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Covid-19: Your questions answered

The Thaiger

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by Andrew J Wood

We are living in extraordinary times. With the world forced into a complete shutdown and travel by any means frowned upon and commercial aircraft largely grounded GLOBALLY we are all in #StayAtHome so we can #TravelTomorrow mode. Our national leaders are also making televised addresses reinforcing the gravitas of the moment. 

No-one captured the mood of the world better than UK’s Queen Elizabeth II who delivered a coronavirus address earlier this week, to the British people,

Together we are tackling this disease, if we remain united and resolute, then we will overcome it. I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge,” 

she said calling for unity and concluded by saying “we will succeed”.

Closer to home Thailand’s PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha, in his televised national address said,

“Please rest assured that I will do everything I can to get our country and the Thai people through this most difficult time. Let us fight back together, we must win over this.”

It is worth recording what we know about this pandemic for historical reasons and to look at a few questions that should be answered. 

Here’s how California’s LAist is helping to communicate to the wider world. It is worth taking a look as it’s the best in the world. I’m inspired by their straightforward-no-nonsense factual approach which they call the No-Panic Guide To the Coronavirus

I’ve cherrypicked some of their best questions and answers, ones that have merit to a wider audience and are definitely worth sharing.

THE TIMELINE

• A “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” was declared on January 30, 2020 by the World Health Organisation over an outbreak of a new, deadly, novel coronavirus which began in Wuhan City, China.

• The virus was identified as SARS-CoV-2, which causes a disease called COVID-19 (which is an abbreviation of “coronavirus disease 2019”).

• On March 4 the California Governor made the call to declare an emergency for the state. 

• On March 11, WHO made it official: COVID-19 is a pandemic.

• On March 19, California, the USA’s most populous state, ordered its nearly 40 million residents to stay home and practice social distancing. 

• On March 26, the United States surpassed China as the country with the highest total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world.

• The global total is now more than 70,000 deaths and over 1.3m confirmed cases, and the numbers continue to climb.

WHAT IS SARS-CoV-2?

SARS-CoV-2 is in the family of coronavirus pathogens that usually cause short-lived illnesses.

They get their name because of how they look, which is spiny around the edges, like a crown. And some coronaviruses are scarier than others. Scientists are still trying to figure out how dangerous this new (or “novel”) coronavirus is.

Most people get infected with these viruses at some point in their lives according to the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms may include fever, cough, difficulty breathing, runny nose, and headache. 

HOW IS THE CORONAVIRUS SPREAD?

Coronaviruses generally jump from person to person on the droplets from coughs and sneezes.

The current best guess is that the incubation period for novel coronavirus — that’s the time from exposure to when symptoms first start showing up — is somewhere between two and 14 days. Health officials continue to stress the importance of good hand hygiene and washing technique. We still don’t know how easily this coronavirus can spread through the air.

HOW LONG DOES IT LIVE?

It depends on where it is.

The coronavirus is…

  • detectable in aerosols for up to three hours
  • up to four hours on copper
  • up to 24 hours on cardboard
  • up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19?

Common symptoms can include: low-grade fever, body aches, coughing, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat.

Severe symptoms can include: high fever, severe cough, shortness of breath, persistent chest pain or pressure, confusion, bluish lips or face.

These Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure. However, some people infected with the virus have no symptoms. And there also may be additional symptoms beyond what we’ve listed above.

WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK I MIGHT HAVE IT?

If you think you might have been exposed, or have COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor for next steps. If you experience severe symptoms, get immediate medical attention.

If you are caring for someone with COVID-19 at home:

  • Make sure you wear a mask
  • Monitor for trouble breathing
  • Monitor for persistent chest pain or pressure
  • Call their healthcare provider if symptoms become more severe (especially if they’re elderly or have pre-existing conditions).
  • Clean surfaces frequently
  • Try to keep the patient in one bedroom, and ideally one bathroom
  • Don’t shake the laundry before washing, it will spread any virus into the air. 
  • Restrict unnecessary visitors
  • Wash hands frequently

IF I HAD CORONAVIRUS CAN I GET IT AGAIN?

We don’t have conclusive evidence on that, in general you can be protected when you’ve had an infection, but not always. We’re just going to have to wait for the researchers and the scientists to let us know what they’re finding out about that.

IS THERE A VACCINE? WHAT’S THE TREATMENT?

There is no vaccine yet. Scientists started working on a plan in January, before COVID-19 even had a name. A number of companies have been working on vaccine development, and clinical trials are underway. The timeline is unknown. 

