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Chinese scientists identify the ‘Wuhan Virus’. Screening continues on Thai-bound flights.

The Thaiger

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Chinese scientists identify the ‘Wuhan Virus’. Screening continues on Thai-bound flights. | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Screening continues at airports in Thailand receiving passengers from Wuhan in China
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The mysterious pneumonia-like disease striking dozens of people in Wuhan, China, has now been identified as from the same family of viruses as the deadly SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome). This news from Chinese scientists today.

Earlier today The Thaiger reported that three Thais and a Chinese citizen had been detected arriving from Wuhan in the Hubei province with suspected viral symptoms comparable with a flu or viral pneumonia.

The scientists say they’ve found a new “coronavirus in 15 of 57 patients with the illness in the central city of Wuhan, saying it has been preliminarily identified as the pathogen for the outbreak”.

The news was reported on the Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.

“Coronaviruses” are a large family of viruses that can cause anything from the common cold (rhino virus) up to to SARS*. According to the WHO, some coronaviruses are able to transmit easily from person to person, while others can not.

The CCTV report went on to explain that the current ‘Wuhan Virus’, a coronavirus, appears to not be as lethal as SARS.

“Its symptoms are mainly fever, with a number of patients having difficulty breathing. Eight patients had recovered and been discharged from hospital as of Wednesday, and no deaths have been reported.” (Translated from CCTV)

This new viral outbreak was first detected in the city of Wuhan on December 12 last year. A total of 59 people have been identified as contracting the illness. Seven patients have been in a critical condition at some stage, according to Chinese health authorities. Authorities report that no healthcare workers have been infected.

Some of the patients were reported to have been employed at a seafood market in Wuhan. Local media reported the market also sold “other live animals, including birds, rabbits and snakes”. These reports sparked concerns that the virus might have been transmitted to humans from animals.

Six coronaviruses are known to infect humans — four of them typically cause the common cold, and the other two are SARS and MERS (the middle east respiratory syndrome, first identified in Saudi Arabia in 2012).

SARS infected more than 8,000 people and killed 774 in a pandemic that ripped through Asia and spread to 37 countries in 2002 and 2003.

In a statement today the World Health Organisation said that China’s preliminary identification of a “novel virus” in such a short period since its earliest identification, “demonstrates the country’s increased capacity to manage new outbreaks”.

Across Asia governments are now stepping up preventive measures such as airport temperature screening and requirements for notification in the wake of what is being referred to as the “Wuhan outbreak”.

Airports of Thailand says they are monitoring a the detection of any viral symptoms from Wuhan flights coming out of China. They say that six airports are now ready to cope with the situation by setting up international communicable diseases control checkpoints. Up to date four passengers – three Thai and one Chinese – have been detected and isolated pending further prognosis.

*World Health Organisation

Chinese scientists identify the 'Wuhan Virus'. Screening continues on Thai-bound flights. | News by The Thaiger

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Myanmar

Tourists to Myanmar going up, but falling short of projections

The Thaiger

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Tourists to Myanmar going up, but falling short of projections | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Numbers going up, but falling short of projections - South China Morning Post

Vietnam to the right of me, Myanmar to the left, Thailand stuck in the middle….

Myanmar’s 2019 tourism figures improved 15% to give the country 1,324,000 tourist arrivals through the main airport at Yangon. Officials released the 2019 visitor data for Yangon Airport, which excludes cross border arrivals and arrivals through Mandalay and Nay Pyi Taw airports, the country’s two other international aviation gateways.

Once overland arrivals at border checkpoints are counted, the annual inbound tourist numbers are expected to swell to around 4 million for the full 2019 year. But the numbers fall well short of the projections made for 2020 which said there would be 7.5 million tourist arrivals by the end of the last decade by the Asian Development Bank. The projections were made by a detailed report on Bumese tourism back in 2013.

In 2019, Asian tourist emerged as the dominant supply with 1,060,396 arrivals at Yangon airport last year, an increase of 20%. This compares with 142,443 arrivals from Western Europe, 0% growth for 2019

China drives the growth in Asian markets, delivering 344,268 passengers, up by a massive 75%, Thailand is now the second-largest source market, dropping from the top spot.

