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Thailand News Today | Insurance companies hesitant to cover foreign tourists

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After facing losses from local Covid claims, many Thai insurance companies are indicating that they are hesitant to provide Covid insurance for foreign tourists entering Thailand under the current regulations.

The deputy governor of marketing communications at the Tourism Authority of Thailand said only a few companies are now interested in joining the Test & Go programme, the most popular choice out of the three entry options. He said companies are unsure about possible situations if they offer coverage to foreign tourists, especially with reimbursement.

Even though Test & Go resumed on February 1, there haven’t been as many tourists as there were in November when the programme first started.

Moreover, isolation for travelers in Thailand can be expensive. The deputy governor said the 10-day hotel isolation price starts at 20,000 baht. This includes three meals a day and telemedicine from a partner hospital. He told reporters, quote…

“While waiting for the OIC to conclude an insurance package, we have to increase affordable hotel isolation as an option for infected tourists so they don’t have to pay more than 100,000 baht for treatment, as happened before.”

The Public Health Ministry is letting hotel operators in major provinces provide isolation rooms on their properties for asymptomatic guests. This is to help with hospitals not having enough beds, or beds being too expensive.

——-

Human body parts were found in canals connecting to Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River yesterday. Investigating officers say the body is believed to be a 28-year-old woman who went missing on Monday.

Officers initially launched a murder investigation, but have since said the death was suicide after reviewing CCTV footage which showed a woman jumping off the Rama 8 bridge on Monday afternoon. Police suspect that the woman’s body was cut by a large ship propeller.

It’s been reported by the Ruamgatanu Foundation that her body parts were found floating at different locations across the Bangkok Noi district.

The woman’s relatives were able to identify the remains by looking at the tattoos and accessories the woman was wearing. They say she went missing earlier this week.

—-

While on a trip to Thailand, Cathy Hummels, the wife of German footballer Mats Hummels from Borussia Dortmund, was mugged. She told German media that she was hit by a stranger and robbed at a beach in Thailand.

  Man in northeast Thailand stabs wife on train

Some reports say she was mugged in Phuket, but according to one Thai reporter, local police say they have investigated the claims and the incident did not happen on the island.

According to reports, Cathy said her experience in Thailand was a nightmare. She says she was in Phuket for three weeks to film the Battle of Reality Stars TV show. On the last day of her trip, she wanted to spend some time relaxing at the beach to say goodbye to Phuket.

At the beach, someone hit her on the head. She had only a phone with her, and the thief took it and fled away. She then ran to the hotel for safety. She reported the incident to the police and decided to take a flight to Dubai that night to be with her child.

Thai media shared that they tried to contact the Commander of Phuket Provincial Police Station about the incident, but officers initially did not have any information to give reporters, adding that they needed a specific date, time, and location to look into the claims.

——

Over the next 5 years, Southeast Asia’s largest retailer plans to invest 100 billion baht to grow its business even more.

The Thailand-based Central Retail Corporation, which has numerous department stores and shopping centers across Thailand as well as two outlets in Indonesia, says the 3 billion dollar investment is aimed at increasing revenue and market capitalization.

According to CEO Yone Pokesub, the majority of the money will go toward physical store expansions and upgrades, with the rest going toward technology.

He said, “Online retail is not going to kill offline, but will complement each other.”

Yone said his company is aiming to increase its earnings before interest, taxes, and amortization by 3.5 times by 2026 after its overall loss of 2.1 billion baht in the nine months leading up to September last year.

Thailand generates about 72% of Central’s revenue, with the rest coming from Vietnam and Italy. In December, its parent company, Central Group, which is owned by the affluent Jirathiwat family, entered into a 5 billion dollar agreement to buy luxury British shop chain Selfridges.

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—-

A man who poured the beer over a woman who turned out to be a professional boxer has just been fired from his job at a top Bangkok hotel.

Not a good week for the unnamed perpetrator, who hit the headlines thanks to the power of social media and a video that went viral. The incident occurred at a food court in the Huai Kwang district of the capital when the hotel worker, who was off-duty at the time, approached 24-year-old Parepley and tried to clink glasses with her. The woman refused and the man moved off, only to return a few minutes later and pour beer over her head.

The outraged woman, who had been eating with friends, followed him out into the street, where she proceeded to aim kicks and punches at him. Pareploy is a professional Muay Thai fighter who has won 40 out of 50 fights and has been winning medals at a national level since 2013. According to media reports, she now works as a Muay Thai trainer.

Following the incident, Pareploy filed a police complaint, but both parties appeared to settle their differences when they met at Huai Kwang police station, where they apologized to each other and paid fines of 1,000 baht each.

The Bangkok Post reports that the man said he was drunk and hadn’t meant to offend the woman. The report goes on to say that the man vowed to quit drinking. Unfortunately for him, the story doesn’t end there, with his employer, the Swissotel Bangkok Ratchada, having just fired him. His sacking has been confirmed in a statement from the hotel.

—-

The Department of Disease Control has reported a surge in Covid infections in Bangkok, with daily cases rising to around 2,000 a day.

According to a Bangkok Post report, most patients are adolescents or of working age. Dr. Sutat Chotnapan from the Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention says the capital is now recording between 1,800 – 2,000 cases a day. In most cases, the virus is being spread through group activities in venues such as pubs and bars which are now operating under restaurant licenses.

  Thailand sets sights on "wealthy foreign tourists" to recover economy

He was quoted saying “We have found the main cause of infections remains unchanged, and we have seen more infections within families as the Omicron variant is easily spread.”

According to Suthat, between December 12 and February 8, Bangkok reported over 28,000 Covid infections. However, the number of fatalities has dropped from around 5 – 10 a day to 1 or 2 a day. The unvaccinated, the elderly, and those with underlying health conditions account for most of the deaths from the virus.

As cases continue to rise in the capital, a number of clusters have been reported at the city’s fresh markets. The Department of Health says regular handwashing is important given that the virus can remain on items such as banknotes, coins, plastic bags, and other shared products.

Yesterday, Thailand reported 13,182 new infections, with 40 of those found in prisons and 139 imported.

There were 24 Covid-related deaths. Of the imported cases, the Bangkok Post reports that 51 were from Russia, 9 from Kazakhstan, 8 each from Germany and France, and 6 each from Ukraine and Estonia.

—-

Thai people are being warned not to use hand sanitizer spray elsewhere on their bodies or near a naked flame. The FDA issued the warning after a woman sprayed disinfectant spray all over her body, then lit a mosquito coil. She sustained serious burns for which she’s still receiving hospital treatment.

According to a Thai PBS World report, Veerachai from the FDA has pointed out that the main ingredient of disinfectant spray and hand sanitiser is alcohol and it’s not really a good idea to spray it all over yourself then light a match.

He says users should rub the spray in thoroughly to ensure the alcohol has evaporated before they start cooking, smoke a cigarette, light a mosquito coil, or before you show off your fire twirling skills.

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