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Thailand News Today – Tuesday, April 21

The Thaiger



Thailand News Today – Tuesday, April 21 | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s new ‘normal’ – Government charts course post-April 30

The Thai government is trying to find a balance between the public health needs and the imperative to re-boot Thailand’s economy.

The Government is rumoured to be mulling another month of the emergency decree. The current emergency decree is set to expire in 9 days, on April 30.

This is a collection of the latest information from various sources which provide a framework for what is likely to be the Thai government’s response to the next phase of the Covid-19 outbreak – the gradual re-opening of Thailand for business.

The focus for the government is on provinces which have remained free of coronavirus infections, or had at least 2 weeks without new infections.

Firstly, The National Security Council says a proposal for an extension of the emergency decree will be forwarded to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration for discussion later this week.

Secondly, entertainment venues are likely remain closed and that the nationwide curfew would probably be extended for at least another month.

Thirdly, Provinces with no virus cases were high on the list to be allowed to ease restrictions. Those provinces are Ang Thong, Bung Kan, Chai Nat, Kamphaeng Phet, Phichit, Nan, Ranong, Sing Buri and Trat. Additionally, there are 32 provinces that haven’t reported any new infections over the past 14 days.

An adviser to Thailand’s public health minister, says that business groups have agreed that before any businesses will be allowed to reopen, they must be categorised according to the level of risk.

• Businesses will be asked to calculate how much space they have and how many customers could be allowed inside to keep possible transmission of the virus to a minimum.

• High-risk businesses such as bars, pubs, entertainment venues, and karaoke establishments will remain closed.

• Medium-risk businesses, such as barber shops, hair salons, restaurants, food shops, department stores and shopping malls, would be allowed to reopen gradually, though they must not hold sales which draw large numbers of customers and record entry and exit information to track customers.

• A nationwide real-time monitoring system should be implemented to provide people with updates on local transmissions.

• Restrictions could also be eased in provinces which remain free of infections until the end of this month, as well as another 38 provinces that have only had sporadic infections.

14 Thai doctors warn Government about premature easing of travel restrictions and closures

Meanwhile 14 Thai doctors have sent a message to Thailand’s Government alerting them to the dangers of a premature easing of travel restrictions and closures around the country.

The group of doctors have submitted a 5-point proposal.

The doctors say that the country’s ‘lockdowns’ have been shown to contain the spread of the virus to a “satisfactory level”. But before easing lockdown restrictions, the doctors proposed five measures be taken…

• expanding testing and isolation of the infected

• strict enforcement of social distancing and hygienic practices, such as the wearing of face masks

• the reopening of low risk businesses

• the long-term (up to 3 months) closure of high risk businesses, such as pubs, bars, entertainment venues and sports stadia

• effective monitoring and forecasting systems

Again these are recommendations from the group of eminent health professionals and have not been officially taken on by the government

11 soldiers being investigated after allegedly torturing and killing one brother, injuring the other

Police officers in Nakhon Phanom, northeastern Thailand, are investigation a parent’s complaint filed on Sunday that two of her sons were taken away by soldiers leading to the death of one and the other being seriously injured.

11 soldiers are now under investigation over the incident. The 59 and 56 year old parents told police that at “about 8.30 pm last Friday two or three men in camouflage uniforms arrived in a pickup claiming to be soldiers on a drug suppression operation, and took away their two sons, a 33 and 29 year old.

They were later called to the That Phanom Crown Prince Hospital where they were informed that one of their sons was dead. Doctors say he had been severely beaten.

In a search for their second son, the couple went to the military operations centre at a temple in Tambon Fang Daeng, where their two sons had been detained. They found their second son. He too had been badly beaten. He had two broken ribs and bruises all over his body.

11 soldiers are now being investigated after allegedly torturing and killing one brother and injuring the other.

Police are investigating 1 commissioned officer, 6 non-commissioned officers and 4 conscripts. They have promised the family and the Thai community a thorough and transparent investigation.

19 new Covid-19 cases in Thailand, 1 new death (Tuesday)

Health officials today reported 19 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the national total to 2,811 patients.

There has also been 1 more death, a 50 year old taxi driver whose passengers included boxing stadium spectators, raising that tally to 48 .

