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Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

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Thousands of residents in Songkhla, Yala and Narathiwat, in the very south of Thailand, have been evacuated from their homes due to flash flooding from nearly a week of almost continuous heavy rain.

Local authorities say a total of 18,024 households across 19 districts have been impacted.

In Yala, the Sai Buri River has burst its banks, flooding homes and farmland. The director of Yala’s Irrigation Project Office says they remain worried about the low-lying areas, adding that the total amount of rainfall to date has broken records set more than a decade ago.

Landslides have also been reported but with no report of fatality or injuries.

In Songkhla, 2 districts were flooded by rainwater coming down from the mountains, while some residences and farmlands on riverbank areas of Narathiwat were flooded. Local government agencies said food and other aid were already sent to the affected areas.

Only essential travel is now allowed to and from the 5 coastal “red zone” provinces. The new travel restrictions for Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri (including Pattaya), Rayong, Trat and Chanthaburi are now in place.

Checkpoints have been set up throughout the 5 provinces and screening procedures are now more stringent. Those who need to travel to and from the provinces will now need permission from local authorities. People passing through checkpoints must use the Mor Chana tracing application and have a temperature check.

U-Tapao Airport, which services Pattaya and the eastern provinces, has been largely closed to domestic traffic for the time being.

Thailand’s Internal Trade department has investigated the 7-Eleven chain of convenience stores over allegations of price-gouging over the sales of face masks.

However, the department says the masks in question don’t fall under the 2.50 baht cap imposed by the government. The director-general says the face masks in question are ordinary masks, not the surgical masks which would fall under the price control measure.

But he points out that imported ordinary masks cannot be marked up by more than 60%.

Speaking of face masks, if you’re in Phuket, wear a mask or pay a hefty fine… and possibly even go to jail. Phuket’s governor has issued an immediate order requiring people to wear a face mask while in public, or you could face a 20,000 baht fine.

Those who breach the order can also face punishment under the Communicable Disease Act which carries a fine of up to 100,000 baht and up to a year in prison. People can also face penalties under the current Emergency Decree which was recently extended again.

The Governor said… “Any person who leaves their home, residence in a house, house, building, place or vehicle, or is in a public place must always wear a face mask or cloth mask.”

The executive chairman of Asia Aviation, the largest shareholder in Thai Air Asia, says the Covid-19 resurgence has “destroyed the low-cost carrier”.

Tassapon Bijleveld says that, even without a national lockdown, bookings have plummeted for the low cost carrier.

He said… “Travel sentiment has plunged lower than last year. This is different this time because people are voluntarily skipping their travel plans even without a nationwide lockdown order from the government.”

Despite the Thai government introducing extra holidays over the Chinese New Year period, Tassapon predicts that the new wave of Covid-19 will deter a lot of domestic tourists from travelling.

This month, Thai Air Asia bookings have dropped by over 50%, with the carrier forced to merge and cancel many flights. Some aircraft carried only 20 – 30 passengers, a significant drop on numbers just 2 months ago.

He says that Thai carriers are fighting for survival and if the market doesn’t pick up soon, some may go out of business.

The Thaiger has also done a video specific to the More Chana track and tracing app that the Thai government is asking people to download and use. There’s been a lot of questions about the app and how it works and we hope that that short segment will explain a lot more about what it does and how it will work. You can find that video on The Thaiger You Tube channel or on our Facebook page.

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Thailand

Week in review – the best of Thailand News Today | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Week in review – the best of Thailand News Today | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Click to watch HERE….. https://youtu.be/O0HpP6nOSbs

Thailand News Today covers five days a week. Now we have a weekend edition which goes over the biggest, or best stories from the week. Out every Saturday afternoon, catch up with Jett and Tim’s major Thai news stories. Welcome to the Thailand News Today Weekend Edition.

Click to watch HERE….. https://youtu.be/O0HpP6nOSbs

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Drugs

Thai laws, how to stay out of jail in Thailand | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Thai laws, how to stay out of jail in Thailand | VIDEO | The Thaiger

Thailand has plenty of laws, some of them applied more vigorously than others. Some not at all. But the ones they do apply can get you in hot water or, at worst, in a Thai jail. You DON’T want to end up there. Here’s a few of the better and lesser known Thai laws from The Thaiger. You can visit all our videos, and subscribe to our channel HERE.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned

Maya Taylor

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Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

“I’ll go first!”

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has repeated his pledge to be the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, in a bid to allay people’s concerns. Questions have been raised about the Chinese-manufactured Sinovac Biotech jab after its effectiveness rating was revised downwards by researchers in Brazil.

Anutin Charnvirakul says the vaccine process will be overseen by Sophon Mekthon from the Ministry of Public Health and all safety criteria will be met. The Pattaya News reports that the minister says he has confidence in the safety of the vaccine and is willing to prove it by being the first person to get the jab. It’s not the first time he has made this suggestion but there has been no official confirmation that the Health Minister will be first in line.

Thailand has ordered 2 million doses of the vaccine, with the first 200,000 expected to arrive next month. The government has also ordered 26 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University but is not expected to take delivery of that vaccine until the middle of the year.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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