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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

WHO spokesman: Covid-19 may never be wiped out

Jack Burton

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WHO spokesman: Covid-19 may never be wiped out | The Thaiger
PHOTO: WHO head of emergencies program, Dr Michael RyanNew - Indian Express
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As nations around the world begin gradually lifting lockdown restrictions enacted to stem the spread of Covid-19, the World Health Organisation is warning that the virus may never be completely wiped out. The virus was first detected in Wuhan in China in December last year and has now infected more than 4.3 million people and killed nearly 300,000 worldwide.

The WHO’s emergencies director spoke at a media conference yesterday.

“We have a new virus entering the human population for the first time and therefore it is very hard to predict when we will prevail over it. This virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities and this virus may never go away.”

“HIV has not gone away, but we have come to terms with the virus.”

More than half the world’s population has been put under some form of lockdown since the Covid-19 crisis began. But the WHO warns there’s no guarantee that easing restrictions won’t trigger a second wave of infections.

“Our recommendation is still the alert at any country should be at the highest level possible.”

The WHO spokesman stressed that there is a “long, long way to go” on the path to returning to normal, emphasising that countries will “have to stay the course.”

“There is some magical thinking going on that lockdowns work perfectly and that unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers.”

He also condemned attacks on healthcare workers linked to the pandemic, saying more than 35 “quite serious” such incidents were recorded in April alone, in 11 countries. He said such attacks were often overreactions from ill-informed communities, though others were more sinister.

“Covid-19 is bringing out the best in us, but it’s also bringing out some of the worst. People feel empowered to take out their frustrations on individuals who are purely trying to help. These are senseless acts of violence and discrimination that must be resisted.”

But he insisted that, in finding a way to conquer the virus, there is a chance for humanity to take a major step forward, by finding a vaccine and making it widely accessible.

“It’s a massive opportunity for the world.”

SOURCE: AFP

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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.

Crime

Arrest warrants sought for 8 civilians suspected of smuggling migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Arrest warrants sought for 8 civilians suspected of smuggling migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AP

Deputy national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas has confirmed that arrest warrants are being sought for 8 civilians implicated in the illegal smuggling of migrant workers. The Bangkok Post reports that the 8 face charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. The workers were trafficked from Myanmar to the central Thai province of Samut Sakhon, where the latest outbreak of Covid-19 began last month. 20 police officers are also being investigated for their role in the smuggling operation. They have been suspended from duty pending a full investigation. It’s thought there are up to 25 police officers suspected of involvement.

“After tracing the migrant workers’ route into Samut Sakhon and then jobs at its shrimp market, we found that most received direct assistance from more than 20 police officials and eight civilians. They smuggled the workers across the border in Sangkhla Buri district of Kanchanaburi and then provided transport to get them to Samut Sakhon.”

Damrongsak says an investigative committee is being set up prior to criminal prosecution and disciplinary action being taken against the police officers involved.

“A formal fact-finding procedure will be carried out before both disciplinary and legal action is pursued against them.”

The committee, which is being chaired by the assistant national police chief, will work with a separate panel set up by the government to investigate the role of police officers in people smuggling. The committee is mostly made up of police officers. Damrongsak says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha insists that investigating officers carry out their duties in an honest and transparent manner.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

40 arrested in a suspected gambling house in Nonthaburi

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40 arrested in a suspected gambling house in Nonthaburi | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Last night, police raided a house in Nonthaburi and arrested 40 people for allegedly gambling.

According to the deputy chief of the Central Investigation Bureau, 33 are Thais and 7 are migrant workers of the casino. The officials also confiscated decks of cards of the Dragon-Tiger game, plastic chips and some cash as evidence.

During the raid, the migrant workers allegedly revealed that the gambling operations at the home had only been going on for 2 days and that the owner planned to move it to other locations.

Police have been cracking down on gambling after the Covid-19 outbreak at a Rayong gambling den in line with the PM’s order made last week to shut down the illegal venues and tracking down “influential figures.”

SOURCE: National Thailand

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Thailand

Former finance minister proposes legalisation of gambling

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Former finance minister proposes legalisation of gambling | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Tabloid

With Covid-19 cases linked to some illegal gambling dens, causing a headache for health officials trying to track down elusive gamblers to contain the virus, the former Finance Minister floated the idea to legalise gambling.

The former Finance Minister and current leader of the Kla Party, Korn Chaitkavanich, claims legalising gambling will help contain the spread of Covid-19. He also hinted that it will gain more tax revenue. If it’s legalised, gamblers will spend their money in legal casinos that pay taxes, drawing in more money the government can use for public improvements, he says.

The Royal Thai Police spokesperson insists police are pursuing legal action against owners of the illegal gambling dens. Interior Minister Anuphong Paojinda has also told provincial governors to suppress illegal gambling dens and take responsibility if more gambling dens are found.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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