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South Korea issues travel advisory for Thailand

Greeley Pulitzer

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South Korea issues travel advisory for Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Medical personnel spray disinfectant on arriving passengers - File photo
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South Korea’s government is advising its nationals not to travel to Thailand due to the outbreak of the Covid-19 virus. Other countries on the advisory include Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and Vietnam. Vice Minister of Health & Welfare Kim Gang-lip told a press briefing that the measure aims to prevent the inflow of Covid-19 into the country.

Taiwan has asked Seoul to correct information reported by state-run news agency Yonhap, which said Taiwan is one of the places where the virus is spreading. Yonhap says the advice came after the World Health Organization on Sunday picked six countries as possible places where the virus is spreading within communities.

A Taiwan spokesperson said while Taiwan respects the South Korean government’s efforts to battle Covid-19, its information on the spread of the virus in Taiwan is incorrect. Taiwan has had 18 confirmed virus cases with no fatalities since the virus broke out in Wuhan last year.

Thai health officials recently confirmed another case of Covid-19, raising the total number of infections to 33. Lab tests confirmed she was infected with the virus on Feb 8th.

The director-general of the Department of Disease Control (DDC) says the new case is a 54-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan. She has been placed under observation as she had close contact with patients earlier diagnosed with the virus.

Among virus cases in Thailand, 23 patients remain in hospital, while 10 have fully recovered and been released from hospital.

Last month a South Korean woman tested positive for virus after visiting Thailand. The 42 year old, identified only as Patient 16, flew back to South Korea on January 19 after traveling in Thailand.

The DDC’s deputy director-general says the woman could have contracted the virus in Thailand. “It’s possible because the virus is already spreading domestically in Thailand.”

Thailand’s PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has repeatedly assured the public that the situation is “100% under control.” The PM says Thailand is fully equipped to cope with Covid-19 the virus, citing a recent rating by Johns Hopkins, which put Thailand 6th out of 195 countries for “effective early warning and preventive systems to cope with the outbreak of a communicable disease.”

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry rejected as untrue a report the virus is airborne, saying the coronavirus is transmitted by droplets from coughs and sneezes, and can only travel a few metres through the air.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Coronavirus

CORONAVIRUS update: Scientists debunk conspiracies, South Korea cases jump to 82

The Thaiger

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CORONAVIRUS update: Scientists debunk conspiracies, South Korea cases jump to 82 | The Thaiger

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”

China’s National Health Commission reports there has been 114 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak bringing the death toll to at least 2,126. 16,433 people have now fully recovered around the world. Around the world, there are 31 new cases in South Korea now which puts them in the top 4 countries with confirmed coronavirus cases. Japan has 84, Singapore also 84 and now South Korea has reached 82 cases.

Thailand’s confirmed cases remain at 35 with no new cases announced since Sunday.

China’s national health commission also reported 394 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, significantly lower than the 1,749 new cases reported the day before. The latest confirmed number of cases is the biggest drop in almost a month.


South Korea reported 31 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the number of people infected in the country to 82. Of the new cases, 23 cases were traced to church services that a 61 year old patient had attended in the central city of Daegu.

Yesterday, the Shincheonji Church posted a statement on its website confirming 10 of its members were infected by the woman who had attended services.


The US public network NPR reports that there are two basic approaches to stopping viral infections. One is to block an enzyme the virus needs either to make copies of itself or infect cells. The other is to make a monoclonal antibody, based on a recovered patient’s immune response.

Researchers around the world are already testing the first idea with an experimental, broad-acting antiviral drug known as Remdesivir, which works by “gumming up a virus’s ability to replicate”.

The drug is currently being tested in China on patients who have coronavirus (Covid-19). A study published just last week found that Remdesivir successfully reduced respiratory symptoms in rhesus monkeys exposed to another coronavirus that causes serious disease, MERS, or Middle East respiratory syndrome.

In other work, the biopharmaceutical company Sirnaomics, a US pharmaceutical company in Maryland, is hoping to use a gene-silencing technique known as “RNA interference” to turn off key genes in the new coronavirus. But first, the company must identify viral genes to target.

