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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government aims to limit travel around Thailand by 90%

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Government aims to limit travel around Thailand by 90% | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Visa Forum
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It won’t do much for oil prices, but it will flatten Thailand’s Covid-19 ‘curve’ and help with the country’s air pollution problems. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is aiming to cut public transport use by as much as 90% around the country in order to stem the rise of Covid-19 coronavirus infections.

Just yesterday, Thailand’s Department of Land Transport announced that four southern provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Phuket – will be closed to all public transport, except essential goods vehicles, medical and government vehicles. The director-general Jirut Wisanjit said the closures are effective from now (yesterday) and will help prevent the virus from spreading between neighbouring provinces.

“All modes of public transport are now cancelled and passengers must contact relevant agencies to get a refund.”

Now a broader plan, covers the entire country, is proposed by army chief Gen Apirat Kongsomgpong.

Compared to March 21, the number of journeys made by the public a week later (March 28) had decreased by 46% after please from the government for the public to stay at home and keep errands and travel to a minimum. Personal car use fell by 41% while the number of electric train passengers had fallen by 59% during the same 7 day period. The number of inter-city train passengers had also dropped by 65% and the number of boat passengers had come down by 40%.

CCSA spokesman Tawee­sin Visanuyothin. noted that the need to curb inter-provincial travel was indicated by the latest statistics that show most of the new cases are now outside of Bangkok.

“The number of patients in other provinces is growing faster than Bangkok. Cases in Thailand are increasing at a similar pace to Malaysia. People must cooperate with disease control measures.”

He said that the government was maintaining restrictions on people’s movements in four southern provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani, Phuket and Yala. In Phuket the beaches are now closed, people asked to stay indoors from 8pm – 3am, restrict their travel and wear a face mask anytime they are out in public. The Phuket Governor has also sealed off the land and sea borders and the Phuket International Airport will close on April 10. Narathiwat Airport has also suspended all services until further notice.

The government spokesman’s office is asking media not to send reporters to Government House in Bangkok but follow announcements given by the PM and other cabinet ministers via live streaming.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

5 Thai students test positive for Covid-19 after returning from Saudi Arabia

Maya Taylor

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5 Thai students test positive for Covid-19 after returning from Saudi Arabia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Needpix

5 students, who returned to Thailand from Saudi Arabia via Malaysia, have now been confirmed as being infected with the Covid-19 virus. The students are part of a group of 39 returning citizens who arrived back in the country via the Padang Besar road checkpoint at the Malaysian border.

All 39 are reported to be in mandatory state quarantine at hospitals in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Yala and Pattani. While most are students who were studying under scholarships provided by the government of Saudi Arabia, Thai PBS World reports that 2 of the repatriates are a woman and her 14 month old baby.

A further 6 Thai nationals attempting to return from Saudi Arabia failed the health checks and were refused permission to travel. Thailand has strict fit-to-travel documentation required for all Thai citizens returning to the Kingdom. They are also required to go into mandatory 14 day quarantine when they arrive, no matter where they are returning from.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery | The Thaiger

As the severity of the current situation facing Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry starts to sink in, Kasikorn Bank Research Centre have released a report with some stark predictions.

Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry faces losses of 1.69 trillion baht in 2020 and recovery “may not be clearly evident” next year. The report also foreshadows strict ‘new normal’ procedures as government measures will control the entry and exit of foreign tourists, actually all foreigners, to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19.

It has been clear, as restrictions continue whilst the number of new daily cases hovers in single-digits, that Thailand will paint itself as the zero-risk destination. Exactly how that may unfold, and the list of restrictions imposed, has not yet been announced. But the immigration doors are unlikely to be thrown open any times soon.

The impact of Covid-19 on travel demand and the weak purchasing power of future tourists has Kasikorn Research Centre predicting difficult times ahead for the country’s key tourism industry that contributes up to 18% of Thailand’s GDP.

“Even in 2021, recovery will probably not return. Therefore it will be a difficult period for businesses in the chain of the tourism sector.”

“Until a vaccine is found, tourism and hospitality operators will need to adjust their services and the content they offer to ensure they deliver safe distancing and comply with strict health measures.”

The research paper goes through a number of other key points…

• Health regulations will dictate the travel experience

• Touch-points will have to be removed as much as possible

• Safe distancing will need to be practised at popular tourist spots as well as when travelling or staying in hotels or transferring to and from airports

Tour operators face the challenge of offering safe bus transportation throughout Thailand guaranteeing social distancing, which will be required on all transfers. This will increase the cost of transfers and tours, and more buses will be required to transfer tour groups.

For tour groups visiting water or theme parks, flower gardens and museums will need to be carefully managed to prevent further Covid-19 outbreaks.

Even on planes, the option to reduce passenger load, in efforts to impose socially-distant seating, will make it impossible for airlines to operate profitably unless air fares prices substantially increase.

The entire tourism supply chain will be radically different if the ‘risk-free’ Thailand model is to be rolled out effectively. The report suggests that hotels will be invited to join certification schemes.

Tourist-fed economies like Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui will be the hardest hit and have a number of years ahead with a long timeframe for recovery reaching beyond the end of next year.

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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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