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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

How has Thailand avoided the worst of Covid-19? – VIDEO

Thaiger

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We examine some of the reasons Thailand has been able to avoid the surges and 2nd waves of Covid-19. Whilst many countries are now suffering a 2nd and 3rd wave of the coronavirus, Thailand has locked itself in a bubble of its own making. Almost zero cases and any new cases coming from repatriates. Now the country has to figure out how to re-open its economy and borders, safely.

Why has Thailand, with a population greater than that of the UK, been largely spared the catastrophic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic sweeping the nation and much of the world?

Social distancing is embedded in Thai culture – Thais rarely touch when greeting, preferring the prayer-like “wai” gesture to a handshake or embrace. Could this custom be at least partly responsible for the country’s low numbers?

There have been no overwhelmed hospitals in the country’s public hospital system. No dead bodies in the streets. No social media postings from frantic doctors or nurses. The country simply acted swiftly, and with a determined force.

Thailand was quick to adopt the use of facemasks, close schools and enforce social distancing on public transport, even before declaring a national state of emergency and curfew, sealing its borders and forbidding interprovincial travel. Is that what prevented the runaway transmission of the virus here? Is there a genetic component that makes the immune systems of Thais (and others in the Mekong River region) more resistant to the virus? Or is it some combination of all these factors that have insulated this country of 69 million?

One thing’s for sure, despite an influx of foreign visitors early in the year from countries badly hit by the virus, especially China, Thailand has recorded just 3,236 cases since January, 58 deaths and achieved a 95.5% recovery rate. As of today, there have been no cases of local transmission for about 7 weeks (although there’s been a steady flow of daily single-figure infections as Thais repatriate from overseas)

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Rinky Stingpiece

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:02 pm

    How many countries have accurate figures about the start of covid-19? Most countries in the world weren’t testing ubiquitously, so it looks like only studying and modelling by international experts over the coming years will yield anything close to the truth of the situation around the world.

  2. Avatar

    Sammy X

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    Sorry I don’t for a minute believe that this is accurate numbers. Either they are fabricated or there is no actual testing.

    Is like Trump said, if you don’t test there are no COVID cases 😉

    • Avatar

      Gio

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      You have a point regarding testing but if there were significant undetected infections here in Thailand there would be far more hospitalizations and (likely) far more deaths. Thailand has done a very good job in managing Covid, much better than many other countries incluing the USA and most of Europe.

    • Avatar

      Ludwig Dreher

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 7:37 pm

      yes but then the hospital would be full of sick people. If not true.
      I think we very lucky just look at the USA and Canada how many die and how any in hospital.
      I don’t think you could hide that.

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Thailand has achieved these things, it is true. It is also true that the economy and the tourist industry has been sacrificed to enable this to happen. People are starving through no income, people have no work and no prospect of work for some time, Businesses have failed and have closed, never to reopen. The ramifications of this pandemic and the effect on the people will be in effect, long after the pandemic has eased. The one’s I feel most for are the people, especially those involved in tourism. That too is a consequence of the Thai Government’s actions. The remedies have been “We travel together”,”The phuket model” and now a short term visa amnesty coupled with “Rich People long term Visa” and some allowance for medical tourists. The only positive of these schemes is the possibility of expats coming home (finally). Iam simply summarising the reactions of people in what I am saying. Maybe it’s timefor the Thai Government to listen.

  4. Avatar

    murika

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 2:43 pm

    with one of the lowest covid test rate per person in the world, the covid can’t really exist here, but it is, someone working in thai hospital told me that they don’t even test dead people, how can they know the figures, typical of that government to put the dust under the carpet, if we don’t see it, it don’t exist, but then payut go get his medal from WHO like a kid for best handling of covid in the world, and all the thai put their hand on their heart listening to the national anthem with tears in the eyes being so proud of world recognizing how Thailand is great ! i love thailand, i live there for 13 years, i have a thai wife, and speak the language, but i’m always fascinated how thai people favorize the appearance before the reality, and find it logic

  5. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    In my opinion

    Firstly, I don’t think you can compare Thailand and the U.K’s population numbers, with the land mass being at least four or possibly even five times larger. The population is by its own nature much more spread out and socially distanced.

    I don’t take anything away from the way Thailand has managed treatment and initial control. However, I cannot agree that they acted quickly. It is a known fact that the virus was active from December 19 and infecting Chinese citizens wholesale (especially in Wuhan). Those very same citizens were pouring into Thailand and other locations at the same time. The majority travelling to Thailand for their new year celebrations. Thailand did nothing at that time to stop them coming. So no I don’t think Thailand reacted quickly.

    So why has it done so well ?

    Is it about culture, yes culture is going to play a part, but it is not the sole reason. The virus spreads in many different ways.

    Again my opinion

    Firstly, I think the heat does have great influence on Covid infections, coronavirus is a flu virus that thrives in lower temperatures. It doesn’t do well in heat. There have been many studies with varying results. However, the consensus of opinion is that it is much more virulent in cool temperatures.

    So what are the reasons it had any effect in hot countries. Well first of all, yes it can live in heat although again the consensus is that it’s already on the back foot, because of the heat. So areas it that it thrives well will be air conditioned, such as shops, malls, hotels, airports in fact anywhere it’s cool. Then comes the hygiene. Hand to mouth, hand to nose and hand to eye and it’s in.

    Where I believe the advantage has been is airborne and surface transportation. Here is where I believe the heat is of advantage and the survival of the virus is greatly reduced.
    In another article, there was a comparison between two of the hottest states in the USA with Thailand, questioning why it was so bad in those states, if heat restricted the virus. The answer was simple really. The percentage of air conditioners.

