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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai medic blasts World Health Organisation for face mask U-turn

Maya Taylor

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Thai medic blasts World Health Organisation for face mask U-turn | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash

A Thai doctor who specialises in respiratory conditions has slammed the World Health Organisation for doing an about-face on its policy on the use of face masks. Having originally declared there was no evidence cloth masks could help prevent the spread of Covid-19, the organisation is now advocating their use in public.

Dr. Manoon Leechawengwong’s criticism comes as the WHO also withdraws a claim that transmission of the virus by asymptomatic carriers is very rare. Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who made the original assertion at a WHO briefing, has now back-pedaled, saying her remarks were a misunderstanding and not representative of WHO policy.

The WHO’s new advice on the wearing of face masks comes after many countries (primarily Asian ones) were already doing so for months. A report in Nation Thailand says it’s not the first time the WHO has disagreed with Thailand on disease prevention. The Thai Public Health Ministry and Infectious Disease Association have previously defended the practice of spraying disinfectant to control the spread of disease, which the WHO opposes, calling it a danger to public health and the environment.

Dr. Manoon recalls an encounter he had with the organisation over 20 years ago, when they criticised his view on testing for drug sensitivity in tuberculosis patients.

“Back in 1997, the World Health Organisation stated that examining tuberculosis drug sensitivity in developing countries is useless and wasteful. I contested that position in 1998, saying Thailand needs to check. Not knowing the patient’s sensitivity to a drug may mean the doctor can’t use it, because otherwise the germ targeted could become more resistant and continue to spread to others. WHO representatives in Thailand at that time said my advice was irresponsible, pulling money from others’ budgets.”

Dr. Manoon went on to conduct his own research to help with tuberculosis treatment in government hospitals, with the WHO eventually changing its policy and recommending all countries carry out drug sensitivity tests before administering treatment. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal slammed the organisation for its original stance.

Now Dr. Manoon is calling for reform at the WHO, saying its members need to be prepared to listen to different viewpoints on disease prevention.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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“Sawadee Thailand” travel insurance covers Covid-19 medical expenses

The Thaiger

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“Sawadee Thailand” travel insurance covers Covid-19 medical expenses | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AXA Thailand

The following is a press release submitted by AXA Thailand on its “Sawasdee Thailand” travel insurance which covers the required Covid-19 medical insurance for those travelling to Thailand.

AXA Thailand General Insurance is offering “Sawasdee Thailand”, a comprehensive travel insurance that includes health coverage for foreigners traveling to Thailand, offering up to 3.5-million-baht of medical expenses including COVID-19 which meets the Thai government’s strict insurance requirements for Certificate of Entry (COE). The coverage starts immediately after clearing immigration in Thailand and includes the 14-day quarantine period.

AXA Sawasdee Thailand is tailor-made to make travel preparations seamless and the trip worry-free. The policy has no waiting period and no deductible with a 24-hour hotline service. Cashless service is available if the customer is admitted as inpatient in AXA network hospital throughout Thailand. AXA Sawasdee Thailand is available for 30, 60, 90, 180, 270 and 365 days.

Ms. Paweena Khemarangsan, Chief Customer Officer, AXA Thailand General Insurance, explains, “AXA is ready to support visitors who would like their trip to Thailand to go smoothly and be totally worry-free from beginning to end, whether they travel for work, study, family visiting or other purposes. AXA Sawasdee was created for travelers who need a reliable, comprehensive coverage that will give them a feeling of security, as we transition to the new normal. It’s the perfect travel companion that fulfills all government’s insurance requirements (COE) to enter Thailand with confidence.”

In addition, customers will receive a 10% discount when purchasing the “Sawasdee Thailand” travel insurance with “AXA SmartCare Executive Long Stay Visa” health insurance package. The Long Stay Visa plan is designed specifically to comply with the requirements for retirement visa O-A and O-X type, and also the Special Tourist Visa (STV). The promotion runs until 30 June 2021.

For more information about AXA Sawasdee Thailand, customers can visit and apply online at https://www.axa.co.th/en/axa-sawasdee-thailand-travel-insurance or contact AXA Customer Service Center at 02-118-8111 press 4.

There is also a range of AXA health insurance offers available to travelers who would like to obtain continuous insurance coverage if they decide to extend their stay in Thailand beyond the original plan.

In addition, for Thais planning to travel domestically and/or abroad, more AXA travel insurance products are available at https://www.axa.co.th/travel-accident-protection.

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Cabinet approves budget of over 6.3 billion baht for 35 million more vaccine doses

Maya Taylor

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Cabinet approves budget of over 6.3 billion baht for 35 million more vaccine doses | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash

The Thai government has approved a budget of 6.387 billion baht to procure an additional 35 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The budget was approved at a Cabinet meeting yesterday, according to a government spokesperson.

Nation Thailand reports that the budget will be divided into 5.6 billion baht, which will be spent on AstraZeneca vaccines, with 700 million baht going on preparation and rollout at a local level. It’s understood officials expect to take delivery of the new consignment at the same time as it receives the 26 million AstraZeneca doses and 2 million Sinovac doses already on order.

In total, this will give Thailand 63 million doses. In PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s “PM Podcast,” he said 63 million doses will cover approximately 31.5 million people. It’s understood the Public Health Ministry is also in talks with other vaccine manufacturers. Johnson & Johnson has already begun the process of applying to register its single-dose vaccine in the Kingdom. Thailand currently has a limited number of vaccine doses, with high-risk provinces and groups being given priority. The government plans to open vaccine registration to general members of the public in May.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Governor of Samut Sakhon recovering from Covid-19 after more than 40 days on ventilator

Maya Taylor

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Governor of Samut Sakhon recovering from Covid-19 after more than 40 days on ventilator | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

The governor of the central province of Samut Sakhon is slowly recovering after more than 2 months battling Covid-19. Weerasak Wichitsangsri tested positive for the virus in late December and subsequently ended up on a ventilator for over 40 days. It’s understood Weerasak’s time on the ventilator was a record for the hospital and at times, medics were unsure if he would recover.

Prasit Watanapa from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital says Weerasak is now off the ventilator and able to breathe normally, as well as talking, walking, and eating unaided. The Pattaya News reports that the governor’s symptoms improved over the last week, but he remains under close medical supervision. Prasit says he will be tested for antibodies, to determine if he should receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

“Only his muscle functions still need to be treated. The medical team is considering if the governor could have his rehabilitation at home or at Siriraj Hospital. It all depends on his further recovery.”

Weerasak has now been in hospital for more than 2 months, after testing positive for the virus on December 28, after attending a meeting at Samut Sakhon hospital. The central province is seen as the epicentre of the second wave of the virus, which emerged late last year. Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, who was also at the meeting, had to self-isolate following Weerasak’s diagnosis.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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