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Thailand News Today – Monday, April 20

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Thailand News Today – Monday, April 20 | The Thaiger
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27 new virus cases, no deaths for third straight day

Thailand reported 27 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours but no additional deaths today.

The new figure is 5 fewer than the 32 cases reported yesterday, and the lowest number of daily cases recorded since March 14. 

 For the third consecutive day, no additional deaths, related to the virus, were reported, leaving the accumulated death toll at 47. The national recovery rate to 71.6%.

Stranded Russian couple have been living in a Krabi cave

A Russian couple say they’ve been stuck in a cave in Krabi waiting out the Covid-19 crisis in Thailand.

They’ve been holed up in a tent inside the entrance to the cave in Tonsai Bay. Officials heard from locals about the 2 Russians, both around 30 years old, who had sought refuge in the local cave. The married couple were invited to the Ao Nang Tourist Police Station to investigate their circumstances. 

They said that when the local hotels closed they had nowhere else to go. Police took them to hospital where they are certified as healthy and then checked into one of the 4 hotels in Krabi that are allowed to remain open supporting stranded foreigners.

Samut Prakarn shooting leads to one fatality

Last night at around 6pm, an army private is alleged to have shot and killed his father in law in Samut Prakarn province (South of Bangkok).

Police from the Bangmeuang Station were informed of the multiple gunshots at a house in Sub Yang Yein housing estate. They quickly set up a blockade surrounding the area. Authorities negotiated with the shooter who was holed up in a car parked in front of the house.

After an hour of negotiations the suspect decided to surrender. Police arrested the suspect – a 37 year old Army private of the Military Police Division. At this stage police assumed that the motive for the crime was a personal conflict.

Chiang Mai still struggling for some fresh air

Chiang Mai is suffering yet another day of poor air quality, the 86th consecutive day with air quality index above 100.

And whilst the air quality is still bad, it’s still a lot better than it was a month or so ago when the readings zoomed up to 300-400, and somedays, even higher.

aqicn.org data reports that Chiang Mai’s air quality index had a PM2.5 level of 168 micrograms per cubic metre on average, 50 AQI being Thailand’s upper safety limit. A firefighter said this year had been very difficult with lots of big fires to fight.

“This year is dry. There has been no rain. I’ve been working nonstop for almost 2 months and haven’t gone home yet”

Haze has been a common phenomenon in North Thailand and particularly Chiang Mai for more than a decade. It usually occurs from January to April, but peaks in March as extremely dry conditions increase the severity of forest fires, mostly deliberately lit. 

Pattaya’s biggest Songkran party makes way for empty streets

This week in Pattaya, in any other year, there is a traditional celebration known as Wan Lai, the celebration after Songkran.

It’s a week long wet-fest where Thai citizens and tourists come to Pattaya to enjoy post-Songkran on steroids.

In regular years the Pattaya festival draws hundreds of thousands of people from the world a truly unique festival/party, featuring dozens of concerts, events, water throwing, special vendors, shows, drinking (lots of drinking). There are also family gatherings. But just like the traditional Songkran has evolved into a huge water-splashing party, Wan Lai has evolved as well, into an even bigger water-splashing party.

 But due to the Covid-19situation in Thailand, mass gatherings are now banned, so that the massive Wan Lai party has been replaced with empty streets.

The Thai Government has stated that they still plan to have a Songkran celebration later in the year and promised the Thai people they would still get their annual new year festival.

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25 | The Thaiger

2 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Thailand with one additional death

Today there have been 2 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Thailand with 1 additional death. 

The 2 new cases consist of 1 imported case from a Thai National being repatriated from Russia last Wednesday. She’s currently under state quarantine in Chon Buri province.

The other was a 49 year old Chinese wife of an Italian who had been infected with the virus in Cherngtalay, Phuket. She has 3 children aged 15, 10 and 7 and currently showing no signs of any symptoms. Cherngtalay is the tambon bordering Bang Tao, which was a hotzone for new cases during April and early May.

The additional death was a 68 year old Thai woman in Chumphon, southern Thailand. She was reported to have had underlying issues when she succumbed to the disease.

From beauty queen Thailand’s new face in Covid-19 reporting

Crowned Miss Thailand 2008, Dr Panprapa Yongtrakul returned to the spotlight last week as assistant spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

She’ll be reporting about the pandemic every weekend from now on.

She’s taken over the weekend duties from the reassuring face Dr Taweesin Visan-nu-yothin who has been an extremely professional daily voice of CCSA since it was established on March 26.

In 2008, Panprapa was crowned Miss Thailand at the age of 20. It had been her dream since childhood to become a beauty queen. Now she’s the weekend face of the daily CCSA reports. She’s yet to be tested when taking questions from the Thai and foreign media.

Phuket’s lost summer – looking to 2021 for tourism recovery

In a solemn recognition of the reality of Phuket’s stalled tourist industry, a spokesperson for the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association is saying most of the west coast hotels are unlikely to reopen until the last quarter of this year. 

For now, Phuket’s International Airport remains closed to scheduled flights, and the Tha Chatchai road checkpoint at the top of the island is heavily curating who comes in and out with plenty of red-tape and paperwork. Nationally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand still has a ban in place for all international travel into Thailand until at least the end of June – it could be extended further. The only exceptions are repatriation flights of Thai’s returning home and the return of international diplomats.

Phuket’s issue, as an economy that revolves almost completely around tourism, is that, even if it throws open the immigration gates at the airport and the doors of its almost 100,000 hotel and accommodation rooms, there are few markets that could provide incoming tourists at this stage. Where will they come from? Europe (including the UK), the US and now South America, are mired in their own pandemic outbreaks, and whilst trying to reopen their economies, are facing imminent second waves of Covid-19. 

Whilst other parts of Thailand have opportunities to reopen their businesses – manufacture, agriculture, IT, and large chunks of populations visit shops and general trading – Phuket has little of that. Some 50,000+ of the island’s 450,000 permanent population have already departed the island, either before the borders were closed in mid-March, or as soon as they were able to return to their provinces when the road border re-opened for repatriating people at the start of May.

The vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association southern chapter, says that hotels along the west coast might reopen in September at the earliest. 

Opposition criticises Thai government over economic toll of Covid response

Opposition party Pheu Thai has condemned the government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis, saying total shutdown has had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. 

The party says the hard-hitting restrictions imposed across the country have led to high unemployment, with the International Monetary Fund saying Thailand’s economy is the worst-affected in the region.

They add that the IMF is predicting the Thai economy will shrink by 6.7% this year, saying the country has one of the world’s most negative GDP forecasts, despite appearing to have brought the virus under control quite quickly.

Ayutthaya welcomes visitors after restrictions lift

Ayutthaya is welcoming visitors again after months of empty temple grounds as another set of restrictions were lifted over the weekend, allowing temples and historical sites to open back up. 

The Tourism Council of Thailand president says reopening the historic sites and business for domestic tourists will give tourism operators in the area a “lifeline”. The Buddhist temples had the most tourists over the weekend.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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