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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korean cases exceed 2,000, cases in 15 European countries

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Coronavirus UPDATE: S Korean cases exceed 2,000, cases in 15 European countries | The Thaiger
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The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has now killed at least 2,858 people worldwide as the focus of the outbreak now moves away from China and to outbreaks in central South Korea, northern Italy and other parts of Europe.

83,379 people are now infected but, notably (and increasingly), 36,562 people have fully recovered. At least 15 European countries now have confirmed cases of coronavirus, some of which have been traced back to Italy.

The South Korean Centres for Disease Control did not report any new deaths, meaning that the national death toll remains at 13. 2,022 people are now confirmed as infected in South Korea. Among the 256 new cases, 182 are from Daegu, the epicentre of the outbreak in central South Korea – many involved in or connected with a church congregation. A total of 1,314 cases since the beginning of the outbreak have come from Daegu, according to the KCDC.

South Korea has the most confirmed coronavirus cases outside of mainland China.

In Thailand, the Office of Private Education Commission ordered the closure of an international school in Don Mueang district, north of Bangkok’s city area, as a precautionary measure after learning that more than 500 students and teachers had returned from a country hit by the Covid-19 virus.

The secretary-general of the Private Education Commission, Attapon Truektrong, says the school’s management had instructed the group, which includes 60 teachers, to stay at home and self-quarantine following their return on February 23. The Office also asked the school’s management to close the school and switch to online classes.

“A school break is coming, but I’m concerned about international schools that have different break intervals and organise overseas field trips on a regular basis. They are being urged to postpone their trips especially to Covid-19-hit countries.”

He said his office was monitoring the situation at the Phraharuthai Donmuang School in Don Mueang district after an 8 year old pupil tested positive for coronavirus this week. Tests on pupils and teachers who had close contact with the boy have so far been negative.

Meanwhile, a privately-run school in Rayong, a province east of Bangkok, will also close today for “cleaning” as a precautionary measure to allay concerns after it was rumoured that a pupil who returned from a trip to Japan had fallen ill.

The acting director of Anuban Taksin Rayong International School, says the child has tested negative for the virus but is staying at home for self-quarantine. Despite this, the school’s management has decided to suspend classes today for “disinfection”.

South Korea and Israel have asked the Thai government to suspend the travel of workers until the situation returns to normal. Cases in Thailand remain at 40 with 22 fully recovered.

In other coronavirus snippets…

Fears of the spread of coronavirus has forced Saudia Arabia to temporarily suspended entry for Muslims seeking to perform the “umrah” or “haj” – the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Prasarn Sricharoen, a representative from Thailand’s Office of the Chularatchamontri, says the office is checking with the Saudi Arabian Thai embassy for more details about the temporary suspension of visas for visits to Mecca, Islam’s holiest site. He says the office is checking if those who already have visas can travel and that it is waiting for a reply from Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry. It is not known if the suspension will affect the annual haj pilgrimage due to start in late July. Moreover,

Meanwhile, the vice president of the Medical Council of Thailand, says people who have travelled to overseas destinations with a high rate of coronavirus infection “must be socially responsible and be truthful to medical personnel to prevent its further spread in Thailand”.

Professor Dr Prasit Wattanapha, made the appeal at a conference in Bangkok yesterday.

“One of the main contributing factors in the outbreak is the lack of knowledge about healthcare and the prevention of communicable diseases among people who are at risk of exposure to the virus. If you travel to areas with a high infection rate such as China, Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Iran or Italy, you must quarantine yourself at home for 14 days upon returning and avoid crowds.”

“Anyone with a fever, cough or troubled breathing should seek medical treatment immediately and tell the staff if they have travelled abroad recently. It is simply socially responsible to disclose all relevant information, since failure to do so might jeopardise your own safety and that of your family and the public.”

“During the 14 day home quarantine, it’s also advisable to avoid shared rooms like the bedroom and bathroom and stay isolated as much as possible, preferably in properly ventilated room.”

“Stay alert to changes in body temperature (it should be no higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius when checked orally and 37C at the armpit), and any abnormalities in breathing. Symptoms that appear abruptly such as coughing, a runny nose, a sore throat or increased respiration rate are signals that you should immediately contact the nearest hospital or call the Department of Disease Control Hotline at 1422”.

