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Thailand News: Big quake rocks north; Crowds honor HM The King; D-Day for Yingluck

Legacy Phuket Gazette




– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Big quake rocks North
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: People in Chiang Rai’s Phan district ran out of their homes and buildings in panic as ground in the far North shook during a 6.1-magnitude earthquake yesterday.

The quake was so strong it could be felt in Bangkok high rises, such as Baiyoke Tower and Central World Mall. But no fatalities had been reported by press time.

It was believed to be the biggest quake recorded with an epicentre in Thailand.

The National Disaster Warning Centre urged people in the affected area to stay in safe places, as more aftershocks were expected. People have also been advised to follow the centre’s updates closely.

At press time, at least five aftershocks – each between 3 and 4 in magnitude – were recorded, Burin Wechbunthung, chief of the Meteorological Department’s Seismological Bureau, said.

A road in Phan district cracked when the quake took place at about 6pm yesterday evening, and a hotel in Chiang Rung district suffered damage to its exterior.

Shoppers were seen running out of the Central Plaza Mall in Muang district as things began falling off the shelves, while ceiling tiles at Chiang Rai Airport began dropping during the quake.

Chalermchai Kositpipat, a Thai artist famous for religious paintings who built the famous Wat Rong Khun in Muang district, told Nation TV that the temple’s high-rise structure and pagoda – as well as the hall featuring his paintings – had been damaged by the quake. He said he had no idea how the damage would be repaired.

“The earth shook so violently that it felt like the end of world,” he said, adding that the damage could not be assessed just yet.

Asian Institute of Technology seismological expert Dr Penneung Wanitchai told Nation TV that the quake could be a main shock, as there were fault lines all over the North and the cumulative stress on these fault lines had led to this. He warned that the quake could lead to other, stronger earthquakes.

He called on people living within a 50-kilometre radius from the epicentre to stay outside buildings that have cracks, because there may be more aftershocks in the next three or four days.

Penneung said the quake, which damaged several properties, was the largest in Thailand since 1935, when a 6.5-magnitude quake hit Nan province and an area near the Lao border.

He also urged officials to survey the damage within a 10-20km radius from the epicentre and provide aid to any affected residents.

The impact was also felt in other provinces in the North and ancient sites with structural issues reported cracks and damage.

Chiang Mai residents said they felt the earth shaking violently for several minutes, and many shoppers at malls and those living in buildings higher two storeys ran out in panic.

Office worker Patlada Pattanodom said the quake’s impact prompted her to rush out of her home in Hang Dong district.

“I could hear the ceiling creaking loudly, and everything fell out of the shelves. So my husband and I ran out of the house. We thought we were going to die,” she said.

Crowds gather to honour King
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Thousands upon thousands of people, dressed in yellow, gathered at different locations to mark Coronation Day yesterday, with the biggest ceremony held in the resort town of Hua Hin, where His Majesty the King currently resides. Yesterday marked His Majesty’s 64th year on the throne.

In Hua Hin, thousands of locals and visitors began assembling on Phetchkasem Road from Sunday night so they could catch a glimpse of His Majesty when his motorcade drove past yesterday.

Many of the King’s loyal subjects shed tears of joy to see their beloved monarch in good health, and the “Long live the King” chant was heard loud and far.

Homes and buildings throughout the district were decorated with yellow banners carrying goodwill messages and the Royal emblem.

At around 10.30am, His Majesty arrived at Rajapracha Samakhom Pavilion at Klai Kangwon Palace and presided over a Buddhist ceremony, before leaving at around 11am. The King, who is 86, did not make a speech.

Instead, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn conducted rituals to bless the royal umbrella, crown jewels and other royal accessories and emblems on behalf of the King. After this, the three branches of the Armed Forces conducted a 21-gun salute.

Religious ceremonies

In Bangkok, Phra Thep Bidorn Palace in the Emerald Buddha Temple was opened from 8am to 5pm to allow the public to pay their respects to the previous kings of the Chakri Dynasty, whose statues are inside the building. Thousands of people attended government events held at city halls around the country to mark Coronation Day.

