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US Covid-19 cases pass 1 million as Germany starts wearing masks – VIDEO

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Covid-19 cases in the US passed the 1 million mark in the past 24 hours, with US President Donald Trump claiming that the high number are “because of better testing”. The outbreak has left tens of millions unemployed in the US and nearly 60,000 dead, by far the highest number of confirmed fatalities – well over a quarter of the global death toll of 218,000+.

At the same time hard-hit countries across Europe, and some south east Asia countries, are now looking towards easing lockdowns and lifting some restriction.

Meanwhile, facemasks are mandatory in all German shops from today. New cases rose there for the first time in 3 days as the government weighs removing more curbs on public life. Face coverings were already compulsory on buses, trains and trams.

“We all need to take care that we don’t end up with more infections.”

Germany is being closely watched around the world as data on infection rates shows mixed results.

France plans to begin reopening shops in May, while Spain is preparing for a “new normal” as Europe’s hardest-hit nation gradually eases restrictions over the next 8 weeks.

French PM Edouard Phillipe warns that even a gradual return to everyday economic activity is “risky,” despite the downward trend in virus deaths. Shops, markets and selected schools will reopen next month in France, with masks required on public transport and work-from-home orders in place for several more weeks.

Italy, Spain and France have been the worst affected European countries, each with more than 23,000 deaths. Sweden, which has taken a bold, yet laissez faire approach to the crisis and tried to keep business and some schools open, has nearly reached 20,000 cases.

Spanish authorities say restrictions would be slowly lifted over the next two months, while Italians will be able to exercise outdoors and visit relatives from next week, but hugs and handshakes will not be allowed (expect to see the Thai wai becoming a popular greeting around the world).

Excitement over a move toward “normality” is tempered in many places by fear of new outbreaks or a second wave, and by growing evidence of the economic devastation wreaked by the pandemic. Forecasts warn of the worst global recession in a century, with consumer demand gutted, spending power greatly reduced and travel and tourism in ruins.

British Airways is the latest airline to sound the alarm, saying it may have to cut its workforce by a third. And European plane manufacturer Airbus is foreshadowing mass job cuts due to the plunge in demand for new aircraft.

In Lebanon there is more urgent evidence of economic crisis, with protesters confronting soldiers in defiance of a nationwide lockdown.

“I came down to raise my voice against hunger, poverty and rising prices,” 41 year old Khaled, told AFP, saying he lost his job and couldn’t support his 3 children.

More than 3 million people worldwide are known to have caught the respiratory disease that first emerged in China in late December, but the actual figure is thought to be much higher as many countries only test the most serious cases.

China’s outbreak appears to be under control with no new deaths reported for 13 straight days and confirmed fatalities around 4,600, although much doubt has been cast on whether the numbers are accurate and some world leaders are blaming ‘China’ for the outbreak as a means of deflecting criticism of their delayed response to the pandemic.

Scientists are scrambling to develop better treatments and a vaccine for the disease, with myriad studies underway, including one by the US Department of Homeland Security into how ultraviolet radiation could be used as a treatment for the virus. The investigation was prompted by the US President’s remarks at a briefing last Friday about untested treatments that he believed deserved further experimentation.

While that research is yet published, and largely dismissed by scientists, Indonesians are soaking up rays like never before in the hope that the country’s plentiful tropical sunshine will fend off the disease. Accordiing to one housewife in Indonesia’s cultural capital Yogyakarta…

“I always avoided the sun before because I didn’t want to get tanned. But I’m hoping this will strengthen my immune system.”

SOURCES: Thai PBS World | Bloomberg

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Tourism

Prachuap Khiri Khan’s scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today

Jack Burton

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Prachuap Khiri Khan’s scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: tielandtoThailand

Chon Buri and Hua Hin aren’t the only places reopening their beaches. Today, Ao Manao, the scenic beach in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan will also be open to the public. The crescent shaped bay belongs to the Air Force Wing 5 miltary base. Like all Thai beaches, it’s been closed for two months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since Monday, the beachfront Fa Chom Kluen hotel has been available for booking for overnight stays. The beach will also open for swimming.

