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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Some southern provinces stop interprovincial public transport

Jack Burton

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Some southern provinces stop interprovincial public transport | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English
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Thailand’s Department of Land Transport announced today that four southern provinces – Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and Phuket – are closed to all public transport, except essential goods vehicles, medical and government vehicles, after witnessing an increasing number of Covid-19 coronavirus patients. Director-general Jirut Wisanjit made the announcement and the closures began today (Monday, March 30) to help prevent the virus from spreading.

“All modes of public transport are now cancelled and passengers must contact relevant agencies to get a refund.”

So no public transport, at all, can travel in or out of those four southern provinces.

The measure follows Phuket Governor Phakkhaphong Thawiphat’s announcement yesterday that all modes of transport except air would be halted until April 30 in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Air travel will also be halted on April 10.

Meanwhile, the Department of Airports has suspended services at Narathiwat Airport due to the pandemic, according its director-general Tawee Gasisam-ang.

Some southern provinces stop interprovincial public transport | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: The Nation

In response to the provincial governor closing some locations, the airport shut its doors from yesterday and will remain closed “until the virus situation is resolved.”

Passengers who have booked Thai AirAsia or Thai Smile tickets have the following options :

Thai AirAsia

• Change to another domestic route and schedule travel within October 31 with no service charge;

• Register under Big ID for a new booking with the flight being in the next 365 days;

• Refund tickets via www.airasia.com (though according to the airline you might not receive a full refund).

Thai Smile

• Full refund HERE

• Change your route or schedule another flight without a fee.

In another development Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said today that Thailand Post will deliver 2.3 million face masks across the country, starting this evening.

He says that the 11 manufacturers nationwide can now produce 2.3 million masks a day. Of that total, 1.3 million will be given to the Public Health Ministry for healthcare workers while the Interior Ministry will take the balance of 1 million for distribution to village health volunteers and officials providing services to the public.

The distribution of masks will gradually expand to cover the general public, while exports will be banned without permission.

Wissanu added that the Finance Ministry is working out a plan to lower import taxes on medical equipment, after cutting the import tax on masks to zero. He denied a report that the government had prepared a plane to repatriate Thais stranded in Italy.

SOURCES: The Nation | The Nation | The Nation

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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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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

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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