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Russian PM has Covid-19

Jack Burton

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Russian PM has Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PJOTO: Reuters
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Russia’s PM announced yesterday that he’s tested positive for Covid-19, making him the most senior official in the Russian government to become infected. PM Mikhail Mishustin informed President Vladimir Putin in a video call that he would self-isolate but would stay in touch on key policy issues. It wasn’t immediately clear when the two men last met. Since early in the outbreak, Putin has minimised meetings preferring to holding daily video calls with officials.

54 year old Mishustin, a former tax chief, was named PM in January. During the call with Putin, which was recorded and later televised, he didn’t say if he had symptoms or anything about his general condition. He displayed no visible signs of illness and spoke without difficulty. First Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Belousov will temporarily perform Mishustin’s duties.

In Russia, the PM oversees the economy and answers to the president.

Putin wished Mishustin a swift recovery and said he hopes the PM will continue taking part in drafting policies to shore up the Russian economy, which, like many others around the globe, has been battered by the pandemic.

“What happened to you, could happen to anyone. Along with other Cabinet members and colleagues from the presidential office, you have undoubtedly been in the zone of high risk. No matter how you limit contacts, it’s impossible to avoid communication with people while drafting decisions.”

Putin asked the PM to call him after checking into a hospital.

Russians who have the virus but slight or no symptoms of illness are allowed to stay home, and it wasn’t immediately clear if Mishustin’s hospitalisation reflects the gravity of his condition or is just an extra precaution.

“I hope you will remain in good physical shape and take an active part in drafting decisions that we discussed today,” Putin said in a reference to a call with top officials earlier yesterday. “Those decisions will not be made without your participation, your input.”

Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, who leads a government panel responsible for managing Russia’s outbreak, said Mishustin had undergone regular testing for the virus and strictly observed safety protocols to avoid exposure or spreading the virus.

“It’s a signal to all of us. Let’s drop all that populist talk” about lifting restrictions, Sobyanin said in televised comments.

Mishustin himself sent a similar message to the Russian people, saying that his personal situation underlined the need for strictly observing a government-ordered lockdown.

Russian health officials reported a record spike of 7,099 new confirmed cases yesterday morning, bringing the country’s total caseload to 106,498, with 1,073 deaths.

Today, May Day, marks the start of long May holidays, a period when Russians usually flock to country homes, and barbecue with friends and relatives. Earlier this week, Putin extended a partial economic shutdown imposed in late March to run through May 11, the end of the May holiday period.

Regional and local authorities across the vast nation have similarly prolonged lockdowns, forcing most people except those working in a few vital industries to stay home. Only visits to nearby stores and pharmacies and walks with dogs are allowed in most cities.

As of today, Russia has reached over 106,000 cases and 1,073 registered Covid-19 deaths.

Source: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and 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.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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