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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Poll: vast majority fear second virus wave, support foreign arrival ban

Jack Burton

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Poll: vast majority fear second virus wave, support foreign arrival ban | The Thaiger
PHOTO: wamu.org
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A recent opinion poll by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, or Suan Dusit Poll, showed well over 90% of respondents fear a second wave of Covid-19 and want a complete ban on foreign arrivals in Thailand.

The poll, taken July 14-18, gauged the concerns of 1,459 Thai adults of various education levels and occupations, about the possibility of a second outbreak, following 2 incidents last week. 1 concerned members of an Egyptian military mission breaking quarantine rules, (1 of whom later tested positive for the virus); the other involved a Sudanese diplomat’s family, who stayed at a Bangkok condominium instead of a state quarantine facility, with 1 member of the family infected.

The poll showed 52.2% of the respondents are “very concerned” about the 2 incidents, 39.7% are “quite concerned”, while the rest are “not concerned at all”.

Regarding how to prevent a second wave of infections, 94.5% said all foreigners should be banned from entering Thailand, 86.4% suggest a stringent screening process, 83.8% say people must wear face masks and regularly wash their hands, 81.4% suggest the government keep people updated on the pandemic and 76.7% want free access to Covid-19 testing.

Asked to mention “5 things” that would worry them if there were a new wave of Covid-19, with each respondent allowed to give more than 1 answer, a whopping 95.9% cited the degree of the spread; 94.45% unemployment; 92.05% a shutdown of businesses; 84.17% their children’s schooling; and 84.17% another lockdown announcement. About 73.8% “believe there will be another round” of lockdowns, while the rest dismiss it as a possibility. To ease public concern, 47.4% of the respondents suggest the government should tighten screening measures without exception.

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | Bangkok Post

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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.

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    July 19, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Vast majority of a poll of 1459 say keep foreigners out.
    I think that is the same number they asked last time.
    Is anyone going to take notice?
    Make it a poll of a 100.000 and I will take it seriously

  2. Avatar

    Bubba Lee

    July 19, 2020 at 4:08 pm

    Thailand has a proven method of detecting and containing COVID-19 for anyone entering Thailand, using preflight, post-flight testing, and 14-day quarantine with testing before release into the general population. Foreigners entering Thailand to return home to their Thai spouses, children, and families and community are just as concerned for their safety as any of the Thai repatriates. Weekly it appears Thiager journalist feels it is necessary to publicize a very sensationalized racist, panic spreading article of propaganda. They cite the same old story of a “recent poll” by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, regurgitating the same biased group of respondents over and over again. Why, what is their motive? Why do they insist on persuading all Thailand that all foreigners are unwanted?
    Anyone with one modicum of intelligence knows that polls can be molded to suit the pollster’s ulterior motives by the way the questions and people questioned are selected. Polls here are being sited as some sort of real narrative about Thai people’s innermost feeling of fear of foreigners bringing COVID-19 into Thailand. This is a simple spin, the narrative could be spun that due to the lack of proper quarantine procedures Thai people fear to allow all foreigners to enter Thailand. The author of this article is pushing his agenda in opposing foreigners’ entry. Instead of a vast majority fear, it could have been stated a minority fear… it’s all in the way you present the news that makes it fake.
    Thank you, Jack, for your fine support of people trying to return home to their families.

    • Avatar

      rinky stingpiece

      July 19, 2020 at 5:16 pm

      Polls in every country are clickbait…

    • Avatar

      ThomasW

      July 19, 2020 at 6:07 pm

      Fully agree. And how is the old saying, don’t trust a statistic (or poll) you didn’t falsify yourself.

