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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Seven more coronavirus cases found in Thailand

Jack Burton

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Seven more coronavirus cases found in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Officials screen passengers for fever at Bangkok's DonMueang Airport on Friday - Pattarapong Chatpattarasill, Bangkok Post
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Seven new cases of the 2019-nCoV coronavirus were discovered in Thailand yesterday, including three Thais and four Chinese. The new cases brought the total reported in the country to 32, the third highest number of infections outside of China, Japan and Singapore. The global death toll from the virus is now at least 805, surpassing the number of fatalities from the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak.

The seven new cases are all in hospital. One of the cases was part of the group of 138 evacuated from China’s coronavirus epicentre of Wuhan on Tuesday. The other two Thais had close contact with tourists.

Of the four Chinese, three are family members members of previously reported cases, while the other is a tourist from a “risky area” in China, according to Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Disease Control Department.

Among the 32 cases Thailand has reported so far, 23 are Chinese while nine are Thai. As of yesterday, one more patient was allowed to go home, bringing the count of discharges to 10. 22 other patients remain in hospital.

SOURCE: 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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2 returnees in quarantine catch Covid-19 a second time

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 returnees in quarantine catch Covid-19 a second time | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Health officials say 2 people in state quarantine tested positive for Covid-19, apparently catching the virus for a second time. A 42 year old Thai man recently tested positive for Covid-19 while in Chon Buri state quarantine after returning from Singapore. He first caught the virus a few months ago while in Singapore. He didn’t need hospital treatment and quarantined until he was declared clear of the virus on June 11.

In another apparent reinfection, a 58 year old Thai man tested positive for Covid-19 after returning home from Kuwait. Health officials say the man first came in contact with the virus in Kuwait. He was hospitalised and recovered before coming back to Thailand.

Thailand currently has 3,519 confirmed coronavirus cases with 59 reported deaths and 3,360 recoveries. The majority of recent cases have been detected in the mandatory 14 day quarantine for those entering the country.

Health officials are still investigating apparent local transmissions. Earlier this month, a Bangkok DJ tested positive for Covid-19, breaking Thailand’s 100 day streak without a reported local transmission. Health officials say he tested positive for the G-strain of the virus which is more infectious, but less severe. They say the G-strain is typically detected in state quarantine from people returning to Thailand rather than in local cases.

In another apparent local transmission, a Uzbek football player for the Biriram United team recently tested positive for Covid-19. He tested negative for the virus multiple times in quarantine after arriving to Thailand from Uzbekistan. He was released from quarantine and later tested positive for the virus. Some health officials speculate the virus has a longer incubation period than 14 days.

2 returnees in quarantine catch Covid-19 a second time | News by The Thaiger

Total cases in Thailand, according to worldometer.

2 returnees in quarantine catch Covid-19 a second time | News by The Thaiger

Daily cases in Thailand, according to worldometer.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree

Maya Taylor

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Covid task force calls for extension to Thailand’s emergency decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thailand’s Covid-19 task force is advising the government to extend the country’s state of emergency by a further month… again. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration plans to discuss the matter next Tuesday and put it to Cabinet for consideration on Wednesday.

The state of emergency, or emergency decree, which has been extended several times since its introduction in March, is due to expire at the end of this month. It has been extended, on a month by month basis, many times this year since it was introduced to short-circuit the process of implementation of Covid-19 preventative measures. However, the CCSA says an extension is vital to ensure various government agencies can work speedily to combat any threat from Covid-19, particularly as neighbouring countries experience a spike in infections.

Thailand has already taken steps to seal the porous border with Myanmar after a surge in cases means that country is now recording over 500 new infections a day.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Quarantine could be reduced to 7 days from November, if border re-opening succeeds

Maya Taylor

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Quarantine could be reduced to 7 days from November, if border re-opening succeeds | The Thaiger
Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister says the mandatory quarantine period for those arriving from overseas could be reduced to 7 days if there is no spike in Covid-19 infections after the border re-opens to limited arrivals from October. For the minister’s part, the 7 day quarantine is merely speculation at this stage.

Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says more details on the planned Special Tourist Visa will be made available following a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. The STV is expected to grant entry to long-stay arrivals from October 1. Visitors can then extend their stay by 90 days twice, meaning a stay of nearly 9 months in total will be possible. Each extension will cost 2,000 baht, under the current STV proposal.

The government is currently being extremely cautious with its plans to re-open the borders to international arrivals. However, in a Bangkok Post report today, Phiphat says that if the first 2 groups of arrivals, 300 foreign tourists in total, fulfil the 14 day quarantine period without testing positive for the virus, it may be possible to increase the number of visitors granted entry to the Kingdom. And reduce the length of the mandatory quarantine.

“Only 300 tourists per week will not be enough to fill up the whole supply chain and help operators (not even close!). However, the figure has to comply with the capacity of the healthcare workforce from the Public Health Ministry to prepare swab tests.”

It’s understood the Tourism Ministry has been in talks with private hospitals about supplying additional manpower to facilitate the testing being carried out at airports. Another option is to test arrivals at quarantine facilities, in order to avoid holdups at airport arrival terminals. Currently, the Phuket Provincial Health Office has the ability to conduct 1,000 tests a day.

Should the gradual re-opening in October pass without a significant spike in Covid-19 cases, Phiphat says the government may consider halving the 14 day quarantine period from mid-November. Visitors will still be required to be tested prior to arrival, several times while in quarantine, and again before being released.

“In the event there are 5 positive cases from 300 tourists, the plan to welcome foreigners has to move forward anyway. But we will set up new alternative plans to cope with the situation.”

A reduction in the quarantine period may succeed in attracting more visitors, particularly given the high cost of staying at certain alternative state quarantine facilities, which tourists must foot the bill for themselves. An increase in foreign arrivals is seen as essential to the recovery of the tourism sector in areas currently struggling to survive since the border shutdown 6 months ago.

The Tourism Council of Thailand has visited places such as Phuket, Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Udon Thani, and Rayong, to talk to local business owners. In presenting its findings to the Tourism and Sports Ministry, TCT president, Chairat Trirattanajarasporn, says the government must find a solution to help the tourism sector.

The Tourism Council of Thailand predicts that once the global Covid situation is brought under control, foreign arrivals to Thailand should reach the 60 million mark and contribute 25% of the country’s GDP by 2023. The prediction of 60 million tourists per year would be a more than 50% increase on 2019’s published arrival numbers, optimistic at best, and against the trend of international travel consultants that say the world’s travel industry could take up to a decade to recover to pre-covid numbers.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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