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Health Office issues cholera advisory

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) has issued an advisory for the public to exercise caution regarding food cleanliness following a surge in the number of cholera cases nationwide.

PPHO Chief Dr Wanchai Sattayawutthipong said Phuket is among 40 provinces with reported cases of cholera. “There have been 62 reported cases of the disease in Phuket, but the situation is under control and less widespread than in other provinces, such as Ranong, where more than 200 cases of cholera have been reported,” he said.

Cholera is caused by a bacteria, which can enter the body through contaminated food or water. “The bacteria that causes cholera was found in raw cockles being consumed in Kon Kaen but cockles from Phuket have turned up negative in recent lab tests,” Dr Wanchai added.

He advised that the best way to avoid contracting cholera was to avoid raw meats and unhygienically prepared food, especially seafood such as shrimp, and food that had been left a long time.

“The main cause of cholera is from consuming raw or unclean food. This can include food from street vendors that has not been hygienically prepared or food which is no longer fresh or has been left too long in a plastic bag or other container,” said Dr Wanchai.

He said that so far, cholera has not been found in the Phuket water supply but advised that tap water should be boiled before it is consumed and customers should read the labels of bottled water. “When buying bottled water, consumers should look for the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) or OrYor label. ‘Clean Food Good Taste’ certification displayed at restaurants is an assurance that their food preparation and cooking methods are hygienic,” he added.

The PPHO has issued the following guidelines outlining the causes, symptoms, preventative and post-infection measures.

Causes

Raw meats, especially raw seafood.

Unclean seafood

Boxed food or food left in plastic too long.

Food from unhygienic street vendors and markets.

Unhygienic food preparation

Not washing hands before preparing and eating food

Not washing hands after visiting the toilet

Symptoms

Diarrhea and vomiting causing exhaustion and dehydration, which also leads to darkness around the eyes, dry lips and low blood pressure.

Treatment

Dehydration is caused by the diarrhea and vomiting can lead to death, especially in very young and elderly people. The PPHO advises the following treatment for people who have contracted cholera and are suffering from diarrhea:

Consume soups and rice water with salt added and drink as much water as possible to prevent dehydration.

Babies should be breastfed more often than usual and mineral supplements dissolve in their milk.

Babies fed powdered milk should continue being fed the normal mix supplemented with electrolyte drinks, which should be consumed separately.

Adults and children over six months old should be fed easy-to-digest food, such as rice soup and boiled fish and meat. Minerals lost through dehydration can be replaced with electrolyte packs available at most pharmacies.

Homemade electrolytes can be made with two tablespoons of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt dissolved in boiled water and left to cool. Make and drink each batch in same day

Antibiotics or antiseptics should be taken only under medical supervision as unnecessary consumption could result in the bacteria’s resistance to the medicine and prolonged illness.

Do not use laxatives as this will prevent the body from fighting the bacteria, which will actually stay in the intestines longer.

These measures are usually sufficient to combat the disease but if symptoms persist, then please see a doctor or contact the PPHO.

Contamination prevention measures

Eat only well-cooked food that has been hygienically prepared and avoid cross-contamination from shared cutlery when eating with others.

Drink FDA-certified drinking water and ice cubes or boiled tap water.

Ensure personal hygiene by washing the hands after using the toilet, before meal preparation and before eating.

Babies should be breastfed.

Babies’ milk bottles should be cleaned frequently.

All food should be washed, including fresh fruit and vegetables.

Ensure garbage bins are sealed to keep flies away.

Cover food when it is not being eaten.

Use gloves when handling food.

Food should be re-heated before consumption.

People with cholera should not cook.

Cuts on the skin must be properly bandaged when preparing food.

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket

Maya Taylor

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4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket. PHOTO: Booking.com

Phuket officials are setting aside around 4 billion baht to transform medical tourism in the southern province of Phuket, by developing a state-of-the-art treatment hub in the north of the island. The Bangkok Post reports that the Treasury department is planning to give the Public Health Ministry permission to use 141 rai of government land in the sub-district of Mai Khao, close to Phuket International Airport. It’s not the first time the proposal has come to light.

The concept is gathering support as Phuket battles to diversify its attraction beyond a tropical holiday island.

