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Germany and France end African hopes, Suarez sorry

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Germany and France end African hopes, Suarez sorry | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Germany and France end African hopes, Suarez sorry
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Germany and France snuffed out African hopes and reached the World Cup quarter-finals on Monday with hard-won victories over Algeria and Nigeria, while Uruguay striker Luis Suarez broke his silence to apologise for biting.

Both European powerhouses struggled for their wins, France needing late goals to see off African champions Nigeria 2-0 and Germany only securing their 2-1 victory over Algeria in extra time.

Germany and France will meet in the last eight on Friday, while disappointed Africans have no teams left to support.

In Porto Alegre, the sides were deadlocked 0-0 after 90 minutes in a frantic end-to-end match where Algeria goalkeeper Rais Mbolhi pulled off some fantastic saves but swiftly counter-attacks also gave the north Africans chances to win.

With the score 0-0 at full time, German substitute Andre Schuerrle deftly flicked in a low cross, before Mesut Ozil added a second in the last minute.

There was still time for an Algerian consolation goal, by Abdelmoumene Djabou. It was no more than they deserved but not enough to prevent heartbreak at the final whistle.

“The Algerians did a good job, they disrupted us from the start and didn’t let us get into our game. But it doesn’t matter how we won,” Schuerrle said.

The result kept Germany’s enviable record of reaching at least the quarter-finals in every World Cup they have played in since 1938. It also denied Algeria revenge for a dark chapter in 1982 when, despite beating then West Germany, they went out after a seemingly contrived result between the Germans and Austria.

“We showed the whole world that Algeria has a great team,” defender Madjid Bougherra said. “We fought all the way. At the start of Ramadan, we did a great job representing Algeria.”

FRANCE STRIKE LATE

Earlier in Brasilia, France, seeking to make up for a humiliating early exit four years ago, left it late to break down a tough Nigeria, scoring twice in the last 11 minutes.

‘Super Eagles’ goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama, who had been excellent until then, flapped at a corner in the 79th minute, leaving Paul Pogba an open goal to head into after French pressure had built steadily in the second half.

“To score a goal for your country, especially in an important match like this to get into the World Cup quarter-finals, it’s one of the best moments of my life,” an elated Pogba said.

‘Les Bleus’ struck again at the death when Nigeria defender Joseph Yobo skewed a cross into his own goal.

Nigeria, who have never progressed beyond the last 16, had the better of the first half in a rough game that swung France’s way after the African side’s influential midfielder Ogenyi Onazi was injured and carried off following a late studs-up tackle by Blaise Matuidi.

Monday’s goals took the tally for the tournament to 150, surpassing the 145 scored in the entire 2010 World Cup.

Off the pitch, it was again Suarez making the headlines – though this time for the right reasons.

In a contrite statement from his home in Uruguay, the volatile striker said he had time to reflect on his biting of an Italian defender.

“I ask for the forgiveness of Giorgio Chiellini and all the football family,” he said. “I publicly promise that an incident like that will never occur again with my involvement.”

Nevertheless, Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica upped the ante over the saga, calling FIFA bosses “sons of bitches” for giving a “fascist” punishment of a four-month football ban to Suarez.

ROBBEN ADMITS DIVING

Controversy also swirled over another forward seldom out of the headlines, Dutchman Arjen Robben.

All of Mexico was still fuming at Robben’s tumble that earned a last-ditch penalty to put the Netherlands through on Sunday.

Mexican fans excoriated and mocked him mercilessly on social media, some depicting an arm-flailing Robben leaping into the sea off rocks at a famous diving spot in Acapulco.

Robben, 30, fanned the controversy further by insisting the tackle from Mexican captain Rafael Marquez was a penalty, but confessing he had dived in another incident.

“In the first half I went to ground without being fouled, without being touched and that was a stupid action,” he said.

“I am an honest guy, I am a straight guy, that’s my personality and I apologise for what happened in the first half.”

FIFA said there was unlikely to be any retrospective action, drawing accusations of hypocrisy given the punishment to Suarez.

There was a one-match ban for another miscreant, Brazil’s senior press official Rodrigo Paiva who was involved in a half-time scuffle with Chilean striker Mauricio Pinilla in the last-16 clash.

The fallout from Ghana’s disastrous World Cup continued, with midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng saying preparations had been a “nightmare”. Ghana exited with one point in three games and Boateng was suspended for a row with his coach.

“I would have never thought a World Cup preparation could be organised that badly. Everything was amateurish,” he said.

Tuesday offers two trans-Atlantic clashes.

Belgium’s young side are an outside bet for the title and certainly favourites to beat the United States, but Jurgen Klinsmann has his charges fired up and super-fit.