Japan, South Korea and the US make up the third, fourth and firth largest tourist markets arriving at the country’s largest airport. Other strong top performers were: Singapore 52,461, Vietnam 50,203, India 42,548, Malaysia 40,891 and Taiwan 36,874.

Arrivals from the UK market dropped 7%, France slumped 2% and Switzerland declined 10%. Australia tourism to Myanmar declined 8% over the past year.

SOURCE: ttrweekly.com

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Bangkok

Large Bangkok drug haul – meth pills, crystal meth and Ketamine

The Thaiger

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Large Bangkok drug haul – meth pills, crystal meth and Ketamine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: The seized drugs on parade during yesterday's media briefing in Bangkok - INN News

Metropolitan Police have reported the seizure of 1,600,000 methamphetamine pills (yaba), 34 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), and 40 kilograms of Ketamine. Officials also seized a pick-up involved in the drug gang’s business as well as weapons. The Patrol and Special Operation Division 191 Police seized the drugs from Nipol ‘Hin’ Janprapat and Anuwat ‘James’ Bunjeen while they were in Bang Khae District, western Bangkok.

Police Lieutenant General Pokpong Pongpetra related that the investigation revealed suspects had been renting a home to use as a drug warehouse. The drugs had been sourced from the border areas of northern Thailand, transported south, and then stored in the rented house. They’d then wait for delivery instructions around the Bangkok area.

The 2 suspects already have links with previous drug smuggling operations and, with links to arrests in Pak Kret, Nonthaburi Province and Thonburi District.

Officials also arrested 49 year old Toh-r Denbonfahthai on January 15, who police allege has connections to the ‘Karen people’, a Burmese ethnicity living to the north of the Thai border. He was nabbed with 66 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine at the Bangkok Bus Terminal in Chatuchak. He was travelling in a Toyota Sport Rider. His arrest led officials to an abandoned vehicle which was loaded up with 31 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine.

Discussing the modus operandi, police say the suspects would deliver the drugs through multiple drug smuggling gangs using public transportation from Mae Sot and Tak provinces (northern Thailand) to Mo Chit in Bangkok. They allege the drugs are then intercepted by another group who would put the drugs into the abandoned car parked on Nawamin Road.

The drugs are then delivered to the person who has ordered the drugs. In this case, the buyer was known as ‘Ma-ah from Myanmar’, living in Thailand. The investigation continues.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

Large Bangkok drug haul - meth pills, crystal meth and Ketamine | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: INN News

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Environment

8,000 evacuated from menacing Taal volcano, south of Manila, Philippines

The Thaiger

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8,000 evacuated from menacing Taal volcano, south of Manila, Philippines | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Associated Press/Aaron Favila

A volcano, not far south of Manila in The Philippines, has been spewing volcanic ash along with rumbling sounds and tremors most of yesterday. Philippine authorities have raised the alert level and ordered the evacuation of about 8,000 residents and suspended flights at Manila’s civil airports. The highest alert is level 5, when a volcano is actually erupting. At this stage the danger level has been raised to level 3. 8,000 residents were at direct risk and were being immediately evacuated.

The country’s National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council is telling reporters that an evacuation of the area has begun. The volcano spewed ash generating a 1 kilometre high cloud that later dropped its ash all over local communities.

Heavy ash has been falling on the nearby province of Cavite, prompting authorities to suspend classes today and urging residents to stay indoors. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology says the volcanic activity could lead to a “hazardous eruption in weeks”.

Authorities are strongly recommending that people evacuate the area around the Taal volcano, which is on an island in the middle of Taal lake, as well as two nearby “high-risk” areas in the Batangas province.

“Possible hazards of pyroclastic density currents and volcanic tsunami.”

The volcanic eruptions of ash and the plume reaching into the sky were visible from the nearby city of Tagaytay, a popular spot for viewing the volcano..

Ninoy Aquino International Airport, the main airport in Manila, says it’s “temporarily suspended” flight operations as a precaution.

SOURCE: Reuters via Bangkok Post

VIDEO: Taal Volcano spews ash column 100 metres high yesterday, January 12. This is what Taal Volcano looks like from Quiling, Talisay, Batangas

8,000 evacuated from menacing Taal volcano, south of Manila, Philippines | News by The Thaiger

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