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Open letter to Thai government “We want to come back to Thailand”

The Thaiger

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Open letter to Thai government “We want to come back to Thailand” | The Thaiger

There are many foreigners who are desperately trying to get back into Thailand to attend to urgent matters, or simply get back together with their Thai families. Many others have simply made Thailand their home for an extended time and have gone through all the legal hoops required by Thai Immigration only to find themselves locked out.

The Thaiger is sent emails every day from people seeking information or solutions to their debacle. Thailand, although successful in containing the local Covid-19 outbreak, has now become extremely risk-averse in the matter of re-opening its borders. Thailand is in somewhat of a quandary – visually eliminating local transmissions (now for over 30 days) but the rest of the world is still wading though its first wave of infections. So the Thai government is wary of re-opening its borders (given the number of returning Thais who are testing positive).

The Thai government has recently set out a plan to bring back some 50,000 foreigners over the next few months who have registered to return under specific criteria. There is also ongoing talk and negotiations about initiating ‘travel bubbles’ with countries or cities that share a similar low risk for Covid-19. But there have been no specific announcements about participating countries or when this might roll out.

In the meantime the frustration continues for thousands of foreigners with either direct family or business links to the Kingdom that remain locked out of the country, plus those with valid ‘retirement’ visas. Here is just one such open letter as sent to The Thaiger…


Hello

I’m writing to you today to bring attention to a group of foreigners, expats who call Thailand home, whom have been stranded abroad since the lockdown began and are being completely ignored by the Thai government.

Much has been said recently about plans to allow certain groups foreigners to enter the Kingdom once again, including businessman, skilled labourers, foreigners married to Thais, permanent residents of Thailand, medical and wellness visitors, and lastly those residing within a yet-to-be-specified “travel bubble”.

None of this includes the re-introduction of general tourism at this stage. That simply won’t be happening in the foreseeable future given the narrative coming out of the CCSA and directly from the Thai PM.

Completely absent from these lists are another group of foreigners – those with retirement visas who live in Thailand – some calling Thailand home for a decade or more – who had the unfortunate luck of being outside of Thailand when the airport was shut down in March.

I am one such foreigner. There are hundreds more, and tales of their hardships and frustrations can found in several social media groups like HERE.

Thus far, in all of the media briefings, government announcements and editorials concerning the topic of allowing foreigners back into Thailand, not once have the retired foreigners stranded abroad ever been mentioned, by anyone. It seems that we are being completely ignored and are considered to be nothing more than “tourists” to those in charge. That, despite the fact that all of us have chosen Thailand as our home. We are members of our local communities, we rent/own property, we employ locals, we contribute greatly to our local economies, we are decent and good people. Thailand is our home and after 4 months of living in hotel rooms abroad, we just want to come home.

I understand that caution is warranted regarding opening up the country to foreign arrivals again. I have no problem with that. It’s often better to be safe than sorry. However, the fact that ‘businessmen’, ‘medical tourists’ and even just normal tourists from nearby countries are being considered for entry into the Kingdom before those of us who call Thailand home, is truly disheartening.

Many of us are receiving no support from the Thai foreign embassies. I came to Nepal for a 4 week trekking holiday and got stranded here shortly afterwards when the airports were closed. I have made several attempts to contact the Thai Ambassador in Kathmandu, but my emails and phone calls go unanswered.

I am writing to you in hopes that you can offer some help to bring awareness to our situation – we, the forgotten foreigners. I am happy to make myself available for an interview, as no doubt many others in the same situation will be too.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.

Kind regards

Michael Deslippe


All The Thaiger can do, apart from publishing all the latest information about this issue, is to urge people in foreign countries, with an urgent need to return, is to contact your local Thai Embassy.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai army medic accused of injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccine during UN mission | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Pexels

A medic for the Royal Thai Army was dismissed and his medical license revoked after injecting troops with fake Covid-19 vaccines during a United Nations peacekeeping mission in South Sudan. The “vaccine” was actually just water. The medic, who is also a lieutenant, apparently injected 273 Thai troops with the water shot and charged 607 baht, or around $20 USD, per injection.

A soldier noticed the bottles the medic was using for the injections were unlabelled. A superior then launched an internal investigation and found that the bottles were just filled with water. Under the UN’s orders, the medic was dismissed and sent back to Thailand. His medical license was also revoked.

Thai media first reported the news, saying that a Thai army doctor at a South Sudan field hospital was suspended from duty due to an investigation into alleged fraud. The medic reportedly worked at the hospital from December 2019 to December 2020.

Following the news report, Thai Supreme Commander General Chalermphol Srisawat confirmed that a medic had been injecting troops with water and claiming it was a Covid-19 vaccine.

SOURCES: Thai PBS | Nation Thailand

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Japan asks China to stop anal Covid-19 tests after travellers report “psychological distress”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Japan asks China to stop anal Covid-19 tests after travellers report “psychological distress” | The Thaiger

After complaints that China’s anal swab Covid-19 test caused “psychological distress,” Japan has asked China to stop using the new, much more invasive method of testing on Japanese citizens entering the country.

For the anal test, reportedly done on some travellers entering China from overseas, a 3 to 5 centimetre long cotton swab is inserted into the anus and gently rotated to collect the sample. While it’s unclear exactly how many people have gone through the procedure, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato says some Japanese citizens have reported mental discomfort after the test.

“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused great psychological pain.”

The Japanese government made a request through the embassy in Beijing to stop using the anal swab test on Japanese citizens. Katsunobu says China has not yet responded to the request.

China started using the anal swab test in January. The anal tests are controversial with many experts backing the oral test as the most efficient way to detect a coronavirus infection.

SOURCE: BBC

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Thailand considering vaccine passport policy in bid to revive international tourism

Maya Taylor

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Thailand considering vaccine passport policy in bid to revive international tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving the devastated tourism sector. According to Pipat, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a decision on the matter.

The Tourism Minister adds that having a scheme in place that would allow foreign visitors to bypass quarantine could lead to 5 million tourists arriving in the Kingdom this year. Nation Thailand reports that the government’s Covid-19 task force is also considering allowing quarantining tourists to leave their rooms after 3 days of self-isolation. Pipat predicts that the Russians could be first to return, with tour agents in Russia saying demand is high enough to support regular flights of between 300 and 400 passengers.

The ministry also hopes to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the 5 major tourism provinces of Phuket, Surat Thani, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Krabi. The vaccines would be given to employees at alternative quarantine hotels. It’s understood there are currently 58 alternative quarantine facilities across the 5 provinces, with over 6,700 rooms and 13,000 employees.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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