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New immigration measures for stranded visitors considered by Thai cabinet tomorrow

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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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50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in Thailand in early February, more ahead

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50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive in Thailand in early February, more ahead | The Thaiger
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The first 50,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Thailand in the first week of February. The upcoming shipment is part of the first lot of 26 million doses on the agreed purchase in October last year. Still, Thailand needs another 35 million doses as the procured vaccines are enough for only 30 million people. The price negotiation for more AstraZeneca doses is currently underway.

According to the Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the vaccine price agreed on the purchase made in October last year is 150 baht per dose. More vaccines are expected to arrive in March and April. He also confirms he would be the first person in the country to receive an inoculation of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Apart from AstraZeneca, Thailand has also ordered the Chinese made Sinovac vaccines, but the delivery might be delayed because the vaccine’s final registration is still pending in China.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Famous Thai actor tests positive for Covid-19

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Famous Thai actor tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger

A famous Thai actor has announced he is infected with Covid-19after posting a video on Instagram. He says both him and his mother were tested, but he was the only one with a positive test result.

Techin Ployphet, aka DJ Matoom, says he met an infected but asymptomatic friend on January 9, but that friend didn’t know he was infected until January 19 in which he told Matoom.

Matoom detailed his timeline in the Instagram video which reveals that on January 7, he was at his condominium in the Ladprao area, but then visited Power-Buy at the Central Ladprao shopping centre at around 8pm.

The following day, he went to GMM Grammy in the morning to work and then visited the Banyan Tree Hotel at around 4pm. Then, he went to the Big C supermarket in the Ladprao area at 6pm.

On January 9, he says he checked in to a hotel at 9am and had dinner at a rooftop restaurant in the evening. It was there that he met his then-asymptomatic friend. The next evening he left the hotel and had dinner at a Korean restaurant in the Ari area before going back to his condo.

On January 19, he was again working at GMM Grammy in the morning, and then went to Central Embassy for work at 12:30pm. He visited the FoodLand supermarket at The Street Ratchada at 5pm. Then, that same day, he was notified that his friend had tested positive for the virus, which prompted him to also get tested at Bangkok Hospital that night at 10pm. He says he received the positive results yesterday.

Celebrities and actors who worked with him have now taken Covid-19 tests. One of them is actress Natapohn Taemeeruk,who says her test was negative, but will enter a self-imposed quarantine for 14 days and then will get tested again.

The Banyan Tree Hotel has issued a statement saying that it has closed its rooftop restaurant, called “Vertigo,” for cleaning and disinfection, and will reopen it this Saturday. The hotel says it will also disinfect the entire floor where the actor stayed, and has urged all employees, who were in contact with Matoom, to get tested and quarantine themselves for 14 days.

FoodLand supermarket also announced its closure for cleaning and disinfection and says it will reopen this Saturday. The air-conditioning system of the entire mall is also being cleaned. Employees deemed to be at-risk have also been tested and confirmed negative for the virus.

The CCSA’s spokesman, Taweesin Wissanuyothin, says that it is too early to determine whether Matoom could be considered a super-spreader, but he thanked him for disclosing his timeline in the public interest.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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13 Bangkok businesses allowed to reopen tomorrow

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13 Bangkok businesses allowed to reopen tomorrow | The Thaiger

Tomorrow, 13 types of businesses in Bangkok are being allowed to reopen but must have strict disease control measures in place. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration made the decision which would undoubtedly give many businesses some relief as well as potential customers.

Such businesses with restrictions include:

  • Banquet venues, which will need authorisation from BMA for events with over 300 participants
  • Amulet shops and markets
  • Beauty salons, tattoo and piercing shops
  • Fitness centers, but personal trainers and communal steam rooms are not allowed
  • Game Arcades; but all points of contact must be regularly disinfected and facemasks worn at all times.
  • Internet shops
  • Senior nursing homes, but with limited activities
  • Sports venues, except for boxing rings and race tracks, but no audiences allowed
  • Spas, Thai massage shops, excluding massage parlours
  • Gymnasia and boxing venues for training only
  • Bowling alleys and ice skating rinks, but no competitions or audiences allowed
  • Dancing academies
  • Martial art schools, but no tournaments or audiences allowed

Playgrounds, night entertainment venues, cock fighting, fish fighting, child care centres, theme parks, snooker clubs, bull fighting venues, massage parlours, tutoring schools and nurseries, however, are still ordered to stay closed.

The announcement comes after Bangkok saw 14 new cases today, joining 128 other cases reported in Thailand by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Meanwhile, plans for Chinese New Year seem to be on the back burner as the upcoming February 12 holiday has yet to see anything concrete to celebrate the new year. Pattaya city has decided to decorate its streets for the holiday, but like many other provinces, Chon Buri remains as a highly controlled zone, which essentially bans domestic and foreign tourists from entering, despite single digit infections being recently reported by authorities.

The lifting of the measures in Bangkok come after PM Prayut urged the publicto stay away from social gatherings, specifically pointing out political gatherings, which have rocked the streets of the nation’s capital for months.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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