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Thailand News Today – Tuesday, April 21

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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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