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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials urge public to stick with Covid safety measures, warning that quarantine is not a catch-all solution

Maya Taylor

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Officials urge public to stick with Covid safety measures, warning that quarantine is not a catch-all solution | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Christine Sandu on Unsplash
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The Ministry of Public Health has issued a warning that quarantine alone is not enough, as it calls on people to continue with Covid-19 safety measures such as hand washing, social distancing, and the wearing of face masks in public spaces.

Top medic Sophon Iamsirithavorn says that, despite the government’s best efforts, those arriving from overseas may still slip through the net, despite quarantine requirements. He points to the most recent cases where arrivals were asymptomatic for significant periods of time, yet still found to be positive for the virus.

“The most recent Covid-19 cases in Thailand were among returnees who appear to have been asymptomatic for long periods of time, possibly even the duration of their quarantine.”

Last month, a woman who had recently arrived from France tested positive for the virus after she had completed 14 days’ quarantine and travelled to Koh Samui. At the weekend, an Indian national who lives on Koh Phi Phi tested positive despite having no record of international travel since February.

It’s understood his wife’s test result will be known today, with efforts ongoing to trace those who came in contact with him. The man travelled around Thailand in late October and early November, including to the Krabi mainland, Phuket, Chiang Mai, and Sukothai.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ray W.

    November 10, 2020 at 11:31 am

    I would prefer to know what news the Finance Ministry and Minister Arkom have to say. We all know at this point the Ministry of Public Health is perfectly comfortable immolating foreigners along with the economy and our future… COVID bad – yawn. Half-baked schemes and hollow promises aside, when are we actually going to start doing something real to open the boarders and recover?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      November 10, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      Your assumption is that opening the borders = economic recovery.

      Why?

      WHY?

      How could Thailand putting itself in the same state as the West, with lockdowns and lay-offs, possibly lead to a recovery?

      Who’s going to pay for all the furloughs, redundancies and unemployment?

      Or do you imagine there’s going to be some sort of miracle and magic wand waving and Thailand (and Vietnam, Cambodia, and all others that have gone down the same route) will somehow be able to keep Covid-19 to the same levels they have while opening the borders?

      it’s a simple one or the other equation – you can’t have both.

  2. Avatar

    AI

    November 10, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Contact one Mr Ian McIntyre who offers the likes of you “John,” a cool 10,000,000 if you can provide evidence that con-vid exists. You seem to be the forum expert, up you go and become a rich man (woman?).

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    November 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    Ok….some wild comments it seems. Thailand has contained the virus (there has been no wide spread testing of the population, so in reality we will never know). Where I live there has been over 3 million tests in a population of 25 million. So I have faith in the numbers published. In fact, my country now has less active cases of Covid 19 than Thailand. But it begs the question “Why would I want to visit Thailand now?” I have visited a number of times before. The people are truly wonderful. It is my “happy place”. But 14 days quarantine in Bangkok just to have a holiday there?? Would you??

    So there are some harsh economic realities Thailand needs to face up to. The tourism industry is in a disastrous state. Having conquered the virus and at the same time killed the tourism industry, what is to happen now?? Having frightened the people into a paranoia about the virus, how can the government regenerate the tourism industry with other low risk countries. I am sure that a military government will have no idea what to do. Maybe that will see an end to a military government?? I think the Thai people are beginning to see that soldiers are very good at keeping order and controlling the people, but have no clue when it comes to guiding a country to prosper. In fact their failure to be able to do this will see a change of government.

  4. Avatar

    Issan John

    November 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm

    What a surprise. The closest any search comes to that is 20 kgs of gold from a flat-earther in a closed London Steakhouse.

  5. Avatar

    AI

    November 10, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    OK John, why don’t you prove that it exists? Come on where’s your evidence?
    Simple as that! 55 😉

  6. Avatar

    Patrick Kelly

    November 10, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Thailand’s 35 to 40 million tourist visits in a normal year is a dream of the past…GDP will take a hit for decades because of the populace paranoia .
    Those countries that learn to deal best with the pandemics that are sure to reappear occasionally will come out on top. The tourists you are so afraid of provide a valuable source of jobs and income to thousands of Thai citizens. No way around the fact that to restart the economic engine, Thailand must adapt & fast. The clock is always ticking….

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

19 new Covid-19 cases detected in quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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19 new Covid-19 cases detected in quarantine | The Thaiger

19 new Covid-19 cases were detected in quarantine, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Thailand’s total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases is raised to 3,961 with 3,790 recoveries and 60 deaths. 111 people are currently receiving medical treatment for the coronavirus.

  • 4 Thai nationals travelling from Saudi Arabia, including a 40 year old teacher and 3 students ages 5, 10 and 12, tested positive for Covid-19.
  • 3 people travelling from the United States, including a 61 year old American and 2 Thais, ages 30 and 75, tested positive for Covid-19.
  • 2 Indian nationals, ages 32 and 40, travelling from India tested positive for Covid-19.
  • 2 Thai nationals, ages 26 and 52, travelling from Germany tested positive for Covid-19.
  • 2 Thai nationals, ages 30 and 37, travelling from the Republic of Georgia tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A 27 year old Thai national travelling from the United Kingdom tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A 30 year old Thai national travelling from Luxembourg tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A 31 year old Thai national travelling from Sweden tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A 42 year old Italian national travelling from Italy tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A 69 year old Omani national travelling from Oman tested positive for Covid-19.
  • A 41 year old Thai national travelling from Poland tested positive for Covid-19.

