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Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine

Maya Taylor

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Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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The Thai government is to compile a list of countries considered “low risk” for the Covid-19 virus, as it considers a reduction in the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals. Nation Thailand reports that, once finalised, the Public Health Ministry will submit its list to the Interior Ministry, who will use it to decide the criteria for reduced quarantine.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says there must be clear criteria for the admission of foreign visitors to the Kingdom. Currently, all those arriving must carry out 14 days’ quarantine, regardless of the Covid-19 situation in their country of origin.

It’s understood the government’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration is considering a proposal from the private sector to ease up on some entry restrictions for foreign investors and businesspeople, including a reduction in the quarantine period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Avatar

    EdwardV

    October 26, 2020 at 11:36 am

    The time to do it is before you start letting tourists back into the country (if we still want to call that first group tourists). Regardless it sure seems like Thailand can see the writing the economic wall.

  2. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    October 26, 2020 at 1:22 pm

    They haven’t started compiling the list?! Should’ve been done by the end of Sept.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    October 26, 2020 at 1:35 pm

    Arguably the risk is still there and the 14 days quarantine needed to minimise that risk, but if you’re going to open the borders gradually it makes sense.

    Even with a quarantine period of only 7 days, though, I can’t see it having much effect since most “low risk” countries like China impose their own quarantine on return. I just can’t see many “tourists” willing or able to spend a week in quarantine when they arrive and a fortnight in quarantine when they return.

  4. Avatar

    Jason

    October 26, 2020 at 1:58 pm

    I have made this point before. Any government trying to come up with lists and plans in isolation and without sincere consultation with other countries, is doomed to fail. The point seems to be lost on the Thai Government. Without bilateral agreements between low risk countries, nothing will happen. I’m an Australian, I can’t leave my country anyway at the moment and even if I could, I would have to endure a 14 day quarantine on my return home. I don’t even think the Thai Government knows the conditions of leaving and returning in my country. That is why we have seen “The Phuket Model”, “The Phuket Model 2.0”, “The ASQ Hotel Scheme” with 14 Day quarantine and the lastest 39 tourists turning up from China. Each of these are proof that The Thai Government has consulted no other country with the exception perhaps of China. The sad part is that so many companies and families in Thailand are seeing their livelihoods destroyed.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 26, 2020 at 3:28 pm

      Equally, “proof” that the other countries, such as Australia, haven’t consulted Thailand!

      It takes two to tango, as it does two to make a bi-lateral agreement.

      It’s Australia that’s imposing the 14 day quarantine on those returning anyway, nothing to do with Thailand – a bi-lateral agreement would be pretty irrational anyway.

      Each country should make up its own mind about the risks of importing Covid from another country, and it shouldn’t be on the basis of some “special agreement” or mutual back-scratching but on the basis of risk, nothing else.

  5. Avatar

    willem H

    October 26, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    So a possible infected person from a low risk country is more likely to test negative after 7 days then a person from a high risk country? Its the same virus and the same behavior. Its well known that a quarantine of about 10 days gives a very high chance of eliminatie covid.14 days is a almost absolute figure. With a incubation time of average 5 to 7 days a quarantine of 7 days might just not be enough. No matter where the person comes from.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 26, 2020 at 3:43 pm

      “So a possible infected person from a low risk country is more likely to test negative after 7 days then a person from a high risk country?”

      I pondered that for a while too, but given the failure rate of the tests with false negatives if you do the maths then “yes” they are actually more likely to test and be negative if tested a number of times.

      It’s still a risk, but logically and if you do the maths it makes sense.

  6. Avatar

    Ray

    October 26, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    A new fail proof test has been developed that instantly shows you do not have Covid-19. You just blow into a mouthpiece. If it gives a positive it still doesn’t mean you have the virus. It could be traces of alcohol that are detected. It has been extensively tested alongside other tests which needed a few days for the result. It never gave a false outcome. I guess this is going to be available before the vaccine and is a way to test on the airport of departure and arrival. No quarantine is needed when the result is negative. People from all countries can travel.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 26, 2020 at 3:55 pm

      Does the test have a name?

