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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials concerned about people heading ‘up country’ after being put off work

The Thaiger

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Officials concerned about people heading ‘up country’ after being put off work | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Heading up-country, a recipe for an escalation in the virus - YouTube
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Bangkok’s next door provinces are imposing increased preventative measures to deal with Thailand’s current surge of Covid-19 cases by closing a range of retail business, starting today. The closures are set to add a wave of newly-unemployed who may decide to head home for the annual Songkran early, and that’s a problem.

The provinces that have followed the lead from Bangkok, are Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon. The measures, in place until at least April 12, echo the ramping up of closures in and around Bangkok yesterday. It is likely that similar measures will be rolled out to other high risk areas of the country as local cases start to build.

Today Phuket became the province with the third highest number of reported cases, 13. Behind the two leading provinces of Bangkok and Samut Prakan (which is directly to the south east of Bangkok). Thailand now has 399 cases since 188 were announced late this morning.

Yesterday the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration imposed new closures and restrictions, effective from today. They include closing of shopping malls, sport gyms, hair and beauty salons. On-site dining is now banned though food shops and restaurants can open but only for take-away orders and home delivery. (Expect to see a lot more of those motorbikes with pink and green boxes on the back)

Even though the government ‘postponed’ Thai New Year (Songkran) this year, the government fears that people will still return to their home provinces anyway, perhaps earlier than the usual April 13 holiday if they’ve already been laid off. Officials fear these increased movements around the Kingdom could exacerbate the current rise in cases.

The Thai Disease Control Department is instructing provincial leaders to screen, track and arrange preventive measures in an attempt to limit possible further spread of Covid-19. The instructions may be more wishful thinking than a firm instruction that could actually limit a wider and faster spread of the virus.

Among the measures proposed by the Disease Control Department…

  • Setting up of teams of volunteers, at district and village levels, to monitor the returnees.
  • Preparation of profiles on those travelling from Bangkok and its suburbs, effective from today (Sunday).
  • Informing returnees of the need to isolate themselves and to avoid close contact with other people, including their family members, and the need to monitor their health for 14 days after arrival.
  • Strict compliance with the advice of health officials, such as frequent hand cleansing, the wearing of face masks and seeking medical advice if they develop a fever or difficulty breathing.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration today issued a clarification over the extent of the retail business closures. It stated that all restaurants and food outlets in shopping malls and hypermarkets, and street food outlets may continue to operate by offering delivery/takeaway food only, with the exception of food outlets in airports, which can offer in house dining.

Commercial bank branches in shopping centres can continue to open.

The official order listed the following establishments…

• Spa, health and massage parlours
• Weight loss clinics
• Skating and roller blade rings
• Beauty salons
• Bowling alleys
• Theme parks
• Golf courses & driving rangesPublic swimming pools
• Tattoo parlours
• Nurseries
• Cock-fight rings
• Conference facilities
• Exhibition halls
• Amulet trading grounds
• Markets (excluding markets that offer fresh food, vegetables and food stalls)
• All shopping malls (excluding the supermarket section)
• All public and private educational institutions

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Passengers on 2 Thai Airways flights from London test positive for coronavirus

Greeley Pulitzer

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Passengers on 2 Thai Airways flights from London test positive for coronavirus | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

Authorities in Nonthaburi province, just outside Bangkok, have announced that passengers of 2 Thai Airways flights from London to Bangkok may be at risk of contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus because 3people on those flights were found to be infected. The 3 passengers developed symptoms en route and later tested positive.

In a Facebook post, the Nonthaburi Provincial Public Health Office said all passengers who took TG917 flights from Heathrow (LHR) to Suvarnabhumi (BKK) on March 27 and 28 should either quarantine themselves or have themselves tested for the virus.

“A passenger in seat number 49D of TG917, which left Heathrow Airport at 9.25pm on March 27 and landed in Suvarnabhumi on March 28 at 3.51pm, was found to be infected.”

Passengers on 2 Thai Airways flights from London test positive for coronavirus | News by The Thaiger

2 passengers on the same flight the following day, which departed Heathrow Airport at 9.25pm and arrived in Bangkok the following afternoon, were also found to be infected.

“The public health office says people who were on either of the 2 flights must isolate themselves at home, wear face masks and monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days. Those who feel ill are required to go to the nearest hospital and tell the doctors about their travel history.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok, Phuket order convenience stores closed overnight to battle virus

Greeley Pulitzer

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Bangkok, Phuket order convenience stores closed overnight to battle virus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

To fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, Bangkok’s convenience stores, food shops and stalls are to be closed from midnight to 5am, effective from now until end of April, by order of City Hall (the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, or BMA).

A BMA spokesman says that all public and private parks in communities, housing estates and condos will also be closed from tomorrow until April 30, because people have been using these spaces for social gatherings and other group activities.

• Official document services, usually performed at district offices, will also be suspended, except for the issuance of birth and death certificates, marriage registrations, divorce certificates and approval of household certificate and ID card copies.

• The Interior Ministry has extended the validity of expired ID cards until the end of July.

• Rents paid by vendors in 10 markets owned by City Hall will be waived from March until the situation has returned to normal.

Meanwhile, down south in Phuket, island officials have taken similar measures across the province. All 24 hour convenience stores must close from 8pm to 3am until April 30, and all motorbike shops are ordered closed. The Communicable Disease Committee of Phuket made the announcement last night.

Violators face up to a year in jail and/or a fine of up to 100,000 baht.

The mayor of Phuket’s Rawai district met with local village headmen to ask their cooperation in peruading all residents and tourists to stay indoors from 8pm to 5am each night and for local stores to close during the same hours as the convenience stores, according to Phuket News.

Meanwhile, the State Railway of Thailand’s operations director said today that a passenger who died in a south-bound train carriage on March 30, tested positive for the coronavirus. He says the SRT are tracking down about 15 passengers who were in the same carriage and inform them of the need to self-quarantine and to monitor their health for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | The Phuket News

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