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Thai PM denies move to extend emergency decree is political

Maya Taylor

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Thai PM denies move to extend emergency decree is political | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English
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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has strenuously denied suggestions that the proposal to extend Thailand’s emergency decree by another month is politically motivated. Addressing the media at a press conference in Bangkok, he emphasised the importance of the decree remaining in place while the risky phase 5 of re-opening gets underway. The PM says that without the powers afforded by the decree, being able to re-impose restrictions in the event of a resurgence of Covid-19 would be a lot more difficult.

An extension to the decree, which was set to expire today, has received a green light from Thailand’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and is set to be formally approved by the Cabinet today. The decree affords the government special powers to crack down on activities it deems “risky” in terms of spreading the virus, allowing for sweeping restrictions to be imposed nationwide by the administration in Bangkok, as opposed to at a provincial level.

There are strict penalties for violation of the decree, which critics of the government say is being extended for political reasons. The PM points out that Thailand’s apparent success in suppressing Covid-19 is largely due to the emergency decree being in place. The country has now gone over a month without recording a single case of local transmission, but the PM says with the re-opening this week of such riskier businesses – including pubs, bars, and other entertainment venues, it’s essential the government retain the powers afforded by the decree. He adds that its existence has little to no effect at this stage on the day-to-day lives of Thai citizens, since restrictions on domestic travel and the nationwide curfew have been lifted.

The PM also says the decree can be ended at any point, adding that the government will monitor how the phase 5 re-opening goes and review the situation at that stage.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

International travellers allowed to transit Thailand from Monday

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International travellers allowed to transit Thailand from Monday | The Thaiger

International travellers will now be allowed to transit Thailand from Monday after the Civil Aviation Authority relaxed Covid‐19measures. The lifting of stringent travel regulations comes after Thailand reports a drop in Covid infections to double digits since February 20.

CAAT also says regulations are being relaxed on domestic travel as well. The authority says operators of domestic flights can resume serving in-flight meals and drinks starting from Thursday.

Transport Minister, Sasksayam Chidchob, says the move is part of a resolution by the Centre for Covid‐19 Situation Administration to relax measures. Flight attendants and passengers, however, are still mandated to follow Covid control measures that include wearing face masks during the length of the flight except when eating or drinking.

In-flight meals and drinks were banned on December 30 under the government’s 4th announcement, but was cancelled when CAAT director general made a fifth announcement nullifying the regulation.

International passengers have been under strict regulations for a while, including being unable to transit at Thai airports or to transfer to other flights through Thai airports.

Samut Sakhon province, the epicentre of the second wave of Covidin Thailand, has reportedly been successful at disease control in high‐risk areas, including the Central Shrimp Market, which has been closed for over two months.

But that may change as rumour has it that the market may reopen from Monday, but an official announcement has yet to be made by the CCSA. Deputy governor Teerapat Kutchamath visited the market, assuring that it was, indeed, ready to open by Monday, while plans are already being set to make merit, in light of its expected reopening.

Meanwhile, The CCSA reports 72 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Kingdom today. 63 of those cases were domestically‐transmitted while 9 were imported.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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PM Prayut postponing Covid‐19 vaccination citing paperwork issues

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PM Prayut postponing Covid‐19 vaccination citing paperwork issues | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is postponing his inaugural Covid‐19 vaccination citing paperwork issues with the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment. According to Khaosod English, the vaccine shipment was sent to Thailand last Wednesday from South Korea, but was missing the additional required paperwork.

Prayut was supposed to receive the vaccine tomorrow, but the highly‐publicised event will not be happening. According to Khaosod English, an official at the Secretariat of the Prime Minister has also confirmed the news of the postponement without citing a reason.

Although the Sinovac vaccine is also being administered in Thailand, healthcare officials say Prayut is too old to receive it as its age limit is 60. Prayut is 66 years old, which is well over the oldest age that can receive the vaccine.

The Sinovac vaccine drive is set to commence on Monday, 2 weeks behind schedule. Those frontline health workers, hospitality workers and vulnerable groups will receive the vaccines first.

Meanwhile, Phuket is waiting for the green lightto start administering vaccines and has already held a vaccine administration rehearsal overseen by Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong along with other health officials.

Pichet says the first vaccine round of 4,000 doses should arrive early in March, with the 2nd and 3rd set of doses, 16,000 and 48,000 respectively, to arrive in April and May.

The government pandemic center reported 72 new confirmed infections on Friday, after first only reporting 45 new cases. 37 of those cases were locally-transmitted, and one 6 year old Thai girl returning from the UK was found to have tested positive for the virus. Samut Sakhon, again, reported over half of the new cases yesterday, as it remains the epicentre of Thailand’s second wave of the coronavirus outbreak.

The total virus tally in Thailand sits at 25,764, with 83 fatalities. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has not yet announced the amount of new cases for today.

There is no word yet on when PM Prayut will be rescheduled to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light

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Phuket holds vaccine administration rehearsal as it waits for green light | The Thaiger

Phuket is rehearsing procedures to ready themselves for the Covid‐19 vaccine administration green light. A rehearsal at Vachira Hospital’s Lan Muang Khao open area was held late yesterday to iron out any kinks in the administration process. Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong watched over the procedures along with other health officials.

Pichet says the first vaccine round of 4,000 doses should arrive early in March, with the 2nd and 3rd set of doses, 16,000 and 48,000 respectively, to arrive in April and May.

“The government recognises the importance of the affected areas of the economy where the epidemic situation of COVID-19 must be stopped and has allocated the COVID-19 vaccine to Phuket Province to build herd immunity, restore the economy, return a smile to Thailand.”

“We are preparing to COVID-19 mass vaccination to build confidence among the people that they will receive a quality, safe vaccine and to receive follow-up care after it has been administered.”

Pichet says Phuket’s first target groups to receive the vaccine include medical and public health personnel, with others on the frontlines to come next.

Then, workers aged 18-59 years old, people with underlying diseases including chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cerebrovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity will follow.

“People with severe neurological conditions and pregnant women should be wary of taking the vaccine, as well as women who are breastfeeding and people with immunodeficiency.”

The procedure to get vaccinated starts by recipients undergoing screening by having their temperatures taken, and then sanitising their hands before entering the administration area. Then, they will move their way through a series of steps, detailed below:

Step 1: Register

Step 2: Record weight and blood pressure

Step 3: Pass the screening process by have their medical history and risk assessment recorded and then signing a consent to receive the vaccine

Step 4: Wait for vaccination

Step 5: Vaccination

Step 6: Rest for 30 minutes, while being observed for symptoms. Then scan the official Line account “หมอพร้อม” (“Doctor Ready”)

Step 7: Pass a final check before receiving a document confirming vaccination

Pichet says health workers will follow up with vaccine recipients after 1,7, and 30 days from being vaccinated to monitor any adverse reactions.

Those who are set to receive their second jab will have appointments made for them. Those who receive the Sinovac vaccine will be scheduled to have their second doses 2 to 4 weeks after the first. AstraZeneca vaccine receivers will be scheduled for their second doses 10 to 12 weeks after the first.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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