    So to hospitals and recovery rate.
    They have done a fantastic job, as have all front line workers across the world. I believe that once again heat has also played a part here. Hospitals I have visited in Thailand, unless private, are essentially not air conditioned, therefor once again the virus is on its back foot.

    Immunity?
    Yes I really think so, Thailand does not appear to have a bad flu problem, as is suffered by most of the cooler countries in the world. However, it has been scientifically proven that some ethnicities are more susceptible than others. But the reasons as to why remain a mystery. So it stands to reason some must be less susceptible, so yes it could be a natural immunity, but the jury will remain out on that one.

    So to sum up, I believe Thailand has done a good job, but have had a great deal of natural help. No they did not act quickly and now they are not coping at all well.

    Fact. This is a virus and It will mutate.

    We may never have a vaccine that is effective or is a permanent fix.

    With those two statements, it’s pretty obvious to the majority of the world, that life must now continue to allow economic progress. We can do our best to track trace and control by self isolation, essentially at the government’s expenses, hygiene and social distancing.

    Thailand is embarrassing its self with its draconian approach, lack of trust and rip off ideas. Honestly, some of the ideas coming from TAT, could have come from kindergarten.

    If the government want to impose these draconian hoops to jump through, then they should absorb the cost (speculate to accumulate). They seem to have forgotten that tourists are customers and have far easier and much less expensive choices.

    It’s time for adults to step in and stop Thailand falling backwards in time.

    Economy crashing much more than being declared
    Investment confidence lost
    Favouritism with the country that gave us this virus being duly noted by the rest of the economic world
    Personal debt up
    Suicide up
    Drug use up
    Alcoholism up
    People with insufficient money to eat a healthy diet

    Thailand’s roots are dying far more than any damage the virus will cause

    It’s not to late, but it will be soon.

    Those causing these restrictions and problems for there own people would do well to realise where there education and income came and comes from. Yes the very people they are destroying. When they cannot work. They cannot contribute to the economic recovery.

    You may be sat comfortably on a good salary now. However, if the economy is not restored, be assured, that will change.

    Time to wake up and smell the coffee.

    • Avatar

      Gio

      Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm

      I’m no scientist but the hypothesis that heat helps prevent the spread of Covid doesn’t stand up when considering infection rates and deaths in Inda, Brazil, Mexico, and quite a few other warm-weather countries. Thailand has done many things right in managing Covid. I’m very happy (and healthy) to be here (Thailand) instead of my home country which has not handled Covid well at all. Thank you Thailand.

      • Avatar

        Bobby m

        Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 10:09 pm

        I understand Your feelings Gio. However, it is a scientific fact that corona viruses do not thrive well in heat. This is why the Flu is essentially a winter illness. There are also many other factors in play. You mention India as one of your examples for hot countries. Have you been there. It suffers with massive poverty issues which in turn results in appalling sanitary and hygiene issues. Mexico is similar. I have never been to Brazil, but looking at the favelas I would say there are your reasons.
        I am also not suggesting that Thailand has done a bad job, but i firmly believe there has been some natural help in the way of heat and possibly some immunity and they certainly were not quick to respond.

        The more worrying factor, is that if they don’t jumpstart their economy, I don’t believe you will need to worry about catching Covid. There will be a lot more to fear. You can see it building now.

        As mentioned throughout my comments. These are my options and of course you are entitled to yours.

  6. Avatar

    James

    Wednesday, September 30, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    Very easy.

    Don’t bother testing anyone.

    Just lie about the number of people dying.

    You then end up with very good statistics which of course no one believes.

  7. Avatar

    Anthony.

    Sunday, October 11, 2020 at 9:27 am

    This really isn’t hard to put together at all with just some simple connecting of the dots. All the research on Covid and Vit D is showing that Covid severity and deaths are linked to being Vit D deficient. There are over a dozen studies, all showing the exact same thing that 96-100% of those dying from Covid 19 are D deficient. The one Indonesian study even corrected for comorbidities and guess what…..yep the same exact pattern of D levels to Covid severity existed in patients within comorbidities….pretty powerful data. There is also now an interventional double blind study showing the exact same thing that Covid severity and death a tied to one’s D levels. And this didn’t come out of left field. Research on D in the last 15 yrs has shown it to be critical to immune function, specifically to activating T cells. Also a meta analysis of pre Covid studies showed higher rates of respiratory illnesses in those that were D deficient. And pre-Covid studies demonstrate D is crucial for proper endothelial function. And research since Covid is showing Covid kills through endothelial dysfunction, leading to clotting. Now going off the fact that research is showing Covid is a D deficiency issue, here is why Covid is such a non issue in Thailand: Pre-Covid studies show that Thailand has low rates of D deficiency. One study showed Thailand has some of the highest blood D levels in all of SE Asia. It really is that simple. Developed nations where Covid is a huge issue have huge rates of D deficiency due to a modern lifestyle out of the Sun. In the US, pre-Covid studies showed about 40% of whites were deficient and 70-80% of blacks are deficient. So something like D that is crucial for proper immune health and large swaths of the population are deficient…..how could one think this wasn’t going to be a huge issue? It really is the elephant in the room and Drs don’t want to talk about it. Mud in their face as they have been failures on D, basically ignoring the last 15 years of research on D and not testing their patients for deficiency. I know this for a fact….working in large hospital network, hardly any physicians in the US test for D. Such a shame….such a missed opportunity to save lives.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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