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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE: Spark in cases in Italy and South Korea, Air Asia cancels flights

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE: Spark in cases in Italy and South Korea, Air Asia cancels flights | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Italian police monitoring the close down of Venice Carnival festivities - The Independent
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Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases have now reached 79,561 around the world, with 77,345 of the cases confined to China. The rise in cases has been principally in China with 409 new cases and South Korea with 161 new cases. 2,619 people have died from the infection.

The major outbreaks, outside China, have been in South Korea, aboard the Diamond Princess (still moored in Yokohama Bay, Japan) and now also in Italy.

Coronavirus UPDATE: Spark in cases in Italy and South Korea, Air Asia cancels flights | News by The Thaiger

Here’s some of the key coronavirus updates from around the world…

Italian officials cancelled the annual Venice Carnival, cutting short the event by two days. The situation in Italy is the worst outbreak of the coronavirus in Europe. There are now a57 confirmed cases in Italy with 78 confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Three people have died in Italy. Now Italian officials have imposed strict quarantine restrictions in two northern “hotspot” regions close to Milan and Venice. The cities of Veneto (5 million) and Lombardy (10 million) have virtually quarantined about 55,000 people in sections of the cities for the next two weeks. They will be confined to their homes and prevented from travelling.

Even outside the zone, many businesses and schools have suspended activities, and sporting events have been cancelled.


Thai AirAsia X, the international brand of Air Asia, announced the cancellation of some flights operating to and from South Korea from March 6-27. Passengers are being offered a range of options.

• Passengers can postpone the travel date on the same route for one time within 30 days from the original schedule without additional costs. However, it will depend on seat availability on the flight and the conditions specified.

• Passengers can keep their points in the AirAsia BIG point reward account for travel in future, which must be booked within 90 calendar days from the original schedule. However, passengers can schedule the new travel date after the expiry date if the flight schedule is still available.

• Passengers can request a full refund for all flights to and from South Korea. The airline will inform concerned passengers about the cancellation via email or SMS. Meanwhile, passengers can request offers via Ava Live Chat at support.airasia.com. In case of booking through a dealer or online travel agent, passengers must proceed with the agent that they had booked with. However, the airline will monitor the situation closely and update information periodically.

Passengers can find the latest updates via Twitter: @AirAsia_Thai and Facebook: facebook.com/airasia.


Thai education minister Nataphol Teepsuwan says that the ministry has asked teachers and students who had travelled to six countries, including China, Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, to voluntarily remain confined to their homes for 14 days.

“The measure is in line with the Public Health Ministry’s guidelines to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Parents of students who travelled to those six countries should also stay at home in order to make sure that they were not infected by the coronavirus.”

The number of virus cases in Thailand remains at 35. Epidemiologists earlier believed that the virus could be transmitted to other people even though those infected may not have fallen ill yet. Recently scientists studying virus cases in China said that the virus incubation period may be longer than 14 days, and perhaps up to 20 days.


South Korean health officials say they’ve decided to raise the alert level over the COVID-19 virus to “highest” in response to the confirmation of hundreds of additional cases over the weekend.

President Moon Jae-in says that the next few days are critical in official efforts to contain the virus.

“The COVID-19 incident has been confronted by a grave watershed. A few days from now is a very important moment.”

It’s the first time that the country, traditionally known for tight quarantine measures, has raised the virus alert level to “serious,” the highest in the four-tier system, in 11 years since its previous step against Influenza A (H1N1).

The president said the government and the local authorities should not hesitate to take “unprecedented powerful” measures to contain the viral disease without being limited by “regulations.”

The President mentioned a minor Christian sect, known as Shincheonji. Its church in Daegu, 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul, is viewed as an epicenter of many infections reported over the past few days. The 31st reported patient infected with the virus, a woman in her 60s, is presumed to have attended lengthy crowded worship services at the church in Daegu before testing positive for the virus last week.

The number of confirmed cases in South Korea, mostly in Daegu and the nearby town of Cheongdo, have since shot up to over 556 as of Sunday morning. Moon pointed out that health authorities are taking “special” steps in connection with the followers of Shincheonji, meaning “new world” in Korean.

Coronavirus UPDATE: Spark in cases in Italy and South Korea, Air Asia cancels flights | News by The Thaiger

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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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