Sinchai Saengsin, a fruit farmer from Kanchanaburi, and his wife went to Prachuap Khiri Khan province on Saturday to visit a project initiated by His Majesty before reserving a place in front of Klai Kangwon Palace on Sunday morning.

Angkhawipha Adisakwatthana, 50, who grows and sells organic vegetables based on the King’s self-sufficiency principle, arrived in Hua Hin on Saturday to catch a glimpse of His Majesty for the first time.

In Bangkok, a march by the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee was organised, with supporters wearing yellow as requested by the protest leader. They converged in large numbers outside the temple of the Emerald Buddha to hold a ceremony to honour the King. Other ceremonies were held elsewhere in the capital.

Decision day for PM edging closer
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Many political players and stakeholders will make moves today in the rush to reach a solution to end the unrest that has loomed large over the country for months. The Election Commission will prepare the draft for a royal decree to call another election. Opposition party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will submit to the commission his plan to delay the poll and install a non-elected interim government.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, the protesters and all other political parties will also receive the plan in detail and have been asked to act on their parts in the plan.

EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said that if the five-member commission agreed on the election decree, it would be submitted to the Cabinet without delay. The EC and the government last week agreed to schedule July 20 as the election date.

The EC members would also consider Abhisit’s idea to break the political impasse, he said.

Abhisit asked the EC to change some laws and regulations to have harsher penalties for electoral fraud and prohibit populist poll campaigns.

Abhisit’s plan requires political parties wishing to run in the next election to promise to support national reform and the next government would stay in power for only one year to carry out reform.

The Democrat Party leader on Saturday announced his plan which, if accepted, would mean the election set for July 20 would be postponed. He also asked Yingluck to step down, and asked

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Poll: Work from home popular, reduces Covid-19, helps gov’t

Neill Fronde



PHOTO: Working from home is believed to help slow the spread of Covid-19 among other advantages. (via PxHere)

As far as strategies to reduce the risk of Covid-19 infections goes, work from home policies may be the most popular, far more liked than masks and lockdowns. In a recent poll by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University, 1,533 people in Thailand were asked about their opinions on working from home. The majority of responses were well in favour of it.

The Suan Dusit poll was conducted online and found that when asked about various opinions and attitudes towards working from home, nearly 75% of respondents believed that staying home to work made them feel safer and could prevent Covid-19 from spreading more. Nearly half also felt like working from home was a good way to cooperate with government policies regarding Covid-19.

Nearly 43% of those polled were working from home. Only about 23% of people never worked from home, while just under 35% of people worked in some combination of home and at their office or place of business. Just over 40% of respondents said they lacked the equipment at home that would allow them to work from home.

While people generally like to work from home, those surveyed did believe that there were pros and cons to it. 44% felt working from home gave them more personal time for themselves and more time with their families. 88% believed it had a positive effect on the Covid-19 pandemic and 70% loved how working from home reduced travel and commute costs. Over 60% viewed it as a way to help the government in their struggle against Covid-19.

On the downside, about 66% of those surveyed complained that they saw an increase in their household bills as their usage of water, electricity and internet went up. 62% had trouble without their normal work equipment and 46% said slow communication was an issue.

Oddly though, when asked which they preferred, only 18% completely favoured working from home, while double the amount preferred the office and 37% liked both equally. Just under 9% gave no opinion. Overall though, work from home as a Covid-19 fighting policy had a success rating of 70% by those polled.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals

Tim Newton



The CCSA have announced 2,302 new infections and 24 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There’s now been a total of 101,447 infections and 589 deaths since the start of Thailand’s tally on January 18, 2020. More than 64,000 are registered as ‘recovered’. 35,055 people remain under treatment at public and field hospitals.

More news briefs on the Covid situation below.

Here are the provincial totals for Sunday as reported from the past 24 hours.

Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by ThaigerCovid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaigerβ€’ A new study highlights the often maligned effectiveness of the Sinovac and AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine, showing they are both quite effective in boosting the immune system against the Coronavirus. The Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University conducted the study that found that one month after the first shot of AstraZeneca, over 97% of people had developed immune responses. Results were not yet in for the second injection.

