Thailand News Today | Island Party Crackdown | January 28

Around 9,000 people will face criminal charges for allegedly defrauding the “We Travel Together” subsidy scheme which was launched to stimulate the local tourist economy and to help hotels and restaurants ravaged from the long list of restrictions and international border closure.

The national police chief says the police plan to prosecute around 9,000 people for conspiring with hotel operators and shop owners to cheat the government subsidy scheme. The scheme, launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, covered 40% of room rates and issued 600 baht and 900 baht food vouchers for food and travel.

Lower rates on rooms were intended to draw in more travellers, but a number of hoteliers allegedly raised their prices to get more of the subsidies. Some even created fake hotel bookings. Last month, TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn filed a complaint against 312 hotels and 202 shops for allegedly cheating the scheme, saying legal action needed to be taken before the launching the second phase of the scheme.

You go out and grab a beer from tomorrow… but at a restaurant only. Bars in “red zones” around the country, including Bangkok, are still closed. But restaurants will be able to go back to serving alcohol and can offer dine-in services until 11pm.

The restrictions on restaurants are to be eased in all provinces except for Samut Sakhon. The easing of restrictions are set to be approved by a panel chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha tomorrow.

While restaurants will be able to serve alcohol and host music performances, dancing is still prohibited in provinces classified as “red zones” and “orange zones.” Restaurants must arrange place tables and chairs to comply with social distancing guidelines.

Bars, pubs and karaoke venues in “red zones,” which include Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani, must remain closed.

Police raided a party in Koh Pha Ngan and arrested 111 on charges of violating Covid-19 disease control measures under the Emergency Decree. Immigration police and tourist police raided the event at Three Sixty Bar, a venue on a hilltop near Mae Haad Beach on the island known for its amazing view.

Out of the 111 people arrested, 89 are foreigners and 20 are Thais. Police say 2 other people admitted to organising the party and were charged with colluding in operating an entertainment venue without permission. All 111 people were taken to the police station for legal action.

According to chief of Surat Thani immigration, police heard about party tickets being sold online. The bar wasn’t exactly discreet about hosting the event. Various posts were made on Facebook advertising the “360 Blast & Addict Party” with DJs on 2 dance floors, a music line up until 2am and a “Crazy Market” with clothes, jewelery and food.

Massage shops and spas as well as other similar venues in Chon Buri, including Pattaya, will be allowed to reopen after being closed for nearly a month due to strict Covid-19 control measures. Massage and spa workers gathered earlier this week, lobbying the government to allow their businesses to reopen.

Along with massage shops and spas, tattoo studios and beauty clinics are also allowed to reopen, but must abide by Covid-19 prevention measures like checking customers’ temperatures, supplying hand sanitiser and enforcing social distancing.

Gyms, pools, fitness centres, saunas and massage shops offering “soapy massages” are not included in the order.

Although Chon Buri has gone 6 consecutive days without a local Covid-19 case, it is still classified as a “red zone”, as of today.

A Covid-19 nasal swab test isn’t pleasant. Many will say the long stick inserted deep inside the nasal cavity feels like it’s hitting their brain.

But. Don’t worry, now there’s a new test… an anal swab test. And, they say, it’s more effective at detecting a coronavirus infection.

After a Covid-19 infection was detected at primary school in Beijing, more than 1,000 teachers, staff members and students were tested using the anal swab method as well as the usual nose and throat swab tests.

According to doctors, the alternative anal tests can “increase the detection rate” and is likely to be used more often. We’re sort of hoping the new test doesn’t catch on.

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