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Air quality for Thailand – February 4

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Central Thailand

Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.

Air quality for Thailand – February 4 | News by Thaiger

Northern Thailand

Everyone may begin to experience health effects; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.

Air quality for Thailand – February 4 | News by Thaiger

Southern Thailand

Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.

Air quality for Thailand – February 4 | News by Thaiger

 

 

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Thailand

3 journalists from Myanmar arrested in Chiang Mai

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Stock photo / Photo by Macau Photo Agency for Unsplash

Police in Northern Thailand arrested 3 senior journalists who had fled Myanmar due to orders from the military junta to stop reporting, the director and editor of the news agency Democratic Voice of Burma said in an email to the Associated Press.

The journalists, along with 2 associates, were arrested yesterday in Chiang Mai for allegedly illegally entering Thailand. Police were doing a random search, the editor says.

Since the February military coup in Myanmar, ousting state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi who had won the election in a landslide, more than 750 people have been killed by security forces. The military takeover also led to a clash with ethnic armies who support the anti-coup movement, including the prominent armed wing of the Karen National Union. Around 2,000 Karen refugees have fled to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province due to violence between the Karen troops and the state military.

The junta has attempted to silence independent news media by arresting dozens of journalists and by revoking licenses that had allowed agencies to report in Myanmar. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, or FCCT, says more than 70 journalists have been arrested since February. The Associated Press says there are currently around 40 journalists in detention in Myanmar, including at least 2 that work for DVB.

Many of the journalists arrested by the military junta are being held for violating Myanmar’s Penal Code which prohibits comments that “cause fear,” spread “false news, agitates directly or indirectly a criminal offence against a Government employee.” The charge carries a punishment of up to 3 years in prison.

The editor of DVB is urging Thai authorities not to deport the detained journalists and activists, saying “their life will be in serious danger if they were to return.” Photos in Thai media shows what looks like a video production studio set up at a home.

“They have been covering the demonstrations in Burma until March 8 – the day the military authority revoked DVB’s TV license and banned DVB from doing any kind of media work.”

The FCCT also released a statement calling on Thai authorities to release the journalists and offer them protection in Thailand.

These 5 individuals would face certain arrest and persecution, if not worse, for their work and association with the DVB, and under no circumstances should they be deported back to Myanmar.

Rather, the DVB journalists and their associates should be released from detention, urgently offered protection, and granted the right to remain temporarily in Thailand.

SOURCE: Associated Press

 

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Americans in Thailand urge US to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens overseas

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Stock photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

Thai officials say expats living in Thailand will be included in the government’s mass Covid-19 vaccination plan, but exactly when that will be is still up in the air. With foreign embassies in Thailand clearly stating that they will not assist with providing citizens living overseas with vaccines, expats are relying on the Thai government.

A number of Americans are now urging the US government to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens living in Thailand. And with the recent outbreak linked to the more contagious variant of the virus, getting a vaccine in Thailand has become more pressing.

A “Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force” of Democrats Abroad Thailand members, as well as those from American organisations based in Thailand, is calling on the US government to deliver vaccines to citizens living in Thailand, chairperson of Democrats Abroad Thailand and a United Nations consultant, Paul Risley, told VOA.

“Americans who live abroad need to be vaccinated for the same reasons that Americans who live in the United States need to be vaccinated… Because it’s the only way to stop Covid-19.”

If an American were to travel back to the US for a vaccine, they would still need to stay in a hotel or certified facility for a 14-day quarantine at their own expense when re-entering Thailand. Along with getting together the required paperwork, they would need to go through numerous Covid-19 tests including before the flight, upon arrival and before being released from quarantine. The flights to and from the US can end up being more than 20 hours per trip and add up to thousands of dollars in travel costs.

For the vast majority of Americans in Thailand, flying back to the US is the only way to get vaccinated at the moment. The US Embassy in Bangkok says vaccines will not be provided for US citizens living overseas.

The Department of State does not provide direct medical care, including vaccinations, to private U.S. citizens abroad. We are committed to providing all possible consular assistance to U.S. citizens in need overseas, including by providing information on local medical resources when appropriate. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

At a recent Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “all people who reside in Thailand, regardless of their nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the government’s plan.”

Mass vaccination campaigns are being rolled out in high-risk areas, such as Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum where a cluster of infections was reported, as well as Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist islands that are said to be of “economic significance.” Health officials are trying to hit herd immunity on the 2 islands to reopen to foreign tourists.

Expats in Phuket who have a valid work permit can now register for a state Covid-19 vaccine. The registration must be under the company name and expats are told to have the company’s human resources staff assist with the registration process.

While no official announcement has been made regarding expats in Koh Samui, some foreigners who work as English teachers on the island say they have received both doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. Schools apparently helped with the registration process, but some teachers say they told to keep quiet about getting the vaccine. Some did not receive a vaccine certificate or any other documentation confirming that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

SOURCE: VOA

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chinese study confirms Sinovac vaccine safe for over 60s

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Emanuel Borges da Silva

Health officials in Thailand say there is no need for concern about use of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine the over 60s, after a Chinese study confirmed it is safe. Sophon Mekhton from the Public Health Ministry says the independent study should reassure everyone about the vaccine’s safety in the older age group. According to the Bangkok Post, the study also confirms the manufacturer’s claims that 2 doses can prevent transmission in other age groups.

According to Sophon, earlier concerns about the vaccine were the result of a lack of adequate data involving the over 60s. Now that many people in that age group around the world have been inoculated with the Sinovac vaccine, it has been confirmed as safe. Sophon adds that people shouldn’t cling to out-of-date information, a reference to an earlier statement from the World Health Organisation that the vaccine could carry a low risk of serious side effects in those aged over 60.

Sophon says that there is always a risk with all vaccines, but the chances are very slim, adding that there are measures in place in the event of someone experiencing adverse side-effects.

While the government has previously stated that AstraZeneca will be the primary vaccine in Thailand’s national rollout, a lack of adequate supplies, coupled with a third, highly contagious wave, have led to a temporary switch to Sinovac. To date, 3.5 million doses of the Chinese vaccine have been imported, with another 500,000 donated by China set to arrive this week, followed by 2 million purchased by the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation.

Meanwhile, a former dean from the Faculty of Economics at Rangsit University is calling on the government to compensate families where someone has died as a result of receiving a Covid-19 vaccine. Anusorn Tamajai says offering between 8 and 12 million baht in compensation would boost people’s confidence in vaccine safety. He adds that healthcare workers should also be paid more, in recognition of their hard work and the risks they face.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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