    • Avatar

      Ferdy McCall

      July 19, 2020 at 6:13 pm

      Spot on, Bubba

  3. Avatar

    Phil

    July 19, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    The Thai government have been very proficient at promoting a climate of abject fear throughout this entire event, so it’s no wonder you will find people who are “nervous” in what is a really pointless poll, that serves only to reinforce that fear factor even further. The recent Egyptian military fiasco is another mess in which the subsequent frantic shoulder-brushing and hand-washing to deflect responsibility only shows the true level of confidence and control. I polled my employees, and they are each more nervous about the government actions (or inactions) rather than any virus! You can get whatever result you want from a poll, as you can a graph or other infographic tool. As a matter of interest, how many of those polled were working in business related to tourism? The real question should be “WHY” are they nervous? After the first answer, you ask the fifth “why”, and you might just get to the facts of this matter!

  4. Avatar

    Edy F.

    July 20, 2020 at 1:21 am

    Who can believe this ? The taiger is just working for false information. How many suicides in Thailand ? How many people without money now ? Do you really think thai people don’t want foreigners to come back ? Of course not.
    Your poll is only a one more lie. You don’t want to see the reality. But look behind you. Truth is coming..

  5. Avatar

    Jasmin

    July 21, 2020 at 1:15 pm

    What are Thai government going to do with its flat-broke tourist system? Many of hotel employees have nothing to eat. They will rather die from hunger then Covid 19. And how long Thailand will have closed borders? The virus will be present in our life. It will never go away. Once Thailand will open borders and many of Thais will get sick because they don’t have specific immunity.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A Burmese teenager who lives near the Thai-Myanmar border tested positive for Covid-19. Now, Thai border patrol officers are tightening security even more to make sure Myanmar’s outbreak doesn’t cross the border and cause a second wave in Thailand.

The 17 year old Burmese boy tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Reports say the teen was in Myanmar’s Payatongsu district, about 5 kilometres from the Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint bordering Kanchanaburi. The teen started having symptoms on September 11 and tested positive on September 17.

Only around 13 people were reportedly in close contact with the teen and they are now in quarantine at a district school. Health officials suspect the teen was exposed to the virus from his uncle who had travelled to Moulmein, a large city near Yangon which had a spike in coronavirus cases. The uncle has been tested and is in quarantine, but his test results are still pending.

In another case, a 2 year old Burmese child tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand. A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department says the child most likely contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar around September 4 to September 10. The family travelled to Mae Sot and entered Myanmar through natural passageways. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Since Myanmar reported a surge in cases, starting mostly in the country’s Rakhine state on the western coast, Thailand has been increasing border patrol to make sure people are not entering Thailand illegally and potentially spreading the virus. Now that there are cases in some Myanmar border towns, Thailand checkpoints are on high alert.

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. The country reported a total of 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

In some border districts, police have placed barbed wire along the border to prevent people from entering illegally. Security has increased and dozens of migrants have been arrested in the past month for allegedly entering Thailand illegally. Even volunteers have stepped up to patrol the borders. No migrants arrested for allegedly crossing the border have tested positive for the virus.

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Myanmar

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. As of September 22, the country reported 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

Maya Taylor

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Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy | The Thaiger
Shuttered businesses along Bangla Road in Patong yesterday

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew was addressing a Public Health Association forum, where he highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, shutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money flowing into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years, including accommodation, tours, tour boats, tours buses and passenger vans, international shows, new roads, restaurants and rentals – all aimed at the many levels of traveller budgets.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that will attract more visitors to the province.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the south to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship.”

Meanwhile, PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, says the forum gives those attending the opportunity to share knowledge and advice on tackling the spread of disease, with presentations and competitions addressing all public health activities.

Phuket usually receives around 14 million visitors every year, with around 10-11 million arriving from outside Thailand. The airport usually welcomes up to 300 international flights a day but is now only receiving around 80 flights a day, since the ban on foreign flights started in April. Narong says an estimated 40,000 of the island’s workers are now unemployed, while those still employed have taken hefty pay cuts of anything from 20% to a hefty 90%. Less than 30% of the province’s hotels are currently open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So, it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible.”

The Cabinet recently approved a long-stay visa (the Special Tourist Visa) for tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom, although critics say the strict requirements, coupled with the extortionate cost of the mandatory 14 day quarantine, make it unworkable. The new visa is also insisting that travellers will have to arrive on restricted charter or private jet flights, adding further cost and restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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