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Thailand News Today – Monday, March 30

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136 more virus cases confirmed in Thailand as outbreak spreads out of Bangkok

A spokesman for the country’s newly formed Covid-19 Situation Administration Thailand confirmed 136 new Covid-19 coronavirus cases today.

This raises the total number of infections to 1,524. Deaths in the Kingdom remain at 7. As of yesterday, 54% of Covid-19 infections were found outside Bangkok with a growing trend of additional infections in the provinces.

The number of newly infected health department personnel yesterday was 8.

14 million Thai’s crash online registration for 5,000 baht cash handout

It is estimated that 14 million Thai citizens have registered for the government’s measure for a ‘cash hand out’ to self-employed, freelancers and part-timers.

And they’ve crashed the government’s website with all the traffic. The number of people registering was 4 times greater than the government’s initial predictions.

The number of people who had registered reached 14 million yesterday morning, not bad when the total population of Thailand is around 66 million. The program had opened on Saturday evening for online registration.

Fortress Phuket. The island closes off Sarasin Bridge and boating traffic, except supplies

Phuketians, you are now marooned on a tropical island. Well, almost…

Last night the Phuket Governor rolled out another level of lockdowns for the southern island. There are a few exceptions.

• Sarasin Bridge, the bridge linking Phuket to Phang Nga province and the mainland, is now closed.

• No boat traffic in or out of Phuket, except cargo with food and medical supplies.

• The airport remains open for domestic and international flights, but only until April 10.

• The new closures are in force until April 30.

Additionally, all beaches on the island are now closed until the end of April and everyone is required to wear a face mask when in public spaces or shopping.

Red hazardous waste bins spring up in Bangkok for used masks, tissue

Used face masks and tissue paper are now classified as hazardous waste during this Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, at least in Bangkok.

Bangkok’s governor is urging people to dispose of used face masks properly, using the new red bins which are designated for hazardous waste. He said “this also includes facial tissue used to wipe noses or bodily fluids.”

It remains to be seen whether other urban areas will follow Bankok’s example.

Air pollution levels remain critical around northern Thailand

Air pollution across the upper North of Thailand remains at critical levels. And it’s been unpleasantly hot there as well.

Authorities are monitoring almost 400 active hotspots and in and around Chiang Mai province, many still burning as of this afternoon. The air quality did not improve this morning, with air quality recordings “very unhealthy” to “hazardous”. Temperature in Chiang Mai today, is again 40 with more of the same on the way this week.

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Thailand News Today | Survey shows a third of tourism businesses are broke or shut down | January 25

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Thailand News Today | Survey shows a third of tourism businesses are broke or shut down | January 25 | The Thaiger

For those who need to extend their tourist visa, the Thai Immigration Bureau is asking that applicants make an appointment online to reserve their spot. The bureau says the online appointments will help with preventing the spread of Covid-19 by reducing overcrowding and making sure people abide by social distancing practices.

And you thought it was about increasing efficiency.

Applicants who need to extend a tourist visa, or extend their new Special Tourist Visa, should make an online reservation at bangkokimmigration.com.Walk-in services are still available at Muang Thong Thani Temporary Services Centre.

The announcement didn’t clarify about online queues for other immigration centres around the country. A quick phone call before you head in for your extension is probably a good idea.

Police arrested 3 people for allegedly recruiting Thai women to work overseas in the UAE where they were forced into prostitution. The suspects allegedly told the women that they would work as masseuses, promising good pay and assuring them that the work did not involve sex, according to the Department of Special Investigations.

The women signed an agreement before travelling to the UAE, promising to pay back their travel expenses. Once they arrived, they went straight to a massage parlour in Dubai and their passports taken away. Some were taken to a brothel in Abu Dhabi.

The suspects, whose names have been withheld, were charged with colluding to violate anti-human trafficking regulations as well as detaining or depriving others of their freedom. One suspect was arrested in Chon Buri and the other 2 were arrested in Ubon Ratchathani.

Provincial governors in Thailand’s farming areas are being told to mitigate the burning off of agri-business waste by farmers in their provinces. The annual burn-offs are the biggest cause of the December to April air pollution in Bangkok and Central Thailand which lie in the wake of the light north-easterly breezes this time of the year. The burn-offs partly co-incide with the lighter annual north-easterly monsoons.

A spokesman for Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, has been one of the first to openly admit that the agri-fires are the common denominator in the capital’s annual smog woes.

Over recent decades Bangkok’s Pollution Control department has trotted out any number of PR stunts, including water-spraying drones and asking temples to stop lighting josh sticks to stop the smog.

Now that spokesperson says that the accumulation of PM2.5 micron dust in the atmosphere is… “mainly caused by outdoor burning of waste, especially on farms, combined with poor air circulation, and has been posing a health risk for the past several days”.

