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Thailand’s opium cultivation “down by 40%”

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Thailand’s opium cultivation “down by 40%” | Thaiger

The cultivation of opium is on the decline in Thailand, but the illegal practice persists in several northern districts, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board reported this week.

Secretary-general Sirinya Sitdhichai cited remote rural highlands in Chiang Mai’s Om Koi, Mae Taeng and Chiang Dao districts and in Tak’s Umphang, Mae Ramat and Tha Song Yang districts as places where opium is still grown. He said it’s cultivated either by individual farmers for household consumption or by investor-backed farmers for local distribution. The plantations are kept small and scattered to avoid detection. Sirinya said the latest survey found that opium cultivation had dropped 40 per cent since a year previous. He credited strict law enforcement and the changing climate.

Aerial surveys between September and last week identified 313 opium plots covering more than 212 rai in four northern provinces.

Chiang Mai had 168 plots on 120 rai, Tak 84 plots on 63 rai, Mae Hong Son 22 plots on 12 rai and Chiang Rai 39 plots on 18 rai. Sirinya said 210 plots covering 150 rai – 70.46 per cent of the total – had since been destroyed. Sirinya and Major General Jittiwat Sornsuwan, assistant commander of the Third Army Region’s Narcotics Suppression Operation Centre, on Monday led officials on an inspection tour of a plantation in Tambon Pongsa in Mae Hong Son’s Pai district.

STORY: The Nation

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37 inmates at Chiang Mai prison test positive for Covid-19

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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37 inmates at Chiang Mai prison test positive for Covid-19 | Thaiger
Chiang Mai Central Prison/ Photo via Facebook/ เรือนจำกลางเชียงใหม่

At least 37 new inmates at Chiang Mai Central Prison have tested positive for Covid-19 in routine testing during the quarantine period for new inmates before they enter the general prison population. Provincial public health chief Jatchuchai Maeerat said the inmates who tested positive for the virus were sent to a field hospital at the prison in Chiang Mai’s Mae Taeng district.

The Chiang Mai public health office is now urging other prisons in the area, particularly the Chiang Mai Women Correctional Institution and the Fang District Prison, to follow similar protocols as the Central Prison to prevent the spread of the coronavirus among the general prison population and the staff, Jatchuchai says.

“We test new inmates after they have been monitored for symptoms during a 14-day quarantine and then sent to the inner zone… All infected prisoners are separated and sent to a field hospital within the prison.”

Since April 1, there have been 2,448 Covid-19 cases reported in Chiang Mai. So far, 134 patients have recovered and have been released from the hospital. The Chiang Mai public health department has 16,000 tablets of the antiviral medication Favipiravir. He says it’s enough to treat the patients in Chiang Mai.

Earlier this month, there was a Covid-19 outbreak at a prison in the southern province Narathawit. The outbreak prompted prison officials to cancel visits to contain the virus.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand provincial figures for Monday’s Covid cases

Tim Newton

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Thailand provincial figures for Monday’s Covid cases | Thaiger

The NBT has published an infographic including all the provincial data on new Covid infections over the past 24 hours in Thailand. Note that some of the data is released by the provinces one day but not reported by the CCSA as a national tally until the following day.

Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chon Buri, again, lead the way with the latest report. The provinces around Bangkok also feature heavily with today’s numbers. 63 of the country’s 77 provinces have all reported additional cases in the past 24 hours.

The CCSA earlier reported a total of 1,390 new Covid infections today. The tally is a welcome drop in new case reports after the last 5 days’ record levels of new infections. Yesterday there were 1,767 new infections reported.

3 more people have died of Covid-related illnesses, 14,851 people remain under state supervision.

Thailand provincial figures for Monday's Covid cases | News by Thaiger

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Officials in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin express concern amid rapid rise in infections

Maya Taylor

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Officials in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin express concern amid rapid rise in infections | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

Health officials in the northern province of Chiang Mai and the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan are on high alert amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. Prachuap Khiri Khan has now reported 334 cases, with infections rising by 141 yesterday. The outbreak is primarily centred around the Hua Hin district, with provincial health official Suriya Khuharat saying most people contracted the virus after attending a concert at the Maya Exclusive Pub on March 30.

Anyone who is concerned they may be infected can receive a free Covid-19 test at either Prachuap Khiri Khan or Hua Hin hospitals. The Bangkok Post reports that, in the last few days, around 500 people a day have visited Hua Hin Hospital for testing.

Hua Hin district and health officials have filed a police complaint against the owners of the Maya Pub, who are accused of violating the emergency decree and disease prevention measures. The March 30 concert is thought to be behind the surge in infections in the seaside district, with over 90% of cases linked to the pub. The chain of transmission is believed to have originated with 1 customer who attended the concert after travelling from Bangkok. The woman is an employee at the Krystal Club in Thong Lor, itself at the centre of a Covid cluster.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai, health officials say a surge in infections, now exceeding 200 a day, is causing great concern. Yesterday, the northern province reported 260 new cases, with public health chief Chatuchai Maneerat admitting the surge could lead to a shortage of hospital beds.

“Currently we have 1,000 beds in the province’s field hospital and that may not be sufficient. So, the province’s communicable disease control panel has decided to add another 1,000 beds.”

Despite the rise in infections, the Department of Disease Control says there are currently no plans for a national lockdown, given that other provinces are not as severely affected. Opas Karnkawinpong from the DDC says the most important thing is for people to work from home and avoid social gatherings until at least the end of April.

“People are asking if there will be a lockdown. I’d say that a lockdown is the last resort if virus transmissions show no signs of letting-up. Activities that draw large crowds pose the greatest risk and should be avoided until the end of this month at least.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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