POTUS (president) has promoted chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a possible treatment. Quite a bit is known about the existing drugs, but what isn’t known is if they’re effective at treating the coronavirus.

IS IBUPROFEN SAFE TO TAKE FOR A COVID-19 FEVER?

There’s currently no established link between ibuprofen and coronavirus complications. Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend against the use of of ibuprofen.

SHOULD I BE WEARING A MASK IN DAILY LIFE?

Yes. 

Many Governors and Mayors around the globe are recommending that all residents wear face coverings whenever they’re in public and interacting but you should still stay at home. When you have to go out, we are recommending that you use non medical grade masks.

There are two categories of masks, and who should wear what:

  • Surgical masks: These are medical grade, like the N95, and they are reserved for medical professionals.
  • Homemade cloth masks: These are bandanas, scarves, hand-sewn masks and the like and should be worn by everyone else, including workers providing other essential services, such as those in food retail and vital infrastructure jobs.

Do not take the ones that are reserved for our first responders, this could save, or cost, a doctor or nurse their life.

We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms.

This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

In light of this new evidence, we recommend wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (eg. supermarkets and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

Maintaining 6-feet social distancing, is still required, even when wearing a mask.

And the cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. There is a shortage of these for medical professionals. 

WHAT’S THE SAFEST WAY TO SHOP AT THE GROCERY STORE

Tips for minimising risk at the grocery store…

1. Try to go at a less busy time. Generally, earlier is better, and weekdays seem to be less busy than weekends.

2. If you’re a senior or in another high-risk group, take advantage of the “senior shopping hours” many stores have introduced.

3. Wear a mask if you have one. California is expected to issue some official guidance on mask-wearing soon.

4. Wear latex gloves if you have them, be careful about tearing, and avoid touching your face when they’re on.

5. If you don’t have gloves, use hand-sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. If you don’t have either, use an plastic produce bag to touch certain items or produce.

6. Before you touch your cart, wipe it down with an antiseptic wipe.

7. While you’re in the store, stay at least 6 feet away from other shoppers.

8. While you’re in the store, touch as few things as possible.

IS THIS CORONAVIRUS LIKE SARS OR MERS?

MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome) and SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) are two members of the coronavirus family that tend to make people sicker. “About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.” And SARS was responsible for a global outbreak in 2002-2003 that killed 774 people.

The novel coronavirus is more genetically related to SARS than MERS. But scientists don’t know yet if novel coronavirus will act the same way as SARS or MERS; they’re using information from both pathogens to guide their research.

DID NOVEL CORONAVIRUS COME FROM… A BAT?

Scientists say the novel coronavirus “does look like it may be somewhat similar to a bat coronavirus.” But say researchers will need to conduct more genetic sequencing before we can be confident of how the virus started. Some researchers think pangolins might have transmitted the new coronavirus to humans. But we just don’t know for sure yet.

WHICH DISINFECTANTS CAN I USE AGAINST SARS-CoV-2?

Coronaviruses are enveloped viruses, meaning they are one of the easiest types of viruses to kill with the appropriate disinfectant product. Consumers using these disinfectants on an enveloped emerging virus should follow the directions for use on the product’s master label, paying close attention to the contact time for the product on the treated surface (i.e., how long the disinfectant should remain on the surface).

As far as keeping your hands virus-free, handwashing for at least 20 seconds is still your best bet. If that’s not possible, using an “alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol is recommended 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN QUARANTINE, ISOLATION, AND SOCIAL DISTANCING

All are actions designed to stop or slow down the spread of a contagious disease. Here’s how they differ: 

  • Quarantine: a separation for people who have a contagious disease, have symptoms consistent with a contagious disease, or were exposed to a contagious disease. A person’s movements are restricted when they are quarantined
  • Isolation: a less restrictive separation that keeps people who are sick away from people who are not sick
  • Self-Isolation: a voluntary action to stay at home by people who are sick (or are likely to be sick) and are experiencing mild symptoms
  • Self-Quarantine: a voluntary action to stay at home by people who may have been exposed but are not experiencing symptoms
  • Social Distancing: keeping your distance from other people. The distance reduces the risk of breathing in droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or (in some cases) breathes. It also mean cancelling events or gatherings

Stay safe, stay well.

Together we can beat this, and we will, of that I am certain. 

