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Manila goes on lockdown

Jack Burton

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Manila goes on lockdown | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Workers disinfect a school following new cases of coronavirus in Metro Manila - Reuters
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“It’s a lockdown It’s just a matter of protecting and defending you from Covid-19. That’s about it.”

Some 12 million people in the Philippine capital of Manila are now in near total lockdown after a Thursday order from the nation’s president Rodrigo Duterte banning domestic travel and an announcement earlier today of a nighttime curfew in the capital. The president says people in the densely populated region should leave their homes during the daytime only for work or urgent errands, under restrictions imposed to fight the COVID-19 coronavirus.

While the nation has seen only a fraction of the cases of hotspots such as China and Italy, officials say they hope to arrest the spread before it takes root in Manila’s densely packed neighbourhoods.

In a nationally televised address, Duterte announced a month of school closures, a ban on mass gatherings and a prohibition on the entry of “foreigners from places where the contagion is spreading.”

Manila goes on lockdown | News by The Thaiger

It was not immediately clear when all the measures would take effect but Duterte says the prohibition on domestic sea, air and land traffic in and out of Manila will start tomorrow.

Since Monday the Philippines’ tally of cases has risen from 24 to 52, and four of its five virus-related deaths were reported this week. Cases globally now stand at more than 145,374 and deaths at 5,429, most of which have been in China.

Duterte’s draconian move comes after the World Health Organization urged countries to take action, saying the outbreak is a “controllable pandemic”.

Duterte himself underwent screening for the virus Thursday, after coming into contact with government officials who may have exposed to the virus at recent public events. The 74 year old president is in a vulnerable age group for the virus, which poses a greater risk to older people.

Labour group Migrante International expressed concern about how the lockdown would impact the millions of workers who commute into Manila daily.

“This will only bring death and misery to millions of poor and struggling Filipinos who will be prevented from pursuing their livelihood.”

In his address Duterte also touched on one of the most delicate and divisive features of his presidency: his policy pivot towards long-time enemy China.

The president has set aside the two nations’ perennial standoff over Beijing’s extensive claims to the disputed South China Sea and the contentious Spratly Islands to court trade and investment from the rising power.

“Maybe there will be a time, if things deteriorate, that I have to call on China to help. I hope it would not reach that point, but maybe we will need your help.”

SOURCE: Channel News Asia |Johns Hopkins University | Al Jazeera

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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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111 people arrested at Koh Pha Ngan party for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions

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111 people arrested at Koh Pha Ngan party for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: PR Surat

Police raided a party in Koh Pha Ngan and arrested 111 on charges of violating Covid-19 disease control measures under the Emergency Decree. Immigration police and tourist police raided the event at Three Sixty Bar, a venue on a hilltop near Mae Haad Beach on the island known for its 360 degree view.

Out of the 111 people arrested, 89 are foreigners and 20 are Thais. Police say 2 other people admitted to organising the party and were charged with colluding in operating an entertainment venue without permission. All 111 people were taken to the police station for legal action.

According to chief of Surat Thani immigration, police heard about party tickets being sold online. The bar wasn’t exactly discrete about hosting an event. Various posts were made on Facebook advertising the “360 Blast & Addict Party” with DJs on 2 dance floors, a music line up until 2am and a “Crazy Market” with clothes, jewelry and food.

Surat Thani Governor also says strict legal action will be taken against the partygoers and breaches of Covid-19 restrictions will not be tolerated.

111 people arrested at Koh Pha Ngan party for allegedly violating Covid-19 restrictions | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | PR Surat

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Phuket eases restrictions, bars back to late-night hours

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Phuket eases restrictions, bars back to late-night hours | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Culture Trip

Things are getting back to normal in Phuket. The provincial government eased disease control restrictions, allowing restaurants, bars and entertainment venues to go back to their normal operating hours – no more midnight closure order – and lifting the late-night alcohol ban.

While bars can now stay open late and serve alcohol after midnight, dancing is prohibited and venues cannot serve alcohol in containers that will be shared among groups of people.

The Phuket Communicable Disease Committee agreed to ease the restrictions yesterday and an order allowing late-night hours and alcohol sales was posted today by the Phuket’s Public Relations Department.

“As the Covid-19 situation in Phuket has improved that there are no more Covid-19 infections found, the committee agreed to cancel the late-night alcohol ban in order to revive the economy of Phuket.”

All businesses related to gathering activities are warned to follow the Covid-19 preventive measures.

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid-19 death toll exceeds 100,000 in the UK, government mulls quarantine for travellers

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Covid-19 death toll exceeds 100,000 in the UK, government mulls quarantine for travellers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bloomberg

With the Covid-19 death toll exceeding 100,000 in the United Kingdom, the British government is considering a mandatory hotel quarantine for visitors entering the country. A quarantine system is considered to be an effective way to limit virus transmission and stop new coronavirus variants from spreading into the country.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke with senior officials in a meeting yesterday, saying that the government will consider tighter border measures. UK citizens and residents arriving from most of southern Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, will have to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days at their own expense.

Currently, people arriving in the UK from abroad must show the Covid-19 test results, while direct flights from South Africa, Brazil, and Portugal are banned to prevent the spreading of new variants in the Kingdom.

Hotel quarantine measures have been used in Australia, New Zealand, China, India, and Singapore, but the disease control practice has not been widely used in Europe.

In Thailand, those who enter the country from abroad must quarantine for 14 days at either a state quarantine facility or at an alternative quarantine hotel. Travellers must also be tested for Covid-19 before their flight to Thailand and tested at least another 2 times before they are released from quarantine.

SOURCE: Associated Press

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