The number of new cases is fewer than the 27 recorded yesterday, and the lowest since March 14. It marks the third consecutive day of declines. But officials warn that because of limited testing, the actual number of infections may be higher.

Bangkok reports the highest number of infections – 1,447, followed by 191 in Phuket, 152 in Nonthaburi, 108 in Samut Prakan, 95 in Yala and 79 in Pattani. 10 provinces remain virus-free, and the number of provinces without a new case in the past 14 days rose to 36.

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25

The Thaiger



Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25 | The Thaiger

2 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Thailand with one additional death

Today there have been 2 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Thailand with 1 additional death. 

The 2 new cases consist of 1 imported case from a Thai National being repatriated from Russia last Wednesday. She’s currently under state quarantine in Chon Buri province.

The other was a 49 year old Chinese wife of an Italian who had been infected with the virus in Cherngtalay, Phuket. She has 3 children aged 15, 10 and 7 and currently showing no signs of any symptoms. Cherngtalay is the tambon bordering Bang Tao, which was a hotzone for new cases during April and early May.

The additional death was a 68 year old Thai woman in Chumphon, southern Thailand. She was reported to have had underlying issues when she succumbed to the disease.

From beauty queen Thailand’s new face in Covid-19 reporting

Crowned Miss Thailand 2008, Dr Panprapa Yongtrakul returned to the spotlight last week as assistant spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

She’ll be reporting about the pandemic every weekend from now on.

She’s taken over the weekend duties from the reassuring face Dr Taweesin Visan-nu-yothin who has been an extremely professional daily voice of CCSA since it was established on March 26.

In 2008, Panprapa was crowned Miss Thailand at the age of 20. It had been her dream since childhood to become a beauty queen. Now she’s the weekend face of the daily CCSA reports. She’s yet to be tested when taking questions from the Thai and foreign media.

Phuket’s lost summer – looking to 2021 for tourism recovery

In a solemn recognition of the reality of Phuket’s stalled tourist industry, a spokesperson for the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association is saying most of the west coast hotels are unlikely to reopen until the last quarter of this year. 

For now, Phuket’s International Airport remains closed to scheduled flights, and the Tha Chatchai road checkpoint at the top of the island is heavily curating who comes in and out with plenty of red-tape and paperwork. Nationally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand still has a ban in place for all international travel into Thailand until at least the end of June – it could be extended further. The only exceptions are repatriation flights of Thai’s returning home and the return of international diplomats.

Phuket’s issue, as an economy that revolves almost completely around tourism, is that, even if it throws open the immigration gates at the airport and the doors of its almost 100,000 hotel and accommodation rooms, there are few markets that could provide incoming tourists at this stage. Where will they come from? Europe (including the UK), the US and now South America, are mired in their own pandemic outbreaks, and whilst trying to reopen their economies, are facing imminent second waves of Covid-19. 

Whilst other parts of Thailand have opportunities to reopen their businesses – manufacture, agriculture, IT, and large chunks of populations visit shops and general trading – Phuket has little of that. Some 50,000+ of the island’s 450,000 permanent population have already departed the island, either before the borders were closed in mid-March, or as soon as they were able to return to their provinces when the road border re-opened for repatriating people at the start of May.

The vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association southern chapter, says that hotels along the west coast might reopen in September at the earliest. 

Opposition criticises Thai government over economic toll of Covid response

Opposition party Pheu Thai has condemned the government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis, saying total shutdown has had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. 

The party says the hard-hitting restrictions imposed across the country have led to high unemployment, with the International Monetary Fund saying Thailand’s economy is the worst-affected in the region.

They add that the IMF is predicting the Thai economy will shrink by 6.7% this year, saying the country has one of the world’s most negative GDP forecasts, despite appearing to have brought the virus under control quite quickly.

Ayutthaya welcomes visitors after restrictions lift

Ayutthaya is welcoming visitors again after months of empty temple grounds as another set of restrictions were lifted over the weekend, allowing temples and historical sites to open back up. 

The Tourism Council of Thailand president says reopening the historic sites and business for domestic tourists will give tourism operators in the area a “lifeline”. The Buddhist temples had the most tourists over the weekend.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor



Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth



Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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