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Fortress Phuket remains sealed off from the mainland

The Thaiger



Fortress Phuket remains sealed off from the mainland | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sarasin Bridge, linking Phuket to Phang Nga province
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A request by Phuket officials to reopen the Sarasin Bridge has been refused. The Governor has confirmed that the island will remain ‘closed’ until further notice. That includes the Phuket International Airport which was going to re-open yesterday (May 16), but 24 hours after the notice to reopen the airport on Thursday, the Civil Aviation Authority did a U-turn on the decision and said the airport would remain closed ‘indefinitely’.

But the airport will continue to receive freight, military and emergency flights.

As far as the Sarasin Bridge is concerned, the only land access to the Thai mainland, Phuket’s provincial police posted the current situation…

“All authorised traffic, including deliveries of essential goods, products, medical equipment and supplies, authorised government officials, construction materials for government projects, and any other people deemed “necessary” by officials, would continue to be granted passage onto and off the island as usual under the original lockdown order.”

But there has been an exodus of authorised and registered citizens over the past 2 weeks. Some 50,000 people had registered to leave according to provincial authorities..

“People wanting to enter or exit Phuket (via the Tha Chatchai checkpoint) must register through the new PhuketSmartCheck-in app, which is available for mobile phones.”

According to the App some 21,000 have already left the island. It also reveals that, from May 3 to May 15, people returning to Phuket totalled 14,245.

Phuket officials have reminded people leaving Phuket that they will have to observe a 14 day quarantine when they reach their destination. Officials from other provinces, receiving people from Phuket, confirm that departees will be checked when they arrive and placed into quarantine.

The PhuketSmartCheck-in app says people leaving Phuket must first observe a 14 day quarantine to obtain the ”Fit to Travel” documentation before they depart, but makes no mention of any quarantine period for people coming to Phuket from other provinces.

The Phuket Provincial Police told Phuket News that only people with “urgent” matters to address will be allowed onto the island. Arrivals will be subjected to “strict inspection”.

SOURCES: Phuket Provincial PR | Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor



Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth



Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton



Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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