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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Is a 24 hour national curfew next?

Sean Kelly

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PHOTO: Chang Rai Times

The Thai government may impose a 24-hour curfew if the rate of new Covid-19 infections does not slow to a manageable level after this current national trial curfew of 10pm to 4 am and 8pm to 3am in Phuket now in effect. The national curfew was announced yesterday by Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and came into affect from today. There are number of provincial curfews already in place.

Government spokeswoman Mrs Narumon Pinyosinwat made the comment today that the Government will assess the results of the nationwide partial curfew. If the curfew is not having the desired effect, the Government may take a more drastic step but she said that PM Prayut Chan-o-cha does not want to resort to such a “bitter pill”.

Pinyosinwat says it may not be required if the public cooperates with public health advice to stay home and observe strict social distancing when in public.

SOURCES: Chang Rai Times | Thai PBS

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Multi-day traditional Thai funerals shortened for Covid-19 safety

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Traditional Thai Buddhist funerals need to be shortened for Covid-19 safety.

Traditional funerals in Thailand last several days with ceremonies and mourning before the eventual cremation of the lost loved one. But with the rising death toll of Covid-19, funeral ceremonies have needed to be revised and shortened for the safety of attendees. With infections in Thailand catapulting from 29,000 in early April to 74,900 as of yesterday, funerals have to adapt to account for not only handling the remains of someone who died from Covid-19 but also infected mourners attending the funerals.

Traditional Buddhist funerals involve family members, friends, and often the local community joining together to offer condolences, pray, share meals, and view the body, placing flowers on the dead loved one before they are moved into an incinerator for cremation. Family members often sleep in the temple where the ceremony takes place, staying on-site for several days. But in the Covid-19 era, services need to be shortened and socially distanced, with family members that do come close to the dead body requiring disinfection and possibly isolation afterwards. Volunteers in full PPE protection gear often remove the casket from an ambulance moving it straight to the crematorium rather than allowing it to lie in repose first.

Siam-Nonthaburi Foundation is a volunteer group that is assisting people to conduct safe funeral services for those who may be unable to afford them. They work with the Nontha Buri temple of Wat Rat Prakong Tham just outside of central Bangkok to arrange free cremation services. Foundation officials pointed out they’re often handling 4 funerals per day because of Covid-19 when they usually only conduct 1 each day. They have to take severe Covid-19 precautions as it is a high-risk endeavour.

After assisting with many funerals and helping with Covid-19 safety, they advised maximum caution especially with older family members as the majority of the funerals they conduct were for the elderly.

Thailand has now had 315 death from Covid-19, with the third wave spreading faster and deadlier due to the B.117 variant that first appeared in evening entertainment venues in Bangkok and other hot spots. Yesterday the first recorded infection with the Brazilian variant was identified in Thailand, but in an arriving passenger who went into immediate quarantine, so there is hope that the strain has not made it into any communities yet.

With a difficult-to-control Covid-19 pandemic and Thai funeral traditions bringing people in close proximity to each other and to the deceased, precautions and revision of tradition has been necessary to speed services into the cremation process far more quickly.

SOURCE: France 24

 

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Protests

Activist lawyer contracts Covid-19 in prison

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Activiets lawyer Arnon Nampa has been infected with Covid-19 in prison. (via Wikimedia)

Arnon Nampa, an activist lawyer in jail without bail since February on lese majeste charges has been infected with Covid-19, according to his Facebook page. An anonymous source at the Corrections Department confirmed with Reuters that Arnon had tested positive yesterday and has been sent to the prison hospital for treatment. The department later released a press statement confirming the activist he had Covid-19.

Held without bail for more than 3 months, Arnon has been a leader in the pro-democracy demonstration calling for the resignation of PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, along with a revision of power for the Thai royal family. The protests had gained momentum last summer and still maintain widespread support though the government has cracked down on marches and demonstrations. They have discouraged political dissent by using the lese majeste law, which carries harsh penalties of up to 15 years in jail for anyone who insults royalty in Thailand.

Arnon, who is 36 years old, confirmed this morning he was being taken to the Medical Correctional Hospital in the Chatuchak District of Bangkok. He has been a key legal advisor who helped activists voice a push for reform that was previously unspeakable in Thailand. Once only whispered in private conversations, the call for reform has now been thrust into the spotlight by student protests.

Thailand has seen several outbreaks of Covid-19 within the prison system throughout the country. Clusters in Narathiwat that later spread to Surat Thani prisons as well, and outbreaks in larger prisons in Chiang Mai and Bangkok have recorded about 475 coronavirus infections within prison walls.

The jailed attorney is one of many protesters and activist leaders who have been held for weeks or months without bail on lese majeste charges. 22 year olds Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul are both on a hunger strike to protest being denied bail multiple times. Penguin was hospitalized last week after his health condition worsened, and there are reports that his trial may be delayed after the activist was exposed to Covid-19 by being held in a cell with a prisoner later confirmed to be infected.

SOURCE: Reuters and Coconuts

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals

Thaiger

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,911 new Covid-19 infections and 18 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 76,811 Covid-19 infections and 336 virus-related deaths.

There are now 29,680 active cases. 1,073 patients are in critical condition including 356 on ventilators. The majority of the recent deaths were elderly patients. 12 of the 18 patients who died had contracted the virus from family members. A spokesperson for the CCSA says it’s important that family members be extra cautious around grandparents and elderly relatives who are the most at risk of infection.

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 739 16,048
Nonthaburi 273 2,831
Samut Prakan 143 2,737
Chon Buri 76 3,039
Samut Sakhon 65 1,230
Surat Thani 53 975
Nakhon Pathom 47 717
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 35 575
Chachoengsao 35 402
Pathum Thani 31 1,060
Nakhon Si Thammarat 31 498

COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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