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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai Immigration seek visa relief for stranded foreigners

Sean Kelly

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Thai Immigration seek visa relief for stranded foreigners | The Thaiger
Foreigners queue in long lines at the Immigration Bureau's office in Chaeng Watthana Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb
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Thailand’s Immigration Chief Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, is seeking cabinet approval for new measures to help foreigners in Thailand affected by the Covid-19 crisis. The proposal will be submitted to the cabinet for approval this week, he said.

Cabinet meets each Tuesday.

The proposals follow a difficult week for foreigners and immigration officials coping with long queues of panicking visitors trying to sort out their visas in a very non-social distancing environment. Long queues and frustrated tourists have been the norm at immigration offices around Thailand is recent weeks.

The measures will focus on three groups of foreigners…

  • Foreigners with resident visas who normally reside in Thailand but cannot return due to the Covid-19 crisis
  • Foreign tourists who are unable to depart Thailand due to the crisis
  • Visitors from neighbouring countries who hold a temporary border pass and got stuck in Thailand after the borders were shut

Foreigners in the first group are typically required to return to Thailand within a year of their departure, however since they can not fly at this time, immigration will propose extending their compulsory deadline until after the pandemic subsides.

The extension of the return period would not affect any immigration rights and benefits they usually receive when strictly following the one-year return period requirement though they are advised to return to Thailand as soon as possible after the crisis concludes.

Foreigners who have been unable to leave and have reported to immigration authorities for a 30-day extension after their visas expired on March 26 or thereafter; their visas will be automatically renewed every 30 days until the pandemic subsides.

Under the government’s social distancing policy, these tourists will no longer have to visit the immigration bureau if the policy is adopted, which would eliminate the risk of contracting the virus in a crowd, Pol Lt Gen Sompong said.

This proposed measure, however, does not apply to those foreigners who are working and or have family in Thailand. They will still be required to report to immigration authorities regularly.

Foreigners from neighbouring countries will be allowed to stay in Thailand until the borders are re-opened. They will be required to leave Thailand within seven days after the borders reopen.

Other foreigners who are now in Thailand and affected by the Covid-19 crisis, but aren’t covered in the above three categories are advised to adhere to the usual laws.

SOURCE: Chang Rai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26)

Anukul

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3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26) | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: reuters.com

Today, in the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily press conference, Dr. Taweesilp confirmed 3 new cases of coronavirus in Thailand, of which all were recorded as quarantined overseas repatriates. This brings Thailand ‘s total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 3,045. The death toll remains at 57 fatalities with no additional deaths reported today.

Dr. Taweesilp says from the new cases all 3 patients either had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. They are all in quarantine and under supervision.

“The first case is a 51 year old Thai masseuse, who had previously returned from Russia on May 12 and was quarantined in Chon Buri province. She had no symptoms but tested positive for the disease yesterday.”

“The two others are Thai men who returned from Kuwait on May 24 after a business trip and were quarantined in Samut Prakan province. They were coughing and tested positive yesterday.”

Of the total accumulated cases, 2,929 have recovered, including 1 patient who was released in the past 24 hours and 59 patients remain in hospitals.

Dr Taweesilp said that, in the past 4 weeks, in most of the country (65 provinces), no new Covid-19 cases have been recorded.

“The situation is improving thanks to public cooperation. Now we are heading towards the third stage of easing business and activity that were closed during lockdowns. It is likely to cover some higher-risk businesses and activities. They may resume with strict disease control measures.”

Chonburi, where Pattaya is located, has had no new confirmed cases in over a month. Phuket has also reported 0 new cases today but with 9 patients still receiving medical care.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News| Bangkok Post

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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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Dozens of plastic containers per person in state quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/Henryandpartners

…and the rest of us haven’t been helping the plastic problem either.

Thailand started the year eco-friendly by banning single-use plastic bags. All good, but with “stay at home” orders and mandated quarantines, plastic waste has been increasing. One Thai artist, who stayed in a state quarantine facility, added up all the plastic containers and bottles he used during his isolation. He had more than 100.

“I thought of this trash being multiplied by the thousands of people that had to go in state quarantine,” Henry Tan told Khaosod English.

“Just my flight alone resulted in 200 people in quarantine.”

If all 200 used just as much waste as Tan, that’s more than 20,000 pieces of plastic waste.

Tan had to be quarantined after arriving back to Thailand from Japan. He stayed at the Palazzo Bangkok hotel. Meals were left outside his door 3 times a day, usually in a plastic box with plastic cutlery and condiments in plastic. Han took photos of the plastic containers and bottles laid out on the floor, as well as many of his meals served in plastic containers, and posted the photos on Facebook.

Plastic waste has been increasing since the pandemic, with a surge in delivery and takeaway orders. The director of Thailand Environment Institute said last month that the amount of plastic pollution has increased to 6,300 tonnes per day, Coconuts Bangkok reported last month that it was 1,500 tonnes per day before the pandemic.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | Coconuts Bangkok

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Posted by Henryandpartners on Sunday, 24 May 2020

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Number of curfew arrests drops

Caitlin Ashworth

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Number of curfew arrests drops | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pattaya News

Quite a few people have stayed out late, rebelling against the nation wide curfew that requires people to be at home from 11pm to 4am. More than 200 people were arrested during ‘no go’ hours from late Sunday to early Monday this week. But the nightly number of curfew arrests has dropped over the past month.

Earlier this month, Thai media reported 710 arrested in 1 night for breaking curfew. At that point, the curfew was 10pm to 4am. It was recently shortened an hour, starting at 11 pm. From late Sunday to early Monday, police stopped more than 22,000 people across Thailand for allegedly breaking the curfew but only 232 were arrested, Thai media reports. Many of them had valid reasons for being out late, such as driving home from work.

Many have been arrested since the curfew was put in place. Since prisons are overcrowded, some curfew violators are now sending people to temples to volunteer at soup kitchens. Some people have been clearly violating the curfew by throwing parties, or even speeding through curfew checkpoints.

But some people are out late because they have nowhere else to go. After a homeless man was arrested for violating curfew and ordered to stay home, the Human Right Watch raised the question “How can people stay home if they are homeless?”

The curfew will probably be in place for another month, but it will probably be shortened another hour, starting at midnight instead of 11pm.

SOURCES: Thai Residents | Thai Residents | Bangkok Post

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