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Protesters call rally in Bangkok to support activists charged over German Embassy petition

Maya Taylor

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Protesters call rally in Bangkok to support activists charged over German Embassy petition | The Thaiger
Protesters arrive at the German Embassy to deliver their petition last October. PHOTO: เยาวชนปลดแอก - Free YOUTH
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Pro-democracy activists have called a protest at Thung Mahamek police station in Bangkok, in a show of solidarity with 13 protesters arrested for delivering a petition to the German Embassy. Last October, members of the pro-democracy Ratsadon group led a march of thousands of people to the German Embassy on Sathorn Road. The protesters’ plan was to submit a petition urging the German government to investigate allegations that His Majesty the King was ruling Thailand from Germany.

13 activists were subsequently taken into custody and have been hit with charges of lèse majesté or violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code. Thailand’s lèse majesté law, which prohibits criticism or defamation of the Monarchy, is considered to be one of the harshest in the world. Those found guilty face up to 15 years’ imprisonment.

Yesterday, protest group The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration posted on its Facebook page, urging those who wanted to support the charged activists to join this morning’s rally.

“Tomorrow, 13 alleged offenders in the German Embassy case are scheduled to meet with the prosecuting attorney at Thung Mahamek police station. We have organised a meeting in front of the station from 10am. If you have no trouble going there, please join us to provide support to the 13 protesters.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied?

The Thaiger

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Phuket lifts mandatory quarantine restrictions for ‘high risk’ arrivals. But were they ever applied? | The Thaiger

Culminating 2 weeks of mass confusion over the apparent mandatory self-quarantine for arrivals to Phuket from Bangkok and other high risk provinces, Phuket’s provincial communicable disease committee has agreed to lift the mandatory 14 day quarantine “to help boost the local economy hit by the Covid-19 pandemic”.

But for the vast majority of arrivals from Bangkok (DMK and BKK) to Phuket there wasn’t even any mention of quarantine. Over the past 2 weeks, since Phuket’s Governor released a 3 page announcement about new restrictions for the island, people have mostly been coming and going as usual. The only additional impediments were all arrivees having to download and fill in the Mor Chana app and registering with gophuget.com.

In 2 weeks not a single person has reported to The Thaiger that they had been forced to self-quarantine. Last night, when checking in at Suvarnabhumi airport for a Thai VietJet flight to Phuket, the person at the Check-In counter told the passenger (we’ll call them Mic to protect their identity) they would have to serve 14 days in state quarantine upon arrival in Phuket. Mic, surprised, asked for some sort of confirmation of this from airline management or information from the Phuket Provisional officials. None was forthcoming. Nothing more was said or communicated to the passengers.

When the plane landed in Phuket officials checked that passengers had completed the Mor Chana app and scanned their phones after they’d completed the gophuget.com registration. And that was it. No mention of quarantine.

The situation has been repeated by other Thaiger staff over the past 2 weeks as well, but without any mention of quarantine during the check-in or boarding procedures with various airlines. In all cases they flew from Suvarnabhumi or Don Mueang airports.

Phuket’s Governor Narong Woonciew says the decision to ease the Covid-19 restrictions for visitors followed calls from the business community seeking to lure visitors to Phuket. (The Thaiger wonders if any of these officials had actually travelled over the past 2 weeks)

Local businesses met with provincial authorities on Friday proposing an end to the mandatory quarantine period “for people travelling from certain high-risk areas” in the hope of “stimulating the tourism industry”. The proposal was less about stimulating and more about raising the industry from its current flatline.

But whatever mandatory quarantine they were asking to be lifted appears to be have been, at best, loosely applied anyway.

Phuket has has a triple hit. The first when the borders were closed in April and the international airport closed. The second was when December arrived, the start of the busy tourist high-season. The third was the new restrictions added 2 weeks ago in response to the 2nd wave of clusters that started on December 20, tripling the total number of Covid infections in the country in just over a month.

According to Bangkok Post, Sarayuth Mallum, president of the Phuket travel industry council, says… “strict disease control measures remain necessary to protect local people and tourists from contracting the virus”.

Somehow, the mandatory quarantine requirement instructions never reached the airport officials. But, for now anyway, the “restrictions” have been lifted anyway. What was you experience arriving in Phuket over the past week? Were you asked to conduct a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine?

In the meantime the struggling domestic airlines have been forced to massively cancel or reschedule flights. Over the past 2 days most airlines only had 1 or 2 flights to and from Phuket and Bangkok, down from the 4 – 10 daily flights some airlines were offering.

More about the Mor Chana App here…

More about the direct effects on the island of Phuket…

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Bangkok

Courteous thief apologises to Bangkok convenience store: Sorry I’ve a kid

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Courteous thief apologises to Bangkok convenience store: Sorry I’ve a kid | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Sanook

A young man armed with a knife allegedly robbed a convenience store in Ladprao district of Bangkok, stealing 1,800 baht. Before fleeing on a motorcycle, he apologised to the staff, saying “Sorry. I’ve a kid”.

It’s really hard to find a thief with good manners these days.

The female staff who was in the store when the man came in told the reporter that she saw the man in a cream shirt with short sleeves, walking in the store and carrying a bag. He suddenly pointed the knife to threaten the staff for money. The terrified staff walked to the cashier counter and gave him money.

After checking CCTV cameras, police say the thief is between 25-30 of his age, and was not wearing a face mask. He was seen parking his motorcycle in front of the store before entering. He appeared to be carrying what looked like a fruit packing knife. The police are now tracking him down.

SOURCE: Thai Visa| Sanook

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Thailand

Efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines will drop during mass inoculations: Thai virologist

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Efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines will drop during mass inoculations: Thai virologist | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siam Rath

Thai virologist Dr. Yong Poovorawan from Chulalongkorn University, has spoken about claims that the efficacy of every vaccine available today, including Covid-19 vaccines, tend to lower after being used in mass inoculations, compared to the findings from the laboratory during human testing trials.

He recommends that people should not rely solely on the vaccines alone because uncertainty will remain during the roll out phase of the new inoculations.

“The best way to protect themselves is to practice basic safety standards as we usually do today… wearing face masks all the time when going outside and in crowded venues, regularly washing hands, and maintain social distancing.”

On his Facebook page, Dr. Young cited the case of Hepatitis B vaccines that claimed between 94-95% efficacy. But after use on mass populations, its efficacy dropped to about 80%. He believes this trend will be the same as Covid-19 vaccines.

“Although the manufacturers claim the vaccines’ high efficacy, that is just the laboratory results. In practice, several variables may cause lower effectiveness of the vaccines.”

He also says that the real effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines, both the American from Pfizer and the Chinese from Sinopharm will be known soon after the populations of Israel and UAE have been inoculated in large numbers already.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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