Three weeks after the first injection of the Sinovac vaccine, just under 66% of people had developed immune responses, but four weeks after the second injection, that number jumped to an impressive 99.49%.

Full report HERE.

β€’ Indonesia is temporarily halting distribution of a single batch of AstraZeneca vaccine to check for “sterility and toxicity” The temporary action follows reports of a few adverse effects after immunisations.

The batch consists of 448,480 vaccine doses that arrived in the southeast Asian nation last month, part of a delivery of more than 3.85 million doses. Some of the doses have been distributed in part of the capital, Jakarta, and the province of North Sulawesi.

β€’ Starting Monday, restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (immediately north of Bangkok), Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) will be allowed to offer dine-in services at 25% of seating capacity until 9pm.

Restaurants in other 17 Red Zone provinces will be allowed to stay open until 11pm without seating limitations. Restaurants in the other Orange Zone provinces will be allowed to resume “normal operations”, though alcoholic beverages may not be served anywhere across the country. In the Red Zones, schools can open as normal with permission from local and provincial authorities. In the Orange Zone schools can open without permission but under the latest rules.

β€’ The Office of the PM has dismissed as false online rumours that Her Majesty the Queen was infected with Covid-19.

The office urged people to monitor Covid-19 news from a reliable channel, such as the Facebook page of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

β€’ Chonburi and Chiang Mai are being removed rom the dark red zone, or maximum control area, due to an improvement in the Covid situation in those 2 areas.

β€œIf this proposal is approved by the prime minister, there would only be 4 provinces designated as dark red zone, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.”

Chonburi, with only 33 new infections yesterday, will be moved to the orange zone, or medium control area, joining 16 other provinces… Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Yala, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

Phuket was also downgraded into the Orange Zone category.


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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s colour zones change from Monday – some restrictions ease

Tim Newton




From tomorrow we’ll see the resumption of limited dine-in services in restaurants located in the remaining 4 Dark Red zones of Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.

Restaurants in these 4 provinces will now be able to resume dining on premises, until 9pm. But they can only seat 25% of their full capacity. So, a table for 4 can only seat 1 person, while takeaways can still be provided until 11pm. The serving of alcohol in these areas is still prohibited.

Schools and other educational institutions in Dark Red zones also remain prohibited from holding in-person classes and activities in their buildings.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri were removed from the list of Dark Red zones. Currently, there are 17 provinces considered Red zones, where dine-in services are permitted until 11pm, without the serving of alcohol. Phuket was downgraded to an Orange Zone.

Thailand still had no provinces categorised as Green or even Yellow yet, but hopefully, the downward trend continues. The zone layout now is: 4 Dark Red zones, 17 Red zones, 56 Orange zones for 77 provinces total.

The updated province colour-coded zones are…

Bangkok Nonthaburi
Pathum Thani Samat Prakan
Ayutthaya Chonburi Chachoengsao Kanchanaburi Nakhon Pathom Nakhon Si Thammarat
Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Phetchaburi Ranong Rayong
Ratchaburi Samut Sakhon Songkhla Surat Thani Tak Yala
Amnat Charoen Ang Thong Bueng Kan Buriram Chai Nat Chaiyaphum Chanthaburi Chiang Mai Chiang Rai Chumphon Kalasin Kamphaeng Phet Khon Kaen Krabi Lampang Lamphun Loei Lopburi Mae Hong Son
Maha Sarakham Mukdahan Nakhon Nayok Nakhon Phanom Nakhon Ratchasima Nakhon Sawan Nan Nong Bua Lamphu Nong Kai Pattani Phang Nga Phatthalung Phayao Phetchabun Phichit Phitsanulok Phrae Phuket
Prachinburi Roi Et Sa Kaeo Sakon Nakhon Samut Songkram Saraburi Satun Sing Buri Sisaket Sukhothai Suphanburi Surin Trang Trat Ubon Ratchathani Udon Thani Uthai Thani Uttaradit Yasothon

There may still be some provincial-centric restrictions remaining. Keep up with your local media for the latest announcements.

SOURCE:PR Thai Government


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