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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Ministry says no entry for banned cruise ship passengers, even by air

Greeley Pulitzer

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Ministry says no entry for banned cruise ship passengers, even by air | The Thaiger
PHOTO: - Ministry of Public Health
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The Thai Public Health Ministry announced yesterday that no flights carrying passengers from the barred cruise ship MS Westerdam, whether chartered flights or otherwise, will be allowed to land in Thailand before the end of February. Department of Disease Control deputy chief Dr Thanarak Palitpat says the decision is the result of a discussion among authorities including the DDC, the Immigration Bureau and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday.

He says the move is also in line with a comment made on Facebook earlier this week by Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The post said no former passengers of the ship would be allowed to fly into Thailand until February 28, even in transit. The Westerdam was denied permission to dock in Thailand out of concern it might be carrying COVID-19 virus victims, only to be welcomed in Cambodia last Thursday.

An elderly woman passenger on the Westerdam was found to be infected upon disembarking, despite repeated claims by the ship’s officers that everyone on board had been tested and was healthy.

Before the decision was made to bar the ship’s passengers arriving by plane, 95 had already landed to board flights home. Only four of those still remain, two Thais and two foreigners. All have tested negative for the virus but are still under the requisite 14-day observation.

The deputy director-general of the Department of Medical Services said yesterday the number of confirmed cases in Thailand remains unchanged at 35. Two more victims, both Chinese tourists, have recovered and been released, bringing the total number of patients discharged to 17. The pair included one person who had been critically ill and was given a cocktail of anti-viral medications normally used to treat HIV/AIDS and influenza.

The ministry said 872 people have been deemed “patients under Investigation,” 55 detected in airport screenings and 817 who sought treatment. Of that total, 790 have already recovered and been released, most of them diagnosed with flu and other ailments.

Only one of the 138 Thais ecacuated from Wuhan, China, the origin of the outbreak, was confirmed as infected and is being treated in hospital in isolation. The rest are in good health and will be released today as scheduled if a final round of tests confirms they are virus-free.

This week the Health Ministry stepped up screening of passengers arriving from Singapore and Japan, which have both seen sharp rises in the number of virus infections at Level 3, which represents those who have not travelled to China or had direct contact with anyone from China or other virus-hit locales. The ministry also asks residents of Thailand who have returned from Japan and Singapore in the past two weeks and developed fever to seek medical attention.

SOURCE: Thailand Today
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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

All new arrivals to Thailand banned, effective immediately

Greeley Pulitzer

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All new arrivals to Thailand banned, effective immediately | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Asia Times

Effective today, and until at least April 15, Thailand will bar all arrivals due to the increasing number of Covid-19 coronavirus cases.

Thaveesilp Wissanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says that PM Prayut Chan-ocha has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a new directive prohibiting any new arrivals.

“The spread of Covid-19 must be stopped. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will give more details on the directive. However, people who already have permission and who need to enter Thailand are exempted, but there will be a strict process via the embassy.”

Thaveesilp says Thais returning from overseas and foreign visitors are partly responsible for the continuing rise in the number of new infections.

“Though the number of travellers from overseas has significantly declined, the PM believes more needs to be done to stem overseas arrivals in order to further flatten the curve.”

He says the PM wants to see stringent measures imposed on overseas arrivals between April 2-15. The Foreign Ministry has been tasked to find out ways to implement the directive from the PM.

Asked whether the government is moving toward imposing curfew to enforce its “stay at home” measure, Thaveesilp said “just wait for what the prime minister will have to say today.”

He says 4 of the 6 Thais who recently returned from Italy tested positive for the virus, with another 50 people who have come into contact with them being quarantined.

As many as 47 of the 132 Thai Muslims in southern Thailand who returned from a religious function outside Kuala Lumpur last month have also tested positive and 4 have died. More than 1,000 people had to be quarantined as a result.

Four executives of the CP Group, Thailand’s largest private company and one of world’s largest conglomerates, returned recently from negotiating the Tesco deal and one of them died after being infected with the virus.

Thaveesilp says these figures only reinforce concerns that the spread of the deadly virus cannot be curbed if people from overseas continue to be allowed in without more stringent screening.

He says the PM told the Foreign Ministry to further tighten restrictions on Thais planning to return from abroad, asking them to postpone their trips until after April 15. This new measure, he said, applies to all Thai citizens abroad, including American Field Service exchange program students who are living in the US with their host families, with the exception for those already issued with permits to return to Thailand.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Thailand hit 1,875 today with 104 new infections confirmed over a 24-hour period, a fifth consecutive drop in the daily number. 3 more deaths were reported.

Source: The Nation | Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New Covid-19 test kits produced in Thailand

Anukul

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New Covid-19 test kits produced in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: chiangmainews.co.th

Today the first batch of 20,000 new Covid-19 test kits, developed by a joint effort of the Siam Bioscience and The Department of Medical Science, has been delivered to Government House. Each locally produced test kit costs around 1,500 baht each, while imported ones will cost about 4,500 baht each.

The association of Siam Bioscience and The Department of Medical Science aim to produce 20,000 test kits every week, and once 100,000 kits have been produced, they will be distributed among 100 hospitals nationwide.

Meanwhile, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation yesterday approved the urgent purchase of 400,000 N95 masks and the same number of personal protection suits from China. A budget of 660 million baht has been earmarked for the purchase. China will send 150,000 by air within this week and will ship 250,000 in the next few weeks.

A similar story where Chulalongkorn University has developed, and currently testing, a new blood test for the Covid-19 virus. The “Baiya Rapid Covid-19” testing strip uses blood drawn from the fingertip and delivers results in 10 to 15 minutes.

SOURCE: The Nation

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News & Updates

National curfew announced. Takes effect tomorrow.

Greeley Pulitzer

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National curfew announced. Takes effect tomorrow. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Jack

Thailand will announce a nationwide curfew between 10pm – 4am starting tomorrow (Friday) to try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The government made the announcement in a statement today.

There will be some exceptions to the new measure, including the transport of medical supplies, movement of people into quarantine, patients and travel of medical personnel, according to the statement presented this afternoon.

“The prime minister will make the announcement this evening on national television around 6 pm”

Thailand has been under a national state of emergency since last week and has closed its borders to foreigners.

SOURCE: Reuters

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