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Thailand’s Covid-19 snippets (Sunday)

The Thaiger

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• The last service out of Singapore’s Changi Airport to Bangkok left yesterday with just over 20 passengers – mostly Thai citizens trying to get home. After Thailand’s emergency decree was announced on Thursday, it banned all but its own citizens from flying into the country with strict, almost impossible, requirements of special papers, called ‘fit to fly’ documents. Almost all passengers wore face masks and some wore gloves around the airport and on the plane.

Singapore currently reports has 802 cases of the virus and, despite being one of the early countries to develop new cases outside China, has now been praised for its swift and rigorous process of testing, quarantines and tracking of contacts.

• Thailand’s Centre for Disease Control in Bangkok yesterday reported 109 new Covid-19 cases and one more death, bringing the total of cases from January to 1,245 infections, including 6 deaths. Yesterday’s new death was a 55 year old diabetic woman.

• The Thai government is warning that people in Thailand are not practising social distancing, resulting in a steady spread of the coronavirus around the Kingdom. Despite last Thursday’s announcement of an emergency decree, people remain very ‘sabai sabai’ about the new measures to control the spread of the virus despite requests for Thais, expats and visitors to stay at home. Last week the Thai PM said if Thais don’t comply with the requests for limited lockdowns and to stay at home, then curfews will have to be enforced.

• The Centre for Disease Control has agreed that Thailand’s procurement regulations will be relaxed to allow the Food and Drugs Administration, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, and the Comptroller-General Department to fast-track the purchase process and import of personal protective gear for medical personnel, and other medical equipment.

• In Phuket, the Patong beach zone has become a hotbed for coronavirus infections as most new cases were found in the area in recent days. So the provincial government has closed down ALL Phuket’s beaches from last night. In addition, the Governor has also closed down all zoos and animal show venues.

The provincial communicable disease committee yesterday reported 6 new confirmed patients, one of them a man from Uzbekistan, bringing the total to 47. 4 of the new infections were found in the Patong area, 2 of them linked to Bangla Road red light district, and 1 each in Kata and Karon beaches. No deaths have been reported on the island.

There is now an advisory from the Phuket Provincial office that people must stay at home or in their accommodations every night from 8pm – 3am, with the only exception “of an URGENT errand”.

• Kasikornbank, Siam Commercial Bank, Krungthai Bank and TMB-Thanachart Bank will remain closed today, as they also closed yesterday (Saturday), while electronic services will remain available. At this stage those branches intend to re-open tomorrow.

• A Thai man stranded in Ireland has filed a petition with the Central Administrative Court seeking an order to precent the enforcement of two specific requirements for Thais trying to fly home. Arthit Suriyawongkul claims the requirements are “unconstitutional”.

The current demands from the CAAT require that Thais flying home have a fit-to-fly health certificate and a letter issued by a Thai embassy or consulate certifying they are flying home. In his petition, Mr Arthit says the requirements “violate the constitutional rights and freedoms of Thais”.

“They are also a financial burden, pose health risks and are a waste of their time.”

“As well, they do not benefit the public while unnecessarily creating additional hurdles and burdens for people.”

He’s started the change.org petition “Thais must be able to go home”

 

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals

Jack Burton

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Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | The Thaiger

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen many heartwarming outpourings of charity, with a lot of businesses, both Thai and foreign, handing out free meals and essential goods to those affected by the crisis. The southern province of Phuket is no exception, with many pubs and restaurants joining in. But people in the island’s Bang Tao district might be surprised to learn that their meals were prepared not only by a career chef, but a student and disciple of legendary Chef Paul Bocuse.

Pablo Blattman, owner of Dedos restaurant, and his crew hand out more than 160 free meals a day and have now donated well over around 2,500 meals to the community. Blattmann, born and raised in La Paz, Bolivia, by a Swiss mother and Bolivian father, says the two cultures gave him insight in different universes of flavours.

At a time when most neighbouring restaurants are shuttered (or crippled by the ban on alcohol sales), Blattman says he wants to “give something back to the community which has given me so much.”

Phuket chef hands out over 2,000 free meals | News by The Thaiger

Although the crisis means Blattman must temporarily close the restaurant (again) at the end of May, he intends to go on giving back to the community.

“Our commitment to our community is still here, and we will keep our efforts up, but in a different way: dry food, going to workers’ camps, going upcountry… be assured that every penny donated will reach people in need. We are keeping a strict accounting on all our expenses and any donor is welcome to check it.”

Those wishing to support Dedos’s charitable efforts may visit its Facebook page.

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