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Hong Kong shutters schools again amid new virus transmissions

Jack Burton

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Hong Kong shutters schools again amid new virus transmissions | Thaiger
PHOTO: SCMP

Hong Kong’s education minister says that all schools will close again from Monday after a spike in locally transmitted Covid-19 infections. The move will bring forward the start of the summer holidays, after the city recorded an “exponential growth” of locally transmitted cases in the past few days. The city recorded 38 new confirmed cases yesterday alone, 32 of which were locally transmitted.

The jump marks a major setback for Hong Kong, where daily life was returning to normal, with restaurants and bars resuming normal operations and cultural attractions reopening. Despite sharing a border mainland China, where the outbreak emerged in late 2019, the territory had managed to bring local transmissions near 0 in recent weeks.

New infection clusters started emerging Tuesday, including at an elderly care home that reported at least 32 cases and a housing estate that reported 11. At least 21 new infections in the last 5 days have been classified as “of unknown in origin”, meaning authorities are still unsure how the disease is spreading. A spokeman for the Centre for Health Protection says authorities are facing “difficulties” in tracing the sources and the close contacts of those infected in the new cluster.

All secondary schools, primary schools and kindergartens will close from July 13, although schools will still be allowed to hold important examinations. Hong Kong’s public high schools closed in January during the early stages of the outbreak, and gradually reopened from May as the territory successfully curbed new infections.

Health authorities have already reintroduced limits on how many people can gather in restaurants, bars and fitness centres. A maximum of 8 people can sit together at restaurants while bars, pubs and nightclubs are limited to 4 people per table.

Hong Kong, with a population of around 7.5 million, has reported 1,403 cases of the virus and seven deaths.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Bloomberg

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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.

Thailand

Is spraying disinfectant on the Thai-Burmese border effective?

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Is spraying disinfectant on the Thai-Burmese border effective? | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Spraying disinfectant has been effective in the community but controversial in forested refugee camps.

Some controversy exists over the Royal Thai Army attempting to sterilize areas of the Thailand-Myanmar border by spraying disinfectant along the border region. The army sprayed areas set up as a temporary holding facility for many Burmese refugees. The move drew condemnation from critics who claimed the disinfectant was not effective and not worth the expense of implementation. A spokesperson for the Royal Thai Army responded to social media ire justifying the action.

The spraying was done after the Burmese refugees had returned across the border to Myanmar, after fleeing temporarily to escape the escalating humanitarian crisis following the February 1 military coup. After the refugees left, disinfectant was sprayed around the area in compliance with Public Health directives designed to slow the Covid-19 spread and maintain safety. The disinfectant was intended to kill any possibly contagious remaining virus or disease in the area.

The spokesperson said the military used existing government equipment they requested from the Ministry of Public Health to efficiently disinfect the area. She asserted that the spraying was not just to help local people, but also to reassure them that it was safe to return to their daily lives in the area, to go to work or do farming, without fear of becoming infected with Covid-19.

While the response online to the spraying disinfectant scheme is still generally negative, it’s worth noting that the same spraying has been used to effectively sterilize 162 schools and 268 other areas since January. The spray is a safety precaution to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and has been used throughout communities in places like bus terminals, marketplaces, temples and other places where people tend to gather.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bang Lamung Hospital is full, province using field hospitals and ASQ hotels

Tim Newton

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Bang Lamung Hospital is full, province using field hospitals and ASQ hotels | Thaiger

A spokesperson from the Bang Lamung Hospital in Pattaya says that all the beds put aside for Covid patients are now full and doctors are now having to refer newly infected people to Sattahip where the Navy have set up a field hospital. They’re also referring some patients to ASQ hotels.

The hospital said they had put aside 30 ward beds and 12 private rooms for Covid-infected patients but the beds had already been taken up following up to 500 people seeking tests at the hospital each day.

Chin Buri has reported another 97 infections today, about the same as the rest of this week. That makes the total in the province to 807 since the start of the month.

Confirmed by the government earlier this week, Thailand hospitalises everyone who tests positive. Or, alternatively they are sent to a field hospital or the government’s quarantine facilities where Thais were given free quarantine when they repatriated back to Thailand over the past year.

But the current upsurge of new infections being discovered in Chon Buri, and the rest of the country, is putting a strain on facilities. Some people who have tested positive are even being sent to ASQ hotels where the hospitals had used up their quota of available beds.

Public health officials in Chon Buri are currently urging people who are not considered ‘at risk’ to avoid hospitals at this time to allow faster processing of people who are considered at risk.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: New cases rise to 1,543, DDC recommends work from home in red zone areas

Maya Taylor

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Covid UPDATE: New cases rise to 1,543, DDC recommends work from home in red zone areas | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/กรมควบคุมโรค กระทรวงสาธารณสุข

Thailand’s Covid-19 infections are still on the rise, with the Kingdom reporting 1,543 new infections in the last 24 hours. Only 3 of those are imported with 1,540 being cases of community transmission. Thailand has now recorded 37,453 infections. 8,973 patients are receiving hospital treatment, 41 of whom have pneumonia.

11 people are currently in a serious condition on ventilators.

1,540 were community cases, most from the hot zone of Bangkok with 409 new infections. Chiang Mai had 278 new cases, Prachuap Khiri Khan 98 and Chon Buri (including Pattaya) 98.

UPDATE: Dr Chawetsan Namwat, the acting director for emergency health at the Department of Disease Control, says that people will need to consider working from home for 2 weeks if they live in a red zone area.

He said that it may be necessary to increase restrictions further to mitigate the upward trajectory of Covid-19 that is expected to rise after Songkran. Those red zone areas include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Narathiwat, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani and Sa Kaeo.

“To reduce risks, people should work from home after the Songkran festival.”

Covid UPDATE: New cases rise to 1,543, DDC recommends work from home in red zone areas | News by ThaigerHere’s the trajectory of the outbreak since April 1…

April 1 – 26 infections
April 2 – 58 infections
April 3 – 84 infections
April 4 – 96 infections
April 5 – 194 infections
April 6 – 250 infections
April 7 – 334 infections
April 8 – 405 infections
April 9 – 559 infections
April 10 – 789 infections
April 11 – 967 infections
April 12 – 985 infections
April 13 – 965 infections
April 14 – 1,335 infections
April 15 – 1,543 infections

Covid UPDATE: New cases rise to 1,543, DDC recommends work from home in red zone areas | News by Thaiger

 

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