PM Srettha sidelined by flu: Deputies step up as dinner plans go cold

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin took an unexpected backseat today, delegating his duties to deputies and abandoning plans for a high-profile dinner due to a bout of flu. The notorious influenza A, aka H1N1, has struck the 61 year old PM.

Arriving at the Government House this morning, PM Srettha revealed that he is awaiting his doctor’s verdict on whether sick leave is needed. Concerns over spreading the virus to his close associates weighed heavily on the Bangkok-born prime minister’s mind.

Deputy Finance Minister Krisada Chinavicharana was thrust into the spotlight, presiding over the prestigious 2024 Outstanding State Enterprises Award ceremony at the Santi Maitri Building.

Simultaneously, Deputy Prime Minister Somsak Thepsutin stepped into the PM’s shoes, extending a warm welcome to youths and executives under the Belia Thai Sejiwa Sehati project at the same venue later in the day, reported The Nation.

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Harking back to the infamous H1N1 outbreak of 2009, the World Health Organisation’s highest Phase 6 pandemic alert was a chilling reminder of widespread community transmission. Thankfully, the pandemic declared its exit in August 2010, but it seems the virus is back.

In related news, the spread of the rhinovirus, which presents a challenge in its diagnosis due to the high cost of testing, is currently ongoing. Dr Manun Lichaweangwong, head of the respiratory disease unit and ICU at Vichaiyut Hospital, voiced his concerns on January 4, via his Facebook page.

Dr Manun explained that the virus, which is prevalent among both children and adults, is one of the top respiratory viruses, second only to the Covid-19 and influenza viruses.

Diagnosis remains difficult and requires expensive genetic testing. There are no instant and cost-effective testing kits available yet. Moreover, once a diagnosis is confirmed, there’s no antiviral treatment available. Instead, doctors treat the symptoms.

In other news, PM Srettha assured opposition groups that he would take into account their concerns regarding the Land Bridge megaproject. The discussions took place last week at Suan Sunandha Rajabhat University’s education centre in Ranong, following a mobile Cabinet meeting.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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