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“It’s 3 months now, when can we reopen?” – Pattaya bar owners

Jack Burton

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“It’s 3 months now, when can we reopen?” – Pattaya bar owners | The Thaiger
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Today marks 3 straight months that Pattaya’s world famous – and vitally important to the city’s economy – nightlife and entertainment industry has been shuttered by the Thai Government. The industry was originally told to close “for 2 weeks” on March 18. But as the Covid-19 crisis escalated and fear and uncertainty grew worldwide, the closure was repeatedly extended, with ever changing dates and conflicting, overlapping messages on when exactly the government would allow business to resume.

Chon Buri province had a total of 87 cases of Covid-19, virtually all imported from other provinces or overseas visitors. Of those, 41 were in Banglamung/Pattaya, the majority from the famous Bangkok “boxing stadium cluster.” There were 2 deaths, both foreign cases that were imported. Pattaya, despite its notorious nightlife industry, never had a significant local outbreak. This is in stark contrast to the resort island of Phuket, which had the highest number of cases per capita in Thailand, mainly around its notorious Bangla Road red light entertainment area and latterly around the Bang Tao district.

But the Thai Government has continued to state it’s is too risky to open nightlife, bars and entertainment venues, despite the country as a whole going well over 3 weeks without a locally transmitted case. They’ve been spooked both by the cases of infected Thais returning from overseas and the recent spate of outbreaks in entertainment zones in Seoul and Tokyo.

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, has allowed nearly every type of business to resume – except the nightlife and entertainment industry. Despite early signs that they would allow owners to reopen and get tens of thousands of people back to work in Phase 4 of the program to reopen and unlock the country, nightlife was left out, and there has been no target date or guarantee of a Phase 5 from the CCSA.

Pattaya’s mayor and the governor of Chon Buri, keenly aware of Pattaya’s precarious situation, with an estimated 80% of the city’s businesses dedicated to nightlife and hospitality, have pleaded for patience from local business owners and say they’re working with the CCSA to reopen the bars. This week, The CCSA allowed the half measure of allowing alcohol in restaurants, but this only led to confusion as the large number of “hybrid” establishments that sell both food and alcohol were given mixed messages and police were instructed at a national level to raid and even close many already struggling local businesses.

The CCSA and the PM himself have also asked for patience from business owners, but for many, with 3 months without income and landlords and other creditors demanding payment, patience is running out.

The CCSA has stated a current goal of 28 days without a confirmed locally transmitted case of the virus. That would be next Monday, June 22.

They have dodged repeated questions from the press on whether that means nightlife could resume. Meanwhile, many bar owners in Pattaya continue to ask why their small establishments, many unable to fit more than a handful of people in, remain closed, lumped into the same group as massive nightclubs that can fit over a thousand people.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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1 Comment

1 Comment

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    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 12:16 pm

    Why would they open anyway. There are few foreigners left in Pattaya, and it seems the government is determined to keep tourists out.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday

Maya Taylor

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PM to receive AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha will receive the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Sunday, while Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will receive the Chinese jab. According to a Bangkok Post report, Sopon Mekthon from the sub-committee on vaccine management says both politicians will receive their vaccines at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Disease Institute. On Monday, the vaccination of priority groups in specific provinces will get underway.

Speaking about the arrival of the long-awaited vaccines yesterday, Anutin said the first batch would be distributed free of charge, with costs covered by the government.

“The vaccines are for Thais and those living in the country. Anyone who charges for the vaccine will face legal action.”

Thailand has taken delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese Sinovac jab and 117,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The arrival of the AstraZeneca jab took many by surprise, with no mention of its imminent arrival, unlike the PR hoopla surrounding the arrival of its Chinese counterpart. Another 800,000 doses of the Sinovac vaccine are expected next month, followed by a further 1 million in April. After that, the rest of Thailand’s vaccines will be from AstraZeneca, with 26 million locally-manufactured doses expected to be available from May to June and another 35 million after that.

Nakorn Premsri from the National Vaccine Institute says the AstraZeneca vaccines arrived this week as a result of a commitment by the pharmaceutical giant to ensure equal access to Covid-19 vaccines.

“The AstraZeneca vaccines that arrived in Thailand must receive a lot release certificate from the Department of Medical Sciences before distribution to priority groups designated by the Department of Disease Control.”

Meanwhile, Thares Karasnairaviwong from the Department of Health Service Support says over 1.5 million village health volunteers are educating local residents about the importance of vaccination and establishing how many people fall into the priority groups who will be first to be inoculated.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Foreign tourists must use Covid-19 tracking app when travelling to Thailand

Caitlin Ashworth

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Foreign tourists must use Covid-19 tracking app when travelling to Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Digital Government Development Agency

Foreign tourists travelling to Thailand will need to download the Covid-19 contact tracking mobile application “ThailandPlus” before arriving in Thailand and use it throughout their stay. The app will notify travellers if they have been in close contact with any confirmed cases.

Throughout their trip to Thailand, tourists will need to keep the app “on” and check in and out of various locations by scanning QR codes. The app requires access to the smartphone’s GPS , but the Tourism Authority of Thailand says the information collected will only be used for public health purposes and will not infringe on the tourists’ right to privacy.

Travellers will also need to upload a recent headshot as well as supply their Certificate of Entry number and reference ID from the Royal Thai Embassy.

The app is a spinoff to the “Thai Chana” and “Mor Chana” apps. All use GPS and Bluetooth as well as QR code scanning to detect the users’ locations. The apps sparked controversy and many Thais expressed concerns about their privacy, but the government has assured the public that information will be kept private.

The development of the app is a collaboration between the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Digital Government Development Agency.

Click HERE to download the ThailandPlus.

SOURCE: TAT

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Did the Covid-19 virus actually originate in Thailand? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Did the Covid-19 virus actually originate in Thailand? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

South East Asia was the source of Covid-19, not China. Even more specifically, it came from Thailand… from the famous Chatuchak market, or, as quoted correctly “a market LIKE Chatuchak”.

That’s the claims of a Danish epidemiologist Thea Kolsen Fischer, who was on a recent World Health Organisation fact-finding mission to Wuhan to examine the origins of the latest coronavirus pandemic. The claims were printed in Denmark’s daily newspaper Politiken this week and have half left Thai officials flabbergasted.

The paper poses the question… was Chatuchak Market, or a similar were market in Bangkok like Chatuchak, indeed “the place that brought the coronavirus to Wuhan”.

Chatuchak market, for those unfamiliar with the tourist trap north of the main Bangkok city centre, is a market for just about everything. It’s also locally known as JJs. You can find cheap knock offs, souvenirs, hardware supplies, decor and lots and lots of animals, dead and alive.

Thailand’s Department of Disease Control held a media conference yesterday to refute the claims, claiming that it regularly tests animals at the market. The spokesperson also responded to an earlier news article by Russia’s Sputnik news agency suggesting that a similar strain of the novel coronavirus found in bats in Thailand appeared to resemble Sars-CoV-2… Covid-19.

Citing a new study published in Nature Communications, the Sputnik news agency claimed there are bats in Thailand with a virus, a coronavirus, that matches the one that causes Covid-19. Given the much-less-easy to remember code name RacCS203, the new virus was identified in the blood of five horseshoe bats that had been tested in an artificial cave at a wildlife sanctuary somewhere in eastern Thailand.

Researchers at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University have also conducted genomic sequencing on the virus and reportedly found that the virus shares 91.5% of the genetic code of Sars-CoV-2.

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