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Top medic says Thailand can become Southeast Asia’s foremost medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Top medic says Thailand can become Southeast Asia’s foremost medical hub | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TNA Mcot
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One of Thailand’s most prominent doctors says the country should aim to become the leading medical hub in Southeast Asia, before any future pandemics arise. Prasit Watanapa, from Siriraj Hospital’s Faculty of Medicine, has called on the Kingdom to seize the opportunity, in a speech at “Thailand’s Mega Trends Forum 2020” in Bangkok. The event was organised by Forbes Thailand.

Prasit says since the start of the 21st century, the world has already endured 5 virulent diseases: SARS in 2002, swine flu in 2009, MERS in 2012, Zika in 2015, and now Covid-19. He points out that there will, inevitably, be more.

“Humans, animals and the environment are intertwined. As long as we cause climate change, we will face new diseases, as the migration of (animal) vectors brings about the rapid spread of viruses. Covid-25 and Covid-30 will come. 3 months ago, I warned of a second wave (of the coronavirus). We should learn to tackle it and identify an opportunity.”

In the age of a connected world, physically and digitally, the spread of human-borne viruses becomes particularly easy, and the spread of misinformation even easier. As more people travel, exacerbated by the rise of budget aviation, pandemics will develop faster and become more difficult to mitigate.

The Bangkok Post reports that in his address, Prasit has called on Thailand to further improve its disease prevention measures. He points out that each of the Covid-19 vaccines currently in development, particularly the ones in the US, are being fought over by countries that are richer and more developed.

“Our local development is very limited because we still import vaccines from abroad. However, vaccination is now a matter of national security.”

He adds that he can’t see the any vaccine production being set up in the neighbouring countries of Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia or Laos, and that this provides a potential opportunity for Thailand. For Thailand to be known as the foremost medical hub in the region however, it needs to get better at diagnostics and embrace the technology that enables this.

“If we can enhance our health literacy, everything will become much more convenient. We can predict the risk of cancer, drug allergies, and optimise medical procedures. With the help of AI technology we have received from China, we have been able to diagnose Covid-19 much faster and with increased accuracy. 5G technology has helped support telemedicine. Currently, we are collaborating with Huawei to develop AI and Deep Learning technology for healthcare, which other countries in the region are not able to do. Thailand is a leader.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    gosport

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 10:45 am

    That is right, dump the tourism industry, trump the medical industry.

  2. Avatar

    Pierre

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    A nosophobic country willing to be the Asian hospital? I’m not sure I got that one…

  3. Avatar

    Nipral

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 1:25 pm

    ????????????
    Who is this bloke ? Quite entertaining anyway !

  4. Avatar

    Alan

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    Always talking about the ‘hub’ of something in Thailand . It’s the Hub of bull****

  5. Avatar

    Ameila Leary

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    Making Thailand yet another bunch of Chinese mainland dolls and a hunger striker. The administration of Thai Land is only doing what his master wishes to serve him for his own gain. They have no plans for the welfare of their people. China also unleashed too many evil schemes and attempted to conquer the World with its mental illness plans, such as first giving viruses and then also testing the virus infections with the contaminated and damaged equipment. Always dreaming about making Thai a medical centre, really?? Do they even believe that others will trust them and give them a goddamn chance to make the world’s sufferings more venerable?

    • Avatar

      Toby Andrews

      Friday, December 4, 2020 at 10:04 pm

      If they are a hub they will be with western support.
      Do they deserve it after their antics of the last five months?
      corrupt government that are caught and not punished.
      Look how they treated tourists trapped in Thailand, cancelled these tourists flight out.
      Singapore should be the hub of medical foremost hub in the Far East.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 5:10 pm

    Actually Thailand already IS a centre for medical tourism – one of the top half dozen world-wide, IIRC.

  7. Avatar

    Strider

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 8:42 am

    Thailand will never become the international hub of anything until it becomes more proficient in languages. I had a surgical procedure in Penang some years ago and everybody at hospital spoke English. Gives one confidence in their abilities.

  8. Avatar

    Keith

    Monday, December 7, 2020 at 7:23 am

    does not say much for the medical services in the rest of South east Asia does it?

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University as early as this week. The vaccine, already given the go-ahead in the US and UK, would be approved for emergency use, with administration likely to begin next month. Healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions will be prioritised.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says the FDA’s review of the vaccine’s efficacy and safety is going well. Thailand has fallen behind its neighbours in terms of vaccine administration, with a number of countries in the region already starting their roll-out. Indonesia kicked things off last week, with President Joko Widodo the first to receive China’s Sinovac jab.