The reopening of Ao Manao is in contrast to the beaches in neighbouring Phetchaburi province, where an official announcement from the provincial governor allows all beaches including the popular Cha-am beach to reopen, but no swimming or watersports. The governor instead allowed food vendors and other service providers, including those who provide horse riding and beach chairs, to resume business.

In Chon Buri, on the east coast of the Gulf, all beaches in the Pattaya area have been open since June 1. But group activities like beach volleyball, jetskiing and banana boat rides are still not allowed. Those who offer beach chairs for rent must follow social distancing rules by placing the seats at least 1 metre apart, otherwise the service will be suspended. A violation could result in up to a year in prison and/or a fine up to 100,000 baht.

In Phuket, residents can still just look, but not go on, their famed beaches. Hotels have been given permission to open again on the island but few are bothering with the costs and expense as there are few people available to fill rooms. Phuket’s airport remains closed although June 15 is being widely tipped, but not confirmed, as the date for re-opening to domestic flights.

Scheduled international flights are still banned until at least the end of June.

In a related development, interprovincial bus operator Nakhonchai Air resumed its services Monday. Travel restrictions under the Emergency Decree had previously banned all trips of more than 300 kilometres.

The company is implementing social distancing rules by allowing passengers to sit only in window seats. Passengers must wear masks all the time and must check in and out before and after boarding the bus by using the Thai Chana app.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Prachuap Khiri Khan's scenic Ao Manao beach reopens today | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Electricity discount has been switched off

Jack Burton

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Electricity discount has been switched off | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English

Yesterday the Ministry of Energy announced that the national electricity discount from March to May, which differed based on the amount of electricity used and size and type of the venue, has ended and will not be renewed. But, at best, the discount was merely a perfunctory political gesture, not a useful saving for most Thai residences. The discount was 3% for most residents.

The discount was enacted to ease the financial burden of households and businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis. About 22 million homes are expected to be affected. The statement, from the energy minister himself, said the discount was not extended as the situation has stabilised and many people are able to return to work, and the country has been reporting daily virus cases in the single digits for weeks.

But Thailand has still not allowed all businesses to open and millions, based on government estimates, remain out of work, especially in the tourism, hospitality sectors, including bars, nightlife, sports and entertainment venues, due to forced closures and a ban on international arrivals. Moreover, schools are still closed, leaving millions of students stuck at home for extended periods.

The Energy Ministry also noted on their website that the hottest time of the year has passed, and gave tips for those still out of work or working from home on how to save money on electric bills.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government to decide which “red” businesses can reopen in next phase

Jack Burton

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Government to decide which “red” businesses can reopen in next phase | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Walking Street Pattaya

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration revealed today that the government is now considering which high-risk or “red” businesses will be allowed to reopen under Phase 4 of lockdown easing. CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin says that the virus could be with us for months or even years, so the government must carefully consider which “red” high-contagion-risk businesses can reopen. The CCSA has asked operators of “red” businesses for their Covid-19 preventive plans and measures so the agency can make a decision on whether they can reopen.

Here are the businesses and activities currently in the running to reopen in the fourth phase:

  • Educational institutes – for classes, training, and exams
  • Nurseries and centres for the elderly
  • Educational science attractions (hundreds of them!)
  • Meeting rooms holding more than 200 attendees
  • TV and film productions with crews of more than 100 people
  • National parks (restricted to certain areas)
  • Remaining unopened beaches
  • Amusement parks, playgrounds, and game centres
  • Gyms, fitness centres, and sports stadiums (that haven’t already been opened)
  • Convention halls larger than 20,000 square metres, for concerts, expos, and events
  • Entertainment venues, pubs, bars and karaoke outlets
  • Large massage shops

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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