The aim is to develop Phuket as a world-class health and wellness destination, with facilities that will attract medical tourists from all over the world, as well as providing a high standard of treatment to the local population. It’s understood the facility will provide a full range of health services, including long-term care, and hospice and rehabilitation services.

The island already has a well-developed medical tourism market, but has been based around local hospitals and clinics linking up with foreign marketing companies in the past. “The International Medical and Public Health Service” has been conceived to create more long term financial security and diversification, and value-added tourism in Phuket, as the island has taken a heavy financial hit over the past 7 months.

4 billion baht medical hub planned for Phuket | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

The plan was first suggested in 2017, by then governor, Noraphat Plodthong and confirmed by the director of Phuket’s Vachira Hospital, Dr. Chalermpong Sukontapol, in July. At that stage, the estimated budget was 3-4 billion baht. The director-general of the Treasury department, Yuthana Yimkarun, says the plot is being offered to the Health Ministry for free. The land is thought be worth around 1 billion baht.

Yuthana says the ministry will manage investment, with approximately 2 billion baht required for the first stage of the project. Construction of the facility is expected to be completed over 2 years.

Meanwhile, it’s understood that unused government land that is currently managed by various government agencies may be moved under the remit of central government, with a view to increasing its worth. According to the Bangkok Post report, just 4% of government land is directly managed by the Treasury. The other 96% is controlled by various government agencies. Yuthana says the plan is to increase the percentage of state-owned land under the Treasury’s management to 10% within 2 years.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO

The Thaiger

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“Open the borders, safely”, Bill Heinecke, Minor International interview – VIDEO | The Thaiger

Bill Heinecke speaks to Bill Barnett. The two heavy-hitters of Thailand’s hotel and hospitality sector, mull over the current Covid situation and the reopening of Thailand’s borders to some form of tourism. Bill Heinecke is the Chairman and Founder of Minor International.

Bill Barnett is the Managing Director of c9hotelworks.com

Now the Thai government has approved the special long-term tourist visa scheme (STV), hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement, which will reportedly take effect next month. The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights.

Such details would allow hotels to prepare themselves ahead of time to offer services as alternative state quarantine premises as at least 60 hotels in Phuket are awaiting approval to operate such facilities.

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Bangkok

Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister

Caitlin Ashworth

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Now they’re coming… Special Tourist Visa flight set for Tuesday – Tourism and Sports Minister | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: Suhyeon Choi

After much confusion and a few apparent ‘misunderstandings’, Chinese tourists on the Special Tourist Visa will actually arrive on October 20 and 26. At least that’s what Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says, according to the Bangkok Post. The first group is said to arrive 4 days from now in Bangkok (if they actually applied for the visa this time).

Reports circulated for weeks about a flight of 120 to 150 tourists set to arrive in Phuket on October 8 from Guangzhou, China. An announcement was made shortly after the flight was due to arrive with Tourism Authority Governor Yuthasak Supasorn saying “administrative issues” had caused the delay.

It was later reported that no one from Guangzhou had actually applied for the visa and it was all just a misunderstanding after the Tourism Authority of Thailand reportedly passed off a list of those “interested” in the visa as actual applications.

This time, the Post is reporting the first group of 120 tourists from Guangzhou will arrive at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport on Tuesday. Another group of 120 tourists, also from Guangzhou, will arrive on October 26, but the Post didn’t say where that flight will land.

It’s apparently the same group that was planned to arrive in Phuket on October 8, but the minister claims the trip was postponed due to the Vegetarian Festival which is planned to run until October 25. Both the Phuket governor and National Security Council secretary general had claimed the festival was the reason for the delayed flight and was intended to ease fears of Covid-19 for the festival-goers coming in from the rest of Thailand.

Even though the new long stay tourist visa is good for 90 days, and can be renewed twice, the tourists will only stay in the country for 30 days, with 14 of those days in quarantine. Phiphat says the Tourism Authority of Thailand will find activities to keep the tourists occupied while in quarantine.

The visitors will be the first international tourists after a 6 month ban to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Thai officials have been discussing plans for months about how to safely reopen borders to revive the country’s economy which is heavily driven by the tourism industry. Officals are now talking about cutting down the mandatory time for quarantine from 14 days to 7 days to help entice people to visit.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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