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Thailand News: Parliament opens; More advice for parents; Thai boxers in last 16

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Thailand News: Parliament opens; More advice for parents; Thai boxers in last 16 | The Thaiger
PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Parliament prioritizes 10 bills before putting up reconciliation draft
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: The House will keep the Reconciliation Bill on its agenda but it will only be considered after 10 other bills have been debated upon, it was resolved at the first parliamentary session yesterday. The Opposition chief whip called on the government to withdraw the draft, saying that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should first clarify her stance on what he called the “whitewash” law.

The opposition has been saying that the bill, which could provide amnesty for people charged in political incidents between September 15, 2005, and May 10, 2011, would whitewash the legal cases being faced by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

After more than an hour of debate, a majority of 272 MPs of the 494 in attendance voted in support of first putting up the other 10 bills. The consideration proceedings will start next Wednesday.

The 10 bills up for consideration are drafts that have already passed the House committee’s consideration, such as laws on social welfare for professionals, expropriation of land in the Huay Pong and Map Ta Phut districts, traditional medicine, the collection of signatures to propose a law, and the law on therapeutic medicine.

Opposition leader and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday in a broadcast on the Blue Sky Channel that so long as the government insisted on not withdrawing the Reconciliation Bill and the draft on charter amendment, people would remain suspicious.

Pheu Thai and coalition parties on Tuesday agreed they would not withdraw the charter amendment draft, pending the third reading, from the House-Senate joint sitting. Instead, they decided to set up an 11-member committee to work out how to move on with the process.

Pheu Thai MP Samart Kaew-meechai said yesterday that the committee would consist of seven members from Pheu Thai: Bhokin Bhalakula, Varathep Ratta-nakorn, Pongthep Thepkanjana, Phumtham Wechayachai, Udomdej Rattanasatien, Peerapan Palusuk and himself.

Two members would come from the Chart Thai Pattana Party – Paradorn Prissanananthakul and Chayut Phummakanchana – while Wannarat Charnnukul will represent Chart Pattana and Sansak Charoon Ngarmpichet will represent the Pha-lang Chon Party. Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn told the media yesterday that he would submit an impeachment motion against seven judges of the Constitution Court, citing abuse of discretion in ruling on the charter amendment bill.

Weng said he agreed with delaying the third reading of the Constitution amendment, saying he understood Yingluck’s intention to reduce conflict.

“Passing the third reading might take some time for people to understand. However, there must definitely be a vote for the third reading,” he said.

Meanwhile, Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut called on the government to let the opposition join platforms organized by the Interior Ministry to explain the charter amendments to the people.

Yesterday was the first day of the new parliamentary session. House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said only 494 MPs reported after some had resigned or been disqualified, and one MP had passed away.

The full House consists of 500 MPs.

Parents told to watch for symptoms
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: Parents are advised to watch out for pneumonia and acute otitis media (middle-ear infection) symptoms in young children because these conditions could be further complicated by the ongoing spread of the hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD).

Speaking at a Bangkok seminar yesterday, Prof Dr Somsak Lohlekha, chairman of the Paediatric Society of Thailand, said pneumonia could be fatal for infants, while acute otitis media was found in 80 per cent of children under three and could kill if it developed into meningitis, brain abscess or septicaemia.

He said parents might overlook symptoms like ear ache or itchy ears if their toddler already has a cold. However, this could lead to severe ear infection and a ruptured ear drum, or even spread to the lungs, leading to potentially fatal respiratory failure. The infection could also spread to the brain, leading to meningitis or brain abscess, he said.

The doctor advised parents to take action if their toddler is touching his or her earlobes frequently or constantly crying. As for pneumonia, parents should consult with doctors immediately if their children have any flu or cold symptoms like wheezing, heavy coughing or high fever. He said pneumonia was not curable through vaccines or over-the-counter medication.

In Si Sa Ket, there have been 260 confirmed cases of hand, foot, mouth disease, and six of them were children between the ages of 10 and 14, which is rare, the chief of the public health office, Dr Prawi Amphan, said.

Thai Kaew hands Flissi a boxing lesson
Phuket Gazette / The Nation
PHUKET: Veteran light flyweight Kaew Pongprayoon made light work of Algeria’s Mohamed Flissi to ensure that Thailand has two fighters in the last 16 of the boxing competition.

Kaew’s triumph in the preliminary round of the 49kg category followed flyweight Chatchai Butdee’s emphatic win as both fighters made successful debuts in the Games, leaving Sailom Ardee the only loser among the three-member Thai team.

The 32-year-old Kaew had previously been overlooked for national selection in the smallest weight division because of his small frame. Now, the diminutive Kaew knows that time is running out for him as he chases Olympic glory before hanging up his gloves for good.

With the London Games possibly his first and last appearance in the Olympics, Kaew is determined to make the most of the belated opportunity.

Roared on by a noisy group of Thai fans at the venue, the Thai fighter came out swinging from the bell, but found the elusive Algerian a difficult target, making it tough for Kaew during the first round.

After taking a single point lead from the opening round, Kaew found it much easier in the second, landing three successive blows with his right and profiting from counter-punches to extend his advantage to 14-9.

Flissi, who spent time training in Thailand for the Games, tried to raise the tempo in the final round, but the Thai used his vast experience to easily fend off the Algerian’s late surge, eventually recording a comfortable 19-11 win.

“I’m not very happy with the way I boxed today. It took a while for me to recover from the slow start. He was my sparring partner when he trained in our country,” said Kaew, who next faces Carlos Pilataxi of Ecuador on Saturday.

