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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New Zealand, Australia struggle with new coronavirus outbreaks

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: AP

New Zealand reported 7 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 over the previous 24 hours, as a lockdown in the country’s biggest city, Auckland, was extended yesterday in response to the country’s first coronavirus outbreak in months. The new cases bring New Zealand’s total infections since the beginning of the outbreak to 1258; the number of currently active cases stands at 56. 22 people have died so far.

Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told a media briefing in the capitol, Wellington, that 6 of the new cases have been linked to the Auckland cluster responsible for all the previous community cases this week, while 1 case is being investigated.

The lockdown in Auckland, home to 1.7 million, was extended for nearly 2 weeks, and follows the discovery on Tuesday of the country’s first infections in 102 days, in a family there.

New Zealand neighbouring Australia have suffered far less death and disease from the pandemic than many other nations, thanks in part to swift lockdown measures. Although economically damaging, the measures significantly raised public trust in the leaders of both countries.

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is now under pressure ahead of a upcoming general election, with the main opposition National Party accusing the government of failing to secure quarantine facilities and withholding information. And Australia’s second-most populous state, Victoria, still struggling after it became the centre of the country’s biggest coronavirus outbreak last month. Its capital, Melbourne, is under a strict 6 week lockdown and the rest of the state has limited public movement.

Victoria recorded 303 new cases and four deaths today, following 372 new infections and 14 deaths yesterday. While today’s numbers are well below the peak of 725 new cases seen on August 5 and there has been some stabilisation, state authorities still urge vigilance. Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews told a televised briefing:

“The signs are encouraging but it is not over. There is a long way to go and the only thing that wins if we get fatigued, if we were in a sense to give up, the only thing that wins is the coronavirus.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | Reuters

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Stocazzo

    Sunday, August 16, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    Oh my God, Mr Jack Burton! How can you publish something like “NZ is struggling with a new covid outbreak” with 7 cases (positive to test or effectively sick?)???
    You’re contributing to spread terror in the world for the sake of few clicks on your site…

  2. Avatar

    Jase

    Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at 2:39 am

    NZ struggling? Not at all. We were never that naive to think a second wave Would not take place. Much like other countries. And Thailand’s not exempt from this happening either. But NZ is showing how you act quickly and get on top of another wave. Come back in a few weeks and you will see how NZ has effectively dealt with this second wave. But to label us as struggling is way off the mark. Have you been reading our headlines lately. Have you noticed we are at levels 2 and 3 lockdown? I’m sitting in a busy cafe whilst writing this. I don’t see a struggle going on around me.

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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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health officials race to vaccinate 70% of Khlong Toey slum residents

Thaiger

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Photo via Facebook/กรุงเทพมหานคร โดยสำนักงานประชาสัมพันธ์

Health officials are racing to vaccinate 70% of residents in Bangkok’s Khlong Toey neighbourhood, the largest slum in the city where hundreds have tested positive for Covid-19 since April. With people living in crowded conditions and many unable to take off work to self-isolate, Thai authorities have been rolling out proactive Covid-19 testing and a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to contain the virus.

A third vaccination unit has been set up in the district at the Port Authority Stadium, adding to the units at Tesco Lotus Rama IV and Wat Khlong Toey School. Around 50,000 of the 80,000 residents in the Khlong Toey slum need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus to reach herd immunity, according to Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang.

As of Sunday, 11,211 people had been vaccinated at the mobile units and each vaccination unit has been handing out 1,000 queue cards each day. With the third vaccination unit, city officials plan to inoculate 2,500 to 3,000 people per day until May 19.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration launched a proactive testing campaign on April 27 in the Khlong Toey district. Since then, 19,983 people have been tested with 654 people positive for Covid-19. 5,700 people are waiting for the results to come back and the others are negative.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Phuket

ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in Phuket are close to a “critical” low

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Covid-19 patients in severe condition may have to been transferred from a government hospital in Phuket to a private hospital as the number of available hospital beds at public intensive care units in Phuket is close to a “critical” low, according to Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Chalermpong Sukontapol.

There are 9 ICU rooms at the Vachira Phuket Hospital. 5 are being used for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms while the other 4 rooms are for those with mild symptoms and are under observation before being moved to another bed.

“If the 9 rooms are full of severe symptom cases, that will be a big critical stage. We may need to transfer our patients to other provinces or private hospitals, which may involve additional costs.”

He says 50% of the Covid-19 patients in Phuket are asymptomatic while 30% have mild symptoms and 10% have severe symptoms. For most of those with severe symptoms, the virus has moved to their lungs and they are in need of special equipment, like ventilators, to help them breathe and Charlempong says those patients need to be under close observation.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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Thailand

Covid-19 variant first detected in India reported in Thailand state quarantine

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Photo via Pixabay

The mutated strain of Covid-19 that was first reported in India has been detected in Thailand. Health officials say a Thai woman and her young son tested positive for the variant while in quarantine for those arriving in Thailand from overseas.

The mother and her sons, ages 4, 6, and 8, had arrived in Thailand from Pakistan on April 24, according to a spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Just the mother and her 4 year old son tested positive for the B.1.617.1 strain, a variant first reported in India, while they were in a state-arranged quarantine facility.

“These were the first detections of the Indian variant in the country…There is concern about this variant and about the possibility that it could mutate in Thailand.”

The Thai government had banned flights from India, with the expectation of repatriation flights for returning Thais, due to the new variant of the virus. With the new variant found in people travelling from Pakistan, authorities are now mulling over whether to extend the ban on international arrivals from other countries.

The variant was first detected in India in October and has been reported in Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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