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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hong Kong riot police quarantined

Jack Burton

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Hong Kong riot police quarantined | The Thaiger
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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 a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and 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.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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

May Taylor

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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

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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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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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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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