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Immigration checkpoints enhance hygiene measures nationwide

Jack Burton

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Immigration checkpoints enhance hygiene measures nationwide | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Health screening measures are being augmented today at immigration checkpoints nationwide - NNT
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Health screening measures are being boosted today at immigration checkpoints nationwide to prevent the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus into Thailand. Since cases were confirmed in Malaysia and Singapore, officials at the Betong border crossing in the southernmost province Yala are using handheld thermometers to screen suspected contaminanees.

Meanwhile enhanced hygiene measures are being implemented at immigration checkpoints at all airports across the Kingdom. The improved measures will help protect officials at international airports, who are in contact with tens of thousands of passengers daily, with special screening protocols at Guangzhou, where health experts be assigned specific gates. All flights from Wuhan have been cancelled as the Chinese city which is at the epicentre of the outbreak is in effective lockdown.

The Immigration Bureau said yesterday that the enhanced hygiene measures will bolster passengers’ confidence. Immigration checkpoints will be cleaned hourly with disinfectant and alcohol spray, especially in areas where officers and passengers interact. Immigration officials at all airports will wear masks and gloves, as they must handle many passports and frequently converse with passengers.

Hand sanitiser bottles for passengers will be placed on immigration counters for passengers to use, and officials will increase their surveillance of coughing and sneezing passengers, who will be referred to the airport’s health control team. Officials’ will also be monitored, and those showing symptoms will be sent to doctors immediately.

There are currently no confirmed cases of Wuhan Coronavirus infection in Yala or southern Thailand, but Betong district is considered to be at high risk as it welcomes many Malaysian-Chinese and Singaporean-Chinese tourists.

In Samut Songkhram, southwest of Bangkok, the district chief has delivered sanitary masks to vendors at Amphawa floating market, in an attempt to reduce the chances of infection. Amphawa has ordered hotels and homestays to monitor the health of their guests, and notify authorities should any guest show symptoms.

Amphawa floating market is a tourist attraction popular among Chinese, with about half of all visitors coming from China.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. 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. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dengue fever antibodies might contribute to Thailand’s low Covid-19 count | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr

Antibodies from dengue fever might raise immunity against Covid-19, according to study done in Brazil. It suggests a correlation between the mosquito transmitted illness and the coronavirus, citing lower Covid-19 cases in areas with past dengue outbreaks, like south east Asia. Thai doctor Manoon Leechawengwongs says this might be why Thailand has significantly less Covid-19 cases than other countries around the world.

Since the start of the outbreak, many scientists have been confused by south east Asia’s generally low infection rate and posited various theories about some local “immunity”.

Thailand has more than 100,000 dengue patients every year, he says, adding that many locals take the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis to prevent dengue. There have been 3,545 Covid-19 cases in Thailand with 59 deaths and 3,369 recoveries.

Duke University professor Miguel Nicolelis led the study and recently spoke to Reuters reporters about his findings. He says the study first focused on the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil and they came across the correlation between dengue and the coronavirus by accident. The study says areas in Brazil with high numbers of dengue infections had a comparatively low number Covid-19 cases while areas with low numbers of dengue cases had a high number of Covid-19 cases.

“This striking finding raises the intriguing possibility of an immunological cross-reactivity between dengue’s Flavivirus serotypes and SARS-CoV-2 … If proven correct, this hypothesis could mean that dengue infection or immunization with an efficacious and safe dengue vaccine could produce some level of immunological protection (against the coronavirus).”

Miguel adds past studies found that those with dengue antibodies can falsely test positive for Covid-19.

“This indicates that there is an immunological interaction between two viruses that nobody could have expected, because the two viruses are from completely different families.”

The study was posted on MedRxiv, but has not yet been peer reviewed. Manoon warns that Thai people should still abide by coronavirus prevention measures to prevent a possible second wave.

Click HERE to read the study on how dengue fever may have influenced the spread of Covid-19 in Brazil.

SOURCES: Reuters | Nation Thailand|Worldometer

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22 new cases of Covid-19 detected in Thailand

The Thaiger

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22 new cases of Covid-19 detected in Thailand | The Thaiger

The Thai government’s CCSA has reported another 22 new cases of Covid-19 this morning, raising the country’s total of infections to 3,545. The vast majority of these have recovered – 3,369. The death toll is unchanged at 59 people.

The new cases have come from imported cases, returnees and visitors, and became apparent whilst they were in quarantine during routine tests. The people have arrived from South Sudan, 4 people from India, 1 from Pakistan and 1 from the Philippines.

22 cases is the largest number of daily cases announced in a 24 hour period since April 5 this year when Thailand was emerging from its first wave.

22 new cases of Covid-19 detected in Thailand | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: worldometers.info

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Thai medic cautions against reducing quarantine period for foreign tourists

Maya Taylor

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Thai medic cautions against reducing quarantine period for foreign tourists | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AFP

On one side there is a push to re-open Thailand’s borders to re-start the beleaguered tourist industry. On the other hand Thai officials are try to keep Covid-19 contained and fear the re-opening of the borders. Even the suggestion to reduce the quarantine time from 14 to 7 days is not gaining support from health officials.

Now, a doctor from the Faculty of Medicine at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University says reducing the quarantine period for foreign tourists would be inviting disaster. Dr. Thira Woratanarat made his statement after a suggestion from the Tourism and Sports Minister that quarantine could be halved if all goes well when Thailand re-opens its borders to a limited number of foreign tourists.

“In Thailand, if we decide to follow the proposal to reduce the quarantine time to 7 days, it would be an invitation to disaster.”

Thira points to a growing number of cases in many parts of the world, with around 350,000 new cases a day reported worldwide. The number of total deaths from the virus has now reached the 1 million mark.

For its part, the government says Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn’s proposal is not under consideration and that all foreign tourists will still be subject to mandatory 14 day quarantine. Officials say until the global pandemic situation improves, current restrictions remain in place.

A plan is underway to allow a limited number of foreign tourists to return to the Kingdom under a Special Tourist Visa scheme. The visa is due to be approved today when PM Prayut Chan-o-cha chairs a meeting of the government’s Covid-19 task force.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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