A Lionel Messi-led Argentina should have little trouble dispatching Switzerland, but underdogs have thrown plenty of surprises in this most fascinating of World Cups.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Tim Newton

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Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger

Hi. Im Tim Newton. Just upfront saying that these are my personal opinions and don’t necessarily reflect that of The Thaiger.

So today the Thai Government now has officially announced vaccine passports. The documents are going to be the next big thing in the long and winding Covid road. Firstly, before some comments, the details that we actually know.

This Covid passport legislation has now been announced in the Royal Gazette, so it’s not being considered, it’s actually law. According to media info, the vaccine passport will be an official document which can be used by vaccinated people travelling abroad.

I fear this Covid passport will end up as just another victim of the unintended consequences. The benefits, mostly intended for international travellers, will be used as another way of whittling away our remaining privacies and adding another layer of little annoyances to life and work in the Land of Smiles.

Look at the vaccine roll out in Thailand. Usually a business should try and under-promise and then over deliver. In this case the Thai government have done the exact opposite. Timelines for vaccination are not being met and the ordering of vaccines appears chaotic and, at best, just slow in getting to the startline.

The PM has rushed to assure the citizenry that the delays have been caused by an abundance of caution. And unfortunately the 2 horses they’ve backed in the vaccination race are having a few bad PR days and neither may be a long term solution to the latest variants of Covid-19 spreading around Thailand. But I’ll let the scientists sort that out… certainly not the legion of instant vaccine experts that have now infected the internet.

I’m all for trying to get the country open again, as soon as practicable, and safe to do so. But I’m starting to think the best course of action is to lock my gate and resort to an online worklife and Food Panda… the mad foreign guy locked up in his house with his 3 cats.

Here in Phuket we now have an arrival regime that demands either proof of vaccine, a negative Covid test, or a 300 baht rapid Covid test at the airport. The chances of me subjecting myself to an airport officials sticking a swap up my admittedly large nose in the vague hope it will probably come back negative, is zero. Again, on a daily basis we get emails from foreigners who say they’ve been whisked away to hospitals, and more recently field hospitals, with no recourse or means of appeal, or even the chance to get a second test.

Here’s one from this morning…

I can’t call the embassy as I don’t have a SIM card, I also have been told to order outside food as they won’t feed me. They won’t provide me with my test results and told me that I’d need to stay 14 days here in quarantine, but the doctor I talked with yesterday said 5 more days. I’m so confused as to what to do next.

Now, stripping all this back to basics, I’ll concede that we’re all in this mess together at the moment, and that we may have to forego a few personal freedoms for the greater good. I have no issue wearing a mask in public. I have no worries leaving my phone number at the door when entering premises. I will do my best to stay socially distant when in public.

But all these restrictions are easy to ramp up and much harder to wind back. And, at a deeper level, our trust in institutions, governments, and medical officials is being eroded. And that’s not good as we stumble forward in trying to get the world open again.

Will I get a vaccine passport? Probably. And I’ll also expect to have to carry it everywhere I go as it’s used as just another reminder that I’m just a guest in this country and I better just get used to it.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test

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Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Checkpoints in Phuket will only allow Covid-19 tested or vaccinated travellers in.

To help wrangle the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Phuket, strict controls for everyone entering the island go into effect today until the end of April. The provincial communicable disease committee approved the measures in an effort to stop the proliferation of Covid-19 in the province.

The new regulations state that only people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have tested to be Coronavirus-free within 3 days of arrival, will be allowed to enter Phuket. Proper certification or documentation must be presented to verify this information – either a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Anyone attempting to enter Phuket without the full vaccine doses, or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours, will be charged 500 baht for a rapid antigen test at their port of entry. For Thais, the cost is free. The 2-tier price policy has been slammed by expats and other foreigners in the country. Read HERE.

These tests generate results in about 15 minutes and then negative-tested visitors will be allowed to proceed. If a person receives the test and is diagnosed positive for Covid-19 they will be sent to medical facilities immediately for treatment.

All entrants to Phuket are also required to use the Mor Chana Covid-19 contact tracing app to check in and record their travel timelines. That mobile app is available at gophuget.com.

The new restrictions apply to local and foreign travellers except for people making deliveries that are not staying overnight. Those people will get a special certification from their companies to present at the checkpoint entrance to the island.

Phuket is now classified as a Red Zone province, one of 19 provinces throughout Thailand where infections are on the rise. 208 current Covid-19 infections were registered at the start of this week in Phuket.

In response to the increasing Covid-19 infections in Phuket, Surat Thani has made special restrictions for anyone travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani. Those people will be required to scan and register their trip through the “Save Surat” website before being quarantined for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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