Patrick Lu, Sirnaomics CEO says the testing is ongoing.

“We are currently testing 150 of them using cell-based culture. We are working with groups in the US and China.”


A group of Australians have landed in Darwin airport this morning after being evacuated from the virus-stricken cruise ship in Yokohama Bay in Japan. About 180 nationals and permanent residents had earlier left Japan on a chartered QANTAS jet.

The evacuees had been confined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama for the past two weeks. The ship had a total of 621 confirmed cases of the virus, the most in any single location outside of China.


The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has sternly denounced China’s expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters and is urging Beijing to respect freedom of the press.

“Mature, responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinion. The correct response is to present counter-arguments, not restrict speech.”

The move follows official complaints from Chinese authorities about the headline of an opinion article in the WSJ, which referred to China as the Real Sick Man of Asia* and a decision by Washington earlier this week to treat five government-controlled Chinese news organisations as foreign government functionaries. The move is seen as a likely tit-for-tat move by the Chinese after the US’s open criticism of Chinese media.

* We’ve provided a link to the editorial but there’s a pay-wall if you want to read it


27 prominent public health scientists are pushing back against the steady stream of fake stories and even a debunked scientific paper suggesting a laboratory in Wuhan may be the origin of the outbreak of coronavirus. The scientists, from 9 countries, wrote their statement and were published in The Lancet yesterday.

“The rapid, open, and transparent sharing of data on this outbreak is now being threatened by rumours and misinformation around its origins.”

The letter does not openly criticise any specific assertions about the origin of the outbreak, but many posts on social media have singled out the Wuhan Institute of Virology for intense scrutiny because it has a laboratory at the highest security level, and its researchers study coronaviruses from bats, including the one that is closest to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

Conspiracy theories have included the possibility that the “virus was bioengineered in the lab” or that a lab worker was infected while handling a bat and then transmitted the disease to others. Researchers from the institute have insisted there is no link between the outbreak and their laboratory.

“We stand together to strongly condemn conspiracy theories suggesting that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin.”


The coronavirus outbreak that continues to paralyse China’s economy may have a silver lining for the environment. China’s carbon emissions have dropped by least 100 million metric tonnes over the past two weeks, according to a study published by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Finland.

“That is nearly 6% of global emissions during the same period last year.”

Over the past two weeks, daily power generation at coal power plants was at a four-year low compared with the same period last year, while steel production has sunk to a five-year low, researchers found.

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Coronavirus

Hong Kong police on a roll as third suspect in toilet paper heist flushed out

Greeley Pulitzer

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Hong Kong police on a roll as third suspect in toilet paper heist flushed out | The Thaiger
Photo: Shoppers with bags of toilet paper in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. Hongkongers have been snapping up surgical masks and toilet paper rolls amid the coronavirus outbreak - SCMP

Hong Kong has been gripped by panic buying since the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, as frightened residents hoard essentials like rice and toilet tissue. Now, a third man man has been arrested there for his role in a bizarre toilet paper heist, as a gang aimed to clean up during a run of frenzied buying in the city.

The 26 year old man was arrested up during a raid at a guest house not far from the scene of the robbery, in which 600 toilet rolls worth HK$1,640 (6,575 baht) were stolen at knife-point early on Monday morning.

“We believe the trio thought the rolls would have [market] value and that they could profit by reselling them. They knew each other and one of them has a triad background.”

“Triads” are traditional organized-crime groups originating from Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.

Police say the gang moved the toilet rolls in a trolley after the crime and that they anticipate more arrests.

At about 6am on Monday, three masked men stole 50 packets of toilet roll from a delivery man outside a Wellcome supermarket. Police say one of the men was armed with two knives.

Two people, aged 50 and 55, were arrested on Monday, and police said at the time they were seeking three others, thought to be aged between 20 and 30. Two of the arrested were guest house employees while the third was unemployed.

SOURCE: SCMP

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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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