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Virus cases on Japan cruise ship climb to 135

Jack Burton

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Virus cases on Japan cruise ship climb to 135 | Thaiger
PHOTO: Passengers pass the time onboard the Diamond Princess, quarantined off the coast of Japan - The Nation

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess has climbed to 135. Sixty-five new cases were confirmed on the ship, which has been quarantined off the coast of Yokohama since February 5. Patients showing symptoms have been transferred to local hospitals.

Authorities have allowed some of the tourists to return home. The government says there were 3,700 people on board and they are being quarantined for 14 days. Authorities confirmed that the release date for the ship is February 19.

While the death toll from the virus has surpassed 1000, all but two fatalities have been in China. Nevertheless, there is a risk on the ship to the elderly and passengers with chronic disease. As many as 80% of the passengers, around 600 people, are over 60, with 251 people aged over 80 and 11 people aged more than 90. Some passengers told the Japanese press they’ve asked the government to provide more medics.

Meanwhile, the World Dream cruise ship, which was quarantined in Hong Kong, allowed 1,800 passengers who tested negative for the virus to disembark. Three passengers on the cruise ship were found to be infected in January.

SOURCE: The Nation

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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.

Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines

Thaiger

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No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to Covid-19 hotlines | Thaiger
Photo via Wikimedia

No one answered PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s calls to the country’s Covid-19 hotlines. The prime minister is now ordering more staff to work for both the 1668 and 1669 Covid-19 hotlines to make sure calls don’t go unanswered. There is now an official LINE account primarily for Covid-19 patients requesting hospital beds after the hotlines were “overwhelmed” with callers, a spokesperson said.

After both of his calls to the hotlines went unanswered, Prayut says he wants to look into how the hotlines are managed.

“I tried both numbers, but nobody answered. I want to find out if this is because there are too few health personnel manning the lines, or if they are too busy tending to patients in hospitals.”

With the recent wave of infections at a record high with more than 18,000 active cases, more than doubling the last wave’s peak, hospitals have turned down Covid patients due to a shortage of beds. Recent reports say some Covid patients have been denied a ride in an ambulance. Prayut says he wants both problems to be dealt with immediately.

“I want the Public Health Ministry to urgently deal with this problem. I can’t accept the fact that entire families are getting infected because they are being denied medical help.”

A spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said at a recent press conference that there are thousands of calls made to the 2 hotline numbers and not enough people to answer.

Covid-19 patients seeking a hospital bed can send a LINE message to @sabaideebot with their name, lab results, ID number, telephone number and address.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals

Thaiger

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Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,470 new Covid-19 infections and 7 deaths were reported today by the CCSA. 446 new cases are in Bangkok which remains the hotzone of new infections, although the latest outbreak has now spread to most Thai provinces. Out of the 7 deaths, one was a 24 year old Thai woman with a history of visiting an entertainment venue in the southern province Surat Thani where other Covid-19 infections were reported.

The young woman’s death is a rare case as the vast majority of Covid-related deaths in Thailand are the elderly or older adults with pre-existing conditions. Health officials say the woman suffered from obesity and died 3 days after testing positive for the virus. At present, there are 18,148 patients in state care… 14,555 in hospitals and 3,593 in field hospitals.

Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported a total of 48,113 Covid-19 infections and 117 coronavirus-related deaths.

The other Covid-related fatalities include…

  • 68 year old Thai woman with pre-existing conditions of asthma
  • 83 year old man from Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of high blood pressure
  • 80 year old woman with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 45 year old woman in Bangkok with high blood pressure
  • 59 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of diabetes
  • 86 year old man in Bangkok with pre-existing conditions of heart disease

Here are the provincial totals for today, as published by the NBT…

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,470 new Covid-19 infections, 7 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: CCSA | Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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