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Coronavirus – Taxi driver first human-to-human infection in Thailand

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus – Taxi driver first human-to-human infection in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 19 cases in Thailand, and first human-to-human case confirmed - Science Daily
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Four Chinese airline passengers from China’s Hubei province, and one Thai citizen – a taxi driver – have now been confirmed as infected with the novel coronavirus. The announcement came from the Permanent Health Secretary Sukhum Karnchanapimai says in a briefing in Bangkok. The latest announcement brought the current toll of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Kingdom to 19.

Of note, the taxi driver is the first instance of a local human-to-human viral transmission. The driver had never travelled to China, let alone since mid-December when the Wuhan coronavirus was first identified. Since his diagnosis, Thai health officials have traced 13 people who had been in close contact with the taxi driver, but none have tested positive for the virus at this stage – the update from the deputy head of the disease control department, Tanarak Plipat.

“He does not have the record of travelling to China, and it is likely that he was infected by a sick traveller from China.”

Up to this announcement, all Thailand’s previous cases have been either Chinese tourists or Thai citizens who had visited China. The virus originated in Wuhan, Hubei Province, in Central China during the middle of December last year.

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Coronavirus, and Thailand’s property market

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus, and Thailand’s property market | The Thaiger

The Coronavirus outbreak poses challenges for Thailand’s real estate market as potential Chinese condominium buyers remain stranded in China. Analysts believe Chinese condominium transfers in 2020 will be at least 25% lower than average because of the challenges. Meanwhile, some believe that the outbreak may bring opportunities for non-Chinese buyers and in the long-run, the Chinese may be looking for an overseas refuge in the event of these types of emergencies.

Market remains weak

The pandemic, which started in China, is hurting the condominium market as Chinese nationals account for half of the international buyers in Thailand, or 57.6% of the total foreign condo owners in 2018.

Vichai Viratkapan, acting director-general of the Real Estate Information Centre says that 50% of Chinese condo transfers are expected to disappear in the first 2 quarters of this year and the total transfer value by the Chinese will miss the mark of the usual 29 billion baht by about 25% (around 7 billion).

However, since Chinese property buyers only make up 6% of the total international and domestic housing transfers in Thailand, the total housing transfer number in the country is likely to be similar to last year.

Thailand adjusts GDP growth target due to coronavirus

On Monday (February 17), the Office of the National Economics and Social Development Council said Thailand’s GDP growth rate is predicted to be about 2% this year, a record low in the last 6 years. They forecast the rate will be achieved if the pandemic ends before April or May, tourist arrivals reach 37 million, and the world economic growth grows 3.2%, among other factors. Otherwise…

The Chinese are reluctant to complete transfers

The virus has continued to affect hospitality operators, including hotels and condominiums that service tourists, nationwide. Since China has suspended tours, put restrictions on movement, and locked down cities, home to over millions of people, it also poses a threat to real estate developers as their clients are unable or unwilling to fly.

“Currently multiple off-plan condominium developments are approaching completion, and Chinese clients are unable or unwilling to transfer. Chinese clients who made a reservation in Q4 2019 are requesting a refund and withholding their investment,” said Marciano Bijmohun, Business Development Director at FazWaz Property Group.

He believes every condominium that is in transfer status will see the percentage of non-transfer units rise in the coming months.

“These non-transfer units will cause a big financial hit to developers.”

If a client refuses to transfer, does not comply with the terms and conditions stipulated in the sales and purchase agreement, and decides to release the property, their deposits will be forfeited.

“However, there is some good news, these non-transferred units can be offered with a discount to new clients.”

Also, as China has been susceptible to a few disease outbreaks – from bird flu and swine fever and the current coronavirus – it may prompt Chinese buyers to look for second homes outside of China.

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Israel travel ban rankles Thailand

Greeley Pulitzer

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Israel travel ban rankles Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: A total of 137 people walk out of the quarantine facility at the Sattahip Naval Base in Chon Buri yesterday - Wichan Charoenkiatpakul, Bangkok Post

Thailand wants Israel to reconsider its decision, announced Tuesday, to ban Thais from entering the country in a bid to control the spread of deadly coronavirus (Covid-19). Israel banned all non-Israelis who have been in Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong and Macau in the previous 14 days. Previously, Israel’s health ministry had imposed only a 14-day house quarantine on visitors from the four areas.

As a result of the ban, the Labour Ministry will be forced to postpone sending Thai workers to Israel under an employment cooperation project between the two countries. Pannabha Chandraramya, the Thai ambassador in Tel Aviv, met Gilad Cohen, deputy director-general for Asia and the Pacific at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to explain Thailand’s measures to prevent and control coronarivus and clarify the outbreak situation in Thailand. Thailand hopes Israel will review the ban after learning about the measures, given the good relations between the countries.

The vast majority of virus cases are in China; only 35 cases have been confirmed in Thailand, 17 of whom have made full recoveries and been discharged from hospital. Thailand has had no fatalities related to the virus.

Israel travel ban rankles Thailand | News by The Thaiger

SCREENSHOT: Johns Hopkins CSSE

“Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs listened and understood. It will contact other agencies, particularly Israel’s Ministry of Public Health.”

Meir Shlomo, Israel’s ambassador to Thailand, told reporters yesterday that the Israeli Ministry of Health’s decision was aimed at preventing the spread of the Covid-19 to Israel. He says Israeli ministries are following developments closely and re-assessing the situation in Thailand and other countries and territories daily.

“No one knows at this stage how long the current situation will last.”

However, Schlomo says the two countries will “continue to share information and preserve a spirit of mutual confidence, as they have done in so many fields for so many years”

“Several thousand Thai tourists, businesspeople and workers in agriculture travel to Israel every year. We do hope they will all be able to reschedule their flights and travel to Israel in the very near future.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Three Thais on Yokohama virus ship have COVID-19 coronavirus

Greeley Pulitzer

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Three Thais on Yokohama virus ship have COVID-19 coronavirus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Passengers disembark from the Diamond Princess - Euronews

Officials today announced that three Thai nationals aboard the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Yokohama, are infected with the Covid-19 coronavirus, the same day two elderly Japanese passengers are reported to have died from the disease. Foreign affairs spokesman Cherdkiat Atthakor said three Thais, one passenger and two crew members, are now being treated in hospital in Japan.

“Their conditions are stable… Japan admitted them to hospital when their symptoms showed, before the test results were known.”

Cherdkiat says there were two Thai passengers and 23 Thai crew members on the Diamond Princess and the other passenger tested negative, has disembarked and will soon return to Thailand. The other 21 Thai crew members continue to work on board.

The 14-day quarantine of the cruise ship ended yesterday, and uninfected passengers are being allowed to disembark until tomorrow. Meanwhile, the Consular Affairs Department has warned Thais to leave mainland China “while there are still outgoing flights available.”

The department said on its Facebook page that people who do not need to stay in China should consider leaving while airlines are still flying out. It also advises against visiting China at this time.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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