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Deputy PM says politics not involved in Emergency Decree extension

Jack Burton

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Deputy PM says politics not involved in Emergency Decree extension | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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“There is a week to go before entering the third phase of relaxation. Whether a further easing will occur depends on this week. I want to urge everyone to keep their guard up at all times.”

With the second month of Thailand’s national state of emergency coming to a close, a deputy PM says fear of second wave of Covid-19 infections, and not politics, is behind the government’s need to extend the Emergency Decree. Business closures and travel restrictions under the decree have produced huge economic hardship nationwide.

Prawit Wongsuwon’s comments come as the cabinet is expected today to extend the emergency decree for a third month. But opposition and critics disagree with prolonging the decree, saying the Communicable Disease Act alone should be enough to control the spread of the virus.

They claim that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s administration has a hidden agenda, alleging they want to hold onto emergency decree powers for political reasons.

The spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, defends using the decree. He says it is a far better tool than other laws because it unites virus control efforts under one command.

Taweesilp yesterday urged the public to remain vigilant, to wear masks, frequently wash their hands and practice social distancing. This, he says, will help Thailand in the next phase of lockdown easing. But public health officials say there are signs that people are becoming less vigilant as the number of new daily infections drops.

The deputy chief of the Department of Disease Control says some organisations have begun relaxing preventative measures, like cancelling work from home. As a result, Bangkok’s BTS stations are again overcrowded during peak hours. But he concedes the Covid-19 situation in Thailand has improved, with the number of new daily infections dropping to rates not seen since the early phase of the pandemic in February.

He says health authorities want to continue the momentum, adding that lockdown measures will no longer be necessary if the number of new daily infections is kept below 5 per 1 million people.

“For example, Bangkok has a population of 8 million. If the number of Covid-19 patients is 40, transmission is considered limited”

Authorities say the situation could become critical if the number of new patients passes 10 per 1 million people nationwide, which would prompt stricter lockdown measures again.

SOURCES: Chiang Rai Times | Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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    HusPeyer

    May 26, 2020 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Jack
    Have the comments before something to do with what you are thinking?
    THANK YOU FOR A ANSWER
    Greetings
    PETER

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Uruguay’s Covid-19 Policy of “freedom with responsibility” shows success

Anukul

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Uruguay’s Covid-19 Policy of “freedom with responsibility” shows success | The Thaiger
PHOTO: DW

To the Government of Uruguay’s relief, their policy of “independence with responsibility” in the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic seems to have been successful… so far. Yesterday, when Europe opened its borders to 15 countries, Uruguay became the only Latin American country to be included. With less than 1,000 registered Covid-19 cases and just 27 deaths, the 3.4 million-plus nation is a significant anomaly in the south American countries that have become the new hotzone of coronavirus cases. Read more HERE

Uruguay currently has just 83 confirmed cases, while its giant neighbour Brazil is the hardest hit country in the world after the US.

This performance is especially impressive as there has never been an official lockdown to the extent other countries have imposed. Instead, in the midst of industrial businesses, school and border closures, authorities ‘advised’ people to stay indoors and strictly adhere to social distancing.

The message was conveyed to the public by media and police helicopters flying overhead with frequent updates and positive messaging, education and information.

The president, who took office in early March as the pandemic was just warming up, said he opted for “individual rights” rather than a “police state” approach. Calls for self-isolation were widely adhered to with minimal effort from officials.

Infectious disease specialist Alvaro Galiana credits the success of Uruguay to early identification and tracking.

Galiana says… “The early appearance of well-known cases, at a time when the circulation of the virus within the population was very limited, led to adequate measures being implemented, even if at the time they seemed exaggerated “.

SOURCE: The Jakarta Post

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Nightlife operators warned: follow the rules or face closure

Jack Burton

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Nightlife operators warned: follow the rules or face closure | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Tripzilla

Bangkok police have issued a stern warning to nightlife venue operators… follow the rules or be closed again. National police chief Chaktip Chaijinda has instructed officers to make sure entertainment venue operators comply with disease control regulations and that both service providers and customers understand the “new normal.”

The warning comes after a meeting of senior city police, the Health Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and more than 200 entertainment venue operators, in which they were briefed on regulatory compliance in the fifth phase of lockdown relaxations. He said entertainment venues that fail to adopt the safety regulations will be warned, and if they refuse to comply, will be ordered to suspend their operations.

Dararat Matkham, a restaurant and karaoke operator, said she’s relieved nightlife venues are being allowed to reopen, and has already put in place public health safety practices – she’s provided sanitiser gel for customers and microphones will be cleaned regularly, although customers are being advised to bring their own microphones. She says her premises will place tables in accordance with social distancing rules.

Somwang Chuenhathai, a “soapy massage” operator says his business has made it mandatory for masseuses to wear face shields or masks while working, and his premises will be cleaned before and during opening hours.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

World travel business faces slow recovery – UN report

The Thaiger

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World travel business faces slow recovery – UN report | The Thaiger

Plenty of businesses are suffering and recovery will be slow, and lumpy. One of the hardest hit, and probably one of the most difficult industries to re-start, is the world travel business. Hotels, airlines, tour companies, travel agencies and online booking systems… and the millions of people employed to make all those work together as a working machine.

Now a UN study predicts that the global tourism business will lose up to US$3.3 trillion due to impact of Covid-19 bans and lockdowns, with Thailand to lose US$47 billion alone. According to the report, Thailand and France stand to lose around US$47 billion each. But the US and China are projected to have single largest losses in the travel industry.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused significant disruptions in the global economy. By the end of the first quarter of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic had brought international travel to an abrupt halt and significantly impacted the tourism industry.”

The UN Conference on Trade and Development has released its ‘Covid-19 and Tourism’ and poses 3 scenarios for the world travel industry, assessing the impact of restrictive measures lasting 4, 8 and 12 months. Revenues are projected to fall $1.17, $2.22 and $3.3 trillion in the 3 scenarios, or 1.5-4.2% of the world’s GDP.

Speaking at a media conference, one of the authors believed that the second scenario “could be a realistic one”.

“International tourism has been almost totally suspended, and domestic tourism curtailed by lockdown conditions imposed in many countries. Although some destinations have started slowly to open up, many are afraid of international travel or cannot afford it due to the economic crisis.”

Then small tourist island states, such as Jamaica, stand to lose a much larger proportion of their economies, facing an 11% fall in GDP. Tourist islands like Bali and Phuket are also facing a bleak outlook until their tourism industries pick up again.

The UNCTAD report covers 65 individual countries and regions and is calling for governments to boost social protection for affected workers in the worst impacted nations.

World travel business faces slow recovery - UN report | News by The Thaiger

Download the full report HERE.

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