19 new Covid-19 cases detected in quarantine | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Questions raised over AstraZeneca “dosing mistake” in vaccine trials

The Thaiger

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Questions raised over AstraZeneca “dosing mistake” in vaccine trials | The Thaiger

British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca announced this week that their experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate is, on average, 70% effective. But since Monday’s announcement vaccine experts from around the world have questioned the methodology of the trials and transparency of the announced Phase 3 trial results.

The questions and uncertainty of the AstraZeneca vaccine trials will set back the timing for the vaccine to be authorised other parts of the world. Scientists are curious why the company has pooled results from different trials, saying that this “deviates from standard reporting on clinical trials”.

AstraZeneca announced last Monday that the participants in the UK had been given 2 different courses of the candidate vaccine.

The drugmaker, who co-developed the vaccine with the University of Oxford, didn’t explain why they used 2 different dosing regimens, or why the size of one group was significantly smaller than the other.

• In one group, 2,741 participants received a half-dose of the vaccine followed by a full dose at least 30 days later. This group was 90% protected against Covid-19.

• In the second group, 8,895 participants received a full dose followed by another full dose a month later. This group was only 62% protected.

The 2 trials, when averaged, according to AstraZeneca, gives their vaccine its reported 70% effectiveness. But epidemiologists say that the small number of people in the low dose group make it difficult to know if the effectiveness “was a statistical quirk”.

David Salisbury, from the global health program at London-based Chatham House, said another area of confusion was that the studies pooled results from the two groups to reach an average of 70% efficacy. Speaking to AP…

“You’ve taken two studies for which different doses were used and come up with a composite that doesn’t represent either of the doses. I think many people are having trouble with that.″

Then, Mene Pangalos, head of biopharmaceuticals research and development at AstraZeneca, responded to Reuters saying that a “lab error” was the reason why some volunteers had received a smaller dose… the dose that proved to be 90% effective.

“The reason we had the half dose is serendipity, Researchers had underpredicted the dose of the vaccine by half.”

Then, the next day, University of Oxford chimed in in a statement… “dose selection for any new vaccine is a complicated area, and in exploring methods of dose selection, we discovered one gave a lower dose than expected.”

“A difference in the manufacturing process had led to the error.”

AstraZeneca say that these “manufacturing problems” have been corrected, noting that the UK regulator overseeing the trial had agreed to include “both approaches” in Phase 3.

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday, Menelas Pangalos said that the mistake is actually irrelevant.

“Whichever way you cut the data, even if you only believe the full-dose, full-dose data, we still have efficacy that meets the thresholds for approval with a vaccine that’s over 60% effective.”

The trial’s lead investigator at Oxford University, Professor Andrew Pollard, as part of the announcements on Monday, said that’s the issue is likely to do with the delicate balance of dosing someone just enough to trigger an immune response against the disease.

“What we’ve always tried to do with a vaccine is fool the immune system into thinking that there’s a dangerous infection there that it needs to respond to, but doing it in a very safe way.”

“So, it may be that the best way of kicking the immune system into action could be to give the body a small amount of the vaccine to begin with, and then follow up with a larger amount.”

Responding to whether he had genuine confidence that the half-dose group’s 90% success was not just a feature of a small sample size, Pollard said that result was “highly significant…even with the numbers that we have.”

Moncef Slaoui, a US-based researcher and former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccines department who leads the US coronavirus vaccine program, says they were reviewing AstraZeneca’s vaccine data.

He noted that group that got the lower dose that yielded the 90% efficacy had been a younger group, with no one older than 55.

“That could potentially affect the strength of AstraZeneca’s findings, given that young people typically produce stronger immune responses to vaccines. We want it to be based on data and science.”

Natalie Dean, assistant professor of biostatistics at the University of Florida said that the AstraZeneca/Oxford University team “get a poor grade for transparency and rigour when it comes to the vaccine trial results”.

“This is not like Pfizer or Moderna where we had the protocols in advance and a pre-specified primary analysis was reported.”

AstraZeneca shares have fallen 12% since November 11.

SOURCE: Euro News | Reuters | CNN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai government to sign vaccine contract with Oxford University, AstraZeneca, today

Maya Taylor

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Thai government to sign vaccine contract with Oxford University, AstraZeneca, today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.aseanthai.net

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has confirmed that Thailand will today sign a contract with Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, for the procurement of their Covid-19 vaccine. The PM says the agreement will mean Thais can access the vaccine once it goes into production. This contract is in addition to the agreement signed for the transfer of vaccine technology that will enable it to be manufactured here.

Earlier this week, the team behind the vaccine announced that it was between 70-90% effective, depending on the dosage. The discrepancy raised some questions, as it appeared the vaccine was more effective when administered first as a half-dose, followed by a full dose, rather than when 2 full doses were administered. The team now says it may carry out another global trial to determine why the lower dose appears more effective.

The PM points out that one significant advantage the vaccine has is that it can be stored at temperatures of 2 – 8 degrees Celsius, unlike those of Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which need to be stored at much lower freezer temperatures (around -70 degrees Celsius, in the case of the Pfizer jab). Such a requirement could create a logistical nightmare for some countries.

The PM says the vaccine is likely to be approved and go into production in Thailand by the middle of 2021, adding that the quicker it’s available, the quicker the tourism sector and the overall economy will recover.

According to a Thai PBS World report, the PM says many other countries have signed similar deals with pharmaceutical companies, in order to guarantee access to effective vaccines for their citizens. Meanwhile, he adds that, until the vaccine is available, people should continue with hygiene measures such as mask-wearing in public spaces, hand-washing and social distancing, in order to avoid the repeat waves of the virus that other countries are having to deal with.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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