World Health Organisation head, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, says the coronavirus outbreak has reached a “decisive point” and has “pandemic potential”. He noted, when speaking yesterday, that for a second day, more cases have been reported outside than inside China.

“Iran and Italy have become major centres of infection, with people travelling from there spreading the virus further afield.

“Several high-profile Iranian officials have become infected, the latest being Vice-President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar.

“It’s what’s happening in the rest of the world that’s now our greatest concern.”

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

All new arrivals to Thailand banned, effective immediately

Greeley Pulitzer

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All new arrivals to Thailand banned, effective immediately | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Asia Times

Effective today, and until at least April 15, Thailand will bar all arrivals due to the increasing number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases.

Thaveesilp Wissanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says that PM Prayut Chan-ocha has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a new directive prohibiting any new arrivals.

“The spread of Covid-19 must be stopped. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will give more details on the directive. However, people who already have permission and who need to enter Thailand are exempted, but there will be a strict process via the embassy.”

Thaveesilp says Thais returning from overseas and foreign visitors are partly responsible for the continuing rise in the number of new infections.

“Though the number of travellers from overseas has significantly declined, the PM believes more needs to be done to stem overseas arrivals in order to further flatten the curve.”

He says the PM wants to see stringent measures imposed on overseas arrivals between April 2-15. The Foreign Ministry has been tasked to find out ways to implement the directive from the PM.

Asked whether the government is moving toward imposing curfew to enforce its “stay at home” measure, Thaveesilp said “just wait for what the prime minister will have to say today.”

He says 4 of the 6 Thais who recently returned from Italy tested positive for the virus, with another 50 people who have come into contact with them being quarantined.

As many as 47 of the 132 Thai Muslims in southern Thailand who returned from a religious function outside Kuala Lumpur last month have also tested positive and 4 have died. More than 1,000 people had to be quarantined as a result.

Four executives of the CP Group, Thailand’s largest private company and one of world’s largest conglomerates, returned recently from negotiating the Tesco deal and one of them died after being infected with the virus.

Thaveesilp says these figures only reinforce concerns that the spread of the deadly virus cannot be curbed if people from overseas continue to be allowed in without more stringent screening.

He says the PM told the Foreign Ministry to further tighten restrictions on Thais planning to return from abroad, asking them to postpone their trips until after April 15. This new measure, he said, applies to all Thai citizens abroad, including American Field Service exchange program students who are living in the US with their host families, with the exception for those already issued with permits to return to Thailand.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Thailand hit 1,875 today with 104 new infections confirmed over a 24-hour period, a fifth consecutive drop in the daily number. 3 more deaths were reported.

Source: The Nation | Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New Covid-19 test kits produced in Thailand

Anukul

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New Covid-19 test kits produced in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: chiangmainews.co.th

Today the first batch of 20,000 new Covid-19 test kits, developed by a joint effort of the Siam Bioscience and The Department of Medical Science, has been delivered to Government House. Each locally produced test kit costs around 1,500 baht each, while imported ones will cost about 4,500 baht each.

The association of Siam Bioscience and The Department of Medical Science aim to produce 20,000 test kits every week, and once 100,000 kits have been produced, they will be distributed among 100 hospitals nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation yesterday approved the urgent purchase of 400,000 N95 masks and the same number of personal protection suits from China. A budget of 660 million baht has been earmarked for the purchase. China will send 150,000 by air within this week and will ship 250,000 in the next few weeks.

A similar story where Chulalongkorn University has developed, and currently testing, a new blood test for the Covid-19 virus. The “Baiya Rapid Covid-19” testing strip uses blood drawn from the fingertip and delivers results in 10 to 15 minutes.

SOURCE: The Nation

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News & Updates

National curfew announced. Takes effect tomorrow.

Greeley Pulitzer

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National curfew announced. Takes effect tomorrow. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Jack

Thailand will announce a nationwide curfew between 10pm – 4am starting tomorrow (Friday) to try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The government made the announcement in a statement today.

There will be some exceptions to the new measure, including the transport of medical supplies, movement of people into quarantine, patients and travel of medical personnel, according to the statement presented this afternoon.

“The prime minister will make the announcement this evening on national television around 6 pm”

Thailand has been under a national state of emergency since last week and has closed its borders to foreigners.

SOURCE: Reuters

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