      It sounds like the Breathonix test which in trials published last Thursday correctly identified 93% of those who had Covid and 95% of those who didn’t.

      That’s a 7% failure rate for those testing Covid-free, so hardly confidence inspiring … but maybe it’s a different test.

      • Avatar

        Ray

        October 26, 2020 at 4:58 pm

        Correct, I was talking about Breathonix. I haven’t heard your statistics. I learned about a 100% reliability for the negative outcomes. The positive results need to be double checked with other tests and of course this has to be done in quarantine when traveling. I imagine that a Breathonix test prior to a long haul flight and another one after landing could be more fail proof. During a long haul flight other volatile compounds than COVID-19 (like alcohol) which could give an initial positive outcome, are maybe processed by the body. The company claims that about 75% of people who do not carry the virus can be determined as being safe. Those people are also not in an incubation stage.

  7. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    October 26, 2020 at 5:30 pm

    Million of Thai will soon loose their tourism related jobs and the government knows that the current political tension is fed by the economic depression. Since vaccine will not fully work (50-70 effectiveness at max. dixit CDC) and since tourists may not come back till end of 2021… the 2000 billion THB brought annually by the foreign tourists must be found somewhere. The funny part is that the “safest” countries do not let their citizens travel (i.e. NZ, Australia, China…) or impose 14 days quarantine when they come back (a no go). The safest list may be completely useless…

  8. Avatar

    Al

    October 26, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    Online today 26th Oct. But don’t expect those to be looked into by certain officials.

    Monday, Oct 26th 2020

    Passengers flying to Hong Kong are first to use £80 twenty-minute airport COVID test at Heathrow in trial bidding to get struggling travel industry off the ground.

    News 26 October 2020, 8:47 am GMT

    UK – Boots to roll out 12-minute COVID-19 test

    • Avatar

      Peter

      October 26, 2020 at 7:43 pm

      You missed the most important bit out:
      Managing director of Boots UK, Seb James, said the new tests aim to “ease pressure” off the NHS and government.

      He told Sky’s Ian King Live programme that the tests are for people who do not have symptoms.
      They are not yet accepted by airlines that require a negative COVID-19 test before allowing a passenger to board.

      • Avatar

        Al

        October 26, 2020 at 10:49 pm

        OK fanx for that Pete. How about the other HK test at Heathrow? I did read that the Finns were using dogs to detect the dreaded malady.
        And yet you have around a 99.98% survival rate!

  9. Avatar

    Few constructive suggestions

    October 26, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    How about – Eldorado, Atlantis, Tibet, Austria-Hungarian Empire, USSR, Ottoman empire, Western Sahara, Yugoslavia?

  10. Avatar

    Thai man

    October 26, 2020 at 6:59 pm

    List should be short
    Thailand
    China

    • Avatar

      Mike Frenchie

      October 26, 2020 at 9:18 pm

      China? Not Xinjiang then…

    • Avatar

      Mike

      October 27, 2020 at 11:54 am

      Agree. It’s a match made in heaven. Thai – Chinese partnership all the way

  11. Avatar

    James

    October 26, 2020 at 9:01 pm

    They can invite as many people as they like, make it as easy as possible but the simple situation is hardly anyone wants to travel to other countries at the moment.

    Plus no one outside of Thailand believes their low statistics on virus cases and deaths which have been declared in Thailand.

    In the West, we are testing tens of thousands of people a day and that is why we have high figures.

    If you don’t test then you don’t know.

    The proof of people not wanting to travel is bourne out by the fact that only a few Chinese tourists have gone to Thailand at the moment even though they are allowed to go.

