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Hong Kong riot police quarantined

Jack Burton

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Hong Kong, rocked by violent protests since last June, now faces a new hurdle. Almost all members of an elite anti-riot squad will be placed under quarantine for 14 days after an officer involved in mass arrests at an anti-government rally earlier this week tested positive with Covid-19 coronavirus. Now Hong Kong’s entire police force may have to undergo coronavirus testing

A 46 year old sergeant from the Police Tactical Unit of West Kowloon region was confirmed as infected yesterday. Now around 130 members of the elite team tackling unrest in the former British colony’s West Kowloon region will be out of action and their jobs covered by officers from other districts.

The sergeant was deployed to handle a protest at a metro station Tuesday night, when supporters gathered to mark seven months since clashes there between officers and anti-government protesters.

Another constable from the same unit previously tested positive after going to a bar in the Tsim Sha Tsui district that has been linked with a cluster of cases. According to a police source, the two shared facilities in the PTU base.

After an investigation, the Department of Health decided to send around 130 male officers of the same unit to quarantine camps, fearing they could have used the same facilities as the infected two over recent days. The source said female officers from the same unit would not be affected.

“Headquarters is now working out the list of male officers with the department. We are reforming the anti-riot police from other five regions so as to cover the empty spots.”

In another story, health authorities are investigating Hong Kong’s first possible case of coronavirus transmission in a public hospital, after an elderly stroke patient was infected during his stay. The city confirmed 17 new cases yesterday, taking its total to 863.

To prevent a potentially devastating spread through Pok Oi Hospital, officials have locked down the two wards where the 93 year old was being treated and suspended services. 225 patients and health workers have been sent into isolation or will undergo tests.

Hong Kong riot police quarantined | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: SCMP

Preliminary findings revealed the stroke survivor was on a ward near to another man later confirmed as infected.

“We have reasons to believe that the elderly man’s infection is linked to this young man, but we will still investigate whether the 93 year old man had other relevant contacts.”

Of the 17 new cases, the lowest daily tally since March 21, 10 had recent travel history, including seven students returning from abroad.

The suspected hospital transmission raised fears of a repeat of the large-scale outbreak during 2003’s severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) crisis in ward 8A of Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin, in which a patient infected 11 health care staff before it spread to a total of 137 people.

SOURCES: SCMP | SCMP

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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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in Thailand in early February, more ahead

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50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in Thailand in early February, more ahead | The Thaiger
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The first 50,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Thailand in the first week of February. The upcoming shipment is part of the first lot of 26 million doses on the agreed purchase in October last year. Still, Thailand needs another 35 million doses as the procured vaccines are enough for only 30 million people. The price negotiation for more AstraZeneca doses is currently underway.

According to the Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the vaccine price agreed on the purchase made in October last year is 150 baht per dose. More vaccines are expected to arrive in March and April. He also confirms he would be the first person in the country to receive an inoculation of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Apart from AstraZeneca, Thailand has also ordered the Chinese made Sinovac vaccines, but the delivery might be delayed because the vaccine’s final registration is still pending in China.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Famous Thai actor tests positive for Covid-19

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Famous Thai actor tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger

A famous Thai actor has announced he is infected with Covid-19after posting a video on Instagram. He says both him and his mother were tested, but he was the only one with a positive test result.

Techin Ployphet, aka DJ Matoom, says he met an infected but asymptomatic friend on January 9, but that friend didn’t know he was infected until January 19 in which he told Matoom.

Matoom detailed his timeline in the Instagram video which reveals that on January 7, he was at his condominium in the Ladprao area, but then visited Power-Buy at the Central Ladprao shopping centre at around 8pm.

The following day, he went to GMM Grammy in the morning to work and then visited the Banyan Tree Hotel at around 4pm. Then, he went to the Big C supermarket in the Ladprao area at 6pm.

On January 9, he says he checked in to a hotel at 9am and had dinner at a rooftop restaurant in the evening. It was there that he met his then-asymptomatic friend. The next evening he left the hotel and had dinner at a Korean restaurant in the Ari area before going back to his condo.

On January 19, he was again working at GMM Grammy in the morning, and then went to Central Embassy for work at 12:30pm. He visited the FoodLand supermarket at The Street Ratchada at 5pm. Then, that same day, he was notified that his friend had tested positive for the virus, which prompted him to also get tested at Bangkok Hospital that night at 10pm. He says he received the positive results yesterday.

Celebrities and actors who worked with him have now taken Covid-19 tests. One of them is actress Natapohn Taemeeruk,who says her test was negative, but will enter a self-imposed quarantine for 14 days and then will get tested again.

The Banyan Tree Hotel has issued a statement saying that it has closed its rooftop restaurant, called “Vertigo,” for cleaning and disinfection, and will reopen it this Saturday. The hotel says it will also disinfect the entire floor where the actor stayed, and has urged all employees, who were in contact with Matoom, to get tested and quarantine themselves for 14 days.

FoodLand supermarket also announced its closure for cleaning and disinfection and says it will reopen this Saturday. The air-conditioning system of the entire mall is also being cleaned. Employees deemed to be at-risk have also been tested and confirmed negative for the virus.

The CCSA’s spokesman, Taweesin Wissanuyothin, says that it is too early to determine whether Matoom could be considered a super-spreader, but he thanked him for disclosing his timeline in the public interest.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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13 Bangkok businesses allowed to reopen tomorrow

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Tomorrow, 13 types of businesses in Bangkok are being allowed to reopen but must have strict disease control measures in place. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration made the decision which would undoubtedly give many businesses some relief as well as potential customers.

Such businesses with restrictions include:

  • Banquet venues, which will need authorisation from BMA for events with over 300 participants
  • Amulet shops and markets
  • Beauty salons, tattoo and piercing shops
  • Fitness centers, but personal trainers and communal steam rooms are not allowed
  • Game Arcades; but all points of contact must be regularly disinfected and facemasks worn at all times.
  • Internet shops
  • Senior nursing homes, but with limited activities
  • Sports venues, except for boxing rings and race tracks, but no audiences allowed
  • Spas, Thai massage shops, excluding massage parlours
  • Gymnasia and boxing venues for training only
  • Bowling alleys and ice skating rinks, but no competitions or audiences allowed
  • Dancing academies
  • Martial art schools, but no tournaments or audiences allowed

Playgrounds, night entertainment venues, cock fighting, fish fighting, child care centres, theme parks, snooker clubs, bull fighting venues, massage parlours, tutoring schools and nurseries, however, are still ordered to stay closed.

The announcement comes after Bangkok saw 14 new cases today, joining 128 other cases reported in Thailand by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Meanwhile, plans for Chinese New Year seem to be on the back burner as the upcoming February 12 holiday has yet to see anything concrete to celebrate the new year. Pattaya city has decided to decorate its streets for the holiday, but like many other provinces, Chon Buri remains as a highly controlled zone, which essentially bans domestic and foreign tourists from entering, despite single digit infections being recently reported by authorities.

The lifting of the measures in Bangkok come after PM Prayut urged the publicto stay away from social gatherings, specifically pointing out political gatherings, which have rocked the streets of the nation’s capital for months.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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