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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No Covid-19 national curfew or lockdown yet for Thailand

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The empty streets of last year's lockdown will not return just yet.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that there will be no national curfew or lockdown in Thailand as of yet, despite a growing third wave of Covid-19. More than 10,000 people have been infected this month as clusters that started in Bangkok nightlife venues rapidly spread throughout the entire country.

PM Prayut yesterday called for calm from the public while saying that people need to remain vigilant in taking safety precautions against the virus. He worries that people will not follow social distancing protocols and avoid gatherings. On the bright side, mask-wearing is said to be around 90% compliance.

PM Prayut said that during the initial Covid-19 outbreak, extreme measures and lockdown were necessary, and pointed to global praise for the curbing of Covid-19’s first wave in Thailand. Acknowledging the pandemic safety restrictions damaged the economy and will affect low-income workers again now, PM Prayut said he was hurt to have to impost restrictions, but that Thai people should be proud of how well the country did originally and work again to comply with safety measures to bring the current outbreak under control.

While the current vaccine rollout plan includes 61 million jabs over the course of 2021, the government is still looking for ways to expand and accelerate vaccinations, perhaps by importing the Russian Sputnik-V or US Pfizer vaccine in the near future. In the meantime, while full lockdown was not ordered for Covid-19, new restrictions were enacted for the whole country and the provinces listed as red zones.

  • Across all provinces…
    • Closures of schools, all nightlife venues, pubs and clubs, karaoke bars and massage parlour (except for international schools running exams)
    • No events can have more than 50 people
    • Dining-in allowed until 11 pm
    • Serving of alcohol banned
    • Shopping centres to be closed by 9 pm
  • Provincial red zones…
    • Dining-in allowed until 9 pm (but can do takeaway until 11 pm)
    • Serving of alcohol banned
    • Shopping centres and fitness centres to be closed by 9 pm (Sporting fields, exercise places, gyms and fitness clubs must close at 9 pm)
    • Convenience stores, markets, supermarkets must be closed by 11 pm

Additionally, people are being discouraged from travelling to “Red Zone” provinces. Businesses are also being ‘asked’ to allow staff to work from home or introduce other measures to minimise the risk of infection at the workplace.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ray

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    This reads as a deja vu. The situation and measures are comparable what we had about a year ago in the West. Unfortunately it did not stop the pandemic as we know. Thailand has thus far managed well because contrary to Western countries, they closed the borders. Now that the virus is spreading in the community there is no stopping it with half baked restrictions. The only difference with our situation one year ago is that vaccines are available. But not enough at this moment.

  2. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 4:24 pm

    P.M. Pratyut should keep quiet.
    Every time he speaks the Thai currency slips down a tenth of a baht.

  3. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 4:27 pm

    It is all very sad. All their work lost.
    For instance up above in the photograph, there goes a mugger looking for a victim, but alas . . .

  4. Avatar

    Jason

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 4:41 pm

    Please keep the response local and extreme….national lockdowns only hurt those who are already struggling. “Ringfencing” is always the best solution. Lots of testing, isolation, contact tracing and isolation of close contacts. You can do it Thailand!!!!

  5. Avatar

    pascal

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 7:58 pm

    too many peoples you can not trust to do the right things, without strict directive from the authority i do not see how the situation will reverse. i did mention the today situation few times already in a past, i feel sad to have been right, i was expecting to return to Thailand around October, i really doubt this will be happening.i get a lot of friend there and my family in law, i m working with a guy from Bangladesh, his dad died from covid few months ago most of his family are infected, just because peoples did not believe and did not care …….lockdown isolation mass testing are the keys, most of scientist said vaccine won t be enough.

  6. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    Ray this is not comparable to what happened in the west, for the simple reason that the leaders in the west were incompetent in dealing with it, none more so than those in the UK.

  7. Avatar

    Sanyo

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Stupid politicians at their best doing ridiculous things. It’s clearly proven by now no lock down works at all. The only measure that may change anything is to open up with economic activities while expediting vaccine administrations. Otherwise at this rate, the public will die from no income before COVID get them!

  8. Avatar

    Ray

    Saturday, April 17, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    @LondonAl: The measures taken are not completely comparable when we had these number of infections in the West. But the similarities are remarkable. Events up to 50 people were still allowed a year ago in many EU countries. Working from home was not yet requested. Shops and restaurants were still open. Only when we hit a second wave the measures got stronger and lockdowns became unavoidable. The Thai leaders are handling the pandemic better because they closed the borders. Also quarantine measures in the West were mainly requested self-quarantine without any control. The Thai do that differently. Still, I believe the number of infections at the moment in LOS asks for more stringent measures. Just look at what the Chinese and Vietnamese did by even lower number of infections. They know how to handle it but than again those societies are structured completely different.

