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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

World travel suffers as coronavirus outbreak drags on

The Thaiger & The Nation

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World travel suffers as coronavirus outbreak drags on | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: The impact from coronavirus is spreading faster than the virus - Norway Halal Tours
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The Public Health Ministry is asking Thais planning trips to Japan and Singapore to reschedule their visits, saying that travellers need to be aware of the rising number of people infected by the coronavirus (Covid-19) in those two countries.

Dr Sukhum Kanchanapima, the permanent secretary at the Thai Public Health Ministry, says the coronavirus outbreak had reached the third stage where local people, with no record of meeting with Chinese people, are found to be infected.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in Japan has reached 66, and in Singapore 77. Thailand remains at 35 confirmed cases, of which 15 are now fully recovered,

“Thais who visited Japan and Singapore in the past 14 days, and have a fever, have to meet doctors and will get treatment free of charge. The situation in Thailand is at the second stage but it must brace for the advent of the third stage.”

But the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on global tourism continues to accelerate rapidly. The impact of coronavirus is already being felt across the Asian continent. Travel agents, operators, and hoteliers are bracing for at least months, if not a full year, of disruption from the outbreak, with long-term effects that could ripple well into 2021.

Jack Ezon, founder and managing partner of luxury travel agency Embark Beyond, says the number of cancellations continues to mount – in his company’s case, 75% of his travellers have cancelled their February and March departures to Southeast Asian countries

“People are put off. Sadly, a lot of them are just saying, ‘I don’t know if I want to go anywhere right now.’ Or, in many cases, ‘I’ll just go next year.’ They’re worried about being anywhere close to the outbreak, or of getting stuck with cancelled flights if other hubs become infected.”

Chris Nassetta, the Hilton CEO, has told investors that he expects the impact of the new coronavirus to last anywhere from 6 to 12 months.

“Three to six months of escalation and impact from the outbreak, and another three to six on recovery.”

Catherine Heald, co-founder and CEO of the Asia-focused travel specialist Remote Lands, says it’s all been about picking the right weather in the past. She say now people are just cancelling their trips for this year altogether and starting planning for 2021.

“Business in China was already low this year because of negative press about trade wars. Only 3 out of 400 trips booked last year were China-only. China was a little soft this year for leisure anyway, and Hong Kong was a mess from July with the ongoing protests there.”

The broader Southeast Asia region had been benefiting from the overflow, but that momentum is on hold. “People are cancelling Sri Lanka and India just because it’s part of Asia. There haven’t even really been cases there, but so much is unknown that people are just staying away.”

(Sri Lanka has reported one case of someone infected with the new coronavirus and India has reported three so far)

Hotels understand travellers’ fears, nonsensical as they may seem. Many have extended gracious policies allowing people to change their plans throughout the Asia-Pacific region at no cost, as long as they rebook before the 2020 festive season.

But even travellers with itineraries for October have been inquiring about cancellations, according to the gossip out of leading hotel groups. They worry that if some drop in case numbers or a declaration about ‘containment’ doesn’t come soon, the malaise in the hotel industry will drag on, probably into next year.

It took the World Health Organisation four months from the moment it announced a global alert about SARS until it said the disease was ‘contained’ back in 2003, and then an additional five months for the WHO to wrap up its efforts to tally new cases.

According to aviation analysts at AirInsight, the SARS outbreak cost airlines US$10 billion, and that was at a time when global business, and the aviation business, was less developed. If it takes a similar nine months for the Covid-19 outbreak to pivot into “recovery” status, which is consistent with the industry outlooks, aviation will take an even bigger hit this time.

“Think about Fukushima,” Catherine Heald says, referring to the 2011 nuclear disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant.

“People didn’t regain trust or interest in travel to Japan for years. After many years of reassuring travellers they didn’t need to worry about radiation exposure, Japan suddenly became the fastest-growing travel destination in the world.

“If SARS was bad, this will be worse, but remember Ebola? It’s still in Africa, and safari bookings are stable. Remember chikungunya? Once the news cycle moves on, people will forget. Just like everything else, it’ll bounce back.”

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket residents instructed to stay home for at least 14 days

Greeley Pulitzer

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Phuket residents instructed to stay home for at least 14 days | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Investing.com

All residents living in the southern province of Phuket are being directed to stay in their homes for at least two weeks, starting next Monday, April 13. The provincial governor announced the measure last night to fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus on the island, which now has the highest rate of infections in Thailand and is the second worst hit province, after Bangkok.

