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Investigation launched into private hospital for alleged overcharging

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Investigation launched into private hospital for alleged overcharging | The Thaiger
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If you wish to make a complaint about private hospital overcharging and rorts, phone 1569.

The Thai government’s Commerce Ministry is considering legal action against a Thai private hospital for allegedly overcharging a patient who was charged 30,000 baht for treatment for diarrhea.

The Internal Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry has launched a fact-finding probe, in response to a complaint lodged via the department’s hotline 1569. The patient claimed he was charged about 30,000 baht by the private hospital after he was admitted for treatment of ‘acute diarrhea’.

The investigation shows that the hospital, whose name is being withheld, had indeed overcharged the patient for several items of medication and services, according to Thai PBS.

The source claims the department will soon ask the executive, or a representative of the hospital, in for a ‘please explain’ session.

Meanwhile, the department is in the process of inviting executives and representatives of 70 private hospitals to discussions after it was discovered that they had allegedly overcharged for medications by a factor of 3-9 times above market prices.

SOURCE: Thai PBS

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM instructs Samut Sakhon officials to check employers are not hiring illegal workers

Maya Taylor

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PM instructs Samut Sakhon officials to check employers are not hiring illegal workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Prachathai

With the number of Covid-19 infections among migrant workers in Samut Sakhon failing to go down, the PM has instructed officials to make sure companies are not still hiring illegal workers. Prayut Chan-o-cha spoke to deputy governor Surasak Pholyangsong by video conference from Government House yesterday.

The central province of Samut Sakhon is considered the epicentre of Thailand’s second wave of Covid-19, following an outbreak at a fish market last month. The resurgence is linked to migrant workers who were smuggled into the Kingdom illegally, bypassing health checks and the mandatory quarantine requirement. Samut Sakhon’s own governor, Veerasak Vijitsaengsri, has tested positive for the virus and remains under hospital care.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM has acknowledged the work carried out by provincial officials since then, which includes active tracing and testing, health screening, closing “high-risk” venues and preparing field hospitals for quarantine and treatment. In yesterday’s call, he instructed Surasak to ramp up travel restrictions within the province and implement measures to prevent more illegal migrants from entering.

Although Surasak has announced the re-opening of the seafood market on January 27, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has sounded a note of caution, saying officials must guarantee that the facility is completely Covid-free. He adds that once the situation improves in the 28 “strictly controlled” areas, restrictions can be eased.

The government’s Covid-19 task force continues to monitor the situation in neighbouring countries, noting with concern the escalating cases in places like Malaysia. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration is calling on all Thai citizens living near border areas to be vigilant and check for illegal border crossings. All migrant workers are required to undergo Covid-19 tests and provide details of their travel history.

In other news, the president of the Association of Entertainment Professionals is pleading for government assistance on behalf of entertainment venues and business operators affected by Covid-19 restrictions and closure orders. Khathawut Thongthai has called on Natthaphol Nakpanich, secretary-general of the National Security Council, to provide debt relief and soft loans. He is also requesting permission for venues in provinces that have gone 28 days without a local case to be allowed to re-open and for concerts to be given the go-ahead in these provinces.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Covid-19 tests are not required for visa extensions – Phuket Immigration

Caitlin Ashworth

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Covid-19 tests are not required for visa extensions – Phuket Immigration | The Thaiger

No… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit, according to Phuket Immigration. While multiple Covid-19 tests are required for people arriving in Thailand and undergoing quarantine, foreigners who have been in the country do not need to be tested.

The local immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro spoke with Phuket News, debunking some rumours that were shared on social media saying Covid-19 tests could soon be required when extending visas or applying for work permits.

“We do not require any medical documents for an application to renew a visa, because there are few foreigners’ movements outside Phuket. Most of them live and work in Phuket, and have done so before the new wave of Covid-19… So they do not have to worry about it. Everything is still the same.”

Medical exams are required for most work permit applicants. The exams include a brief screening and a blood test for syphilis. At the moment, a Covid-19 test is not required for work permit applicants, although it certainly could be in the future.

“We have not received any notices about Covid-19 requirements for processing applications to renew visas. If we do receive any such orders, we will let the public know.”

SOURCE: Phuket News

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Tourism

Record number of tourism firms quitting Covid-ravaged sector for good

Maya Taylor

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Record number of tourism firms quitting Covid-ravaged sector for good | The Thaiger
PHOTO: MGN

As the devastating economic effects of Covid-19 restrictions persist, a record number of Thai tourism operators are quitting the sector for good. The number of tourism firms surrendering their licences peaked last month, and around 70% of outbound agents have shut up shop indefinitely. The final nail in their collective coffin has been the Covid-19 resurgence, which originated in a seafood market in the central province of Samut Sakhon and has now spread to over 60 provinces.

The president of the Thai Travel Agents Association says around 10% of outbound tour operators have returned their licences to the Tourism Department. Suthiphong Pheunphiphop says 2,598 tourism operators have left the sector for good, unable to survive having no international tourists for nearly a year now. He says the last quarter of 2020 saw the highest number of companies de-registering, at 765. Of those, 293 quit last month.

Suthiphong says domestic tourism may pick up again by April, but this depends on how effective the government is at bringing the second wave of the virus under control. He adds that with the arrival of spring in many parts of the world in the coming months, global infections may fall, but it’s still a waiting game.

“Operators have to wait and see how things turn out in June The outlook for the outbound market is the most difficult to predict as the industry faces highly uncertain factors such as vaccine efficacy and policies in each destination to allow the flow of tourists.”

The TTAA says that in 2019, 11 million Thai tourists spent 430 billion baht on overseas trips. Last year, that plummeted to 1 million spending 50 billion baht. The association has postponed the Thai International Travel Fair, which was due to take place in February. It is now scheduled for August 26 – 29.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn will meet Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin this week, in order to discuss a co-payment scheme to protect those employed in the tourism industry. It’s understood the proposal is to subsidise 50% of monthly salaries, up to a maximum of 7,500 baht per employee.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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