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Thailand News Today | Bangkok air pollution, 28 Covid cases, Lao dam protest | December 14

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Bangkok starts the new week with ‘unhealthy’ air quality

Waking up in Bangkok today you would have been surprised that the sun had disappeared to be replaced by a grey sky and views across the city limited to less than a kilometre.

Across the city the air quality readings for most of the day have been aver the 150 mark which is registers as ‘unhealthy’ in the international Air Quality Index. The weather forecast for the next few days suggests that the air pollution situation won’t improve much.

Since the wet season monsoon is over for the year, the north-easterly airflow across Bangkok now brings down the smoke and haze from the north which is caused by burn offs of rice and sugar cane plantations… a situation that causes devastating air quality problems for the central and northern Thai regions each year, usually from around December until around April.

Majority says school uniforms should remain mandatory – NIDA Poll

According to a new poll, a majority of Thai people think the student uniforms should remain mandatory in Thai schools, while others say casual outfits should also be allowed some days of the week.

The latter opinion, which was part of the recently conducted NIDA Poll, was reportedly due to keeping the peace and easing tensions between students and education officials.

Almost 70% of respondents say uniforms for students should remain mandatory, with 12% saying casual attire should be allowed some days of the week. About 7% say the decision should be up to the school’s administration.

Of those who think casual attire should be allowed on some days, almost 51% say 1 day a week would suffice. When asked whether they support the Bad Student protests, almost 73% said no, citing the need for students to focus on their studies.

Thai government threaten to boycott new Lao hydro electric dam project

Loas officials have announced yet another Laos hydro electric dam along th Mekong River and Thai authorities aren’t happy.

The long list of Laos and Chinese dams along the Mekong River have hugely affected the life of communities downstream of the Mekong in Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. And Laos. The Lao PDR has been described as South East Asia’s ‘battery’ and has been building hydro electric dams at speed in recent decades, sometimes with disastrous consequences.

The Thai government are questioning the potential environmental impact of the planned Sanakham hydroelectric dam in Laos, and say they could exercise a section of the Mekong River Agreement to halt the scheme.

27 new Covid-19 cases in quarantine, 1 health worker infected by patient

1 local Covid-19 transmission was reported today and 27 new Covid-19 cases were detected in quarantine, according to the CCSA. It’s the largest daily rise in cases since April.

For the local transmission, a health worker tested positive for Covid-19 after coming in contact with an infected patient. The CCSA did not give any additional details on the case.

Out of the 27 cases detected in quarantine, 6 of them were Thais returning to Chiang Rai from the Myanmar border town Tachileik.

21 other people tested positive for Covid-19 in quarantine after travelling from the United Kingdom, France, Azerbaijan, Germany, Ukraine, Poland, Bahrain, Indonesia, Sweden and Jordan.

Narathiwat villager shot and killed, suspected insurgent camp found nearby

After a villager was shot and killed while he was hunting wild pigs, a military and police task force searched the area in the Southern province of Narathiwat and found a deserted camp officials suspect was used by insurgents.

The 55 year old went up to the mountain to go hunting with a group of friends. They separated, but after a series of gunshots were heard.

After 3 hours of searching, rangers found the man’s body. He had multiple gunshot wounds.

A couple days later, a search was led by a combined police and military unit. Officers found an empty campsite with 13 tents. They also found 3 spent AK47 rifle cartridges and a pipe bomb, a type of improvised explosive device known as an IED, along with several survival kits.

Malaysia coast guard busts record methamphetamine shipment, possibly smuggled from Golden Triangle

Malaysia’s coast guard made its largest bust, seizing 2.2 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine that was hidden in packets of Chinese tea.

The shipment of illegal drugs, valued around 105.9 million ringgit, or 789 million baht, is part of a large-scale drug trade across Southeast Asia, China and Australia.

The coast guard followed the boat, which turned into a chase when the 26 year old Malaysian driver, the only occupant on the boat, refused to stop.

The driver jumped off the boat. The coast guard later found the man and arrested him.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon speeds up proactive Covid-19 screening to test at least 60,000 people this week

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Samut Sakhon speeds up proactive Covid-19 screening to test at least 60,000 people this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

Proactive Covid-19 testing in Samut Sakhon is increasing and health officials now aim to test at least 60,000 people this week. Medical officials from several hospitals are also coming together to help accelerate the screening at different venues in the province.

The active case finding in Samut Sakhon, the primary “Covid-19 hotspot” in the new wave of infections, health officials will test migrant workers who work at various factories as well as residents in 15 communities, market vendors and other people in high risk groups.

According to the CCSA, with the proactive screening, the number of new infections is expected to be high. And with the current proactive plan to be complete this week, it is expected to find 4,400 new infections or about 7% of those being screened.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Chulalongkorn University to start human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine

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Chulalongkorn University to start human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

The vaccine research centre at Chulalongkorn University is planning to start human trials of its mRNA vaccine candidate, called Chula – Cov19, in April. The university received prototype vaccines from factories in the United States. If the human trials are effective, the first million doses of locally-produced vaccines could available this year.

According to the centre’s director Dr. Kiat Ruxrungtham, the human trials will be conducted on 72 volunteers to assess the right dosages. The second stage of efficacy and safety is expected to be performed on about 600 volunteers from June until September.

He also says that the centre’s mRNA vaccines can be stored at 5◦C, compared to the Pfizer vaccine that must be well kept at below -70◦C. Therefore, the Thai-made vaccine is expected to be easier and more convenient for storage management. However, there will be a test to find the right temperature for the vaccine storage.

The Chula – Cov19 vaccine development project a collaboration between Chulalongkorn University’s vaccine research centre and Pennsylvania University in the US. The centre’s research team has been studying several vaccine candidates since the Covid-19 outbreak last year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Chulalongkorn Hospital

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Thai Senate passes landmark bill to allow first trimester abortion

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Senate passes landmark bill to allow first trimester abortion | The Thaiger
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In a landmark decision, the Thai Senate approved amendments to Thailand’s abortion laws allowing women to terminate their pregnancy during the first trimester and also lessening the punishment for women who have an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The amendments will go into effect on February 12.

Abortion – during any stage of pregnancy – has been illegal under Thailand’s Criminal Code, with the expectation that the pregnancy poses a health risk for the mother or if the woman was raped. If a woman terminated her pregnancy illegally during any stage, she faced to 3 years in prison and a fine of 60,000 baht.

Yesterday, the Senate approved to amend the Criminal Code to allow abortions performed by a qualified doctor during the first trimester, which is up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women would not need to give a reason for the abortion.

The Senate also approved to lessen the punishment for women who terminated their pregnancy illegally. Women who have an abortion after the first trimester now face up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 10,000 baht.

There were 165 votes in favour of the amendments and 7 against. 21 senators abstained from voting and 1 did not cast a vote.

Amended Sections 301 and 305 in Thailand’s Criminal Code:

Section 301: A woman who has an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy faces up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 10,000 baht.

Section 305: The offender is not guilty if:

  • The pregnancy puts the mother at risk physically or psychologically.
  • The baby faces a significant risk of developing physical or mental disorder or disability.
  • The woman has been impregnated due to rape.
  • The woman is convinced there is no other option.
  • Second trimester abortions, up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, are approved by a doctor or public health professionals.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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