Deputy PM Prawit has now ordered all provincial governors to send teams to warn farmers to stop the burning or face prosecution. It’s not the first order from the top directed at farmers trying to find cheap ways to get rid of agri-waste and prepare their plantations for the next crop. But, despite the ‘warnings’ in the past the practice has continued largely unenforced.

A Tourism Authority of Thailand survey, conducted between January 10 – 12, indicates that more than a third of the country’s tourism-related businesses has already shut up shop and gone out of business.

But industry players estimate the number is much higher. In regions almost solely relying on tourism for an income – Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui, the Gulf and Andaman islands and touristy areas around Bangkok – up to 90% of the front-line tourism businesses have closed.

1,884 tourism businesses in Thailand were surveyed by the TAT about their current situations and how they were coping with the long-term closure of the Thai borders and the local restrictions on travel. Businesses covered areas like accommodation, travel agents, tour companies, restaurants, car and bike rentals and public transport businesses.

34.7% officially declared they had already shut down or gone out of business.

Police say 2 men were gunned down at the Phuket Bus Terminal by a colleague at the terminal along the stretch of Thepkasattri road heading into Phuket Town on Saturday night. The incident happened at about 10:15pm with the local police chief arriving along with medical staff from Vachira Hospital shortly after the incident.

A 60 year old, the alleged gunman, was waiting to surrender at the scene when police arrived. Police say the man appeared to be drunk and told them he had a serious argument with the 2 men and decided to take their lives with his gun. Police found a 50 year old lying on the ground in front of a taxi service stand and a 54 year old lying dead by the counter of a 24 hour car park service kiosk.

And police in Pattaya are investigating an Indian restaurant where they arrested 29 people attending a late night party in Soi 7. The incident took place just after midnight on Saturday evening at a 5 story building which had the first 3 floors closed off. Police say the venue was actually operating as a shisha lounge, pool hall, and bar.

11 foreigners from India, Cambodia, and other countries were found at the venue. The remainder were Thai nationals. All 29 were arrested and taken to the Pattaya Police station where they will face charges under the Emergency Decree Act, the Communicable Disease Act and possession of an illegal substance.

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Hotline set up for reports on alleged Covid-19 measure violations

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Hotline set up for reports on alleged Covid-19 measure violations | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Campus Star

The government is now encouraging people to help report activities deemed to violate the government’s rules and regulations to curb the spread of Covid-19 by calling the national hotline at 1111. People can report on any violations set by the Emergency Decree, which has been in place since last year and extended numerous times to combat the coronavirus.

The government says people can call the hotline for major violations, like labour trafficking across Thailand’s porous border with Myanmar, which is said to have led to the new wave of infections affecting a large migrant community in Samut Sakhon. People can also phone in the hotline for minor violations, even like gatherings that don’t abide by disease control measures.

According to the government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri, hundreds of citizens were reported violating the Covid-19 restriction measures and laws despite the Emergency Decree.

The hotline is open for the report of the alleged Covid-19 violations and also general complaints related to Covid-19 situations. All complaints and reports are expected to be fully investigated by agencies in charge and all information of callers will be kept confidential. Service for English speakers is available upon request.

Since being set up, the hotline has received a total of 32,008 inquiries and general questions so far.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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First phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccinations to start on February 14

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First phase of Thailand’s Covid-19 vaccinations to start on February 14 | The Thaiger
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The government plans to begin Thailand’s 3-phase vaccination plan on February 14, starting with healthcare and frontline workers as well as vulnerable groups.

At the Covid-19 vaccination administration subcommittee meeting today, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the first phase of inoculations starting next month will target 19,014,154 Thai people in 4 priority groups…

  • 1,700,000 health workers in both public and private health care sectors.
  • 6,163,095 populations with underlying conditions.
  • 11,136,059 people aged over 60 years
  • Covid-19 task force who are in close contact with infected patients.

The vaccine availability remains limited and only target groups who are at high risk of infection will be vaccinated during the first phase of the vaccination plan, according to permanent secretary of public health Kiattiphum Wongrajit. The vaccines will be free and are not compulsory, Anutin says.

The AstraZeneca vaccine, developed in partnership with Oxford University, was approved by the Thai government for emergency last week. The first batch of 50,000 doses are expected to arrive next month. Thailand also expects 200,000 doses of China’s Sinovac Biotech vaccine to arrive next month. The Chinese vaccine is expected to be approved by Thai drug regulators within the next 3 weeks.

The second phase of the 3-part plan is scheduled to run from May to December, offering vaccinations in all regions. Thai officials aim to have at least 50% of the Thai population vaccinated by the end of the year. The final phase will be rolled out in January 2022, with the goal to have enough vaccines to distribute to create herd immunity.

The government is also launched a Line Official Account called “Mor Prom”, translated as “doctor’s ready” to facilitate the vaccination administration. People can register to make appointments for vaccination, while health authorities can monitor the adverse effects of the vaccines. The platform is expected to launch on February 12 to serve the health workers before opening to the public in April.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post| Thairath online

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