The “request” will last from April 13 to April 26, “or until the situation improves.”

The document itself officially asks residents “to cooperate” by staying indoors. But an official at the Covid-19 Centre for Phuket, Vanida Yaprang, told Khaosod English on the phone today that the directive “amounts to an order, enforceable with a penalty” (we are chasing further clarification of her comment).

“It is an order. People can still come out if really necessary but only within each sub-district. Exceptions are medical staff, government officials and state enterprise workers. It is an order and those who violate it could face punishment.”

The order, seen below, lists 6 conditions and says violators face up to one year of imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of 100,000 baht. House-to-house testing is now being conducted around sections of the island.

Phuket has already announced travel restrictions between its 17 tambons, or subdistricts. Many other provinces have announced similar measures. Under these conditions residents are not permitted to travel between districts without important reasons to do so. Medical and food supplies, police and emergency services are exempt.

According to the order, people can only leave their homes only when absolutely necessary, such as to buy food and other essentials. In the area of Patong, where the infections are particularly high, food and water will be delivered to residents barred indoors.

Hotels and resorts on the island were ordered to shut down earlier this month. The latest order says that in cases where there’s a need for staff to stay on for necessary tasks, such as ledgering or maintenance, they must be housed on the premises to avoid commuting.

The announcement comes after the governor sealed the popular tourist island on March 29 and ordered the airport closed as of today.

As of Friday noon, 170 people in Phuket have now been infected by the coronavirus, with the bulk concentrated on entertainment areas around Patong.

The Thaiger will follow any further clarification of this dramatic new ramping up of the situation in Phuket.

Phuket residents instructed to stay home for at least 14 days | News by The ThaigerPhuket residents instructed to stay home for at least 14 days | News by The ThaigerPhuket residents instructed to stay home for at least 14 days | News by The Thaiger

SOURCES: Khaosod English | xinhuanet.com

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New guidelines for Thailand’s Covid-19 patients

Anukul

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New guidelines for Thailand’s Covid-19 patients | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: bbc.com

Due to the slow rise of Covid-19 patients in Thailand the Ministry of Public Health has set new guidelines for supporting treatments at public hospitals.

The established set of guidelines aims to reduce the risk of infection for other patients and medical personnel, reducing the congestion level at the hospitals and adjusting the treatment methods for patients that are suffering from the Covid-19 virus.

Patients from now on will be receiving timely treatment either sent to their homes or receiving medicine from their local pharmacies.

Director-General of the Department of Medical Services Dr. Somsak Akkasilp, says…

“The MOPH has established the guidelines in order to reduce the risk of cross infection. Patients whose health has improved will be allowed to receive medication at a pharmacy near their homes while some medicines will be delivered to them by post.”

“Some appointments for a health check might be postponed and some patients might be offered telemedicine (via video-conferencing). For patients whose health has not improved, the appointment will not be postponed. Emergency patients are able to access emergency room services as usual.”

Additionally the MOPH has also adjusted the guidelines for the treatment of Covid-19 patients by allowing them to receive Favipiravir (an antiviral drug) earlier in their treatment.

Those with minimal or no symptoms must still be hospitalised for safety reasons for containing the spreading of the disease to others. While the most important thing is the public must provide complete and accurate information to the medical authorities.

SOURCE: The Nation / Thainews PRD

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirous cash handouts may not last full 6 months

Greeley Pulitzer

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Coronavirous cash handouts may not last full 6 months | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO

The much touted 5000 baht handouts to “informal workers” affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus, originally announced for 3 months but later extended to 6, may not actually last that long, Thailand’s finance minister said yesterday. More than 20 million people have signed up for the grants, but only some 9 million of them are eligible, and the government has issued stern warnings about fraudulent applications

The government has plans to give the money for a maximum of 6 consecutive months to Thai nationals who qualify nationwide, but it might finish sooner than planned, depending on the future COVID-19 situation, according to the finance minister.

While the grant was initially projected to cover 3 consecutive months beginning this month, it might be terminated when the pandemic situation ends. The grant is primarily designed for self-employed, independent earners without Social Security coverage such as taxi cab drivers, taxi motorcyclists and small-time vendors, among others.

It does not extend to casual workers such as Thailand’s estimated 300,000 sex workers.

SOURCES: Khaosod English | xinhuanet.com

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