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PM may suspend public transport over virus fears

Jack Burton

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PM may suspend public transport over virus fears | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Culture Trip
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Even though intra- and interprovincial travel has fallen by about 40%, following the declaration of a national state of emergency last week, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha said today that he might order a reduction or even a suspension of public transport if the rate of Covid-19 coronavirus infections does not show a sustained drop.

The PM says he “might have to prevent people from travelling.” He and senior health officials believe that a reduction in commuting and travel would need to be around 90% in order to have a significant impact on the infection rate.

Prayut also says the state of emergency will stay in place and that if the situation doesn’t improve, it could be extended for three months.

Regarding the 5,000 baht monthly cash handout for people affected by business closures, the PM made it clear that not all 20 million people who have applied for the money will qualify, and warned that the state will demand a refund from anyone who is ineligible or receives the money based on a fraudulent application.

For those who aren’t eligible, he said the government might introduce alternative measures to help them through the crisis.

Government spokeswoman Narumon Pinyosinwat said today that the PM has instructed the army and the Interior Ministry to help local officials enforce the lockdown measures in Phuket, Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat, where the number of new infections is steadily increasing.

Travel in and out of these provinces has been banned without official permission. is granted. In Phuket, travel on and off the resort island by land or sea is prohibited, with the exception of essential goods vehicles and thos carrying construction materials. Air travel will be suspended from April 10th.

The PM has instructed TV stations to reduce coverage of boxing matches and police are to ensure that all motorcycle taxi drivers wear face masks.

Prayut has also ordered the Customs Department not to levy import taxes on surgical face masks, PPE gowns and medical supplies needed in the fight against the virus. The country’s Food and Drug Administration and the Medical Sciences Department have been told to fast-track screening for such items to speed up distribution to where they are urgently needed.

The Commerce Ministry will tighten the control of egg prices and suspend egg exports until the shortage has eased.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya hotels take food to the streets in bid to survive

The Thaiger

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Pattaya hotels take food to the streets in bid to survive | The Thaiger

Pattaya’s hotels are taking their restaurants to the streets by offering food stalls outside and delivery in a bid to save their businesses during the Covid-19pandemic. Such changes in their attempts to avoid closing, come as city officials say they will use funds to spruce up the city for Chinese New Years on February 12.

As Chonburi province is still declared as a “high-risk” and “highly-controlled” area, all hopes of domestic and foreign tourism have been dashed as visitors are essentially banned. Even with recent virus infections down to just 1 over the past 3 days and single digits in the last week, the strict measures have not been lifted.

After Covid hit, hotels in Pattaya relied more on domestic tourists, which appeared to be working for several months after the city held more outdoor festivals to increase tourism traffic. Now, without domestic tourists helping to curb the financial downfall, the hotel industry has met many times with province leaders and represetatives from the Social Security Office of Thailand to ask for a forced legal closure which would allow their formal staff to get paid through social security benefits at roughly 50% of their daily wages.

The requests so far have been denied, leaving 30,000 hotel workers in Pattaya alone out of a job. Some hotels have managed to keep their employees and even providing meals and lodging for them. But smaller hotels have run out of money and are having to lay off staff without pay.

Such larger hotels as LK hotels and Dusit hotels are bringing their restaurant food to the streets and offering delivery but they say it is only to provide for their staff during these hard times. The Thai Government has stated they are looking at other options than a forced closure and social security payouts, but have yet to make a decision.

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CCSA Update: 142 new Covid-19 infections

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CCSA Update: 142 new Covid-19 infections | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CCSA

After the welcome drop of new Covid-19 infections yesterday, the CCSA today reports an increase of 142 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours. 88 cases were found in general health care institutions, while 37 cases are detected on the proactive tests and 17 cases in the state quarantine.

The CCSA says the situation is still not stable with changing numbers, and urges the public to maintain caution.

Among the hot spots of the new outbreak, Samut Sakhon reported 63 new infections… 19 cases are Thai and 44 cases are migrant workers. Meanwhile, Bangkok recorded 14 new cases… 13 Thais and 1 migrant.

The CCSA also says the proactive testing in the community, especially migrant workers in factories, will continue. He says at least 50 factories still need to undergo the test.

Currently, the virus has spread to 63 provinces across the country with a total of 12,795 accumulative cases and 71 deaths since the start of the outbreak in January last year.

SOURCE: CCSA

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Migrant workers risk losing their legal status, the Cabinet to extend work permit amnesty

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Migrant workers risk losing their legal status, the Cabinet to extend work permit amnesty | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Frontier Myanmar

Over 1.7 million migrant workers in Thailand are going to lose their legal working status because they can’t submit work permit renewal and a health certificate with Covid-19 test results in time. The Labour Ministry then proposes the cabinet will extend the registration period (amnesty) for migrant workers to help maintain their legal status. Migrant workers, including those illegal and unemployed workers, are required to register with authorities via the ministry’s website from January 15 until February 13.

According to the Labour Minister, every migrant worker to renew their work permit must receive a Covid-19 test at hospitals designated by the Public Health Ministry. The Department of Medical Sciences will be responsible for the testing costs.

Illegal and unemployed workers, who registered with the Ministry, will be allowed to stay in the Kingdom for 2 years without penalties. Only those migrant workers from Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar are allowed to overstay their current visas, but are required to register with the provincial employment office in the area they work, as part of the amnesty.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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