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Leading Thai epidemiologist warns against opening borders

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PHOTO: Dr. Woratanarat - Thai Post

A leading epidemiologist on the faculty of medicine at Chulalongkorn University is calling for the government to suspend any plan to allow foreign tourists for 6-18 months. Dr Thira Woratanarat, who makes daily updates on his Facebook in the Thai language and is well followed in the Thai media, has been delivering regular warnings about the risk of Covid-19 to Thailand.

This morning, Dr. Woratanarat posted that the guard of the Thai population has dropped significantly although the virus is still very much a threat worldwide. He says research from the Ministry of Public Health, to which he is an advisor, shows that only about 60% of people in Thaland are regularly wearing masks now, compared to over 90% during the lockdown period in May.

He also says that the government should stop focusing the lack of new locally transmitted casesand move the focus to how the threat is still real, and how people should keep their guard up with social distancing and masks.

His biggest point, however, is the potential risk of importing the virus from overseas. Woratanarat feels that allowing more groups of foreigners into the country will eventually cause cases of the virus and potentially a second outbreak, leading to widespread lockdowns, which he feels the country could not manage financially.

Woratanarat is firmly against any “travel bubble”, “safe and sealed” or similar proposal by the Tourism Authority of Thailand and says Thailand should be self-sufficient until the situation improves globally or a vaccine is available.

He also believes the government should only let in foreign workers that are “absolutely essential”, expressing concern on the numbers of migrant workers being proposed to be alloed in and the potential danger of another outbreak.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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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.

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