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Thailand News Today | More fatal crosswalk accidents in Bangkok!

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Thai police are reporting two more crosswalk accidents in Bangkok amidst a nationwide effort to improve pedestrian safety.

One man was killed while walking across a crossing on Suwinthawong Road in the Min Buri district and the other man was hit and injured by the Yingcharoen market on Phahon Yothin Road in Bang Khen district

On Suwinthawong Road, the man who was killed did not have any form of identification on him and officers are still working to identify the body. The woman who reportedly crashed into him is facing criminal charges of reckless driving causing death.

The other incident involved a 35-year-old Burmese migrant named Doe who worked at a pork stall at Ying Charoen Market for more than a decade.

Doe was transferred to Bhumibol Hospital to be treated for his injuries. The 48-year-old motorcycle driver who hit Doe was knocked off his bike and suffered from minor injuries.

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A 59-year-old French expat was arrested over the weekend for allegedly scamming foreigners in Pattaya out of a total of 6.3 million baht.

The suspect, who was identified as Herve Christian Robert Leonard, allegedly scammed numerous foreigners from various countries, claiming he had connections with police officers handling various matters such as the sale of large motorcycles and offering to help people in trouble.

Chon Buri Police, Immigration Officers, and the French Embassy then launched an investigation to find and identify the suspect. With the help of an alleged victim, officers tracked down the suspect at a nearby village in the Prachuap Khiri Khan district, where he was eventually apprehended and brought into jail for further investigation.

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The government is being urged to reconsider its decision to end coverage for Covid treatment under the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients scheme.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul had previously announced that Covid treatment would be excluded from the UCEP scheme from March 1. However, his deputy, Satit, argues now is not the time, given that infections are on the rise.

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On Saturday, Thailand reported 16,330 new infections and 25 deaths, the highest since August 29 last year. As a result, Sathit says he plans to ask Anutin to postpone the exclusion of Covid until April 1. The exclusion will mean that Covid patients will no longer have their treatment covered under the UCEP scheme unless they are critically ill. Currently, all Covid treatment is covered, allowing patients to receive free treatment at any hospital.

After it is removed, only patients who are critically ill with a secondary infection as a result of Covid-19 will have their treatment covered. Patients who don’t fall into this category will have to use other welfare schemes, such as the universal health coverage scheme from the National Health Security Office or the Civil Servant Medical Benefit Scheme.

Opposition politicians are also calling on the government to reconsider the decision, arguing that the move will make it more difficult to contain the current outbreak. Teerarat from the opposition Pheu Thai Party says the decision means patients will have access to medical treatment restricted and will only be able to receive treatment at the hospital where their insurance schemes are registered.

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The Thai government says it will re-open the country’s border with Malaysia from next month, in an effort to kickstart the recovery of tourism and the economy in the southern provinces.

Spokeswoman Ratchada says the government plans to re-open border checkpoints in Songkhla, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun.

Thailand plans to implement a travel bubble arrangement with Malaysia, under which vaccinated tourists could arrive under the Test & Go entry scheme without having to quarantine. However, Rachada says they will still be required to take 2 PCR tests following their arrival. She says the prime minister is confident Thailand will remain one of the world’s top tourist destinations, despite the pandemic.

According to the Public Health Ministry, the Covid situation in Thailand and Malaysia is at a similar stage, with around 12,000 new infections reported in the neighboring country on February 12. Given the similarity in numbers, health officials, therefore, do not consider the border reopening to pose a significant risk.

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——

A Thai tourist who posted a photograph of himself sitting on an endangered coral reef faces a fine of up to 1 million baht and a 10-year prison sentence.

Wisut shared a photograph on his Facebook page on Saturday, which shows him sitting on the protected reef off Koh Kram Noi, in the Sattahip district of Trat province, eastern Thailand.

The photo prompted the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources to file a police complaint the following day.

Department official Wuttiphong says the tourist will be charged with posing a risk to an endangered species. If found guilty, he faces a fine of up to 1 million baht and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

The report goes on to state that the 45-year-old tourist has presented himself to police to be formally charged. He claims it was never his intention to damage the reef, saying the photo was taken last year and posted on social media on Saturday.

——

After a two-year hit to tourism, elephant and tiger attractions in Thailand have run low on money and are asking the government for financial assistance.

Zoo operators met with the Tourism Commission yesterday at Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, citing their struggles during the pandemic.

The daily income for Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, as well as the location in Phuket, dropped from 1 million baht to zero due to closures and a lack of tourists, according to the managing director. Reports say several other tiger attractions in Thailand could not secure financial credit from banks.

The managing director, Kochakorn, says that while the company has not been making an income, they still need to pay the costs to feed and house 220 tigers. For elephant sanctuaries, many in Thailand have been asking for donations for food to feed the elephants.

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A report from Nation Thailand says the Tourism Commissioner and MPs from the Pheu Thai party discussed problems the zoo operators have been facing, like securing loans to support them during the pandemic. According to the president of Chiang Mai Tourism Business Association, a number of elephant sanctuaries operate on undocumented land, making it difficult to secure loans. A proposal was even made to put the elephants up as collateral for loans.

In the meeting, the owner of Lanna Kingdom Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai reportedly called for low-interest business loans, the suspension of all debt repayments during the pandemic, and financial assistance to cover the costs for feeding the elephants.

—–

Live squid dumped in a shot glass with a spicy Thai sauce, and then consumed while the squid is still squirming, has been a new food trend in Thailand, with many sharing the phenomenon on TikTok and other social media outlets. But the director of the Department of Health is warning people that the so-called “squid shots” could be dangerous.

The Director of the Department of Health, Suwanchai, says raw squid can contain bacteria which can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting if consumed.

He warns that severe food poisoning from eating raw squid can then lead to long-term inflammation of the rectum and colon. Karma for leaving a live squid to drown in spicy sauce.

Other than that, squid and other sea creatures can carry parasites which can also lead to stomach aches, diarrhoea, and other reactions if eaten raw by humans.

The authorities shared that the best way to safely eat the squid shots is to cook the squid first. It is recommended that food should be cooked at least 70 degrees Celsius for 2 minutes.

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