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First case of New Coronavirus Pneumonia detected arriving in Bangkok

The Thaiger

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First case of New Coronavirus Pneumonia detected arriving in Bangkok | The Thaiger
PHOTO: All flights arriving from Wuhan are being screened - The Epoch Times
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A first case of ‘New Coronavirus Pneumonia’ has been identified in Thailand, but the Public Health Ministry is assuring the public there is no wider outbreak of the virus. The mystery virus has now been identified by Chinese scientists and was earlier nicknamed as the mystery Wuhan pneumonia.

Anuthin Charnvirakul, the Thai Public Health Minister has informed the media that the case was detected at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok on on January 8. The suspect passenger was a 61 year old female Chinese tourist and was detected as she stepped off her flight from China.

The lady was immediately isolated and sent to the Bamratnaradoon Institute in Bangkok for further observation and treatment. It was confirmed on Sunday that she was infected with New Coronavirus Pneumonia, the first case diagnosed outside the China area of Wuhan where the virus was first identified.

Anutin has updated the situation saying that another 12 tourists travelling with her from China were also found to have a slight fever and respiratory problems and have been quarantined for treatment. They have been cleared of being carriers of the New Coronavirus Pneumonia and are expected to be discharged in the next few days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hospital director proposes importing overseas Covid-19 patients for treatment

Jack Burton

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Hospital director proposes importing overseas Covid-19 patients for treatment | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English

With the Covid-19 situation in Thailand apparently well in hand (there have been no locally transmitted cases for well over a month), a hospital director in Bangkok is proposing flying in patients from abroad for treatment at his hospital. The director of Mongkutwattana Hospital is considering medical flights to bring international Covid-19 cases to the hospital for treatment, in an effort to stimulate the economy.

In a Facebook post, Dr Rienthong Nanna said flights would carry 60 passengers and be specially adapted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outside the cabin. Under his proposal, the hospital would act as a state quarantine facility, caring for foreign patients until they are certified virus-free and allowed to travel in Thailand as tourists.

The proposal has the support of several clinics that treat international patients. Accommodation providers who want to collaborate with the hospital to prepare medical flights and state quarantine are invited to contact the director of Mongkutwattana Hospital’s office.

The Ministry of Public Health Ministry has not announced whether Thailand will consider accepting Covid-19 patients from overseas.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Bangkok’s shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition

Jack Burton

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Bangkok’s shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nerdnomads

Suvarnabhumi, the name of Bangkok’s second international airport, means “realm of gold,” and was given by His Majesty the late King Rama IX to Bangkok’s eastern outskirts (technically in Samut Prakhan province), once a marshland called Nong Nguhao (Cobra Swamp). With its overtones of wealth, the name represents the hopes of developers, who are turning the area into a retail battlefield.

The problem is oversupply. In late June, multitudes of of shoppers eager for a new experience after weeks of Covid-19 lockdown came to the grand opening of Siam Premium Outlets Bangkok, a brand new mall less than 10 kilometres east of the airport, the main gateway to Southeast Asia’s second largest economy.

The mood was festive for the debut of the massive project, a collaborative effort by Thai mall operator Siam Piwat and US conglomerate Simon Property Group. The joint venture invested 4 billion baht to accommodate an anticipated 10,000 visitors per day in the mall’s 50,000 square metres of floor space.

Siam Piwat Simon’s managing director says “Premium outlet is a retail trend that still has potential to grow”. He believes that growth will reinforce Thailand as one of the world’s most popular tourism destinations. But given the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s hard to imagine a tougher time to open a mall. The foreign tourists whose spending would normally ensure the success of a new shopping complex are being kept out as the government still bans most international arrivals.

When tourists do return, their numbers and mobility may be limited, and competition among major retailers around Suvarnabhumi will enter a new, more intense chapter. Rivalries between central Bangkok’s many malls and those emerging around the airport will also heat up. There’s plenty of shopping for bored travellers waiting for flights inside the main airport as well.

Some analysts predict the “new normal”, requiring social distancing and limiting customer numbers that could result in significant shrinkage in physical store offerings. The head of retail advisory and transaction services at CBRE Thailand says retailers’ rental space requirement may be reduced by 20 – 40% from the levels before the pandemic. Still, nearly 1.3 million square metres of new retail space is expected in Bangkok by the end of 2023 – more than 25 times the size of Siam Premium Outlets Bangkok. That many commercial facilities opening in a span of just 3½ years is sure to add plenty of new challenges to the retail landscape. According to a spokesman for the Thai Retailers’ Association…

“Premium outlets are business in an upward trend, while duty-free shops are the opposite. In the future, there will be no tax because of free trade agreements. And tourist behaviour is changing. They don’t want to pay a lot of money for short-lifecycle goods. They would buy more goods from premium outlets rather than duty-free shops, where goods are more expensive.”

Thailand has been benefitting from growing overseas tourism, led by the Chinese with their formidable purchasing power, which was booming until the pandemic. According to a report by the World Tourism Organisation, in 2018 the kingdom was the ninth most visited country by tourists in the world, and second after China in Asia. Thailand’s visitors in 2019 were close to 40 million.

Bangkok's shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition | News by The Thaiger

The turf war near Suvarnabhumi is essentially an extension of the fierce retail competition in central Bangkok, where retailers are also highly dependent on overseas visitors. Siam Piwat introduced mega mall Iconsiam on the east bank of Chao Phraya river, as a joint project with Thailand’s largest conglomerate CP Group and its property arm Magnolia Quality Development, in November 2018. Siam Piwat co-owns Siam Paragon with another retailer, The Mall Group, which also developed Emporium and EmQuartier department stores. Central Group, including Central Pattana, runs Central World and Central Chidlom.

More projects are in the pipeline. Magnolia Quality Development is working on one called The Forestias, scheduled to be completed by 2023. The US$4 billion (124 billion baht) project is on track to be the largest property investment in the kingdom’s history.

Whether in Bangkok proper or near Suvarnabhumi Airport, all major retail complexes have one thing in common: they’re counting the days until the foreign tourist inflow returns. The Tourism Authority of Thailand came up with a plan to promote domestic tourism packages to mitigate the impact from the lack of overseas travellers, but Thais’ spending power is limited compared to that of foreign tourists.

Although the coronavirus situation in the kingdom is well in hand, the risk of a second wave has the world on edge, even as some countries such as the US and Brazil struggle to rein in their first wave. The outlook for Thailand’s big bet on the return of inbound demand is fraught with uncertainty. The “Realm of Gold” that welcomes travellers may not be quite so precious for some time to come.

Bangkok's shopping malls struggle under tourist ban, fierce competition | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Nikkei Asian Review

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Bangkok

Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World

Maya Taylor

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Bangkok running enthusiasts enjoy new pop-up track at Central World | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

As Bangkok residents enjoy the freedom of Covid restrictions being lifted, the city’s Central World mall has unveiled a pop-up running track to help people get back in shape after lockdown.

The mall’s managment team has installed a 500 metre track, which is open to the city’s runners every evening from 5 pm to 8 pm, until July 22. The track is already proving popular, with both serious runners and newbies, as well as those just along for a selfie in the unusual exercise spot.

The temporary track is part of the mall’s “Central World Sport Unlock Phase 1” campaign, aimed at getting people healthy again after Covid restrictions led to most being confined indoors, with limited exercise.

Nattakit Tangpoonsinthana, from the Marketing team at Central Pattana, says the mall plans to run more fitness activities in the coming months, pointing out that it also boasts over 50 health and wellness stores, and has been the starting point for various marathons over the years.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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