every year, with around 10-11 million arriving from outside Thailand. The airport usually welcomes up to 300 international flights a day but is now only receiving around 80 flights a day, since the ban on foreign flights started in April. Narong says an estimated 40,000 of the island’s workers are now unemployed, while those still employed have taken hefty pay cuts of anything from 20% to a hefty 90%. Less than 30% of the province’s hotels are currently open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So, it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible.”

The Cabinet recently approved a long-stay visa (the Special Tourist Visa) for tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom, although critics say the strict requirements, coupled with the extortionate cost of the mandatory 14 day quarantine, make it unworkable. The new visa is also insisting that travellers will have to arrive on restricted charter or private jet flights, adding further cost and restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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