Thailand News Today – Thursday, March 19, 2020

60 new cases identified in Thailand today

The director-general of the Department of Disease Control, has announced 60 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection. 43 were linked to boxing stadiums, entertainment venues, and religious ceremonies. The latest cases, the most in 24 hours, bring the total number of confirmed infections in Thailand to 272. Each day this week there have more than 30 new cases identified in Thailand.

Thai tourism minister plans help for tourists stranded and worried about overstaying visas

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There are a growing number of tourists who are becoming stranded in Thailand as their home countries raise the drawbridge and lockdown their borders.

Many European countries have started sealing their borders to deal with the Covid-19 coronavirus and other countries, closer to home, are starting to act as well. Last weekend next door Malaysia virtually locked down its borders. Thailand is still allowing tourists and visitors from some countries to arrive.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says they are “seeking a reprieve” for some of the estimated 500,000 tourists who will, at no fault of their own, end up overstaying their tourist visa. He says the request for a temporary “clemency” is for humanitarian purposes.

The Minister noted that many of the stranded tourists are long-stay elderly travellers from Germany, Italy and Russia.

One soldier dead, two injured in southern gunfight

A Thai soldier is dead and two others have been wounded in a gunfight between an army patrol and insurgents in the southern province of Pattani. The clash occurred about noon near Pattani Dam, near the border with Yala, yesterday. A spokesman for the Internal Security Operation Command says the patrol was part of a combined government force operating in the area to force insurgents still in hiding to surrender.

Mother, daughter find a lost lottery ticket. It won the lottery!

A mother and daughter in Thailand’s north eastern province of Udon Thani found a lottery ticket which proved to be worth 6 million baht. They decided to return it to its rightful owner, if they can be found. They found the ticket on the ground outside a convenience store and handed it over to the store manager in case the owner came searching for it.

They found the lottery ticket the day before the bi-weekly draw on Monday. When he realised the ticket was the grand prize winner, the manager handed the ticket over to police.

7 key service required by all Thai banks during ‘disruption’

BoT demanding Thai banks continue to provide services during disruption

The Bank of Thailand is demanding all Thai financial institutions to continue providing 7 basic financial services, including money withdrawals, fund transfers, deposits, payments, cash management and settlement systems, in an effort to avoid potential Covid-19 related disruption.

Secretary-general of the Thai Bankers Association, Kobsak Duangdee, says after the conference call between all banks and the central bank, they’ve all come to an agreement to guarantee provision of essential banking services.

Airports of Thailand approves Don Mueang expansion

Yesterday, the Airports of Thailand board gave initial approval to a master plan for the third-phase development of Don Mueang International airport costing an estimated 39 billion baht. The expansion arrangements includes, increase of the airport’s capacity to 40 million passengers a year (currently 30 million a year), a 3.4 kilometre automated people mover system, new car park buildings and a junction terminal offering retail shop space.

Don Mueang was the location of the one and only Bangkok international airport until Suvarnabhumi was opened in 2006. Don Mueang then became the defacto hub for many domestic and international budget airlines.

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