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Thailand News Today | Digital Travel Pass, Chiang Mai outbreak, Alcohol ban | November 30

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Monday’s edition of Thailand News Today.

An international Digital Travel Pass could be the magic bullet to restart global tourism

A new international Travel Pass, a sort of digital health certificate, may be the way forward for countries to re-open their borders and international airlines to get their planes back into the air.

The International Air Transport Association says the ‘digital’ certificate will support the safe reopening of borders.

As Covid-19 testing and the results becomes more reliable and nuanced, Governments are looking to testing as a means of limiting most of risks of Covid-19 when reopening their borders. The hope is that the new Travel Pass will replace the quarantine regime imposed by many countries and the hopes that a vaccine alone will solve the problems.

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak

2 more people have been confirmed as infected with Covid-19 in the current mini-outbreak in Northern Thailand.

In this case both women had crossed the Thai/Myanmar border and worked at the same bar in Myanmar as the original patient, feared to be a potential super-spreader.

The 2 women, aged 23 and 26, illegally crossed the Burmese border at Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, from a border town on the Burmese side of the border, last Thursday night.

All 3 went to work there last month, but returned to Thailand after Burmese health authorities imposed a curfew from midnight to 4am.

Another 4 people have since been identified as “high risk” and are all being tested today. When added to the food delivery and hotel staff, the amount of people considered “at risk” could be up to 30.

Children injured on Hua Hin carnival ride, no safety certification submitted

3 children were injured when a carnival ride malfunctioned at the Hua Hin Red Cross Festival in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The required safety certification had not been submitted and local officials are investigating. Carnival rides now are closed for the rest of the festival.

10 children were on the ride around 10pm Friday when the hydraulics system broke, causing the arms of the ride to drop to the ground. The injured were taken to the Bangkok Hua Hin Hospital with some bruises. Doctors said all the kids are now fine.

Twitter suspends Thai royalist linked account which spread pro-government propaganda

A Thai royalist-linked account was suspended on Twitter following a review by Reuters reporters that found the account was spreading pro-government and pro-monarchy propaganda.

Reuters says they found tens of thousands of tweets from accounts amplifying the pro-government agenda, which an expert claims is a move to counter the pro-democracy movement.

Twitter said… “The account in question was suspended for violating our rules on spam and platform manipulation.”

In October, Twitter suspended 926 accounts linked to the Royal Thai Army which were “amplifying pro-government propaganda.” The Army denies they were associated with the accounts.

Ron Howard to direct cave rescue feature film ‘Thirteen Lives’ in Australia

The Australian Government is putting up A$13 million for a live-action feature film called Thirteen Lives, based on the Chiang Rai Tham Luang cave rescue story.

The film will be shot in Queensland, Australia in the hinterland areas behind the Gold Coast.

The film will be directed by Ron Howard and will start filming in March 2021. The state’s Gold Coast hinterland will double for Thailand with a similar hot, humid climate and landscape.

Thirteen Lives follows the story of the 2018 Tham Laung cave rescue of the 13 members of the Mu Pa football team, trapped in a cave by heavy rain and flooding in Chiang Rai, and the international rescue that followed.

The first major feature film about the rescue operation was The Cave, released in October 2019. The film was quite critical of the Thai red-tape which hampered much of the early rescue efforts.

Ban on sales and promotion of alcohol online starts December 7

From December 7 you’ll no longer, officially, be able to purchase alcohol online in Thailand.

The Thai government will prohibit the sales and promotion of alcoholic drinks on every online platform from December 7.

The ban includes direct sales, promotion and introduction of alcoholic products online, but will not include electronic payments of purchases at retail stores, restaurants and bars.

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Thai FDA files complaint against TV celebrity for false advertising

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai FDA files complaint against TV celebrity for false advertising | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Social TV Pool Online

A well-known TV host in Thailand is under fire after she made advertisements saying health supplement products could change a person’s face shape and even help people recover from Covid-19. The Thai Food and Drug Administration filed a complaint with the Consumer Protection Division against TV star Patcharasri “Kalamare” Benjamach for false advertising.

