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The nation’s schools close today

Greeley Pulitzer

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The nation’s schools close today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Post
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Thailand’s education minister today ordered all schools nationwide to close from today as a measure to to tackle the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The ministry’s permanent secretary Prasert Boonrueng made the announcement yesterday.

“Taking into consideration the well being of students, we urge all educational institutions under the ministry, both government and private, to close [temporarily] from March 18 onwards. Music schools, tutoring schools, and international schools must also be closed until further notice.”

The permanent secretary warned that private schools who violate the announcement will have their licences confiscated, and management of government schools will be disciplined for any violation.

SOURCE: The Nation

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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)

Thai Airways goes into hibernation until end of May, others ground fleets too

Greeley Pulitzer

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Thai Airways goes into hibernation until end of May, others ground fleets too | The Thaiger

After a decade of financial struggles and corporate upheaval, Thailand’s national flag carrier, Thai Airways, with a previous reputation as one of Asia’s premier airlines, is ceasing all flights for a period of at least two months, due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand has now allowed the suspension of all domestic and international flights.

The once proud airline made the initial announcement a week ago, suspending some flights at that time. Then, acting president Chakkrit Parapanthukul said in a statement that, compounded by a sharp reduction in passenger numbers, the continuation of operations would increase the airline’s already massive losses. So, the company has now asked employees to take two months off from Saturday (tomorrow) to May 31. Along with this, staff salaries will be reduced by 10-50%.

Thai has transferred flights from Bangkok to Phuket, Krabi and Chiang Mai to its sister company Thai Smile Airways.

Passengers who have Thai Airways or Thai Smile code-share tickets issued before March 25 with the date of travel between March 25-May 31 for Asian routes and between April 1-May 31 for European, Australian and New Zealand routes can convert the tickets to one-year-valid travel vouchers without a fee and surcharges. Visit thaiairways.com.

It’s not only Thai Airways grounding its fleet. Thai Smile suspended all international flights beginning on March 23 but is still operating a few domestic flights. Passengers can ask for a full refund without any charge via member.thaismileair.com/customerservice/refund.

Thai AirAsia has temporarily suspended all international flight services from now until April 25, and April 30 for domestic flights.

Passengers who booked tickets before March 20 can rebook the flights on the same routes within 180 calendar days from the original date without additional cost. They can change the tickets to credit accounts, which can be redeemed for booking within 365 calendar days from the issuance date.

Passengers can ask for a full refund in the amount equivalent to the original booking. Visit support.airasia.com.

Bangkok Airways also halted international services until further notice. It’s also reducing domestic flights and has temporarily closed its lounges at Suvarnabhumi and other airports.

Thai Airways goes into hibernation until end of May, others ground fleets too | News by The Thaiger

Passengers can request refunds without a service charge by contacting its sales offices, or call Bangkok Airways’ call centre at 1771.

Nok Air has suspended services from Bangkok to Nanning, Chengdu, Hiroshima and Yangon until April 30. Direct flights from Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City are halted until May 31.

Passengers can rebook or reroute for a new flight until Nov 30 without a fee. The change must be made before the date of departure. Passengers can also request a ticket refund via its contact centre at 1318.

Thai Lion Air has suspended all domestic and international flights until April 30. Passengers can rebook tickets without a change fee or fare difference. The new travel date must be on or before September 30. Passengers can request a full refund at lionairthai.com.

To check which airlines still offer international flights, visit the website of Airports of Thailand at airportthai.co.th/en/flight-schedule.

SOURCES: The Nation | Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Stranded. Nearly 21,000 Russians struggling to get home.

The Thaiger

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Stranded. Nearly 21,000 Russians struggling to get home. | The Thaiger
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The Russian Ambassador to Thailand claims there are about 20,800 Russian citizens stranded in the Land of Smiles. Ambassador Tomikhin says they’re desperate to get home.

He says that most of them are stuck in Phuket and neighbouring provinces (Phuket is in virtual lockdown with the airport being closed to all passenger flights on April 10). Another 8,000 in and around Pattaya, 5,00 around Bangkok and Hua Hin, 4,400 in and around Koh Samui and another 2,500 scattered around the country, according to Khaosod English.

“We have received some 20,800 requests from people who have found themselves in this situation. Less than half of them are those who have tickets to cancelled flights by third countries’ air companies.”

The Russian embassy stopped receiving requests from Russian nationals on March 30.

According to the Ambassador, there were about 70,000 Russians in Thailand by early March.

“About 40,000 of them were package-tour vacationers who came here by charter flights from various Russian cities. When the situation began to worsen, most of them returned home.”

“According to Aeroflot reports, Thai Airways, which cancelled all of its international flights, has begun to direct its tickets to the Russian air company’s flights. About 50 people have left Thailand this way.”

“Some of our nationals who had no return tickets but who are trying to buy them are in a risk group since the duration of their stay in Thailand may be longer than their visa period. I hope our diplomatic mission will be able to help such people within days.”

“We hope that a larger part of our compatriots will be able to return to Russia within this week.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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