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UPDATE: PM vows to track down the errant passengers. Chaos at Suvarnabhumi – VIDEO

Sean Kelly

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UPDATE: PM vows to track down the errant passengers. Chaos at Suvarnabhumi – VIDEO | The Thaiger
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UPDATE:PM orders yesterday’s BKK arrivals to report to state quarantine facilities, or be arrested.

The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has told 152 Thais who landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport yesterday afternoon, and refused to enter the state-organised quarantine, to report themselves before 6pm tonight (Saturday) so they can start their 14 day supervised quarantine, or else.

A total of 158 Thai passengers – 103 from a Japan flight, 11 from Qatar and 44 from Singapore – arrived at the airport around 1pm on Friday. But only six of them agreed to be sent to pre-prepared locations that had been organised by government officials – a hotel in Bangkok and specially prepared facilities in Sattahip, south of Pattaya.

The remaining 152 refused to cooperate, saying they had not been informed about the situation in advance, demanding to be allowed to return to their homes.

A spokesperson say that “the government had their personal information and could track them down”, warning about legal action. He also urged people they meet in the meantime to self-isolate for 14 days.

A meeting late this morning of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration decided to track down the rest of the passengers and force them to go to the special quarantine hotel.

Of course, throughout all this debacle, and the rounding up of these errant passengers, more people will potentially be exposed to the virus if any of the passengers happened to be infected.

Many of the passengers protested vehemently that they had not been properly informed. The situation was made worse for some later arrivals when they weren’t allowed to leave the airport after 10pm, the start time of the new national curfew.

As a result of yesterday’s mess, the Civil Aviation Authority announced a few hours later a ban of all international passenger arrivals until Monday night to prevent further confusion and miscommunication. Meanwhile hundreds of foreigners, booked onto flights to return to their countries over the weekend and Monday, are again stranded because their flights can’t land. More than 3,500 people are thought to be affected, causing more headaches and stress for authorities, airlines, and the families and friends of the passengers.

ORIGINAL STORY:

Hundreds of Thai citizens refused mandatory Covid-19 quarantine orders at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport after returning from abroad last night. Flights from the US and Japan carrying Thai nationals landed at the Suvarnabhumi Airport yesterday, as citizens were returning home on emergency flights to be with family during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.

Many were unaware of the strict government emergency measures introduced on Thursday demanding all arrivals to be quarantined for 14 days and having to submit government health checks. Arrivals who landed after the 10pm curfew were also prohibited them from leaving the airport. The typical means of returning home – taxis, buses, airport link – were all banned from picking up passengers and violators faced up to two years in prison if they left the airport.

The new rules erupted into chaos in the arrivals area near the baggage claim. Some passengers, according to Thai Media Agency, allegedly tried to run past airport security and health care workers.

Passengers who expected to return home were confronted by officers who told them they would need to go to a quarantine facility for 14 days. An officer said, “taking orders from the government and the rules must be adhered to for the safety of the public”.

Thailand currently bans non-residents from entering the country under the current emergency situation, but Thai nationals are allowed to return if they have a letter from the Embassy and a ‘ fit to fly ‘ certificate before boarding.

With regard to the 14 day quarantine on arrival, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said, “Related agencies will coordinate with Thai embassies to ensure all Thais returning home will be quarantined and get proper medical checks.”

Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the new measures started this week and would continue until April 15.

SOURCE: Chang Rai Times

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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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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/Henryandpartners

…and the rest of us haven’t been helping the plastic problem either.

Thailand started the year eco-friendly by banning single-use plastic bags. All good, but with “stay at home” orders and mandated quarantines, plastic waste has been increasing. One Thai artist, who stayed in a state quarantine facility, added up all the plastic containers and bottles he used during his isolation. He had more than 100.

“I thought of this trash being multiplied by the thousands of people that had to go in state quarantine,” Henry Tan told Khaosod English.

“Just my flight alone resulted in 200 people in quarantine.”

If all 200 used just as much waste as Tan, that’s more than 20,000 pieces of plastic waste.

Tan had to be quarantined after arriving back to Thailand from Japan. He stayed at the Palazzo Bangkok hotel. Meals were left outside his door 3 times a day, usually in a plastic box with plastic cutlery and condiments in plastic. Han took photos of the plastic containers and bottles laid out on the floor, as well as many of his meals served in plastic containers, and posted the photos on Facebook.

Plastic waste has been increasing since the pandemic, with a surge in delivery and takeaway orders. The director of Thailand Environment Institute said last month that the amount of plastic pollution has increased to 6,300 tonnes per day, Coconuts Bangkok reported last month that it was 1,500 tonnes per day before the pandemic.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | Coconuts Bangkok

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Posted by Henryandpartners on Sunday, 24 May 2020

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Number of curfew arrests drops

Caitlin Ashworth

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Number of curfew arrests drops | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya News

Quite a few people have stayed out late, rebelling against the nation wide curfew that requires people to be at home from 11pm to 4am. More than 200 people were arrested during ‘no go’ hours from late Sunday to early Monday this week. But the nightly number of curfew arrests has dropped over the past month.

Earlier this month, Thai media reported 710 arrested in 1 night for breaking curfew. At that point, the curfew was 10pm to 4am. It was recently shortened an hour, starting at 11 pm. From late Sunday to early Monday, police stopped more than 22,000 people across Thailand for allegedly breaking the curfew but only 232 were arrested, Thai media reports. Many of them had valid reasons for being out late, such as driving home from work.

Many have been arrested since the curfew was put in place. Since prisons are overcrowded, some curfew violators are now sending people to temples to volunteer at soup kitchens. Some people have been clearly violating the curfew by throwing parties, or even speeding through curfew checkpoints.

But some people are out late because they have nowhere else to go. After a homeless man was arrested for violating curfew and ordered to stay home, the Human Right Watch raised the question “How can people stay home if they are homeless?”

The curfew will probably be in place for another month, but it will probably be shortened another hour, starting at midnight instead of 11pm.

SOURCES: Thai Residents | Thai Residents | Bangkok Post

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