Thailand is expected to take delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine next month, but questions linger over its efficacy, which was recently revised downwards by researchers in Brazil. The vaccine has not yet completed phase 3 trials and Thailand’s health officials say it may not gain FDA approval until February 14, as the manufacturer has no representation in the Kingdom.

Thailand has signed a technology-transfer agreement with AstraZeneca to produce that vaccine locally. The jab will be manufactured by Siam Bioscience, a pharmaceutical company owned by the Monarchy. Surachok Tangwiwat from the FDA says the doses currently subject to approval have been produced by other countries, but did not specify which ones, how many doses have been imported, or at what cost.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed phase 3 trials and has been shown to be 70% effective, less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the World Health Organisation has previously stated that a vaccine only needs to be over 50% effective to meet the global threshold for regulatory approval.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Visa

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today)

Maya Taylor

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Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixy

No, you don’t, yes, you do… Expats are reeling in shock at the idea that there might be mixed messages circulating in relation to Thailand’s immigration requirements, not to mention the announcements (and retractions) published in the nation’s English-language media outlets.

It all began over the weekend, when the nation’s favourite blogger, Richard Barrow, shared the news that foreigners who wished to remain in the Kingdom would need a negative Covid-19 test. According to his post, this update to the country’s immigration law was published in the Royal Gazette on December 25, taking effect from January 25. Needless to say, Richard’s post attracted hundreds of comments from the bewildered, the despairing, and the angry, not to mention the usual slew of social media epidemiologists.

Covid-19 test NOT required for visa extensions (at least not today) | News by The Thaiger

Twitter/Richard Barrow in Thailand

Yesterday, an article published by Khaosod English also stated that Covid-19 testing would be required for all visa extensions. The story has since been removed and replaced with a retraction, following a statement issued by Archayon Kraithong from the Immigration Bureau.

The story was also picked up by The Phuket News, who spoke to the deputy chief of Phuket Immigration, Nareuwat Putthawiro. He confirmed that his office had received no such order from the powers-that-be in Bangkok or from regional headquarters in Songkhla. The immigration chief in Chon Buri said something similar.

Archayon’s original statement had claimed a negative Covid-19 test would be a requirement for all types of visa extensions. Within an hour, he was forced to backpedal and apologise for the… well, you guessed it.

“I apologise for the misunderstanding. It will only apply to certain types of visa, most likely the permanent resident visa.”

Archayon says his office is now waiting for the Council of State to provide an interpretation of the update published in the Royal Gazette last month, which saw Covid-19 added to the list of diseases foreigners must be clear of in order to take up residency in the Kingdom. The virus now joins other prohibited ailments such as elephantiasis, leprosy, and syphilis.

SOURCE: The Phuket News| Khaosod English

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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The Thai government threw a tourist party (sound of crickets) | VIDEO | The Thaiger

The Thai Government, flushed with the success of their containment of Covid-19, decided to market the Land of Smiles to the world as the safe place to travel. With the annual wet season starting to weaken the tourists would flock back to the S E Asian country that had such a remarkable success containing, then almost eradicating itself, of the coronavirus.

Then they came up with the STV – the special tourist visa which would have the world’s eager travellers packing their sun cream for up to 270 days of Thai tourism.

There were promises of plane loads of tourists and even published flights and carriers. A few flights arrived, most didn’t.

In fact, since the start of the STV, the Special Tourist Visa, with its long list of restrictions and requirements, was floated, along with a re-vamped Tourist Visa, less than 400 people have arrived per month, on average, since the end of October. In the October and November of the year before more than 3 million people arrived in Thailand. Even the government’s limit of 1,200 new tourist arrivals per month was even slightly tested.

The government had bought all the streamers and a pretty new dress for the party but no one came.

What went wrong?

Where was the much-anticipated pent-up demand and people banging on the doors of the world’s Thai embassies?

It was the European winter and the ‘snowbirds’ would surely be back to soak in some Thai sun rays. But no.

The first problem was there wasn’t much for them to come back to. They would have the beaches of the islands all to themselves, they wouldn’t have to wait in line for anything, the domestic airlines were still selling low fares to Tavel anywhere around the country.

But otherwise there wasn’t a lot for them to do. The tourism magnets were a shadow of their former selves. Walking Street, Bangla Road, tours and tour boats, all the tourist strip restaurants. The buzz of the crowds was gone and more than 90% of the tourist-related business had closed up.

Their staff, their families, their bank loans, their stock and investments – all on hold and forced to find come other means to make ends meet. 931 of some of the larger official tourism operators have now gone out of business, according to Bloomberg News. There would be thousands of the smaller family operations that have also been swept aside by the Thai government’s responses to the world pandemic.

 

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