  9. Avatar

    Richard King

    Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 3:24 am

    But here is the thing even with vaccination it does not at this time stop you catching or spreading the virus which means the current measures will still be used, And as such can any recovery happen anytime soon.
    The only thing that can change that is if there is a vaccine that provides 100% protection to stop it in it’s track for normal movement to happen.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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BMA admits Covid virus spreading fast in Bangkok, speeds up testing and jabs

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Stock photo via Flickr

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says it is speeding up mass Covid-19 testing and inoculations in communities hit strongly by the virus, after admitting the virus is spreading fast in Thailand’s capital.

The city clerk says the administration, along with the Public Health Ministry and other agencies, are speeding up the collection of nasal swabs for Covid-19 tests, with a plan to test 3,000 people in high-risk groups per day. Those people deemed to be at an increased risk of the virus have been clustered by districts, with testing units in each of the 6 districts…

Laksi district, 70 Pansa Min Buri park in Min Buri district, Huai Khwang stadium in Huai Khwang district, under the Rama III expressway in Yannawa district, a public park under Rama VIII bridge in Bang Phlad district and The Mall Bangkae shopping centre in Bang Kae district.

The virus has been found in densely populated, low-income areas such as the Klong Toey community in Klong Toey district, Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district and Ban Khing community and The Mall Bangkae in Bang Kae district. In an effort to help those residents stay at home to prevent the possible spreading of the coronavirus, community-level organisations are teaming up to provide food, water, and supplements to those in the areas.

But stay at home orders are a problem for many as starvation is more frightening than the virus and 90% of residents in the slum communities still need to leave for work each day to keep food on the table. The daily average income for those in the slums is around 120 to 150 baht. The CCSA yesterday declared that is is focusing on containing major Covid clusters in 3 key Bangkok communities – the Klong Toey ‘slums’, Bon Kai in Pathumwan and Ban Khing in the Bang Kae district, on the west side of the Chao Phraya.

Today’s nationwide Covid update includes compiling the regional totals from yesterday, with a total of 27 new Covid-related deaths and 2,044 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours. The numbers continue a statistically consistent rise in the number of Covid infections over the past 2 weeks.

Meanwhile, talking about Phuket’s plans to open in July, the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, said yesterday that the number of new cases on the island must reach zero before the government can contemplate the ‘Sandbox’ plan for no-quarantine travel.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket visitor Covid-19 rapid antigen testing may end May 15

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Covid-19 rapid tests may be discontinued in Phuket. (via Wikimedia)

In a live broadcast, Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong said officials will consider discontinuing Covid-19 rapid antigen testing for people arriving into Phuket after May 15. The interview from the Phuket Check Point at Tha Chatchai yesterday seems to contradict a recent statement from the governor launching additional rapid testing from today.

Entry to Phuket since April 22 has been limited for travellers from red zone provinces, requiring proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours. Anyone arriving without either of these would be screened on the spot with rapid antigen tests. Though originally offered for 300 baht per person, controversy arose over Thailand’s 2-tier pricing as it was announced that testing would be free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

The National Health Security Office provided 40 billion baht for testing in Phuket, allowing free testing for nationals, but as that funding is used up, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew announced that the testing will no longer be free for Thai people after May 15. Phuket does not have the budget for free rapid antigen testing so they will likely be forced to require payment after that date.

The current testing has seen a decline in positive Covid-19 infections, not finding any new cases for several days, prompting the government to rethink whether the current system of rapid testing those who are not vaccinated or holding a recent negative test certificate is worth the money spent.

Over 40,000 people have been tested since the program began April 22 until the current figures on May 5, with only 22 covid infections identified. Furthermore, 5 of those infections turned out to be false positives.

The vice-governor conceded that Phuket has Covid-19 outbreak problems with growing infections every day, but explains that the infections are from within the community and not from outside visitors. The latest infections stem in large part from gambling get-togethers without proper Covid-19 safety.

As of now, the rapid antigen testing will continue until the May 15 cut off, but government officials are still debating whether to continue testing and whether funding will exist for it after that date.

The NHSO has recently hinted that they will approve more funds to continue testing, a signal that had not been received before the governor’s announcement on Wednesday about the rapid antigen testing.

The vice-governor stressed that the situation is constantly evolving and that new information it’s shared frequently, and often out of local control. He urges everyone to pay attention to forthcoming announcements.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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