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Thailand News Today – Friday, April 24

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Thailand News Today – Friday, April 24 | The Thaiger
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15 new Covid-19 cases in Thailand, no new deaths

15 new confirmed Covid-19 cases were announced today. This brings the total since the start of the outbreak to 2,854.

60 more people recovered and were released in the same 24 hour period. The total number of patients recovered is now 2,490.

Only 314 patients remain in hospital undergoing specific Covid-19 treatment.

Of the new cases, the majority were very close contacts, often live-in family members of previously confirmed cases. There was one case from a repatriated Thai citizen.

Four of the new cases today were in the Bang Tao cluster on the Phuket’s west coast, including a 2 year old child. Bang Tao has become a problematic cluster for the holiday island meaning a lockdown of the largely Muslim community for an extended period.

Over the next few days hundreds of Thais will arrive from overseas and officials caution this may add to a higher daily number of cases. Every repatriated citizen goes immediately into 14 days of state quarantine as soon as they arrive.

Buriram and Chon Buri get ready for easing of restrictions starting May 1

Two of Thailand’s provinces have already declared they will begin relaxing provincial ‘lockdowns’ from May 1.

Buri Ram, in the north east, and Chon Buri, south east of Bangkok, have separately announced a progressive relaxing of lockdown restrictions acknowledging the improved coronavirus situation in their provinces.

In Chon Buri, including the seaside city of Pattaya, the Governor issued orders yesterday to ease some of the restrictions imposed on April 9, citing the “improving situation”.

And the Buri Ram Governor says the province should reopen so people can resume activities which present a minimal risk of disease transmission. He also said…

“All people in Buri Ram, 15 years or older, whether residents or not, will each be issued with a sticker to be attached to their ID cards or passports. Anyone leaving the province will have the stickers removed and, upon their return to the province, will have to enter quarantine.

Thailand’s Security Council eyes extending state of emergency, easing some restrictions

Next Monday, the day before the weekly Cabinet meeting, Thailand’s National Security Council will present a proposal to extend the national state of emergency to PM Prayut Chan-o-nocha

It is rumoured that they will be recommending the relaxation of some current restrictions to allow some businesses and daily activities to resume amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The PM has the right to extend the current Emergency Decree for up to 90 days under the Thai Constitution.

Details regarding the relaxation of restrictions will be known after Monday’s meeting, and the NSC will invite business leaders to give opinions on how they can help curb new infections if restrictions are relaxed.

Strict rules set to govern a possible return of domestic flights from May 1

The director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand is eyeing May 1 as a possible date for some domestic flights to once more take to the skies. And he’s clarified some of the rules for airlines and passengers.

• The flight destination must be a province that has relaxed its ‘lockdown’ restrictions

• Strict social distancing must be in place during check-in, boarding and disembarking

• The wearing of masks is obligatory for all passengers while crew must wear masks, face shields and gloves

• Passengers must provide their own masks

• No meals or beverages can be served in-flight

• Passengers cannot bring their own food

• Every other seat must be left empty

• Passengers showing any symptoms of Covid-19 should be seated at the back of the aircraft for flights longer than 90 minutes

Four arrested for shooting videos at Phuket Zoo and soliciting donations

Following last week’s posting of a video taken at the Phuket Zoo apparently ‘whilst on a walk’, 2 foreigners and 2 Thais have now been arrested.

They’ve been detained after allegedly scaling a wall at the Phuket zoo. They shot videos of crocodiles and tigers then posted them online asking for public donations to help the ‘abandoned’ animals. The police report says that zoo’s security guard reported four people climbing over the zoo’s perimeter wall around 6pm on April 14 and recording videos of some of the animals.

The three men and one woman have been charged with violation of the Computer Crimes Act and trespassing on private property. The suspects all denied the charges and engaged a lawyer. The zoo is closed, as are all animal entertainment venues, by order of the Phuket Governor.

Their lawyer claims the whole situation is “all a misunderstanding”. He told reporters that his clients had asked the zoo owner’s motherto enter the zoo after being told the animals were not being fed. He said that the mother would be a witness for the defence.

320,000 of Singapore’s migrant workers living in Covid-19 limbo

Not too far away from Thailand, Singapore’s confirmed cases have blown past 11,000 from just 1,000 at the beginning of this month and doubled just in the past week. The city state now has the highest number of reported cases in south east Asia. The vast majority of the new wave of cases are among Singapore’s estimated 320,000 migrant workers living in cramped dormitories.

This week, Singapore said it would stop the daily movements of workers in and out of all dormitories. Workers in essential services, who’ve tested negative, have been moved to other accommodations. The rest will remain in virtual concentration camps, where the risk of infection has been evaluated as “extremely high”.

Migrant workers arrested in Bangkok for working through curfew

And speaking of migrant workers, Bangkok police have arrested 15 migrant workers accused of violating the emergency decree by working during curfew hours

The construction workers were stopped at a checkpoint on the Bangna-Trad road as they were making their way home from having worked overtime on the Yellow Line monorail project.

Their employer vigorously disputed the charges and has taken to social media to air her grievances, claiming the workers were in possession of a special travel permit which the arresting officers allegedly tore up during the arrests.

