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Thailand News Today – Friday, March 20, 2020

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Thailand News Today – Friday, March 20, 2020 | The Thaiger
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Thailand confirms 50 new Covid-19 cases, including infant

Thailand today confirmed 50 new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus, bringing the total to 322 since the virus first arrived in the Kingdom in January. 278 patients remain hospitalised, 43 have returned home.

The 50 new patients include…

• 18 who visited the Lumphini Stadium in Bangkok, including spectators, boxing officials and administrators

• 5 who contracted the virus at bars and entertainment venues

• 12 people, including a 6 month old child, who had contact with previous patients

• 6 who attended religious ceremonies in the southern provinces of Pattani and Songkhla

• 9 patients returning from abroad, including 2 Thais returning from England

• Burmese workers who had been working in crowded locations.

World – 247,000+ cases

US – 15,000 cases

Recovered – 88,486

First cases of Covid-19 announced in Phuket

News sources in Phuket have reported 5 cases of Covid-19. The ‘confirmation’ has been reported by in The Southern News, Phuket People’s Voice, Phuket Andaman News and Newshawk Phuket. Before today the Phuket Governor had not announced any cases on the island. They are reporting that the cases involve 2 Chinese and 3 Danish citizens.

The Centres of Disease Control in Bangkok tried to avoid a full confirmation when asked about the new cases on the southern island. They merely mentioned, without denying the story, that they are awaiting full reports from the local doctors and re-iterated, as they did when another Phuket cases was reported in February, that “they didn’t want to panic people”.

7 imprisoned for selling over-priced face masks

7 people have been charged and sent to prison over price gouging for selling face masks at highly inflated prices.

7 defendants were caught during a government crackdown on overpriced protective gear last week.

The court found that 5 out of the 7 defendants had seized the opportunity from the Covid-19 virus crisis to take advantage of the situation. The court found 5 of the defendants guilty for selling overpriced medical masks. The other two received reduced sentences and fines.

Hot and stormy in the North, cloudy with possible showers in the South

It’s hot and smoky up around Chiang Mai and northern areas of the country today.

The Thailand Meteorological Department says that “thermal low still covers upper Thailand and southerly and southeasterly winds are bringing humidity from the South China Sea to the Northeast, the East and the Central region”.

Chiang Mai had temperatures reaching 39 degrees today. The mercury has been up near 40 degrees all week. The region’s smoke and smog problem is also ‘hazardous’ today with readings of PM2.5 particulate reaching 438 in some areas, just north of Chiang Mai… that’s WELL into the hazardous zone. The upper safe limit in Thailand, for PM 2.5 particulate is 50.

Chiang Mai listed as the most polluted city in the world again today. Number one by a LONG shot. Yesterday we reported firefighters trying to contain an out-of-control fire on a mountain slope near to the city.

GrabFood has introduced “contactless delivery” for home and office food orders

GrabFood has introduced “contactless delivery” to ensure hygiene and the health of customers and drivers.

Drivers will be wearing face masks as they follow the customer’s directions via an in-app chat as to where to deliver their order. They’ll let the customer know when they arrive, place the food order where it’s wanted and wait for the customer to pick it up. Both parties should maintain a two-metre distance.

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The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO

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The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO | The Thaiger

The Thai Government, flushed with the success of their containment of Covid-19, decided to market the Land of Smiles to the world as the safe place to travel. With the annual wet season starting to weaken the tourists would flock back to the S E Asian country that had such a remarkable success containing, then almost eradicating itself, of the coronavirus.

Then they came up with the STV – the special tourist visa which would have the world’s eager travellers packing their sun cream for up to 270 days of Thai tourism.

There were promises of plane loads of tourists and even published flights and carriers. A few flights arrived, most didn’t.

In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, less than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October. In the October and November of the year before more than 3 million people arrived in Thailand. Even the government’s limit of 1,200 new tourist arrivals per month was even slightly tested.

The government had bought all the streamers and a pretty new dress for the party but no one came.

What went wrong?

Where was the much-anticipated pent-up demand and people banging on the doors of the world’s Thai embassies?

It was the European winter and the ‘snowbirds’ would surely be back to soak in some Thai sun rays. But no.

The first problem was there wasn’t much for them to come back to. They would have the beaches of the islands all to themselves, they wouldn’t have to wait in line for anything, the domestic airlines were still selling low fares to Tavel anywhere around the country.

But otherwise there wasn’t a lot for them to do. The tourism magnets were a shadow of their former selves. Walking Street, Bangla Road, tours and tour boats, all the tourist strip restaurants. The buzz of the crowds was gone and more than 90% of the tourist-related business had closed up.

Their staff, their families, their bank loans, their stock and investments – all on hold and forced to find come other means to make ends meet. 931 of some of the larger official tourism operators have now gone out of business, according to Bloomberg News. There would be thousands of the smaller family operations that have also been swept aside by the Thai government’s responses to the world pandemic.

 

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Myanmar cancels Thai investment in the Dawei Special Economic Zone

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Myanmar cancels Thai investment in the Dawei Special Economic Zone | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Environment Justice Atlas

The Dawei Special Economic Zone Management Committee has announced the cancellation on the deep seaport project contract with Italian-Thai Development (ITD), one of Thailand’s leading industrial firms, by saying that they “lost confidence” in the company after long, controversial issues.

The Dawei Special Economic Zone Management Committee said that the Thai company has caused them “repeated delays, continuing breaches of financial obligations under the contracts and the concessionaires’ failure to confirm their financial capacity to proceed with development”.

They say they will look for new development partners to continue the projects. Currently, there are still no comments from ITD.

The Dawei Special Economic Zone is Myanmar’s initiative to encourage international investments into the country, but the project has been delayed because of funding problems and local opposition.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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SRT studies alternative plans for Bang Sue Grand Station after no show of interested bidders

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SRT studies alternative plans for Bang Sue Grand Station after no show of interested bidders | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bang Sue Grand Station

There seems to be little interest in the new Bang Sue Grand Station project, which is planned to be Thailand’s new railway hub in place of Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Railway Station and the largest railway station is Southeast Asia. Bidding for the station’s Plot A opened 3 weeks ago, with envelopes each costing 500,000 baht, but not one was sold.

With the bidding closing in January and no interest so far, the State Railway of Thailand is finding alternative plans for the Bang Sue Grand Station’s Plot A, a source told Nation Thailand.

“It is believed that nobody has shown interest in the project because of the new wave of Covid-19 infections. Also the Plot A project has low potential for commercial profit as an elevated expressway passes over it and it has limited access.”

If no one buys a bidding envelope in the next 10 days, then the bidding will close and the SRT will make changes to Plot A’s development plan. The source told Nation Thailand that railway officials might make the site a SRT office building or let other state agencies rent the land, which would not require any more bidding.

SRT is also studying any possibility to pack Plot A into Plot E which has a greater potential for commercial profit and may attract more bidders.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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