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Coronavirus spreads north and south in China – 139 new cases reported

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Coronavirus spreads north and south in China – 139 new cases reported | The Thaiger
PHOTO: New cases reported over the weekend are concerning health offficials - BBC.com
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Another 139 new cases of a flu-like disease caused by a new strain of coronavirus in China has shocked health officials. There’s also been a third confirmed death reported today. Worse, the outbreak has now spread beyond Wuhan in central China where the virus was first identified. There have been cases reported in Beijing, a province next door to Shanghai and Shenzhen in southern China.

Health authorities in Beijing have now confirmed two cases of the new coronavirus today, while Guangdong authorities in southern China reported one new case in Shenzhen as well. The Shenzhen case is the first confirmation that the virus has spread domestically beyond Wuhan.

The Wuhan Health Commission announced today that 136 new patients had been diagnosed over the weekend – 1 person died from the virus, 2 remain in critical condition, 33 are in serious condition. All three patients that have died are believed to have visited Wuhan in the last month or so.

The new cases have brought the total number of people diagnosed with the virus in China to 201. That’s a big jump over numbers reported over the weekend.

Meanwhile, health authorities in Shenzhen, bordering Hong Kong, say they are monitoring eight patient. All eight have been quarantined for treatment. In coastal Zhejiang province, bordering Shanghai, authorities have now reported five new suspected cases who have been confirmed to have visited Wuhan. Last week, three cases were detected outside China — two in Thailand and one in Japan. All cases have been linked to Wuhan. On Monday, South Korea also confirmed its first case of the virus.

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market at the centre of the pneumonia outbreak in he city of tWuhan has been closed for disinfection since January 1.

Meanwhile, Thai officials are stepping up screening efforts with many flights flying in from Wuhan over the next few weeks for the Chinese New Year holidays. Health officials say they’re confident that their screening efforts will detect any infected passengers getting off flights at Thai airports.

SOURCE: CNN

Coronavirus spreads north and south in China - 139 new cases reported | News by The Thaiger

GRAPHIC: Bangkok Post

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Road deaths

2 dead, 18 injured in Nakhon Si Thammarat bus crash

Greeley Pulitzer

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2 dead, 18 injured in Nakhon Si Thammarat bus crash | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Two people have been killed and 18 more inured in a bus crash today in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat - Bangkok Post

Two people have been killed and 18 more inured in a bus crash today in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. Police say the bus overturned after sliding backward while ascending a steep hill in Khanom district, killing two passengers and injuring 18. The incident occurred at about 11:30am while the bus was transporting tourists back to Songkhla province after a trip to Surat Thani.

The bus driver, 47 year old Phankhom Tulathon, told police that while passing through Khanom district, the northernmost district of Nakhon Si Thammarat, passengers asked him to drive up a hill called Noen Thewada, a famous tourist spot, for sightseeing.

Phankhom says that while climbing the slope, he found the bus was not powerful enough. Although he shifted to a lower gear, the bus began sliding backward, and quickly gathered speed. The bus veered off the road, hit a tree, overturned, and ended up on its side.

Two women were crushed to death. They were identified as 46 year old Sansanee Phurangsee and Ajjana Nopkhunkachorn, aged 63, both from Songkhla’s Hat Yai district.

Eighteen other passengers were injured, three of them seriously, and were rushed to nearby hospitals.

Police are questioning the bus driver to determine the exact cause of the incident.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus

Korean virus cases skyrocket; Japanese passenger turns positive

Greeley Pulitzer

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Korean virus cases skyrocket; Japanese passenger turns positive | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Medical workers in South Korea - File photo

The number of COVID-19 coronavirus cases in Korea has increased tenfold in just four days to 556, and a passenger on the virus-stricken Diamond Princess tested positive after arriving home in Japan, despite a negative result during the ship’s 14-day quarantine. Yesterday, China’s Hubei province, where the outbreak began, saw 96 deaths, another decrease, in line with the toll reported in recent days.

The US has raised its travel alerts for Japan and South Korea to Level 2, while China remains at Level 4, meaning “do not travel.” Britain “advise against all but essential travel to Daegu and Cheongdo” in South Korea, and Italy, the country with the most infections in Europe, is banning passage to and from an affected area southeast of Milan.

Korean virus cases skyrocket; Japanese passenger turns positive | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Worldometers.info

China has pledged fiscal and monetary steps to help global growth rebound, even as finance chiefs from the world’s biggest economies, gathering in Saudi Arabia for the annual G20 meeting fret over the risks. The IMF says its baseline scenario is now for China to expand 5.6% this year, 0.4 of a percentage point lower than a January estimate, knocking 0.1 of a point off global growth.

SOURCE: Bloomberg News

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Songkran

Top 10 dos and don’ts for the 2020 Songkran festival

The Thaiger

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Top 10 dos and don’ts for the 2020 Songkran festival | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Songkran is a lot of fun but there's also things you can do to protect yourself during the annual festival

Heading to Thailand for the 2020 Songkran festival? Want to know the dates, where to go and the dos and don’ts for this amazing water festival in Thailand?

