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Coronavirus UPDATE – over 100,000 Chinese are still in Thailand

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE – over 100,000 Chinese are still in Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Commuters continue to move around wearing cheap, flimsy, and largely useless, paper face-masks -Thai PBS World
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This morning there remain 25 confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand. The death toll has now reached 724 with a total of 34,878 confirmed cases in the past six weeks. Over 2,000 have now fully recovered.

Meanwhile, around Thailand, many Chinese tourists and expats continue to circulate after being in the Kingdom for more than 2-3 weeks. Around 100,000 Chinese tourists and expats are currently in Thailand. This includes 2,038 who arrived on flights from the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak. A further 91,688 tourists are from Guangzhou, in southern China.

There hasn’t been any new confirmed cases in Thailand for three days but some of the earlier identified patients have now been released from hospital. No coronavirus cases have died in Thailand.

Immigration officials report that 1,004,067 Chinese passengers arrived in Thailand between January 1 – February 6. Of those, 889,567 have already returned home. In the same five or so weeks, there were 23,933 arrivals from Wuhan. 21,895 of these have now returned. Of the 103,944 passenger from Guangzhou, 91,688 have departed Thailand.

Pol Lt-Gen Sompong Chingduang, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, maintains that tourists from Wuhan and Guangzhou were a focus of stringent health screening when they arrived in Thailand, as well as random follow-up checks to make sure they have not developed symptoms. Only one visitor was isolated as a result of the checks and remains under observation awaiting results of lab tests.

The immigration Commissioner says that most of the Chinese visitors still in Thailand arrived before outbreak became a public health problem in Wuhan.

“Those who cannot return to China, due to travel restrictions, have asked to extend their visas and the Immigration Bureau has arranged for medical personnel to carry out health checks, so they can isolate and treat anyone found to have fever.”

Read about the Thai Health Minister’s ‘farang’ outburst yesterday HERE, and his later ‘apology’ HERE.

Earlier, the embattled health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that imposing a travel ban on Chinese citizens won’t help the government’s fight against coronavirus (2019nCo)v epidemic.

Speaking at a news conference, Anutin said the infection is being found even in countries and territories that have restricted or closed their borders to Chinese travellers. Instead of a travel ban, he says, the government will focus on increased screening and medical treatment, and a decision not to impose a travel ban will have “a positive result” on Thai-Chinese relations in the future.

His announcement is a U-turn from his previous stance, proposing a suspension of visas-on-arrival for Chinese tourists, a proposal that was rejected by the Cabinet. About 10.9 million Chinese nationals visited Thailand in 2019, the largest chunk of tourism revenues for the Kingdom. Tourism provides around 18% of Thailand’s total GDP.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus

All but one of 138 Thai evacuees from Wuhan return home as quarantine ends

Greeley Pulitzer

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All but one of 138 Thai evacuees from Wuhan return home as quarantine ends | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The 137 Thai evacuees from Wuhan, who have been under observation since February 4th, were allowed to return home today after final medical check-ups. - Thai Residents

137 Thai nationals evacuated from China’s city of Wuhan city, epicentre of the global COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak were allowed to return to their homes today after two weeks of quarantine. The 137 were certified by the Public Health Ministry yesterday to be free from the virus. One patient is still being monitored at a Chon Buri Hospital.

Some of the 137 were picked up by relatives, while another group was sent to bus terminals or airports by Royal Thai Navy.

Deputy Minister of Public Health Satit Pitutecha and Chonburi governor Pakarathon Tienchai gave souvenirs to the 137 today before their departure.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Coronavirus

Korea reports 15 more coronavirus cases, total now 46

Greeley Pulitzer

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Korea reports 15 more coronavirus cases, total now 46 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: People wearing face masks pass by a screen in Seoul - VOA

South Korea today confirmed 15 more cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus bringing its total number of infections to 46, amid growing concerns that the illness is spreading despite tighter quarantine measures. According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC), 13 new patients were found in Daegu, 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul. It’s presumed they contracted the illness from a 61 year old South Korean woman who was diagnosed with the virus infection yesterday.

The country’s thhirty-first patient, thought to be a coronavirus “super spreader,” also lives in Daegu. She complained of a fever on February 10 and was tested Monday at a local health centre, and was quickly sent to a hospital and placed in quarantine. The patient visited Seoul late last month, where she was was treated in hospital following an auto accident, then returned to her everyday life, in which she often used public transport.

All newly infected people have been placed in quarantine and are undergoing treatment.

The KCDC said yesterday that South Korea is entering a “new phase” with some confirmed cases not linked to existing spreads, meaning that those patients are judged to have contracted the COVID-19 virus without traveling abroad or coming into contact with other infected patients. The agency admitted it is not clear how some recent patients contracted the virus.

Korea reports 15 more coronavirus cases, total now 46 | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Warnings in Seoul – Yonhap

“The seeming lull in new confirmed cases last week can be seen as a transition period leading to a ‘second peak’ stage.”

SOURCE: The Nation |Yonhap

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Chinatowns around the world fall quiet over coronavirus fears

Greeley Pulitzer

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Chinatowns around the world fall quiet over coronavirus fears | The Thaiger
PHOTO: London’s Chinatown stands eerily deserted as revellers keep their distance - Mail Online

Chinatowns around the world, some centuries old, are quiet, as businesses to survive the effects of global concern over the COVID-19 outbreak. Businesses in Australia’s oldest Chinatown enclave, dating back to the influx of fortune-seekers during an 1850s gold rush, report their earnings have dropped by more than half and they have been forced to cut staff hours dramatically, a situation echoed in Chinatowns across the world.

Although China’s Hupei province, the epicentre of the epidemic is more than a ten hour flight way and Australia has seen just a handful of cases, the stigma of a disease that has now claimed more than 2000 lives is pervasive. One restaurant owner in Melbourne’s historic Chinese district complains: “Scaremongering is rampant. Customers won’t come in if they can avoid it.”

At the popular Empire Seafood Restaurant in Vancouver’s Richmond suburb, getting a table is now easy.

“Usually we’d have a large line-up time of approximately five-ten tables, but today there is no line up at all. Some people have already cancelled their parties and banquets. Many restaurants are seeing the same thing. Hopefully, this gets back to normal really soon.”

A ban on travellers from China has hit many neighbourhoods hard. In Australia, the travel ban has been compounded by almost 100,000 Chinese students being prohibited from flying in to start the academic year.

Hoping to reassure, many businesses have put up notices informing customers that they disinfect their interiors regularly to prevent disease. Others have even installed hand sanitiser for guests and give staff face masks and rubber gloves. But such measures appear to have limited success.

Many believe xenophobia has worsened the situation, and many people of Asian descent, Chinese or otherwise, complain of racism and say they feel ostracised. One Thai man working in the United Kingdom was assaulted in what he claimed was a racist attack linked to the current virus outbreak.

Fred Lo owns a souvenir store in San Francisco that’s usually frequented by tourists from Europe and South America.

“But for the past two weeks, there’s been a lot less people, at least 50% less, even though nobody is sick or has even been to China.”

Said Eddie Lau, president of Melbourne’s Chinese Chamber of Commerce:

“It’s unfair that a lot of people are scared of Chinese people,” “We tell people, ‘we are fine, don’t be scared’.”

One Chinese man in London says he’s clearly noticed others avoiding him in recent weeks, but understands why people are afraid and tries to take it in his stride.

“I travel by train every morning. One day last week, all the people were standing, and I’ve got an empty seat next to me. I laughed about it.”

SOURCE: The Bangkok Post

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