“It will be a tight fight,” Kaew said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

When can we travel again? World Covid Travel Update | VIDEO

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When can we travel again? World Covid Travel Update | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Today we’ll look at the larger world travel picture in this Covid era, and then we’ll check the latest opportunities if you want to come back to Thailand for travel.

So when can we pack the bags and travel again? Well, in theory, right now. But in practice, depending where you’re coming from and where you want to go, that may still be very complicated… and remain so for at least the rest of this year. But some of the world’s travel so-called experts are now speaking in terms of months and not years. Whilst some of that might be optimistic travel industry spin, there may be some greater certainty on re-openings of some sectors of the world travel industry in the next few months.

But first, consider all the variables that need to fall into place for things to go smoothly..

Despite the roll out of various vaccines, and more on the way, some countries are more advanced in that process than others. The appearance of virus mutations could send all the best guesses for an improvement in travel opportunities into disarray. Whilst it seems the vaccines will be a great benefit for victims to avoid the worst ravages of Covid-19, there is still a long way to go to measure the longer term effects on the changes in transmission and community immunity.

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Thailand tourism sector seeks to reopen the country by July

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Thailand tourism sector seeks to reopen the country by July | The Thaiger
Stock photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

The following was submitted by Open Thailand Safely, a campaign pushing the Thai government to reopen Thailand to international tourism by July 2021.

Leading international tourism companies in Thailand have launched a campaign to reopen the country’s borders from 1 July 2021.

The #OpenThailandSafely campaign was launched 2 March with the support of over 15 major companies including YAANA Ventures, Minor Group, Asian Trails, Capella Hotels and Resorts, EXO and many others. (The full launch list is here)

The Open Thailand Safely campaign has laid out its arguments in a petition which will underpin a formal request to the Royal Thai Government to respond favourably to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programmes underway in Europe, USA and other Thailand tourism source markets.

The petition is open to anyone in Thailand or around the world who would like to see the country reopen.

The campaign argues that 1 July is an appropriate date for five reasons: the majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then; it gives time to Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both front line staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and/or vulnerable citizens around the country; it gives international travellers time to make travel plans and bookings; the date gives time to airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales and get ready for tourism operations to commence; and it will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the Covid-19 crisis.

To ensure the safe reopening of Thailand, the petition argues that “international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai Government may require. This may, for example, include showing officially recognised proof of a Covid-19 vaccination from their home country, purchasing health insurance, showing proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure, and so on.”

#OpenThailandSafely was the initiative of leading Bangkok-based private sector travel companies YAANA Ventures, Minor Group and Asian Trails.

The CEO of YAANA Ventures, Willem Niemeijer [pictured right], said: “The 1 July reopening would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to show a leadership role among Asian countries and prepare the way for a solid recovery of the Thai economy in 2022.”

In the coming days, the Open Thailand Safely campaign will also send the 1st July request to Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mr Yuthasak Supasorn.

According to the Bank of Thailand and official sources in Thailand, tourism, pre-Covid, was worth about 2.9 trillion baht (US$96.5 billion). Some 39.7 million international visitors in 2019 helped sustain up to 8.3 million jobs. However, arrivals fell to 6.7 million in 2020 making between two and four million people unemployed.

Meanwhile, destinations such as Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Sri Lanka have either opened borders already or are in discussions to do so in light of successful Covid vaccine rollouts in their key source markets.

People can sign the petition for Thailand to reopen on 1 July at www.OpenThailandSafely.org.

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Thailand News Today | Dodgy vaccine doctor nabbed,Pattaya club raided for ‘explicit’ shows | March 3

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Thailand News Today | Dodgy vaccine doctor nabbed,Pattaya club raided for ‘explicit’ shows | March 3 | The Thaiger

The Bangkok Military Court has issued an arrest warrant for a Royal Thai Army medic who is accused of injecting troops with a fake Covid-19 vaccine. He reportedly made more than 100,000 baht by charging troops, who were on a UN mission, 500 baht each for a tetanus vaccine and a fake Covid-19 vaccine, which an internal army investigation determined was simple saline solution…. Harmless but not very effective.

The Thai Army held a press conference after the medic’s fake vaccine scam made headlines, saying the incident had tarnished the army’s image. The field medic, who was also a lieutenant, injected more than 250 Thai troops stationed in South Sudan on a UN peacekeeping mission with the fake vaccine, claiming it was the head doctor’s order. An Army spokesperson says the medic was in the Thai-South Sudan Horizontal Military Engineering Company and “is a serious disciplinary offence and also violates ethical standards as the wrongdoer is a doctor.”

The governor of the central province of Samut Sakhon is slowly recovering after more than 2 months battling Covid-19. Weerasak Wichitsangsri tested positive for the virus in late December and subsequently ended up on a ventilator for over 40 days. It’s understood Weerasak’s time on the ventilator was a record for the hospital and, at times, medics were unsure if he would recover.

Pattaya City Police inspected a nightclub after reports that the venue was hosting pornographic shows over the weekends. Although the nightclub, named as Dragon Man Club in Thai media, wasn’t presenting a sexually explicit show when officers dropped in, the owner was arrested for operating an entertainment business and selling alcohol without the proper permit.

The Thai government has approved a budget of over 6 billion baht to procure an additional 35 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines. The budget was approved at a Cabinet meeting yesterday.

The Covid-free gulf islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao are offering special discounts and privileges to tourists until the end of April. Over 80 tourism operators are taking part in the program.

In an act of good will, navy officials have rescued 4 cats from a ship that had caught fire and began to sink about 13 kilometres off Koh Adang in the southern province of Satun. The ship’s 8 member crew had jumped off the sinking vessel and were rescued by a passing fishing ship, but the cats were left onboard.

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