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Two Burmese arrested with 20 kilograms of ‘ice’ in SUV

Thaiger

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PHOTO: Three Pagodas Border Pass in Kanchanaburi

Two Burmese men have been arrested with 20 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine with a street value of around 30 million baht.

The drugs were hidden in the modified gas tank of their SUV in Kanchanaburi’s Sangkhlaburi district yesterday morning.

The police followed up on a tip-off about a Ford Everest SUV smuggling drugs through the Three Pagodas Border Pass. A combined team of police, army and district defense volunteers set up a checkpoint at the Rantee Bridge until they spotted the target vehicle at 7.30am.

The officers pulled over the SUV and identified the two occupants as 27 year old driver Thae Awe and 31 year old passenger Mau Mau Jor.

Police checked the gas tank and found it had been modified to have a hidden compartment, contained 20 kilograms of “ice”.

The suspects reportedly confessed they were paid 25,000 baht each to transport the drugs to a spot in Sai Yok district for another person to pick up.

Police later parked the SUV at the appointed spot until 1pm, but no-one showed up.

SOURCE: The Nation

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Multi-day traditional Thai funerals shortened for Covid-19 safety

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Traditional Thai Buddhist funerals need to be shortened for Covid-19 safety.

Traditional funerals in Thailand last several days with ceremonies and mourning before the eventual cremation of the lost loved one. But with the rising death toll of Covid-19, funeral ceremonies have needed to be revised and shortened for the safety of attendees. With infections in Thailand catapulting from 29,000 in early April to 74,900 as of yesterday, funerals have to adapt to account for not only handling the remains of someone who died from Covid-19 but also infected mourners attending the funerals.

Traditional Buddhist funerals involve family members, friends, and often the local community joining together to offer condolences, pray, share meals, and view the body, placing flowers on the dead loved one before they are moved into an incinerator for cremation. Family members often sleep in the temple where the ceremony takes place, staying on-site for several days. But in the Covid-19 era, services need to be shortened and socially distanced, with family members that do come close to the dead body requiring disinfection and possibly isolation afterwards. Volunteers in full PPE protection gear often remove the casket from an ambulance moving it straight to the crematorium rather than allowing it to lie in repose first.

Siam-Nonthaburi Foundation is a volunteer group that is assisting people to conduct safe funeral services for those who may be unable to afford them. They work with the Nontha Buri temple of Wat Rat Prakong Tham just outside of central Bangkok to arrange free cremation services. Foundation officials pointed out they’re often handling 4 funerals per day because of Covid-19 when they usually only conduct 1 each day. They have to take severe Covid-19 precautions as it is a high-risk endeavour.

After assisting with many funerals and helping with Covid-19 safety, they advised maximum caution especially with older family members as the majority of the funerals they conduct were for the elderly.

Thailand has now had 315 death from Covid-19, with the third wave spreading faster and deadlier due to the B.117 variant that first appeared in evening entertainment venues in Bangkok and other hot spots. Yesterday the first recorded infection with the Brazilian variant was identified in Thailand, but in an arriving passenger who went into immediate quarantine, so there is hope that the strain has not made it into any communities yet.

With a difficult-to-control Covid-19 pandemic and Thai funeral traditions bringing people in close proximity to each other and to the deceased, precautions and revision of tradition has been necessary to speed services into the cremation process far more quickly.

SOURCE: France 24

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,911 new Covid-19 infections and 18 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Since the start of the pandemic, there have been 76,811 Covid-19 infections and 336 virus-related deaths.

There are now 29,680 active cases. 1,073 patients are in critical condition including 356 on ventilators. The majority of the recent deaths were elderly patients. 12 of the 18 patients who died had contracted the virus from family members. A spokesperson for the CCSA says it’s important that family members be extra cautious around grandparents and elderly relatives who are the most at risk of infection.

Province New cases Total since April 1
Bangkok 739 16,048
Nonthaburi 273 2,831
Samut Prakan 143 2,737
Chon Buri 76 3,039
Samut Sakhon 65 1,230
Surat Thani 53 975
Nakhon Pathom 47 717
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 35 575
Chachoengsao 35 402
Pathum Thani 31 1,060
Nakhon Si Thammarat 31 498

COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger COVID Update: 1,911 new infections, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Economy

GDP forecast dropped to 1-2% with best, middle and worst case scenarios

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Economic predictions continue to fall with Covid-19 spread and slow vaccination.

Mass vaccination will be the key stop the slump in economic growth after the Bank of Thailand revised their 2021 GDP forecast to between 1 – 2%. They had previously estimated a 3% growth in the gross domestic product but are now creating tiered predictions of a base level, worse situation, and a worst-case scenario, according to the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee.

The base GDP forecast, which you could call a best-case scenario, expects a 2% growth predicated on some rosy numbers like foreign tourism growing to 1.2 million people and unemployment staying around 2.7 million. It also operates on the assumption that Thailand reaches 100 million vaccines distributed by the end of the year which would allow herd immunity by the beginning of 2022.

The middle ground prediction is a 1.5% GDP growth if 64.6 million vaccines are administered, delaying herd immunity to the third quarter of 2022. It also allows for unemployment to grow by another 100,000 people, and tourism to reach only 1 million foreign visitors. If we don’t get this tourism growth and unemployment and underemployment expands to 2.9 million or above, and we distribute less than 64.4 million jabs, the worst-case scenario would be only a 1% GDP growth and herd immunity not being possible until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

The worst-case scenario would be a 5.7% drop in the GDP this year, a loss of 890 billion baht. The middle ground forecast would cost about 460 billion Baht, about a 3% drop in Thailand GDP.

The BOT had originally forecast stronger GDP growth but reduced from 3.2% to 3% before dropping their predictions to the 1% to 2% figure. With the devastating effect of the third wave of Covid-19 being much more far-reaching than originally expected, this new prediction was released now instead of when it was scheduled in June. They did state that government economic stimulus packages could still have a positive effect and allow the economy to grow 3 to 5.7%, assuming mass vaccination goes into effect quickly.

The tourism sector and small-to-medium-sized enterprises would be the most affected by the delays in vaccination. The Monetary Policy Committee stressed that the economy hinges on the speedy importing and administering of vaccines. Faster vaccination will prevent mutations, new strains, and new outbreaks, as well as allowing international borders to fully reopen more quickly and more successfully. They stress that government efforts to support the economy must continue as the government has recently announced they will extend cash stimulus programs and allot money to more low-income assistance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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