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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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13 Bangkok businesses allowed to reopen tomorrow

The Thaiger

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13 Bangkok businesses allowed to reopen tomorrow | The Thaiger

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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North East

800+ people found in close contact with an infected food vendor in Nakhon Phanom

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800+ people found in close contact with an infected food vendor in Nakhon Phanom | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Brand Buffet

Local disease control workers are continuing to track and trace Covid-19 infections at several villages in the That Phanom district of Nakhon Phanom, north eastern Thailand. The areas were locked down after a 51 year old local food vendor tested positive for Covid-19 and more than 800 people were reported to have had contact with the infected person.

According to the CCSA spokesman, the vendor had been in contact with many people who have been to high risk areas including Bangkok and Rayong. About 10 people in Nakhon Phanom are at high risk of infection from the vendor, but tested negative, while nearly 1,000 other people are at low risk.

Nakhon Phanom’s governor says 5 people, in close contact with the vendor, tested negative, while the other 829 are waiting for their test results. He adds that the active case finding is continuing in the nearby villages and areas.

“Places visited by the infected person are thoroughly cleansed every day.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Pattaya hotels take food to the streets in bid to survive

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Pattaya hotels take food to the streets in bid to survive | The Thaiger

Pattaya’s hotels are taking their restaurants to the streets by offering food stalls outside and delivery in a bid to save their businesses during the Covid-19pandemic. Such changes in their attempts to avoid closing, come as city officials say they will use funds to spruce up the city for Chinese New Years on February 12.

As Chonburi province is still declared as a “high-risk” and “highly-controlled” area, all hopes of domestic and foreign tourism have been dashed as visitors are essentially banned. Even with recent virus infections down to just 1 over the past 3 days and single digits in the last week, the strict measures have not been lifted.

After Covid hit, hotels in Pattaya relied more on domestic tourists, which appeared to be working for several months after the city held more outdoor festivals to increase tourism traffic. Now, without domestic tourists helping to curb the financial downfall, the hotel industry has met many times with province leaders and represetatives from the Social Security Office of Thailand to ask for a forced legal closure which would allow their formal staff to get paid through social security benefits at roughly 50% of their daily wages.

The requests so far have been denied, leaving 30,000 hotel workers in Pattaya alone out of a job. Some hotels have managed to keep their employees and even providing meals and lodging for them. But smaller hotels have run out of money and are having to lay off staff without pay.

Such larger hotels as LK hotels and Dusit hotels are bringing their restaurant food to the streets and offering delivery but they say it is only to provide for their staff during these hard times. The Thai Government has stated they are looking at other options than a forced closure and social security payouts, but have yet to make a decision.

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