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Costa Rica stun Italy, France crush Switzerland

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Costa Rica stun Italy, France crush Switzerland | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Costa Rica stun Italy, France crush Switzerland
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Another European heavyweight fell to Latin American opposition on Friday as Costa Rica shocked Italy 1-0, putting the four-times champions’ qualification in peril, but France thumped Switzerland 5-2 in an imperious World Cup display.

After yet another upset in Brazil, Costa Rica’s win put them top of Group D and eliminated England, while Italy and Uruguay must now fight it out for the other qualification spot when they meet in Natal on Tuesday.

Luis Suarez will be fit for that game, a huge boost to Uruguay’s chances after he scored both goals in a 2-1 victory over England on Thursday.

That will add to concerns for Italy after they were humbled by unfancied Costa Rica in another fairytale twist to a World Cup full of surprises.

Bryan Ruiz’s header in the first half separated the sides, leaving delirious Costa Rica fans dancing in the sunshine at Recife’s Pernambuco arena after a second successive win.

“We kept up our heads. It was a beautiful match… The people of Costa Rica deserve this. They supported the team and me. This was for them,” said ecstatic coach Jorge Luis Pinto.

Italy coach Cesare Prandelli sought to stay positive ahead of the Uruguay clash, with his side needing only a draw to qualify due to superior goal difference.

“Right now I don’t think we need to be negative, we need to think about recovering our energies because we have another game in a few days’ time, we play against Uruguay and whether we qualify depends on that,” Prandelli told reporters.

He also refused to blame the midday tropical heat in Recife for the defeat.

“We know about the calendar, we’ve known it for some time,” Prandelli said. “It’s useless to try and find excuses, we’re not looking for excuses, we have to be ready at the kickoff.”

A Brazilian judge on Friday ordered FIFA to follow its own guidelines and stop play at all World Cup games every 30 minutes for a water break if the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) or higher.

FIFA played down the significance of the decision.

“We did not reach or exceed 32 degrees at any moment in any game so far,” FIFA spokeswoman Delia Fischer said.

“The court is only ordering us to follow our own procedures which we have always planned to do.”

FRANCE MARCH ON

There was no upset in the second match, with France beating Switzerland 5-2 in Salvador in an entertaining, end-to-end game full of chances that was great viewing for the neutral.

For Switzerland coach Ottmar Hitzfeld it was an altogether more painful experience as he watched his defence torn apart by wave after wave of attacks from France’s forward line.

The emphatic win continued France’s World Cup rehabilitation as they seek to bury the ghosts of four years ago, when a player revolt left their reputation stained.

“That was a very good match, we did a lot of things right,” France coach Didier Deschamps said in a television interview.

“Five goals against a strong Swiss team, we’ve got six points, that’s ideal.”

At 5-0 down, Blerim Dzemaili brought respectability to the scoreline, driving home a long-range free kick that slid under the French wall.

Granit Xhaka added a second with a fine volley close to full time, making it the highest scoring game of the Brazil World Cup so far.

Karim Benzema became joint top scorer with his third goal of the tournament, stabbing home neatly from substitute Paul Pogba sublime pass after his earlier spot-kick was saved.

The result left France top of Group E with six points, ahead of Switzerland on three. The group remains wide open, however, with Ecuador and Honduras meeting in the evening game and all four teams in action again on Wednesday.

On Saturday, Argentina meet Iran in Belo Horizonte and Nigeria take on Bosnia in Cuiaba in Group F. Germany face Ghana in Group G in Fortaleza.

Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella has confirmed he will start with the more attacking 4-3-3 formation favoured by Lionel Messi, and, even at a tournament as unpredictable as this, a win for Iran is almost unthinkable.

Their coach Carlos Queiroz begged to differ.

“I would bet all my stakes on Iran because this is my personality,” he said on the eve of the match.

The coaches of England and Spain, both out of the tournament in shock early exits, won the backing of their respective soccer authorities on Friday.

The Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) said it wanted Vicente del Bosque to remain in the job despite the team’s failure at the World Cup finals in Brazil, according to secretary general Jorge Perez.

And the chairman of England’s Football Association, Greg Dyke, similarly voiced support for Roy Hodgson, saying that, despite the disappointing results, the future looked brighter.

“There are a lot of young players who got blooded here and got into tournament football,” he said.

There was tragedy off the pitch as the Ivorian Football Federation confirmed that the younger brother of Kolo and Yaya Toure died in Manchester aged 28.

Media reports said he died after a short battle with cancer.

It is unlikely the Toure brothers will depart the World Cup. Ivory Coast play their last Group C game in Fortaleza on Tuesday with a chance to qualify for the knockout stage.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and ‘Kolour’ events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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