    Why would we want to go anywhere at the moment?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 29, 2020 at 2:12 pm

      “In the West, we are testing tens of thousands of people a day and that is why we have high figures.”

      No, you have “high figures” including deaths and hospital cases, because you stuffed up.

      Thailand has “low figures” including deaths and hospital cases because they got it right, as did several other Asian countries (taiwan, Vietnam, Cambodia, etc).

  12. Avatar

    Mike

    October 26, 2020 at 10:53 pm

    Too little too late – sorry Thailand. Hong Kongers will be among the first to be considered. A still string economy, huge cash reserves etc, cashed-up citizens – who still need to quarantine for 2 weeks on return! It’s not going to happen now. Time to abandon the tourism project and think of another way to strengthen the economy.

  13. Avatar

    Kris

    October 27, 2020 at 6:51 am

    I Think Thai government doesn’ t seem to understand that not many tourists will come, due to quarantine on both ends, the first desparare. People i can think of are the ones with loved ones, second ly just some people with lot of time and money, even with lot of time could they bear 30 days of quarantine on both countries!! It doesn’t matter what plan thai govt come up with , it wont work and drop in the ocean for economy, its no one fault, we are just in shit thats all.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 29, 2020 at 2:13 pm

      Spot on.

  14. Avatar

    GD

    October 31, 2020 at 5:41 pm

    There is a mid way step at both ends that governments need to seriously consider because I feel it is the only way forward at this point in time.
    Home quarantine. Many people with Thai love ones such as myself would be happy to do 10 or 14days in their Thai home/ condo. Understand this is a small percentage of “tourists” but it is a start. This concept never seems to be even mentioned by governments.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation

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“Vaccines are no magic bullet” – World Health Organisation | The Thaiger

“Vaccines will be no magic bullet for the coronavirus crisis as nations gear up for a massive rollout to tackle surging infections.”

The warning of caution comes from the World Health Organisation on the day the US United States recorded a record number of Covid-19 cases for a second day in a row. President-elect Joe Biden is already describing the time ahead as a “dark winter”. The US recorded 235,272 new infections on Friday, the second daily record in a row for the world’s worst-hit nation.

Large-scale public vaccinations are expected to roll out within weeks. But the WHO is warning against ‘vaccine complacency’ saying that exists an erroneous belief that the Covid-19 crisis will be over after people are vaccinated.

WHO emergencies director Michael Ryan, says that not everyone will be able to receive the medicine early next year.

“Vaccination will add a major, powerful tool to the tool kit that we have. But by themselves, they will not do the job. Vaccines do not equal zero Covid.”

The WHO also announced yesterday that 51 candidate vaccines are currently being tested on humans… 13 have reached Phase 3 mass testing and headed towards approval.

Meanwhile in the US, the Centres for Disease Control is now recommending “universal face mask use” indoors for the first time and President-elect says he will “ask all Americans to wear a mask for 100 days”.

Britain became the first Western country to approve a vaccine from the Pfizer/BioNTech candidate, for general use, adding additional pressure for other countries and pharmaceutical giants to swiftly follow suit. Businesses and logistics companies specialising in cold storage and insulating containers are preparing for the Pfizer and BioNTech injection as their vaccine needs to be stored and transported at -70 degrees Celsius.

In the US, Belgium, France and Spain inoculations will begin later this month and January for the most vulnerable, then broader community groups.

In south east Asia, Singapore Airlines will prioritise freight capacity to ship the new vaccines and will conduct test flights soon to trial the transport into south east Asian hubs. The airline says that Boeing 747-400 freighters, and some specially-purposed passenger aircraft, will be ready to boost capacity where needed.

The logistics of a successful vaccine rollout are challenging enough, but the vocal rump of vaccine sceptics, aka. anti-vaxxers, peddling misinformation and mistrust, continue to colour public discourse on the topic. Social media platforms have recently been active in removing much of this misinformation but admit that they will never be able to intervene with all comments.

