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CORONAVIRUS update: Scientists debunk conspiracies, South Korea cases jump to 82

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CORONAVIRUS update: Scientists debunk conspiracies, South Korea cases jump to 82 | Thaiger

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

China’s National Health Commission reports there has been 114 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak bringing the death toll to at least 2,126. 16,433 people have now fully recovered around the world. Around the world, there are 31 new cases in South Korea now which puts them in the top 4 countries with confirmed coronavirus cases. Japan has 84, Singapore also 84 and now South Korea has reached 82 cases.

Thailand’s confirmed cases remain at 35 with no new cases announced since Sunday.

China’s national health commission also reported 394 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, significantly lower than the 1,749 new cases reported the day before. The latest confirmed number of cases is the biggest drop in almost a month.


South Korea reported 31 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the number of people infected in the country to 82. Of the new cases, 23 cases were traced to church services that a 61 year old patient had attended in the central city of Daegu.

Yesterday, the Shincheonji Church posted a statement on its website confirming 10 of its members were infected by the woman who had attended services.


The US public network NPR reports that there are two basic approaches to stopping viral infections. One is to block an enzyme the virus needs either to make copies of itself or infect cells. The other is to make a monoclonal antibody, based on a recovered patient’s immune response.

Researchers around the world are already testing the first idea with an experimental, broad-acting antiviral drug known as Remdesivir, which works by “gumming up a virus’s ability to replicate”.

The drug is currently being tested in China on patients who have coronavirus (Covid-19). A study published just last week found that Remdesivir successfully reduced respiratory symptoms in rhesus monkeys exposed to another coronavirus that causes serious disease, MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome.

In other work, the biopharmaceutical company Sirnaomics, a US pharmaceutical company in Maryland, is hoping to use a gene-silencing technique known as “RNA interference” to turn off key genes in the new coronavirus. But first, the company must identify viral genes to target.

Patrick Lu, Sirnaomics CEO says the testing is ongoing.

“We are currently testing 150 of them using cell-based culture. We are working with groups in the US and China.”


A group of Australians have landed in Darwin airport this morning after being evacuated from the virus-stricken cruise ship in Yokohama Bay in Japan. About 180 nationals and permanent residents had earlier left Japan on a chartered QANTAS jet.

The evacuees had been confined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama for the past two weeks. The ship had a total of 621 confirmed cases of the virus, the most in any single location outside of China.


The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sternly denounced China’s expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters and is urging Beijing to respect freedom of the press.

“Mature, responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinion. The correct response is to present counter-arguments, not restrict speech.”

The move follows official complaints from Chinese authorities about the headline of an opinion article in the WSJ, which referred to China as the Real Sick Man of Asia* and a decision by Washington earlier this week to treat five government-controlled Chinese news organisations as foreign government functionaries. The move is seen as a likely tit-for-tat move by the Chinese after the US’s open criticism of Chinese media.

* We’ve provided a link to the editorial but there’s a pay-wall if you want to read it


27 prominent public health scientists are pushing back against the steady stream of fake stories and even a debunked scientific paper suggesting a laboratory in Wuhan may be the origin of the outbreak of coronavirus. The scientists, from 9 countries, wrote their statement and were published in The Lancet yesterday.

“The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins.”

The letter does not openly criticise any specific assertions about the origin of the outbreak, but many posts on social media have singled out the Wuhan Institute of Virology for intense scrutiny because it has a laboratory at the highest security level, and its researchers study coronaviruses from bats, including the one that is closest to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Conspiracy theories have included the possibility that the “virus was bioengineered in the lab” or that a lab worker was infected while handling a bat and then transmitted the disease to others. Researchers from the institute have insisted there is no link between the outbreak and their laboratory.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”


The coronavirus outbreak that continues to paralyse China’s economy may have a silver lining for the environment. China’s carbon emissions have dropped by least 100 million metric tonnes over the past two weeks, according to a study published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.

“That is nearly 6% of global emissions during the same period last year.”

Over the past two weeks, daily power generation at coal power plants was at a four-year low compared with the same period last year, while steel production has sunk to a five-year low, researchers found.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Current list of restrictions for provinces around Thailand

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Current list of restrictions for provinces around Thailand | Thaiger

The situation continues to be quite fluid. But if you need to travel at this time, here are the latest restrictions in the red and orange zone provinces. If you planning on travelling, you need to get acquainted with the latest restrictions in your destination province, and you should check if you need additional travel documents.

The could change at any time, so if you are going to be doing any travelling (the government are advising against it), you should get your paperwork ready in advance.

Provincial governors are also being given latitude by the central government to upscale any of the restrictions to meet local situations.

The infographic was compiled by the NBT.

Current list of restrictions for provinces around Thailand | News by Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No room at the inn – Bangkok hospitals turning away people seeking Covid tests

Tim Newton

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No room at the inn – Bangkok hospitals turning away people seeking Covid tests | Thaiger

Today’s drop in newly reported infections by the CCSA has dampened Thai’s desire for a Covid test in and around Bangkok. Now, many hospitals around the city are restricting the numbers of patients tested. And if you want to be tested, Thai or foreigner, you better be ready to pay for it.

Thai Enquirer is reporting that at least 3 private hospitals are not accepting new Covid patients, including BNH Hospital, Praram 9 Hospital and Paolo Hospital in Phaholyotin. But even the latter, who had received a new batch of test kits, said they will take walk-ins but only from 0800 – 1700. The cost at Paolo Hospital is 4,500 baht.

According to Thai Enquirer, the city’s public hospitals are also limiting the number of new Covid tests. Thammasat University Hospital and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital are doing tests but only on who they consider ‘at-risk’ communities, and only 100 tests per day. Taksin Hospital, on the west side of the Chao Phraya, is providing free Covid testing but, again, only people they consider ‘at-risk’ patients. None of them are providing the popular drive-through services. For the majority of the hospitals charging, costs for the tests are between 4,000 – 6,000 baht, depending on the patients and their perceived risk levels.

293 new infections were detected in Bangkok over the past 24 reporting period. 210 more cases were reported from provinces directly adjacent to Bangkok. Around the country there were 1,390 new cases reported this morning, down on yesterday and Saturday’s numbers but still well in excess of the numbers being reported in Thailand’s first and second waves.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand provincial figures for Monday’s Covid cases

Tim Newton

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Thailand provincial figures for Monday’s Covid cases | Thaiger

The NBT has published an infographic including all the provincial data on new Covid infections over the past 24 hours in Thailand. Note that some of the data is released by the provinces one day but not reported by the CCSA as a national tally until the following day.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri, again, lead the way with the latest report. The provinces around Bangkok also feature heavily with today’s numbers. 63 of the country’s 77 provinces have all reported additional cases in the past 24 hours.

The CCSA earlier reported a total of 1,390 new Covid infections today. The tally is a welcome drop in new case reports after the last 5 days’ record levels of new infections. Yesterday there were 1,767 new infections reported.

3 more people have died of Covid-related illnesses, 14,851 people remain under state supervision.

Thailand provincial figures for Monday's Covid cases | News by Thaiger

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