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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM says Thailand will consider lifting quarantine for vaccinated tourists

Maya Taylor

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PM says Thailand will consider lifting quarantine for vaccinated tourists | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chuttersnap on Unsplash

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha says the government will consider waiving the mandatory 14-day quarantine for tourists with proof of Covid-19 vaccination. For months now, the government has stuck to its stance that vaccinated foreign arrivals would still need to be quarantined, given that it’s too early to say if vaccines prevent transmission. But with industry leaders warning that the economy is on the brink of collapse, the only hope appears to be reviving the tourism sector, a major economic contributor prior to Covid-19.

According to a Bloomberg News report, the central bank says the uncertainty facing the tourism sector is a major threat to medium term economic growth. Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput says it would be very difficult for the economy to recover to pre-pandemic levels without the return of international tourism.

Nattaporn Triratanasirikul from the Kasikorn Research Centre has welcomed the PM’s announcement.

“If this goes ahead as planned, it will be a big boost to tourism and economy. There is still a very high uncertainty on the economic outlook this year, pending all the issues related to the outbreak from local infections, vaccine rollouts and border reopening plan.”

Tourism officials have been pushing for Thailand to introduce a vaccine passport policy that would allow tourists to return from countries where mass vaccination programmes are now underway.

Meanwhile, Thailand takes delivery of its first doses of Covid-19 jabs today, with the arrival of both the Chinese Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines. The national inoculation programme is expected to get underway next week, with frontline medical workers and other vulnerable groups first in line.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will also be manufactured locally by Siam Bioscience, with production expected to begin in June. The government says vaccines from other manufacturers may also be registered for use in the Kingdom, with private hospitals allowed to administer them. The PM says a number of other manufacturers have expressed interest in having their vaccines approved for use in the Kingdom.

“Many companies have shown interest to register but their documents are not completed yet. It is good that we will have more vaccines than the 65 million doses planned by the government now.”

SOURCE: Bloomberg News | Bangkok Post

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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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