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Thailand charters civilian plane to repatriate stranded Thais in Wuhan



PHOTO: Masks sold out - Bloomberg

The Thai government will charter a plane from a commercial airline to evacuate Thai citizens trapped in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says they’ve opted not to use a military transport plane as the Chinese government declined to permit a military aircraft repatriate the Thais earlier this week. It was reported that there remains about 65 Thais stranded in Wuhan who were either studying or working in the hospitality industries.

PM Prayut explained that it will be the Chinese medical authorities who will determine if Thai citizens stuck in Wuhan are clear of coronavirus infection, in which case they will be allowed to leave and return to Thailand.

The Chinese government has already allowed Japanese citizens to evacuate from Wuhan, the first country to be granted such access. 206 Japanese citizens were evacuated – four had a fever at the time they departed and were isolated from other passengers during the flight home.

Meanwhile, the PM has reiterated that his administration has taken “stringent preventative measures” to cope with the situation. His comments came at the same time the first human-to-human transmission of the coronavirus was confirmed in Thailand yesterday.

The government has also come under local criticism for not banning flights to and from Chinese ports, whilst other countries have already taken that step.

“While screening of arriving and departing Chinese tourists, the Thai government must remain sensitive to maintaining the good relations between Thailand and China.”

Prayut said that it’s important that Thailand has confidence that China, the country is capable of containing the virus.

The Deputy PM Jurin Laksanavisit has also assured Thais that there are enough face masks to meet demand for protection against both the virus and PM2.5 dust in the atmosphere.

About 30 million face masks are produced each month and the Internal Trade Department called a meeting today with the manufacturers “to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply to meet public demand, while preventing hoarding or high pricing by profiteers”, according to Thai PBS World.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World


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