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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Immigration: Beware online swindlers claiming they can extend your visa

Jack Burton

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Immigration: Beware online swindlers claiming they can extend your visa | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Immigration chief Sompong Chingduang - Khaosod English
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After a wave of complaints, the Immigration Bureau yesterday issued urgent advice to tourists and visitors about extending their visas amid the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis.

While some immigration offices have requested that expats to file their 90 day residence reports reports online to promote social distancing and avoid crowded conditions, officers say fraudsters have been going online on Facebook and other social media platforms telling gullible users there’s no need to go to an immigration office for a visa extension, that it can all be done for you for a fee of 1200 baht.

This is false. You must go in person for a visa extension. But that’s going to be long grind, and potentially unsafe. Here’s a shot from the Chaeng Wattana Government Complex Immigration Centre in Bangkok.

Immigration: Beware online swindlers claiming they can extend your visa | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Khaosod English

In the current crisis, with sometimes confusing information being published daily about rules, flights and visas, immigration chief Sompong Chingduang and his spokesman Surapong Chaiyajan say that Immigration officers are going after such swindlers for preying on tourists, .

They ask for information about fraudsters to be relayed to them by calling 191, 1599 or 1178.

“Those stranded in Thailand who need a visa extension must go to an immigration office in person with the required documentation.”

Meanwhile every stranded tourist or visitors with expiring visas are hoping like hell the government will announce a visa amnesty to avoid the stress, confusion and potential danger caused by packed Immigration centres around the country.

SOURCES: thaivisa | Naew Na

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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)

Covid-19 update: 9 new cases, all imported (May 27)

Jack Burton

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Covid-19 update: 9 new cases, all imported (May 27) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Reuters

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced 9 new cases of Covid-19 at this morning’s daily press briefing. All 9 were ‘imported’ cases by Thai nationals returning from overseas, “bringing attention to the importance of the state quarantine process and border control”, according to CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

Of the 9 cases, two recently returned from the US. The two males, aged 18 and 27, flew back on May 12 and were found to be infected yesterday, the last day of their state quarantine. Both were asymptomatic. 6 students, aged 23 – 33, returned from Saudi Arabia. They first flew to Malaysia and then transferred to the Padang Besar border checkpoint. Officials of both countries suspect that the checkpoint is now a Covid-19 hotspot and should be closed for sanitation. 4 of the patients had high fever and cough, while two were asymptomatic.

A 34 year old masseur returned from Qatar on Friday with a high fever, coughing and no sense of smell during state quarantine. He tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

Covid-19 update: 9 new cases, all imported (May 27) | News by The Thaiger

Dr. Taweesin suggested Thai nationals in Malaysia hurry up if they want to return home as the checkpoint is likely to be temporarily closed soon.

All international arrivals are banned until at least the end of June, and borders are closed, with the exception of Thai Nationals returning from abroad. Every Thai national must go through a mandatory state quarantine of 14 days which includes Covid-19 testing.

The fact that all 9 cases are imported makes today the second day in a row without a new locally transmitted case. Thailand has had a total of 3,054 cases of the virus since the start of the outbreak. 2,931 of the cases have fully recovered and been released with 2 new recoveries in the past 24 hours, leaving the recovery rate at 96%.

There are 66 cases remaining in hospital under treatment nationwide, with the majority being imported cases according to CCSA officials.

No new deaths were reported today, leaving the nation toll at 57.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

5 Thai students test positive for Covid-19 after returning from Saudi Arabia

Maya Taylor

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5 Thai students test positive for Covid-19 after returning from Saudi Arabia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Needpix

5 students, who returned to Thailand from Saudi Arabia via Malaysia, have now been confirmed as being infected with the Covid-19 virus. The students are part of a group of 39 returning citizens who arrived back in the country via the Padang Besar road checkpoint at the Malaysian border.

All 39 are reported to be in mandatory state quarantine at hospitals in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Yala and Pattani. While most are students who were studying under scholarships provided by the government of Saudi Arabia, Thai PBS World reports that 2 of the repatriates are a woman and her 14 month old baby.

A further 6 Thai nationals attempting to return from Saudi Arabia failed the health checks and were refused permission to travel. Thailand has strict fit-to-travel documentation required for all Thai citizens returning to the Kingdom. They are also required to go into mandatory 14 day quarantine when they arrive, no matter where they are returning from.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery | The Thaiger

As the severity of the current situation facing Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry starts to sink in, Kasikorn Bank Research Centre have released a report with some stark predictions.

Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry faces losses of 1.69 trillion baht in 2020 and recovery “may not be clearly evident” next year. The report also foreshadows strict ‘new normal’ procedures as government measures will control the entry and exit of foreign tourists, actually all foreigners, to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19.

It has been clear, as restrictions continue whilst the number of new daily cases hovers in single-digits, that Thailand will paint itself as the zero-risk destination. Exactly how that may unfold, and the list of restrictions imposed, has not yet been announced. But the immigration doors are unlikely to be thrown open any times soon.

The impact of Covid-19 on travel demand and the weak purchasing power of future tourists has Kasikorn Research Centre predicting difficult times ahead for the country’s key tourism industry that contributes up to 18% of Thailand’s GDP.

“Even in 2021, recovery will probably not return. Therefore it will be a difficult period for businesses in the chain of the tourism sector.”

“Until a vaccine is found, tourism and hospitality operators will need to adjust their services and the content they offer to ensure they deliver safe distancing and comply with strict health measures.”

The research paper goes through a number of other key points…

• Health regulations will dictate the travel experience

• Touch-points will have to be removed as much as possible

• Safe distancing will need to be practised at popular tourist spots as well as when travelling or staying in hotels or transferring to and from airports

Tour operators face the challenge of offering safe bus transportation throughout Thailand guaranteeing social distancing, which will be required on all transfers. This will increase the cost of transfers and tours, and more buses will be required to transfer tour groups.

For tour groups visiting water or theme parks, flower gardens and museums will need to be carefully managed to prevent further Covid-19 outbreaks.

Even on planes, the option to reduce passenger load, in efforts to impose socially-distant seating, will make it impossible for airlines to operate profitably unless air fares prices substantially increase.

The entire tourism supply chain will be radically different if the ‘risk-free’ Thailand model is to be rolled out effectively. The report suggests that hotels will be invited to join certification schemes.

Tourist-fed economies like Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui will be the hardest hit and have a number of years ahead with a long timeframe for recovery reaching beyond the end of next year.

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