In today’s news, yet another update on the Test & Go cutoff date, a “ghost ship” was spotted in the Gulf of Thailand, and man drives into a pond while looking at his GPS. All this is coming up in today’s program.
You’re watching Thailand News Today, bringing you the latest headlines in Thailand and beyond.
And in case you missed it, our morning shows covered yet another update on the Test & Go cutoff date. The deputy representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Thaiger that travellers who already have a QR code for the Test & Go program will be able to enter the country, even after January 15.
But as we all know, the Thai government loves adding more restrictions at the last minute, so anyone intending to travel to Thailand at this time should always confirm with their Embassies to stay on top of any future changes.
New applications for Test & Go are still closed indefinitely. For full coverage of this update, be sure to watch Natty’s Thailand News Update for today.
Some may have noticed that their favorite grilled pork on a stick has either jumped up in price or stopped selling altogether. This is because the price of pork has surged in Thailand and many merchants are now demanding the government to begin importing pork quickly to keep prices under control.
A pork merchant in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang market says if the government won’t step in and help, the price of pork will be sold at a rate that’s too expensive for a lot of customers to buy.
With the steep increase in price, her sales dropped by more than half of what she usually sold them for. One consumer said that the situation has her hands tied, and she has to buy less than before.
To help control the price of pork and tackle the shortage of, the Thai government set an urgent ban on live pig exports. It’s set to be in place for the next three months.
Meanwhile, the government will evaluate pork supplies across the country to assess the country’s inventory each week until the crisis is addressed.
Lastly, the government spokesperson said this past Sunday that this has nothing to do with rumours surrounding the outbreak of African swine fever.
What many are calling a “ghost ship” was found sinking in the Gulf of Thailand off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat. The abandoned Chinese cargo ship was spotted by staff working at an offshore oil rig. No one was on board the vessel.
An investigation was then immediately launched by authorities, sending off a drone to find out whether they could tow the ship to land.
But strong winds caused the ship to flood, sinking it off the coast of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where local fishermen were urged to stay away from the sunken area due to the leaking of oil from it. Officials have told locals that the cleaning will be done within three days before it reaches the waters around the major tourist attractions of เกาะมัดสุม and เกาะหมู.
The popular tourist destination of Mu Koh Chang, on the Gulf of Thailand’s eastern seaboard, has been partially-closed, as a result of….you know the drill by now.
Officials have decided to close campsites and other tourism facilities in the national park to curb the spread of Covid-19. However, the remainder of the island remains open to visitors.
According to a Thai PBS World report, there had been some initial confusion, after the park chief issued a statement ordering the closure of, “all tourism-related activities”.
Some media outlets interpreted this as meaning everything on the island, including hotels, was to close. However, officials have since clarified that the closure order applies only to camp sites and other tourism facilities and activities in the national park.
Mu Koh Chang consists of 52 islands, including the popular main island of Koh Chang and some parts of Koh Kood. It covers a total area of 650 square kilometres and was declared a national park in 1982. 70% of the park’s area is the sea.
The Public Health Ministry is working with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to prepare treatment and isolation facilities for young children infected with Covid-19.
Officials are anticipating a surge in infections in the young, and Dr. อดิศัย ภัตตาตั้ง from The Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health says the facility can accommodate patients from the ages of 5 – 11.
The institute has 70 beds available, as well as 5 isolation rooms. ภัตตาตั้ง says it can also provide services for children being treated at home or in community isolation facilities, as well as children who need to be hospitalised. The facility will also administer vaccines to children between the ages of 5 and 11, as most of them have not been vaccinated against the virus yet.
Thai PBS World reports that the institute recently admitted a 4-month-old baby who had tested positive for Covid-19. The child’s symptoms include a runny nose and productive cough.
Officials at the Medical Services Department say that while they do expect a rise in infections in young children, they say children are unlikely to become seriously ill with the virus, provided they have no other underlying health conditions.
Meanwhile, in the capital, the BMA has set up 6 triage centres with 50 beds each, where infected children can be housed. Each room can accommodate up to 4 children, with officials saying this will enable them to share activities together.
Officials have also created a community isolation facility for migrant workers, each with the capacity to accommodate 100 patients.
A new Covid-19 testing centre, capable of conducting up to 1,000 tests a day, will open in Bangkok tomorrow.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul says it will be on the first floor of Car Park Building B at the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road.
The centre will be in operation until January 21 and open on weekdays only. The centre will use medical-grade antigen test kits, with a result returned within 30 minutes. People who test positive will either be entered into the home and community isolation programme, transferred to a field hospital – hopefully one without cardboard beds, or admitted to a hospital, depending on their symptoms.
The National Health Security Office says patients who only have mild symptoms can do home or community isolation and will be provided with medication and meals, as well as devices for monitoring their symptoms.
Meanwhile, some business operators are asking the government for help to address the high demand for testing. In the eastern province of Chon Buri, Wasan Sanguanthoikham from Pattaya’s business and tourism association says the government needs to help business operators who are required to test customers and staff on a regular basis. He is calling on officials to supply these businesses with antigen test kits at cost price, to help them fulfill the government’s mandate.
A man in Northern Thailand was arrested for allegedly transporting illicit drugs in his truck from Chiang Rai to Phrae. Police say they seized 5.6 million amphetamine pills and more than 20 kilograms of methamphetamine at a checkpoint.
The driver was passing through the checkpoint and reportedly claimed that he wasn’t carrying any cargo or goods in the truck. Officers asked if they could run an x-ray on the vehicle.
Police say the drugs were then found packed in tea packages and put together in sacks similar to the others found in the past.
The driver allegedly claims that he was hired by a man in Chiang Rai and was paid 20,000 baht in cash and was promised 50,000 baht more once he delivered the drugs to the destination.
A man focusing on the directions on his GPS drove into a pond in Chon Buri. He was able to escape through the car’s window and swim to shore, but his car sank in the 15-metre deep pond.
The man says he was driving from Bangkok to Chon Buri to visit relatives over the weekend when he went onto a road he wasn’t familiar with. He turned on his GPS to navigate and was so focused on the GPS that he didn’t notice an upcoming turn. He lost control of the vehicle and drove into the pond.
A rescue team arrived at the scene and was able to retrieve the sunken vehicle. The team used a rope and crane to pull the car up, spending over an hour to do so.
According to Thai media, the driver said he wants the incident to be a lesson to all drivers to be more careful while driving with a GPS and to remember to focus on the road.
Thank you sir, we’ll be sure to retweet your message to all our friends while we’re driving.
And that’s all for our report. Thailand News Today will be back tomorrow. Meanwhile, you’re now up to date on the Thaiger.