Police responded by saying the permits don’t cover working at night as this is not included in the exemptions listed as essential night-shift workers such as medical and logistics staff.

When asked about the checkpoint officers tearing up the permits presented by the workers, Damrongsak says the officer thought they were scrap paper.

The workers have been released on a bond of 40,000 baht each.

Indonesia bans air, sea travel until June over virus fears

Indonesia has announced a ban on all air and sea travel until at least June to try and contain the spread of the coronavirus during Ramandan, which started today.

The temporary ban takes effect from today and covers the end of Ramadan when millions would traditionally return to their hometowns. The latest measure will not apply to emergency, diplomatic or cargo transport, the government said. Returning Indonesian citizens from abroad and foreigners who reside in the archipelago will also be exempt.

Airbus pulls the plug on the joint Thai Airways’ maintenance facility at U-Tapao

Airbus, the European multinational aircraft manufacturer, has pulled the plug on an 11 billion baht joint venture with Thai Airways scheduled for the U-tapao airport in Rayong, east of Bangkok.

The project was to develop a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility at the. The airport also serves the seaside resort of Pattaya.

The pull out is a huge blow to the Thai Government’s much hyped Eastern Economic Corridor project which the Prayut Government has made its poster economic project for Thailand. The lack of a partner also leaves Thai Airways in limbo with its plans for the regional maintenance hub.

Thai Airways’ executive vice president of Technical Development says the failure to go ahead with the project left the national carrier seeking a new partner to go ahead for the proposed maintenance facility.

About 45% of the current Thai Airways fleet is from Airbus, including 6 of the massive double-decker A380 aircraft.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

No new Covid-19 cases in 65 provinces for a month

Jack Burton

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No new Covid-19 cases in 65 provinces for a month | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand Medical News

The Covid-19 situation in Thailand is improving: the Ministry of Public Health announced yesterday that 65 of Thailand’s 76 provinces have reported no new cases for a full month. But it says the situation is “still not stable enough”, and the government continues to screen people returning from abroad and is proactively testing suspected cases.

The deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control says that the number of cases in Thailand is relatively low and is divided into 2 main groups: Thai nationals returning from abroad and people who had close contact with previous cases. Returnees are placed in mandatory 14 day quarantine to see if they develop symptoms.

But academics have pointed out that there may still be some people infected with the virus without showing symptoms in areas around the country. They have not been tested and could potentially infect others. Therefore, they say, the Ministry of Public Health needs to stay proactive in maintaining a wide ranging testing program. (Thailand has not had a “wide ranging testing program”. Thailand has tested 5,380 people per 1 million population. In comparison, Singapore has tested 57,250 people per 1 million population.)

The Thai ministry’s caution shows an extreme risk-aversion when compared to many other countries that are now opening up despite much higher rates of transmission, but with certain precautions and restrictions in place.

An analysis of the numbers of infections in different parts of Thailand shows 10 provinces have had no cases at all. However, 42 provinces have a fatality rate of 0.1 to 1%, 18 provinces have a rate of 1.1 to 5%, 2 provinces have 5.1 to 10% and 5 provinces have a death rate higher than 10%.

In the past month, 65 provinces reported no new cases. Although the figures are low, it’s is possible that some people are asymptomatic, particularly in greater Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, Chonburi and the 4 southern border provinces.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Thailand

Immigration police catch 54 illegal immigrants at Thai-Cambodia border

Maya Taylor

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Immigration police catch 54 illegal immigrants at Thai-Cambodia border | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Thai immigration police have arrested a Cambodian man along with 53 other Cambodian nationals he had smuggled across the border into Thailand. The arrests took place in the province of Sa Kaeo, about 200 kilometres east of Bangkok.

Immigration police catch 54 illegal immigrants at Thai-Cambodia border | News by The Thaiger

The man, named as 46 year old La Peun, confessed to police that the migrants had paid him 3,000 baht each to be taken to Thailand. According to a report in Nation Thailand, the group, consisting of 32 men and 21 women, all without passports, were hoping to secure work in Thailand.

They have been charged with entering the country illegally and detained for legal processing and are likely to be deported in coming days.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Government to introduce financial incentives to boost domestic tourism

Maya Taylor

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Government to introduce financial incentives to boost domestic tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Il Vagabiondo on Unsplash

The Thai government is set to introduce some financial sweeteners to stimulate domestic tourism – essentially paying its citizens to holiday in their own country. A report in Bangkok Biz News, says that from July, Thai nationals will receive a discount of between 40-50% on hotel accommodation within the Kingdom.

The scheme, aimed at a domestic kick-start to the country’s battered tourism sector, has been proposed by the Economy and Tourism Secretary as part of a 400 billion baht stimulus package. As the country works towards a full reopening and eventual lifting of all Covid-19 related restrictions, the government is hoping to revive domestic tourism with its Thai Thiaw Thai (“Thais visit Thailand”) campaign.

At this stage there is no indication if the scheme will also apply to resident expats.

SOURCE: Bangkok Biz News | ThaiVisa

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