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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Experts warn Thailand not immune to second wave of Covid-19

Maya Taylor

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Experts warn Thailand not immune to second wave of Covid-19 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Kelvin Yup on Unsplash

Despite its seemingly successful suppression of the Covid-19 virus, medical experts say Thailand is not immune to a second wave. Thiravat Hemachudha, director of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre, says the country cannot afford to let its guard down, adding that it is too risky to become lax about hygiene measures.

“First and foremost, Thais have become convinced that the country is completely free from Covid-19 cases and are now lowering their guard. By not wearing a face mask, frequently washing hands, and maintaining social distancing, they have built risks.”

Thailand has now gone 83 days without a case of community transmission of the virus, but Thiravat says it’s simply not possible for the Kingdom to be completely free of a virus that only emerged 6 months ago and is continuing to wreak havoc around the world. He says the only explanation for Thailand’s statistics is that infected people are not displaying symptoms.

“Young people who are still healthy may not show any symptoms after getting the virus. But though asymptomatic, they can spread the disease.”

He warns that doing away with social distancing requirements on public transport heightens the risk of transmission, as does letting young children return to school, given the challenge of keeping them apart.

Tanarak Plipat from the Disease Control Department agrees, saying Thailand’s chances of experiencing a second wave of the virus remain high. He says the focus should not be on having zero cases, but to control the spread of the virus as much as possible. To do this, he says the public must change the way they view the virus and accept the need to live with it.

“If we detect Covid-19 infections in Thailand, we must try to ensure the outbreak is controlled and does not spread widely. Actually, even after a Covid-19 vaccine is made available, the disease will still be around. It’s just that precautions and vaccinations will prevent Covid-19 from overwhelming hospitals.”

Tanarak points to Vietnam, a country that seemed to have Covid-19 under control, until a sudden resurgence a few weeks ago. The country has now had 964 cases and 24 deaths. Hong Kong’s Covid-19 response was initially highly praised, but the territory has already had to battle a second wave of the virus, and now finds itself in the midst of a third. Meanwhile, Australia and New Zealand too are dealing with a worrying resurgence of Covid-19.

Tanarak says lessons must be learnt from these incidences, saying people must continue to wear face masks, wash their hands regularly, and avoid crowds. He emphasises the need for remote working where organisations can facilitate it, or flexible hours where they cannot.

“Closed, air-conditioned places have a 19 times higher risk of Covid-19 transmission than outdoor spots.”

He says tracking and testing is in operation, as was evidenced in Rayong following the visit of an infected Egyptian soldier, and that health authorities have sourced additional personal protective equipment to deal with a second wave. This includes 1.12 million N95 face masks, over 500,000 sets of PPE and 11,000 ventilators.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    james

    Monday, August 17, 2020 at 7:38 pm

    Well, it was more or less immune to the first wave so we can guess it will be immune to the second wave by some form of magic.

    The UK has one of the highest incidences of positive cases or had at the peak, how do they know? Because they are testing 100,000 people a day.

    How can a country know what the correct figures when they are doing very little or no testing?

    There is no dust under my bed, I know because I have not looked.

  2. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Tuesday, August 18, 2020 at 1:12 am

    Given that 80% of people aren’t really affected; and 80% of the remaining 20% aren’t really affected that much; and the remaining 2% nobody really cares about, it all seems like an extraodinary incidence of global mass hysteria fanned by the internuts and “smart”phones.

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Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines

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No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines | Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to the country’s Covid-19 hotlines. The prime minister is now ordering more staff to work for both the 1668 and 1669 Covid-19 hotlines to make sure calls don’t go unanswered. There is now an official LINE account primarily for Covid-19 patients requesting hospital beds after the hotlines were “overwhelmed” with callers, a spokesperson said.

After both of his calls to the hotlines went unanswered, Prayut says he wants to look into how the hotlines are managed.

“I tried both numbers, but nobody answered. I want to find out if this is because there are too few health personnel manning the lines, or if they are too busy tending to patients in hospitals.”

With the recent wave of infections at a record high with more than 18,000 active cases, more than doubling the last wave’s peak, hospitals have turned down Covid patients due to a shortage of beds. Recent reports say some Covid patients have been denied a ride in an ambulance. Prayut says he wants both problems to be dealt with immediately.

“I want the Public Health Ministry to urgently deal with this problem. I can’t accept the fact that entire families are getting infected because they are being denied medical help.”

A spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said at a recent press conference that there are thousands of calls made to the 2 hotline numbers and not enough people to answer.

Covid-19 patients seeking a hospital bed can send a LINE message to @sabaideebot with their name, lab results, ID number, telephone number and address.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals

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Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,470 new Covid-19 infections and 7 deaths were reported today by the CCSA. 446 new cases are in Bangkok which remains the hotzone of new infections, although the latest outbreak has now spread to most Thai provinces. Out of the 7 deaths, one was a 24 year old Thai woman with a history of visiting an entertainment venue in the southern province Surat Thani where other Covid-19 infections were reported.

The young woman’s death is a rare case as the vast majority of Covid-related deaths in Thailand are the elderly or older adults with pre-existing conditions. Health officials say the woman suffered from obesity and died 3 days after testing positive for the virus. At present, there are 18,148 patients in state care… 14,555 in hospitals and 3,593 in field hospitals.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 48,113 Covid-19 infections and 117 coronavirus-related deaths.

The other Covid-related fatalities include…

  • 68 year old Thai woman with pre-existing conditions of asthma
  • 83 year old man from Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure
  • 80 year old woman with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 45 year old woman in Bangkok with high blood pressure
  • 59 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 86 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of heart disease

Here are the provincial totals for today, as published by the NBT…

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: CCSA | Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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