Andrew J Wood

Covid-19: Your questions answered | News by The Thaiger

About the author

Andrew was born in Yorkshire England, he is a professional hotelier, Skalleague and travel writer. Andrew has over 35 years of hospitality and travel experience. He is a hotel graduate of Napier University, Edinburgh. Andrew is a past Director of Skal International (SI), National President SI Thailand and is currently President of SI Bangkok and a VP of both SI Thailand and SI Asia. He is a regular guest lecturer at various Universities in Thailand including Assumption University’s Hospitality School and the Japan Hotel School in Tokyo.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26)

Anukul

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3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26) | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: reuters.com

Today, in the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily press conference, Dr. Taweesilp confirmed 3 new cases of coronavirus in Thailand, of which all were recorded as quarantined overseas repatriates. This brings Thailand ‘s total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 3,045. The death toll remains at 57 fatalities with no additional deaths reported today.

Dr. Taweesilp says from the new cases all 3 patients either had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. They are all in quarantine and under supervision.

“The first case is a 51 year old Thai masseuse, who had previously returned from Russia on May 12 and was quarantined in Chon Buri province. She had no symptoms but tested positive for the disease yesterday.”

“The two others are Thai men who returned from Kuwait on May 24 after a business trip and were quarantined in Samut Prakan province. They were coughing and tested positive yesterday.”

Of the total accumulated cases, 2,929 have recovered, including 1 patient who was released in the past 24 hours and 59 patients remain in hospitals.

Dr Taweesilp said that, in the past 4 weeks, in most of the country (65 provinces), no new Covid-19 cases have been recorded.

“The situation is improving thanks to public cooperation. Now we are heading towards the third stage of easing business and activity that were closed during lockdowns. It is likely to cover some higher-risk businesses and activities. They may resume with strict disease control measures.”

Chonburi, where Pattaya is located, has had no new confirmed cases in over a month. Phuket has also reported 0 new cases today but with 9 patients still receiving medical care.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News| Bangkok Post

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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/Henryandpartners

…and the rest of us haven’t been helping the plastic problem either.

Thailand started the year eco-friendly by banning single-use plastic bags. All good, but with “stay at home” orders and mandated quarantines, plastic waste has been increasing. One Thai artist, who stayed in a state quarantine facility, added up all the plastic containers and bottles he used during his isolation. He had more than 100.

“I thought of this trash being multiplied by the thousands of people that had to go in state quarantine,” Henry Tan told Khaosod English.

“Just my flight alone resulted in 200 people in quarantine.”

If all 200 used just as much waste as Tan, that’s more than 20,000 pieces of plastic waste.

Tan had to be quarantined after arriving back to Thailand from Japan. He stayed at the Palazzo Bangkok hotel. Meals were left outside his door 3 times a day, usually in a plastic box with plastic cutlery and condiments in plastic. Han took photos of the plastic containers and bottles laid out on the floor, as well as many of his meals served in plastic containers, and posted the photos on Facebook.

Plastic waste has been increasing since the pandemic, with a surge in delivery and takeaway orders. The director of Thailand Environment Institute said last month that the amount of plastic pollution has increased to 6,300 tonnes per day, Coconuts Bangkok reported last month that it was 1,500 tonnes per day before the pandemic.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | Coconuts Bangkok

คนบ้ากักตัว 14 วัน

Posted by Henryandpartners on Sunday, 24 May 2020

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Number of curfew arrests drops

Caitlin Ashworth

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Number of curfew arrests drops | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya News

Quite a few people have stayed out late, rebelling against the nation wide curfew that requires people to be at home from 11pm to 4am. More than 200 people were arrested during ‘no go’ hours from late Sunday to early Monday this week. But the nightly number of curfew arrests has dropped over the past month.

Earlier this month, Thai media reported 710 arrested in 1 night for breaking curfew. At that point, the curfew was 10pm to 4am. It was recently shortened an hour, starting at 11 pm. From late Sunday to early Monday, police stopped more than 22,000 people across Thailand for allegedly breaking the curfew but only 232 were arrested, Thai media reports. Many of them had valid reasons for being out late, such as driving home from work.

Many have been arrested since the curfew was put in place. Since prisons are overcrowded, some curfew violators are now sending people to temples to volunteer at soup kitchens. Some people have been clearly violating the curfew by throwing parties, or even speeding through curfew checkpoints.

But some people are out late because they have nowhere else to go. After a homeless man was arrested for violating curfew and ordered to stay home, the Human Right Watch raised the question “How can people stay home if they are homeless?”

The curfew will probably be in place for another month, but it will probably be shortened another hour, starting at midnight instead of 11pm.

SOURCES: Thai Residents | Thai Residents | Bangkok Post

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