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Soldiers sent to fight forest fires in the North

Jack Burton

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Soldiers sent to fight forest fires in the North | The Thaiger
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With Chiang Mai again declared the world’s most polluted city today, and with air quality worsening across northern Thailand, soldiers from Royal Thai Army 3rd Army Region have been deployed to detect and fight forest fires. Forest fires and agricultural burning, both in Thailand and neighbouring Cambodia, have created extremely poor air quality levels. Rangers from the 35th Scout Regiment have been deployed alongside the 32nd Scout Regiment from Nan Province, and the 31st Scout Regiment of Chiang Rai to detect fires in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Lampang provinces.

The newly deployed rangers will be sent to fire-prone areas to patrol for fires and arrest anyone they find starting them. The rangers will also assist fire officers in fighting fires, Chiang Mai One reports.

Local media report that 456 hot spots were found across Chiang Mai Province this morning alone. Of those, 187 are in National Parks; 260 in protected forests, five in community areas and three along highways.

The Pollution Control Department reports that air quality in the North will grow worse this week due to the cross-border burning of fields and farmlands, which has already created high levels of PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter), in the region.

The department cited heat signature readings, which have spiked around Tachileik city at the Burmese border in Chiang Rai. Despite a burning ban in Chiang Rai, haze from neighbouring Myanmar and Laos is choking the north. The PM2.5 dust levels in Chiang Rai have once again reached very unhealthy levels.

Soldiers sent to fight forest fires in the North | News by The Thaiger

Soldiers sent to fight forest fires in the North | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times | Chiang Mai One

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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

Thailand non-profit offers Zoom calls with Santa and his elephant friends

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thailand non-profit offers Zoom calls with Santa and his elephant friends | The Thaiger

Santa Claus isn’t at the North Pole this year. He’s in Northern Thailand. And he’s not with elves. He’s mixing in with some of Thailand’s beloved elephants. Don’t believe it? Give him a Zoom call.

Zoom calls on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with “Santa & his Elves” are offered by the Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort and the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation.

Zoom calls with Santa and his elephant friends are limited, and pricey! The effort is intended to raise money for the program which ethically cares for elephants that were formerly in the entertainment business. The reservation for a 20 minute call requires a $2,500 USD donation.

Those interested in supporting the elephant program can make a donation. “Elephant trunk calls” are also available during the coming year, but Santa won’t be around after Christmas.

The resort’s director of sustainability and conservation, John Roberts, says it costs $18,000 USD a year to feed just 1 elephant. A $20 donation feeds an elephant for one day.

“Since the start of the national lockdown in Thailand in March, we have taken in three elephants and their mahouts. The COVID-19 elephant refugees, whose camps were unable to care for them and would ultimately have left them unfriended and unfed, are now matched with friendship groups and, of course, have their own diet plan.”

To make a donation to the Golden Triangle Asian Elephant Foundation, click HERE.

SOURCE: Travel and Leisure

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Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai officials insist province is now safe to visit

Maya Taylor

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Chiang Rai officials insist province is now safe to visit | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Ryan Harvey/Flickr

Officials in the northern province of Chiang Rai are assuring potential tourists from the rest of the Kingdom that it is safe to visit, saying the Covid-19 situation is under control. Chiang Rai hit the headlines in recent weeks, when a number of Thai nationals entered the province illegally from Myanmar. After bypassing health checks and quarantine, several subsequently tested positive for the virus, resulting in a handful of local infections.

Now deputy provincial governor, Worawit Chaisawat, is anxious to assure the rest of the country that the situation has been brought under control. He says the province has recorded no new local cases since the beginning of December. The only new infections in the province are imported cases brought in by those returning through the proper channels and entering state quarantine.

Around 180 Thai nationals are thought to have been employed at the 1G1-7 Hotel in the Burmese border town of Tachileik. Some media reports and claims from local residents say the 100 room, 4 storey hotel was used as a centre for prostitution. It became a hotbed of Covid-19 infections, causing much of its Thai workforce to flee, crossing back into Thailand illegally. Worawit says the resulting mini-outbreak of infections has now been brought under control and those who visit the province are not required to quarantine on their return home.

“We need to spread the word that there are no new infections in Chiang Rai. Visitors do not need to quarantine, and they are welcome to travel here. A flora festival is coming.”

The Bangkok Post reports that yesterday, the province recorded 6 new cases of the virus, all in state quarantine. All are believed to have arrived from Tachileik. Thailand recorded a total of 28 new cases yesterday, including 1 case of local transmission in a Bangkok nurse who had close contact with a Covid-19 patient.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Returnees from Myanmar account for 9 of 17 new Covid infections today

The Thaiger

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Returnees from Myanmar account for 9 of 17 new Covid infections today | The Thaiger

Today, Thailand has reported 17 new cases of the novel coronavirus found in people entering Thailand from other countries, with 9 infected returnees coming from Myanmar through the Mae Sai district in northern Chiang Rai.

All 9 were women who had worked at nightspots in Tachilek, the Burmese border town, featuring the now infamous 1G1-7 Hotel, which was the site of a Covid-19 breakout. They returned to Thailand on Friday and tested positive on arrival. All returnees were sent to the Chiang Rai Prachanukroh Hospital for treatment, as it has been designated as the go-to hospital for returnees from the area.

4 other Thai nationals tested positive after returning: a woman from the US, a woman from Switzerland, a man from Japan and a woman from Bahrain. The other 4 cases were foreigners arriving by air from overseas destinations: a Swiss man from Switzerland, a Pakistani man from Pakistan, an Indian man from the US and a British man from the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai authorities are axing the idea for a mandatory 14 day quarantine for touristswho have returned from those areas back to other parts of Thailand, after the spike in cases from the border town Tachilek in Myanmar brought 38 local cases of Covid.

Dr. Prasit Watanapa from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital says the coronavirus currently circulating in Myanmaris a different strain and is being transmitted 20% faster than the one detected in Wuhan at the start of the pandemic.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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