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New immigration measures for stranded visitors considered by Thai cabinet tomorrow

The Thaiger

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New immigration measures for stranded visitors considered by Thai cabinet tomorrow | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Queues at Koh Samui immigration office 2 days ago - Reddit
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“Under the government’s social distancing policy, these tourists will no longer have to visit the immigration bureau and risk contracting the virus in a crowd.” 

Thai Immigration officials are seeking cabinet approval for new measures to categorise foreigners stranded in Thailand because of the Covid-19 crisis. The proposals will be submitted to tomorrow’s cabinet meeting.

Last week Thai TM Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed concerns about foreigners who are stuck in Thailand after flights were in short supply and many countries had, as Thailand has, locked their borders to incoming passengers. Social media has been full of complaints from well-intentioned expats and visitors who have been forced to wait for hours in queues trying to sort out their immigration woes. Of course their main concern has been the lack of social-distancing.

There will be three classifications…

• Foreigners with resident visas who normally reside in Thailand but cannot return to Thailand due to the Covid-19 crisis

• Foreign tourists who are unable to depart Thailand due to the crisis

• Visitors from neighbouring countries who hold a temporary border pass and were stuck in Thailand after the borders were shut

Bangkok Post reports that foreigners in the first group are normally required to return to Thailand within 12 months of their departure and because they might not be able to re-enter the country in time, the Immigration Bureau will propose extending their compulsory return deadline until after the pandemic subsides.

“The extension of the return period would not affect any immigration rights and benefits they usually receive when strictly following the one-year return period requirement.”

But immigration officials are advising them to return to Thailand as soon as they can after the situation improves and they can safely travel again.

“For foreign tourists in the second group who reported to immigration authorities for a 30 day extension after their visas expired on, or after, March 26, their visas will be automatically renewed every 30 days until the pandemic subsides.”

The updated measures, as recommended, won’t apply to any foreigners who are currently working and/or have a family in Thailand.

“They will still be required to report to immigration authorities regularly.”

“For visitors from neighbouring countries in the third group, they will be allowed to stay in Thailand until the borders are re-opened. They will be required to leave Thailand within seven days after the borders reopen.”

“Foreigners who are in Thailand and affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but not covered in the three new categories are advised to adhere to the usual laws,” (meaning they will likely be required to report to a local Immigration office).

NOTE: These proposed measures are currently NOT in place and will need cabinet approval and an official announcement before they are.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over around 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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