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Two news cases confirmed in Thailand, pushing total to 37

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Two news cases confirmed in Thailand, pushing total to 37 | The Thaiger
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The Thai Public Health Ministry has announced two new Coronavirus cases in Thailand. A 31 year old woman and a 29 year old taxi driver. The two cases pushes the Thai confirmed Covid-19 confirmations up to a total of 37 cases since the outbreak began at the end of December last year.

Permanent secretary for health, Sukhum Kanchanapimai, confirmed that the woman was a housemaid and was initially diagnosed with a pneumonia of “unknown causes”. Doctors later discovered she had a relative who had recently returned from China. She continues to be treated at Rajavithi Hospital, near the Victory Monument in Bangkok.

The male patient has been admitted to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute in Nonthaburi. He told doctors he had been in close contact with many Chinese tourists during his travels and initially showed up with a fever and cough.

Health officials are now tracking down any people that had been with the pair during the past few weeks.

The Public Health Ministry say they have expanded surveillance for visitors from China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan and people around Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Chon Buri, Krabi, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Samut Prakan provinces.

The minister confirmed that 22 (60%) of Thailand’s 37 cases had fully recovered and already discharged, while 15 others remain at hospitals for treatment. Twelve of the 37 people are Thai.

As of this morning, patients under investigation number 1,580. Of these 1,160 simply had seasonal influenza, had recovered and had been discharged whilst being monitored.

Meanwhile, the outbreak continues to play havoc on airline operations and schedules. Many airlines are slashing ticket prices in efforts to keep their planes flying. Nok Air and NokScoot have cut pilots and cabin crew to save costs.

Thai Airways says they’re partnering with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to offer discounts such as free domestic tickets to international tourists. Under the six-month campaign, Thai Airways is offering 10,000 tickets to Thailand to international tourists with at least a 20% discount, plus a round-trip ticket for a domestic route operated by Thai Airways or their domestic subsidiary Thai Smile.

Low-cost carriers plan to focus on local tourists opting for domestic travel as there is a limited number of outbound choices free from the virus, according to the Bangkok Post.

Thai AirAsia is providing 100 baht discounts for any domestic routes within a designated period, while Nok Air is offering one-way ticket prices for domestic routes starting from 680 baht this month. Vietjet Air has marked down all routes across Thailand by 50%.

Read our latest daily world Coronavirus Update HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

International visitor numbers down 35% January-March, exceeding worst predictions

Greeley Pulitzer

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International visitor numbers down 35% January-March, exceeding worst predictions | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The Pattaya News

International visitor numbers to Thailand from January to March dropped by 8.5 million, or 35.3% year-on- year, according to the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. You can be sure the specific numbers for March would have been a lot worse.

The biggest decline, unsurprisingly, was in Chinese visitor numbers, which dropped by 59.4% compared to 2019, to around 2.4 million. China placed a ban on group tours leaving the nation in January as the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic began to spread. Visitors from Japan fell by 28% to 1.6 million, while those from Russia dropped only 0.6% per cent to 1.19 million passengers.

The top 10 sources of travellers to Thailand were China, Japan, Russia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Vietnam, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Taiwan, Cambodia, Myanmar and Indonesia.

Tourism accounts for about 16% of Thailand’s total GDP, and has been called the “lifeline” of the kingdom’s already battered economy. Thailand’s tourist industry could be decimated in the wake of the world coronavirus outbreak. Tourism accounts for an estimated 16% of Thailand’s total GDP.

Only weeks ago, the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand governor, mourned that, in a worst case scenario, Thailand could bleed 10 million of its projected 40 million tourist arrivals this year.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Former Deputy PM stresses need for more testing, emulating South Korean model

Greeley Pulitzer

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Former Deputy PM stresses need for more testing, emulating South Korean model | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Former deputy prime minister Dr Surapong Seubwonglee - Prachathai

“Test, test, test was the former Deputy PM’s message, especially now that the country has the labs to do so.”

Dr Surapong Seubwonglee, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand posted on Facebook urging the government to investigate the number of people tested for the Covid-19 coronavirus in Thailand and appeal for wider testing.

He gave several reasons why testing has been sluggish and said that now is the time to expand testing to asymptomatic individuals. Many recently cases confirmed cases have shown no symptoms.

With an improved number of testing labs, the country now has the capacity to do 20,000 tests daily. Labs could now do as many tests as they have done since January in just the next few days.

Surapong’ post said that testing for the virus has been low in Thailand, though it’s higher than reported on worldometers.info, which as of today says 71,860 have been tested, equating to just 1030 per million inhabitants.

He showed data that suggested 71,860 tests had been done from January to April 4th. The great majority of these were in Bangkok with Chula (pink on the graph) and Ramathibodi Hospital (Blue) the most.

Former Deputy PM stresses need for more testing, emulating South Korean model | News by The Thaiger

Surapong said that while the testing done in Thailand is just a fraction of that done in South Korea and Germany, Thailand found a greater percentage of people infected because they targeted high risk individuals rather than the asymptomatic population.

He said that tests in Thailand need to be massively expanded so that more people can receive medication early before their symptoms become dangerous. This model has been widely praised around the world after it was adopted in South Korea and Taiwan.

Surapong said there were several reasons for the sluggish approach. There were few testing labs at first and most of those were in Bangkok. But there are now 77 labs nationwide and the capacity for testing daily is now 20,000. There will be 107 labs by the end of the month.

He conceded that there have been problems over the cost of the tests and the lack of uniformity. Now the cost has been fixed at 3,000 baht, and Thais can access a test using their social security or other insurance.

SOURCES: thaivisa | Sanook

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Visa amnesty announced, awaiting PM’s signature

Greeley Pulitzer

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Visa amnesty announced, awaiting PM’s signature | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Twitter

With many flights cancelled, entire fleets grounded and hotels ordered closed, thousands of tourists and expats across Thailand are in a state of limbo… unable to leave, not allowed to stay. To make matters worse, social distancing requirements are creating chaos at crowded immigration offices nationwide, and onerous new requirements have been added for visa extensions. The situation has put foreigners and immigration officials at additional risk.

But the Immigration Bureau has announced that the Cabinet has approved a plan to offer automatic visa extensions for foreigners, though it will not come into effect until it has been signed by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

An immigration spokesman says a set of new rules, which also includes visa amnesty, has been approved by the Ministry of Interior Affairs and is due to be inked by the PM soon. The measure follows complaints of overcrowding and risk of virus infection at immigration offices across the country.

“It will be signed by the PM soon. Please wait for official announcements and don’t fall for online rumours.”

Details of the new rules emerged yesterday after local blogger Richard Barrow wrote on his social media platforms that the bureau has proposed plans to give every foreign national an automatic 30 day stay extension, citing sources within Immigration.

Richard also noted that the 90-day reporting will be temporarily suspended and those who have obtained permanent resident status will not lose their status if they are not able to return to Thailand within a one year period.

Visa amnesty will be granted to every foreigner, but the post did not elaborate on how it will be enforced.

“This is ready to be implemented straight away, but the Immigration Bureau cannot start until it has been signed by the PM. From what I understand, it’s already in the prime minister’s office. They are optimistic he will sign it very soon.”

“I just got off the phone with another Immigration official. So, it looks like the photos that I tweeted of long queues have caught the attention of the right people.”

But immigration officials said that concerned foreigners shouldn’t rely on online rumours…

“Who is he? He is not the Immigration Bureau. How could he come out to say something like that?We will make official announcements when it becomes effective.”

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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