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Thailand News Update | Airports of Thailand predicts 1 million Songkran passengers

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Airports of Thailand is expecting about one million passengers, both domestic and international, to travel through its six airports during Songkran. The Thai New Year is tomorrow but the holiday break will go on until next Sunday… if people haven’t already headed back home. The AoT says the number of air travellers has increased since the government dropped the pre-travel PCR testing on April 1. From April 1-7, nearly 900,000 passengers passed through Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang, Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hat Yai. The daily average of nearly 130,000 passengers was a jump from the daily average through the 7 airports of 107,000 recorded in March. Airport traffic from international passengers is up 39% from last month, and up 14% from Domestic travellers. In terms of flight numbers, international flights are up by 5% while domestic flights are up by 15%, compared to last month. According to the AoT, about one million passengers will use the six airports during the Songkran festival. But airlines, and hotels, warn that post-Songkran bookings are soft at this stage and continue to urge the government to relax arrival restrictions. The CCSA will meet on April 22 to assess the Covid situation after the Songkran break and decide whether or not to remove the on-arrival PCR test and a one-night stay at a pre-paid SHA+ Hotel.


 

Thailand is looking to bring in more labourers in from neighbouring countries with the help of recruitment agencies, as the government seeks to employ an army of around 150,000 foreign workers to make up for the country’s low percentage of people willing to do manual labour jobs. Since foreign labourers have largely deserted Thailand over the past two years, the labour shortage has now become critical. But Thailand’s general public is worried about the potential spread of Covid from migrant workers, sparking a debate about immigration procedures. The labour ministry is attempting to solve the shortage of labour in two ways. The first is to use the labour memorandum of understanding procedure, to bring in people from three neighbouring countries to work for Thai companies. The second is by allowing migrant workers, who are currently in Thailand, to stay and work legally. More than 2 million workers who have already arrived in Thailand can now apply for jobs and stay in Thailand rather than returning to their home countries, according to the Labour Ministry. Thailand employers have already used the MoU platform to apply to recruit nearly 168,00 workers, requesting approximately 117,000 people from Myanmar, 39,000 people from Cambodia and 12,000 people from Laos. So far, nearly 145,000 of the applicants have been approved. Around 6,000 workers from Cambodia and Laos have already entered Thailand.

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The BA.2 sub-variant of Omicron will take over Thailand and become the new dominant strain of Covid, according to the Thai Medical Science Department. Last week, the department did a diagnosis of Covid-19 infections and discovered that the BA.2 sub-variant accounted for 96% of reported cases, while the BA.1 sub-variant accounted for a mere 4% of cases, according to the head of the department, Dr. Supakit Sirilak. He noted that new sub-variants are being reported, and tracked, around the world. He also said that two vaccination shots probably aren’t enough now, as a vaccine’s efficacy will gradually fade over time. His advice to those who already have two vaccine doses was to get a booster of either the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccines. The Thaiger recommends you seek advice from your doctor or qualified health professionals to make an informed decision about vaccines and boosters.

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The ATK checkpoints at the entrance of Bangla Road, the party strip in Phuket, will be shut down from tonight onwards… that’s according to the Patong Entertainment Association. The checkpoints have been operating since January this year to provide a veneer of additional safety for patrons of Phuket’s most popular walking street. The checkpoints were operated with support from the association, the Patong Development Foundation, and other state and private departments. The Association noted that it was now time to drop the entry tests, even though large crowds from overseas and inter-province are heading to Phuket for Songkran festivities.


 

A Thai man accidentally shot himself in the mouth and died while shooting birds over the weekend in northeast Thailand’s Roi Et province. Investigating officers think the man was holding the gun’s trigger end with his toes and used his mouth to check the cap gun’s levels of gunpowder. Police believe have made a mistake and accidentally pulled the trigger with his toes. The man shot himself in the mouth and died instantly. The man and his wife were going out shooting birds when they stopped at a small hut so he could prefer his gun. 2 minutes later his wide heard a single shot and rushed to find her husband dead. The man’s body was initially taken by police for an autopsy and will be delivered back to the man’s relatives for religious ceremonies.

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If you can’t splash each other this Songkran, splash an elephant instead — in Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai’s Maesa Elephant Camp invites tourists to splash in the water with elephants during the Songkran holidays. The camp is open from 9 am – 3 pm every day and admission is free. After facing hardship throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Maesa’s elephants hope tourists will flock to visit them this Thai New Year. The elephants are ready to cool off in the water this Songkran holiday with temperatures expected to reach highs of 38 degrees Celsius this week ‘up north’. The elephant’s mahouts… their minders and trainers… are inviting tourists to splash in the water with the elephants, take photos and learn more about Thailand’s most-beloved creatures at the camp, which has been open for 45 years. The camp encourages tourists to buy a basket of food to feed the elephants. They say it’s been a very difficult time over the past 2 years without tourists or enough food to feed their elephants. They say a total of 22 elephants have died at the camp in the past two years.

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