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3,000 police officers to be deployed at next pro-democracy rally to “keep the peace”

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Public Affairs Division Thai Police

Around 3,000 police officers will be deployed at the October 14 pro-democracy rally at Bangkok’s Democracy Monument. The event marks the anniversary of the 1973 uprising which led to the end of the military dictatorship of anti-communist Thanom Kittikachorn. Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief Pakkapong Pongpetra says the officers will be there to “keep the peace.”

The 1973 incident precipitated a time of political turmoil in the country which culminated on October 6, 1976 with the incident known as the Thammasat University Massacre.

Multiple pro-democracy groups are involved in the next rally and large crowds have turned out to protests in the past few months, calling on an end to the military-run government and a rewrite of the 2017 constitution. The last rally at the Democracy Monument in August attracted around 10,000 people. Police say they have been “prepping” for the rally and following social media pages to get an idea of what to expect and how many people will be attending.

Metropolitan Police Bureau spokesperson Jirapat Phumijit says the bureau has asked provincial police from 5 regions to be prepared to send officers to the rally in case the number of participants exceeds their expectations.

“So far, the rally leaders have yet to submit documents asking for permission to hold the rally. However, we would like to ask rally leaders to keep the activity peaceful and within legal limits.”

A number of activist leaders faced charges after the September 19 pro-democracy protest at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus and adjacent Sanam Luang field for allegedly violating Thailand’s lèse majesté laws and for installing a plaque at a “registered historical site” (which was removed the following evening). Some activist leaders also faced charges after the July protest at Democracy Monument for holding a large gathering, and breaking the country’s coronavirus prevention orders under the Emergency Decree which was still in place at that time.

At next week’s rally, public health staff will have Covid-19 screening checkpoints set up and police will also check for contraband, Jirapat says.

“Traffic police would also be deployed around the areas to facilitate traffic flow for vehicles and pedestrians. We would later announce the affected routes as well as alternative routes that motorists could use to avoid the rally.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Bangkok. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket struggles towards herd immunity, vaccine rollout slow in other provinces

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ วัคซีนภูเก็ต (PR Phuket)

So far, 22% of the population in Phuket is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while the majority of provinces in Thailand have not vaccinated any of the residents, according to data compiled by researcher Peter Scully.

Bangkok, the epicentre of recent infections with more than 15,000 confirmed cases since April 1, has only fully vaccinated 1% of the population. Around 10 million people live in Bangkok. Surrounding areas Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi, which have all been hit hard by the recent outbreak, have each only fully vaccinated 1% of their populations.

Despite the recent wave of coronavirus infections, which has made up more than half of Thailand’s cumulative count of confirmed cases and virus-related deaths, the Thai government says they are still moving forward with plans to reopen Phuket to vaccinated tourists by July 1.

The island province has been rolling out a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to administer the 2-dose vaccine to 70% of the population by the end of June to reach herd immunity and reopen to foreign tourists. Tourism officials also plan to reopen Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.

It’s unclear exactly how many vaccines have been administered on the island of Koh Samui where health officials are rolling out a mass vaccination campaign. Some expats who work as English teachers on the island say they have received the vaccine. According to Peter’s data, 2% of the population in Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Province Population fully vaccinated
Bangkok 1%
Nonthaburi 1%
Phang Nga 1%
Phuket 22%
Ranong 1%
Rayong 1%
Samut Prakan 1%
Samut Sakhon 7%
Surat Thani 2%
Tak 3%

*Data compiled by Peter Scully

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thursday Covid UPDATE: 18 deaths and 1,911 new infections

Tanutam Thawan

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The Thai ministry of health has announced the Wednesday tally from Bangkok and the provinces. There has been 18 new Covid-related deaths and 1,911 new infections in the past 24 hours.

The oddly consistent daily tally suggests that the infection rate is steady and not running “out of control”. (The Thaiger is not suggesting anything ‘sinister’ about the numbers but notes, statistically, that there is little variance in the daily figures despite a highly dynamic situation)

29,680 patients are still under state-controlled care. 2,435 people were discharged from care yesterday.

Here are the provinces with the highest number of new infections reported in the past 24 hours…

Bangkok – 739

Nonthaburi – 273

Samut Prakan – 143

Chonburi – 76

Samut Sakhon – 65

Surat Thani – 53

Nakhon Pathom – 47

Ayutthaya – 35

Chachoengsao – 35

Pathum Thani – 31

Nakhon Si Thammarat – 31

The worsening situation in the Klong Toey ‘slum’ area, a community of some 100,000, is the BMA and government’s most pressing issue. There’s been a surge of resources and mass testing in recent days. After recently testing, 1,336 Klong Toey residents over a period of 3 days, results showed 1 in 14 people testing positive. This could produce a new spike in the daily infection total in the next few days.

Meanwhile, a spokesman from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that, following discussions with Thailand’s Centre of Disease Control relating to foreigners, expats and access to Covid vaccines, a further briefing on the matter will be made today.

On Tuesday, a ministry spokesperson Rungrueng Kitphati rolled back some of the earlier commitments to vaccinate “everyone”, including foreigners with a free Covid vaccine…

“The vaccines right now are only reserved for Thai people who are now at a high-risk level or living in the severe outbreak areas. Expats should wait for a clear policy from the government.”

He flatly denied reports of expats living in Thailand being allowed to register for free vaccines. But did offer a glimmer of hope…

“In the future, the country will provide more alternatives for vaccines so they could have a chance of getting it.”

Hopefully there will be some clarification of those comments. The Thaiger tips there will be another back-flip and foreigners will be offered some access to the next vaccine roll out (pure speculation on our part). We will report the results of that media conference as soon as it’s available.

Thursday Covid UPDATE: 18 deaths and 1,911 new infections | News by Thaiger

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid outbreak in Bangkok’s Klong Toey area is a major setback

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Stock photo via Flickr

The recent Covid-19 outbreak in Bangkok’s largest slum of Klong Toey, is a major setback for the Thai government’s efforts in controlling the virus’ third wave in the capital. In the overcrowded community, more than 300 infections were discovered just last month. Now, after recently testing, 1,336 Klong Toey residents over a period of 3 days, results showed 1 in 14 people testing positive.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is even admitting that the mass outbreak, in such a dense community of 100,000 people, is the most worrying. The residents, mainly who are considered to be in the low-income bracket, venture across the country’s capital daily by way of public transport, to work in various sectors. Travelling to other areas of the city is just one of many reasons the CCSA is closely watching the situation.

All at-risk residents in Klong Toey are being tested for the virus, but since results take 1 or 2 days, the chance of spreading the virus, even if asymptomatic, is high. As each housing is only a few feet from the next, self-isolating upon suspicion or displaying virus symptoms may be almost impossible for the residents.

As health officials race to squash a possible nightmare in the capital, community leaders are also pitching in to deliver food to the homes of high-risk residents. More beds are also being added to Bangkok field hospitals, with even the idea of setting up a field hospital in the slum gaining steam.

The Port Authority of Thailand has offered one of its Klong Toey warehouses to be used as a field hospital with the King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital offering medical staff and equipment to the field hospital, which will feature at least 100 beds. Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang is remaining positive, recently saying that the outbreak in Klong Toey could be under control in the next 2 weeks.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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