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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand under a State of emergency – Prime Minister

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Thai PBS World

Thai PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha told a news conference today that Thailand will be under emergency decree from this Thursday (March 26) until the end of April, 2020 to deal with the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak in the Kingdom.

The decree means the PM will have the executive power to declare further measures to contain the virus, including giving extra authority to officials and creating checkpoints to reduce people’s movements.

The Emergency Decree act of 2005 gives the government sweeping powers to enact these measures.

Prayut says some requirements would be mandatory while others would be “requests.” A special committee will be formed to implement policy and procedures for the requirements. He did not state how this committee will be chosen.

He urged people not to return to their home provinces and said there will be checkpoints and quarantine measures taken along the way for those who do. Provincial governors have full authority and are cooperating to quarantine those trying to return. Violator of quarantine or self isolation face fines of up to 20,000 baht.

The emergency decree gives various powers, including the potential restriction of domestic travel, censoring media, curfews, commandeering or closing building, among others.

None of these measures has been officially announced and will not be until at least this Thursday. Rumours of a curfew taking place as early as this evening are false.

The PM also said that social media will be “very closely monitored” during the emergency decree period. Those sharing fake news or making claims of cover-ups or conspiracies “will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Thailand reported 3 deaths and 106 new coronavirus cases today. The country now has 827 cases and four fatalities since the outbreak began.

SOURCE: Reuters | The Pattaya News

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. 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. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo by PR Phuket

2,473 new Covid-19 cases and 35 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. The majority of the new cases are local transmissions, primarily in Bangkok. 680 of the new cases were detected in prisons.

Thailand now has 42,988 active Covid-19 cases, a record high for the country. Out of those cases, more than 10,000 are linked to outbreaks at prisons. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 113,555 Covid-19 infections.

35 deaths involving Covid-19 patients were reported today, raising the pandemic’s death toll in Thailand to 649. Most of the new fatalities were reported in Bangkok.

Bangkok remains the epicentre in the latest wave of infections. The capital reported 873, raising the total since April 1 to 28,658.

There are now 29 Covid-19 clusters in 19 districts in Bangkok. The government has set up several locations for active case finding to contain the spread of the virus.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun, who gives the CCSA report in English, adds that Thai authorities are taking border breaches very seriously and security has tightened at land and sea borders as there have been a number of illegal entries involving those coming from neighbouring countries. Heightened border patrol has been an effort to prevent Covid-19 from being imported into Thailand.

Provinces with the highest number of new Covid-19 infections…

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 873 28,658
Nonthaburi 155 4,757
Samut Prakan 121 4,329
Pathum Thani 117 2,467
Samut Sakhon 63 1,930
Phetchaburi 43 645
Chon Buri 33 3,768
Nakhon Si Thammarat 30 757
Songkhla 29 1,041
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 28 936

Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 2,473 new infections and 35 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Koh Samet reopens after being closed for 3 weeks due to Covid-19

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo via Wikmedia Commons

Koh Samet off the coast of Rayong has reopened to visitors after being closed for 3 weeks. The Gulf of Thailand island is safe to visit and disease control measures are being enforced, according to the Koh Samet tourism association chairperson told the Bangkok Post.

On April 27, the Rayong governor ordered for Koh Samet to be closed to visitors after 5 people on the island tested positive for Covid-19. The closure was initally set for 14 days. No recent Covid-19 infections have been reported on the island, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Rayong office.

On the mainland, Rayong health officials reported 10 more Covid-19 infections yesterday. Since April 1, the province has reported a total of 831 infections and 7 coronavirus-related deaths.

Authorities on the island are enforcing the standard “DMHTTA” disease control measures which stand for distancing, mask wearing, handwashing, temperature checking, testing for Covid-19 and checking in using the mobile application Mor Chana.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Sinovac and AstraZeneca: The 2 primarly Covid-19 vaccines in Thailand

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล (Public Health Minister)

Since Thailand started its mass Covid-19 immunisation campaign in late February, the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine and the AstraZeneca vaccine, made in partnership with the UK’s Oxford University, have been used to vaccinate residents in Thailand.

The local firm Siam Bioscience is now producing the AstraZeneca vaccine and the first Thai-made batch is expected to be rolled out next month.

Type of vaccine

AstraZeneca: A recombinant vaccine from a modified chimpanzee adenovirus.

This is a harmless, weakened adenovirus that usually causes the common cold in chimpanzees. The adenovirus vaccine vector, known as ChAdOx1, was chosen as a suitable vaccine technology for a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine as it has been shown to generate a strong immune response from one dose in other vaccines. It has been genetically changed so that it is impossible for it to grow in humans. – Australian Department of Health

Sinovac: An “inactivated” vaccine, using inactivated virus particles to produce an immune response, a traditional approach for vaccines and the same technology used to produce the flu and polio vaccines.

The World Health Organisation says the vaccine is made by inactivating or killing the virus using chemicals, heat or radiation.

Effectiveness

Studies are still underway for both vaccines, while more studies of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been reported. In Thailand, a recent study by Chulalongkorn’s Centre for Excellence in Clinical Virology of the Faculty of Medicine found both vaccines effective.

According to the university study…

  • 99.49% of Sinovac recipients developed antibody reponses 4 weeks after their second injection.
  • 97.26% of AstraZeneca recipients developed antibody responses 4 weeks after their first injection.

Thailand initially used the Sinovac vaccine for people ages 18 to 59 due to limited research for the 60 and up age group. Thai health officials recently announced that recent studies show the Sinovac is safe and effective for adults over 60 years old who are in good health.

Global travel

A dilemma for many expats living overseas, or those wanting to travel in the future, is which Covid-19 vaccine to get as some are not recoginsed by other countries.

Both Sinovac and AstraZeneca have met the World Health Organisation’s critieria for safety and efficacy.

Some countries may not recognise certain vaccine passports, although international tourism is still in the early stages and proposed regulations are constantly changing.

Thailand recoginses vaccines that are either approved by the World Health Organisation or by the Thai government.

The European Union plans to reopen tourism to American travellers, but they may need to have a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency.

SOURCES: WHO | Healthline

 

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