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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“World Health Organisation is an unreliable source on health issues” – Thai doctor

Jack Burton



PHOTO: WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - The Boston Globe

With the Covid-19 crisis has all but passed in Thailand (today marks the 24th consecutive day without a local transmission), Thais now view the World Health Organisation as an unreliable source on health issues, at least according to a specialist at Bangkok’s Vichaiyut Hospital. He complains that the WHO is slow in providing information.

“Especially when they inform the public on certain issues, these tend to change constantly. The organisation previously caused Thais to panic about PM2.5 dust particles, using the United States as a standard.”

On June 9, a WHO official said Covid-19 asymptomatic infections rarely spread the virus. But 2 days later, after medical professionals in several countries refuted the statement, the WHO was forced to walk it back, calling it “a misunderstanding.”

The doctor also says Thais have done the right thing wearing facemasks, even before the WHO saw it as an important measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. He says the WHO was late on its announcement to that effect. He says 18 years in the US taught him that doctors from many institutions, such as the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, have their own measures, especially to deal with public health issues.

“The WHO’s advice and suggestions usually work for developing countries. Developed countries like Thailand have standards that are different from developing countries.”

Regarding PM2.5 dust particles, the WHO’s “healthy” limit is 25 micrograms per cubic metre (μg/m3), but even the US can’t follow that since the country’s annual PM2.5 level is 35μg/m3. Thailand has set its own standard at 50μg/m3 a year, double that of the WHO, he told Asia News Network .

Thailand’s government yesterday reported there were no new Covid-19 coronavirus cases and the country has gone 24 days without any locally transmitted infections.

“Academics say the ideal infection-free period is twice the 14 day period, which is 28 days. Above all, please keep using face masks in order to make the record good for Thailand and the world.”

Despite the minuscule numbers of new coronavirus cases in Thailand, the spokesman warned that the government still needs public cooperation in using the Thaichana checkin and checkout app which will help quickly trace patients if infection recurs.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times | Nation Thailand


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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.

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