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Satellite captures flood devastation in Thailand’s lower-north

Maya Taylor

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Satellite captures flood devastation in Thailand’s lower-north | Thaiger
PHOTO: www.travelwirenews.com

The devastation wreaked by heavy floods in Sukhothai and Phitsanulok, provinces in the lower-north of the country, can be seen from space. A report in Nation Thailand says an Italian satellite, Cosmo Skymed-1, has captured photos that show over 125,000 rai of land is submerged as a result of heavy rainfall in the area.

Satellite captures flood devastation in Thailand's lower-north | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Around 100,000 rai is underwater in Sukothai province, affecting residents in 6 districts. 25,000 rai of land is submerged in Phitsanulok, affecting villages across 3 districts. Farming fields and low-lying valleys have borne the worst of the flooding, with 14,000 rai of Sukothai’s rice fields and 2,000 rai in Phitsanulok underwater. A water diversion operation initiated by His Majesty King Rama IX has been put into operation, re-directing water to retention basins.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying

Maya Taylor

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Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook / National News Bureau of Thailand

The Public Health Ministry is warning the public that partying and letting ones guard down could see daily Covid-19 infections rise to nearly 3,000. Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says evidence shows that the third wave of the virus which is currently spreading across the country is a result of younger people, aged 20 – 29, socialising frequently and with multiple contacts. He says it is more common during this latest outbreak to see entire families contracting the virus as a result.

His warning comes as officials outline the 5 most likely scenarios they envisage following the long Songkran holiday.

Scenario 1
If nightlife and entertainment venues are allowed to remain open, the country could see an average of 9,140 cases a day.

Scenario 2
If entertainment and nightlife is closed in high-risk, “red” provinces only, officials expect an average of 2,996 daily infections.

Scenario 3
If nightlife is closed and private parties are curtailed, average daily new infections could drop to 934.

Scenario 4
Daily new Covid-19 cases could drop to 593 if all entertainment venues are shut, private parties are cancelled, and public gatherings are curtailed.

Scenario 5
Average daily new infections could drop to 391 with the closing of nightlife and entertainment venues, the cancellation of private parties, a reduction in group activities, and a move to working from home.

Officials warn that, in the complete absence of disease prevention measures, with people left to live their lives as normal, the number of new daily infections would exceed 20,000.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meets this afternoon to discuss the implementation of additional Covid-19 restrictions, widely believed to include a ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants and eateries having to close at 9pm in “red” provinces. 18 provinces have been designated as “red” or maximum control zones, but this number is expected to rise.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

First 5 days of Songkran see more than 3,700 motorists booked for drink-driving

Maya Taylor

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First 5 days of Songkran see more than 3,700 motorists booked for drink-driving | Thaiger
PHOTO: Kathy on Flickr

Over 3,700 motorists have been charged with drink driving offences during the first 5 days of the Songkran holiday. Witthawan Sunthornkajit from the Department of Probation says that between April 10 and 14, 3,741 motorists received suspended sentences for driving under the influence. 1,648 of those were on April 14, the highest number for the 5-day period. The worst-offending provinces were Chaiyaphum, in the north-east of the country, with 290 drink-driving incidents, Chiang Rai in the north, with 264, and Buriram in the north-east, with 251.

“Defendants in 3,730 DUI cases had consumed alcohol, while in the other 11, offenders had taken narcotic substances. 19 defendants were ordered to wear electronic monitoring tags and banned from leaving home between 11pm and 4am for 15 days, while their driver’s licences have been suspended for 6 months.”

According to Witthawan, the court will order anyone showing signs of alcohol dependency during their probation to attend rehab. Nation Thailand reports that the Probation Department has deployed 439 volunteers, consisting of staff members and drink-driving offenders currently on probation, at 65 checkpoints around the country. They are tasked with supplying drivers with water and information leaflets on Covid-19 disease prevention measures.

This year, over 8 million vehicles travelled in and out of Bangkok during the Songkran holiday, despite most celebrations being cancelled nationwide due to the resurgence of the Covid-19 virus. And by day 5 of the holiday, in Thailand’s other, never-ending pandemic, the Kingdom had reported 1,795 road traffic accidents, with 1,818 injured and 192 fatalities.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca will remain Thailand’s primary vaccine, insists Health Minister

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca will remain Thailand’s primary vaccine, insists Health Minister | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia Commons

The Health Minister insists the AstraZeneca vaccine will remain Thailand’s primary Covid-19 jab, despite concerns over rare side-effects. Some countries have suspended its use, while Denmark is the first country in Europe to abandon it completely. However, Anutin Charnvirakul says it’s up to each country to make their own decisions and Thailand is pressing ahead with the jab.

“There are many factors for each country whether to use or not use the vaccine. But we have expertise to closely monitor the vaccine information. We base decisions on scientific knowledge, not news. If something happens, we will let the public know. Please do not worry about it.”

Thailand is ordering vaccines from a limited number of manufacturers, primarily AstraZeneca and China’s Sinovac Biotech. According to a Bangkok Post report, the Kingdom is purchasing 71 million doses of the AstraZeneca jab and 2 million doses of CoronaVac, the vaccine from Sinovac. The rollout is expected to begin in June, with health officials aiming to inoculate 35 million people (half the population) by the end of the year.

However, the challenge will be gaining the public’s trust, as countries around the world express concerns about the very rare risk of blood clots that appears to be associated with adenovirus vector vaccines, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. The single-dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson is the third vaccine to be approved for emergency use in Thailand, but the US has just suspended its use following a number of blood clot incidents similar to the AstraZeneca cases.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation and the European Medicines Agency insist the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risks of very rare blood clots. In the UK, the vaccine has been widely administered as the country sets its sights on achieving herd immunity, with Anutin pointing out that infections there have dropped considerably.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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