Songkran is a single name given to a series of concurrent events – an astrological ‘new year’, a Buddhist festival, the ‘change’ from dry season to wet season and a humongous water festival.

The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word saṃkrānti, literally “astrological passage”, meaning transformation or change. The term was borrowed from Makar Sankranti, the name of a Hindu harvest festival celebrated in India each January to mark the arrival of spring. The date also coincides with the rising of Aries on the zodiac chart and with the New Year of many countries around South and Southeast Asia.

Whilst Songkran has traditionally been celebrated with a gentle washing of Buddha images and some tame pouring of water amongst relatives, in the last few decades it’s morphed into a big water fight where, if you dare to venture outside on April 13 (and following days in many regions), you WILL get wet. And ‘getting wet’ may not be a gentle tinkle from a kid’s water pistol. It’s just as liable to be an entire bucket of ice-cold water.

Songkran will be held on April 13 but in many of the tourist locations it will run until at least April 15 as well. In Chiang Mai and parts of Pattaya it can run even longer. As a guide, if the locals aren’t throwing water at each other, don’t start pumping litres of water from your plastic weapon – you may have your dates mixed up.

Top 10 dos and don'ts for the 2020 Songkran festival | News by The Thaiger

Somehow the Songkran traditions morphed into a national water fight!

Here’s a few things to do if you want to celebrate Songkran like the locals

1. Use public transport, for your best safety, and to reduce the amount of traffic on the streets. There will be a lot of people travelling on the roads and sois (streets) throughout Songkran as many Thais head home for the holidays (it’s the time of the year when Thailand experiences its worst road toll).

And, if you’re on a motorbike you’re going to end up with buckets of water thrown at you by enthusiastic locals lining the streets. Take a taxi or any other transport, or walk. Parking will also be at a premium on the day, especially at the Songkran party hotzones.

2. Learn a few phrases for the day. “Sawasdee pee mai” (Happy New Year) is a great start. This is a good way to pass on your good wishes to the locals on their special day of celebration. If you’re carrying your latest expensive Nikon with interchangeable lenses for the day you better learn “Mai!” (no!) and point to your investment whilst shouting at the same time. Even better, leave your expensive camera at home, take a waterproof smartphone instead, or carry your camera or phone in a sealable plastic pouch.

3. If you’re going to go Thai Traditional for the day and visit a local temple (Wat), dress appropriately and follow the lead of the locals in regards to ceremonies and behaviour. Make sure your knees and shoulders are covered. Pour water from around the neck of the Buddha statue, not over the head. It’s also traditional to pour water onto older people’s hands to indicate your gratitude. Don’t bother packing your water pistol if you’re heading to the temple, it’s a much more gentle celebration here.

4. Put all your important stuff and electronic devices into a zip-lock plastic bag – passport, camera, money. Even better, leave your valuable things at home or in the hotel safe. If you head outside on the Songkran days, you WILL get wet, so don’t act surprised or get angry if someone hurls a bucket of water at you as you wander down the street. It will be done with a smile and with the best of intentions. Save your Sunday clothes for church or a visit to meet the mother-in-law.

5. Some clothes can become very revealing when wet (hence the wet T-shirt competitions??). So wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes. What may be an accident could end up with a few giggles, but may be offensive to some people and even get you arrested.

6. There will be pick-pockets around on the day, especially in the touristy areas. With all the confusion, noise, moisture and bodies, you’ll be an easy target if you haven’t taken precautions to make it difficult for a pick-pocket to lift your valuables without you even knowing.

7. Wear waterproof sunblock. It’s the hottest time of the year and whilst all the water, fun and noise will distract you for hours, the sun will keep beating down and leave with a nasty sunburn if you don’t take precautions. You may be on holidays but the sun isn’t.

8. Eat properly beforehand and make sure you hydrate throughout the day. You’re going to burn plenty of energy and keeping hydrated is really important. Even though there’s lots of water flying around, you need to keep drinking fresh water whilst you’re out enjoying yourself. And DON’T drink the ‘water’ they’re putting in the buckets or water pistols. It could be from anywhere – it certainly won’t be fresh drinking water.

On that point, you’re going to end up sloshing around in a filthy swill of dirty water combined with sweat, suncream, spilled drinks and heaven-knows-what. And some of this is going to end up sprayed, maybe straight into your face. If you have cuts or abrasions you’d be mad not to cover these up and do your best to avoid getting avoidable infections. Songkran can be a potential health hazard!

9. There are plenty of ‘weapons of choice’ available for a serious Songkran assault. But the larger pump-style water cannons are generally frowned upon these days. You’ll be much happier with a smaller water pistol rather trying to stumble around with a few kilos of water all afternoon. Remember, it’s not the size of your weapon, it’s how you use it!

10. In the party locations Songkran is all about noise, fun and probably lots of alcohol as well. If you plan on having a few drinks whilst you’re water-playing as well, make sure you have friends around that can support you on the day, and night. Whilst the intention is to have awesome fun, it can get messy and potentially dangerous. Not everyone visiting the Songkran hotspots has your best intentions at heart.

HERE’S a few places and local festivals to enjoy your Songkran around Thailand this year.

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