Thailand News Today | New Year Covid style, Currency manipulation?, SCB scam | Dec 17

Thailand News Today, coming from Phuket for the next few days.

Mosquito-borne virus spreads in Pattaya

If you’re in Pattaya, light the coils and get out the bug repellant. There’s been a report of an increase in chikungunya fever infections, that’s a mosquito-borne virus, similar to Dengue but can be quite painful and serious in some patients.

The city’s mayor is ordering public health and environment staff to control the spread.

“The virus comes from bites from infected mosquitoes. Patients will have high fever, discomfort and joint pain for, on average, about four days. In some cases patients will need hospitalisation.”

The city has hired pest control companies to fumigate suburbs and other areas at risk. Officials are also trying to reduce standing water at places like closed hotels and businesses that have fountains filled with water.

Police commander suggests people in Bangkok work at home once a week to reduce vehicle emissions

While the air quality in Bangkok has largely been linked to field crop burning in the North, the deputy commander of the Royal Thai Police, has come up with his own suggestions.

He’s suggesting that Bangkok workers work from home once a week to help keep pollution levels down.

He says that if people stay at home like they did during the lockdown, it could help reduce vehicle emissions and improve the city’s air quality. But many are dismissing his idea, saying Bangkok’s haze is mostly from crop burning in northern provinces.

This week, the air pollutant PM2.5 reached what’s considered “unhealthy” levels, exceeding the government’s safe threshold of 50 micrograms per cubic metre…. And exceeding it by up to 4 times.

The PM2.5 levels in Bangkok began to rise this month as farmers started burning sugar cane fields, getting ready to harvest new crops, coupled with the change over of the monsoon from the wet season south westerly airflow to the winter season north easterly airflow.

Thailand on US Treasury’s “watchlist” for suspected currency manipulation

Thailand is now on the United States Treasury’s “monitoring list” for suspected currency manipulation.

There has also been complaints of unfair policies to gain an advantage in international trade.

Vietnam and Switzerland were also labelled currency manipulators in a US Treasury’s recent report. Along with Thailand, the Treasury also added Taiwan and India to their watchlist this year which includes China, Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Singapore and Malaysia.

This year, Thailand’s bilateral goods trade surplus with the US continued to grow, reaching $22 billion USD and exceeding the limit set by the US Treasury.

Siam Commercial Bank issues warning to customers after mobile app scam

Siam Commercial Bank has posted a statement on its Facebook page, urging customers to beware of phishing attempts via text message.

The warning comes after the arrest of 3 Chinese nationals accused of sending messages to SCB customers advising them to update their details. Customers were then taken to a fake platform and asked to input their ID card number, phone number, and an OTP code, among other details.

The scammers then used the info provided to access the victims’ accounts via the real SCB app, robbing millions of baht, which they then changed into cryptocurrency.

SCB says customers should never provide personal data in this manner, adding that the bank would never request this information via text message or social media messages.

Covid-19 task force to meet today for discussions on New Year festivities

The CCSA met today to discuss how New Year celebrations will be handled during the Cod era, with the possibility that they may be split into smaller events.

Officials are to consider a suggestion from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha that countdown gatherings be split into zones, with numbers limited. The PM says he’s concerned that large crowds would make it impossible to prevent a potential resurgence of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, a January 15 music concert in the northern province of Phetchabun has been cancelled, with the organiser saying he couldn’t guarantee Covid-19 prevention measures could be implemented in the event of a huge crowd turning up.

The Big Mountain Music Festival in the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima at the weekend, has also been cancelled.

Unsightly black cabling to be buried in bid to make Bangkok a smart city

From next year, Bangkok’s roads will be free of the ugly power and communication lines that hang overhead at dangerous angles But we seem to have heard all this before.

The plan requires the reorganisation of communication lines in inner Bangkok, namely in Pathum Wan and Bang Rak districts, including Lang Suan Road, at the top of Soi Saladaeng and Soi Convent.

The minister said this policy supports the goal of turning Bangkok into a smart metropolis and expects the project to be completed by August 2021.

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