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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government panel predicts 12-18 more months of pandemic-related pain

Jack Burton

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Government panel predicts 12-18 more months of pandemic-related pain | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Dr Jaras Sunawayla - Nation Thailand
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Thailand faces up to a year and a half of serious impacts from Covid-19 pandemic, according to a government advisory panel investigating the pandemic’s consequences on the Kingdom. The panel was set up on the Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s orders on April 30.

After analysing data from the Ministry of Public Health, the advisory committee on the social and economic impacts of the pandemic agreed the pandemic will have serious long-term consequences for public health, the economy and Thai society as a whole.

“Because of this, a plan is needed to handle the impacts of Covid-19 up through December 2021.” This from the committee chief Dr Jaras Suwanwayla when addressing the National Economic and Social Development Board, the government’s official thinktank.

Jaras says aside from government measures, help and cooperation from both the private and civil sectors is required to overcome the effects of the crisis.

His committee is currently gathering data to draw up a plan, which will be proposed to the government as a priority within 3 months. The panel will hear from the Public Health Ministry on Monday.

Dr Jaras also admits he’s concerned about the scheduled reopening of malls and other outlets on May 17 as part of gradual easing of the state of emergency. He says the reopening is inevitable but must be done with extreme caution to avoid sparking a second outbreak that could overwhelm the health system with a new wave of cases. He noted examples in many countries where the Covid-19 mortality rate has been as high as 10-20%, based on reported figures.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New rules for Thai cinemas to re-open in Phase 3

Jack Burton

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New rules for Thai cinemas to re-open in Phase 3 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Yahoo News

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of Emergency Decree restrictions enacted to fight the spread of Covid-19, cinemas will be allowed to reopen on June 1 (though many operators are unlikely to do so as food and drink are their main revenue source and the movie companies say there are currently no new movies to release…)

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has released the rules for the reopening, designed to help encourage social distancing and prevent any possible spread of the virus

The rules are…

  • No eating or drinking in the movie theatre. Patrons can eat concession food outside the viewing room, but the cinema must have a properly spaced eating area that encourages social distancing, with partitions
  • A maximum of 2 people can sit next to each other. Others must be spaced out at least 3 seats apart. People must not be seated directly in front or behind others
  • Film festivals and nonstop screenings are prohibited
  • Cinemas must be fully sanitised and cleaned after every viewing
  • Masks must be worn at all times during a film
  • Cinema staff will be asked to enforce the rules about eating, drinking and social distancing

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

6 guidelines issued for schools to re-open in July

Jack Burton

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6 guidelines issued for schools to re-open in July | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The government is considering allowing schools in Covid-19 infection-free areas to open in July, and the Public Health Ministry has issued 6 guidelines to schools nationwide on how to guard against the spread of virus among students and faculty once they reopen. The Department of Health’s director-general made the announcement yesterday.

“The first point that must be emphasised is preventing the spread of Covid-19 and other germs by setting up screening checkpoints at all entrances to check for fever and other symptoms. Furthermore, schools must stick to strict rules on wearing face masks and washing hands frequently, as well as providing adequate alcohol gel or handwashing stations.”

She says that classes should have no more than 20-25 students in order to maintain a distance of at least 1 metre between students.

“This will pose a challenge for schools as normally each classroom has around 40 students. Schools may employ an alternate study schedule where half of the students study online at home while the other half attend the school, and then switch at a suitable interval.”

“The second point is to prepare lessons and learning materials that are suitable for both classroom and online learning, to ensure that no student’s education is hindered during the Covid-19 crisis. The third point is to give underprivileged and disabled children the same learning opportunities as other students by providing suitable protection equipment or specialised tools to facilitate their education both at home and in school.”

The fourth point is to protect the health and welfare of children from families who have fallen ill with or are under investigation for the virus. Measures must be taken to ensure that affected students are not excluded from their peer groups.

The fifth point is to provide infrastructure to prevent the spread of the virus in schools, including additional handwashing sinks, partitions in cafeterias, and rearrangement of classrooms, hallways and communal areas to maintain social distancing.

“The sixth point that school should focus on is administration of their budgets, as these measures will increase the financial burden on the school and possibly on parents. Schools must make sure they are financially sound before reopening so they can ensure uninterrupted operation until the end of the semester.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket officially reopens Monday, but with restrictions

Jack Burton

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Phuket officially reopens Monday, but with restrictions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: hotels.com

Phuket is scheduled to reopen to outsiders on Monday, to coincide with the start of Phase 3 of the easing of Emergency Decree restrictions enacted to fight the spread of Covid-19. It will also be a pleasant respite for the islanders who have been cooped up on the island since the last week of March.

Phuket’s outgoing governor says his administration has sought approval from the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand to reopen Phuket International Airport to domestic flights, and will resume marine services at 24 of the island’s piers from Monday as well.

Permission to reopen the airport has not been given at this time.

Sarasin Bridge, Phuket’s only land connection to the mainland, will also be fully reopened for access to and from the island. Since the start of May there has been restricted access across the bridge where some 50,000 people registered to depart the island.

Some restrictions will remain in force: visitors to Phuket from Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Narathiwat and provinces where new infections have been reported in the past 28 days, will be required to enter 14 day home quarantine, unless the they plan to remain in Phuket for fewer than 3 days.

The provincial prison will also reopen for visits from June 8.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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