To counter this President-elect Joe Biden, WHO director-general Tedros and former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton, have all said they will be inoculated publicly to help build confidence. Other world leaders are throwing their support behind positive promotions of the new vaccines offering their arms for the first jabs in their countries.

SOURCES: AP | Reuters | WHO

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chiang Mai man tests positive for Covid-19 after illegal crossing from Myanmar

Maya Taylor

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Chiang Mai man tests positive for Covid-19 after illegal crossing from Myanmar | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Rath

A 32 year old Chiang Mai man who was employed at the now notorious 1G1-7 Hotel in Myanmar has tested positive for Covid-19 after sneaking across the border into Thailand. The man worked as a DJ at the hotel and entertainment complex in Tachileik until he returned to the Kingdom via an illegal crossing at the Chiang Rai border on November 30.

The Pattaya News reports that the man was experiencing symptoms that included loss of smell and a stuffy nose at the time. He checked in to a hotel in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai for one night, then stayed the next night in the Muang district of the city, before travelling to Chiang Mai by motorbike on Wednesday.

On Thursday, he visited Nakornping Hospital to report his symptoms and request a Covid-19 test. Following the positive result, he is now being treated in isolation.

Health officials say the man was alone on his journey from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai. In Chiang Mai, he visited a 7-Eleven and a nearby market to buy takeaway food, which he took back to his hotel room. It’s understood he was wearing a mask the entire time he was outside his room. Chiang Mai Public Health Chief, Chatuchai Maneerat, says only 5 people are believed to have come in contact with the man, and they are considered low-to-very-low risk, but will be tested for the virus.

Meanwhile, officials are calling on those who were at Singha Park in Chiang Rai on November 29 between 7.30pm and 11pm to come forward for testing. Passengers on Nok Air flight DD8717 from Chiang Rai to Bangkok on November 28 and Thai Lion Air flight SL533 from Chiang Rai to Bangkok on November 29 are also being asked to contact their local public health office for advice on self-isolating and to be tested for Covid-19.

Health officials say there is no need for the general public to panic, but that they should continue to follow the usual health measures of mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Covid-infected Thai returnees: Myanmar hotel in the spotlight

Maya Taylor

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Covid-infected Thai returnees: Myanmar hotel in the spotlight | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Coconuts

With the news that at least 10 Covid-infected Thai women working in Myanmar bypassed health checks and quarantine on their return to the Kingdom, all eyes have turned to their place of work. Interest in the 1G1-7 Hotel has grown as a result of a resident in the border town of Tachileik claiming it is used as a centre for prostitution. The luxury, 100 room, 4 storey hotel is only 1.5 kilometres from the border checkpoint in Chiang Rai’s Mae Sai district.

The hotel is operated as a high class brothel for Burmese generals from Yangon and other high-end business men from around Myanmar.

The Bangkok Post reports that it’s been operational for 4 – 5 years and is one of the largest entertainment complexes in Tachileik. According to a local source, its clients are high-end guests, with room rates going from 1,200 baht to 10,000 baht a night. The hotel has a pub, bar, and disco on the ground floor, with over 20 VIP karaoke rooms on the second floor. The cost of hiring a karaoke room ranges from 500 to 2,000 baht an hour.

The hotel is a joint venture between Thai, Burmese, and Chinese investors. It’s understood one investor from China has the largest stake in the entertainment complex.

The venue is reported to have at least 180 Thais working there, with reports that Thai women are very popular with its clientele, who are described by the Tachileik resident as, “fat military generals from Yangon”.

However, with Covid-19 cases escalating in the town, many of the workers fled, sneaking back into Thailand at various points along the porous border, bypassing health checks and quarantine. All returnees have since tested positive for Covid-19 and are now in quarantine, while officials trace hundreds of people who came into contact with them. One of those contacts, a Chiang Rai man, apparently a DJ working in the hotel’s party areas, has also tested positive for the virus.

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