Kalamare advertised Botera “power shots.” The drinks are said to promote healthy skin as well as overall health. According to the Nation Thailand, Kalamare is seen in video clips advertising the products, claiming the drinks can “sharpen” a person’s facial features and even change the shape of the nose and eyelids. In other clips, she says the drinks can help people recover for Covid-19 and cancer, Nation Thailand reports.

The FDA say they want the celebrity to be charged with violating Thailand’s Food Act for false and deceptive advertising. The law carries a penalty of up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to 30,000 baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law

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Woman sentenced to 43 years in prison for violating lèse majesté law | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Siamrath

The Bangkok Criminal Court sentenced a former public official to more than 4 decades in prison for violating the country’s strict lèse majesté law on insulting or defaming the Thai Monarchy.

The woman, a former Revenue Department official known as Anchan, was found guilty on 29 counts of violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, known as the lèse majesté law, as well as the Computer Crime Act. She was sentenced to 43 years and 6 months in prison.

Anchan had posted audio clips on Facebook and YouTube of a man making comments considered critical of the Thai Monarchy. The man has been arrested, but officials haven’t released any other details.

The ruling comes during an ongoing pro-democracy movement raising subjects that are considered taboo in Thai society. In recent months, dozens of protesters have been charged with violating the lèse majesté law. A senior researcher from the Human Rights Watch as the recent sentence sends a “spine-chilling” message.

“Today’s court verdict is shocking and sends a spine-chilling signal that not only criticisms of the monarchy won’t be tolerated, but they will also be severely punished.”

Section 112 of the Criminal Code:

Those who defame, insult or threaten the King, the Queen, the Heir-apparent or the Regent shall be punished by a jail term of between three to 15 years.

SOURCES: Thai Enquirer | Bangkok Biz News| Independent

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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions

Caitlin Ashworth

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UPDATE: Confusion over Covid-19 tests for visa extensions | The Thaiger

UPDATE: Khaosod English removed a story on Covid-19 tests for those seeking visa extensions and replaced it with the article “Immigration backtracks on plan to require Covid-19 test for visa extensions.” They say the previous report sparked uproar among expats and immigration police spokesperson has since apologised for the misunderstanding.

Original article…

Confusion reigns today over whether Covid-19 tests will be required for visa extensions. While The Phuket News spoke with an immigration official who said “no… you don’t need a Covid-19 test to extend your visa or apply for a work permit”, Khaosod English wrote an article headlined “Covid-19 test will be mandatory for all visa extension”.

The Thaiger also contacted a respected visa agent who said Covid-19 tests are, indeed, now required for applying for both visa extensions and work permits, even renewals.

The Thai Immigration Bureau has not made any official announcement regarding Covid-19 tests. Talk about Covid-19 tests for foreigners was brought up after a rule was published in the Royal Gazette last month, officially adding Covid-19 to a list of dangerous diseases, prohibiting those infected with any of the listed illnesses from entering the country.

Immigration Police Bureau spokesperson Archayon Kraithong told Khaosod English that proof of a negative Covid-19 test will be required for visa extensions, regardless of how long a foreigner has stayed in Thailand. On the other hand, Phuket immigration deputy chief Nareuwat Putthawiro told The Phuket News that Covid-19 tests will not be required for visa extensions or work permit applications.

“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 currently already required for most work permit applicants (including tests for Syphilis and Elephantiasis). A visa agent told The Thaiger that Covid-19 tests have been added to the medical examination requirements for work permit applicants. But, on the other hand, Phuket immigration says they DO NOT require Covid-19 tests for work permit applicants.

“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.”

It isn’t the first time there has been conflicting statements coming out of different officials, in different immigration offices on different days.

SOURCES: Phuket News| Khaosod English

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