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Neymar inspires Brazil, Dutch storm on at World Cup

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Neymar inspires Brazil, Dutch storm on at World Cup | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

Neymar inspires Brazil, Dutch storm on at World Cup
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Brazil’s poster-boy striker Neymar fulfilled a nation’s expectations to score twice in a 4-1 destruction of Cameroon on Monday while the Netherlands again showed their potential to win the World Cup with a third straight win.

The 22-year-old Neymar, his team’s box-office attraction and main hope for goals, again rose to the occasion with two precise low shots in the first half either side of Cameroon’s goal.

His first, fittingly, was the 100th of a high-scoring tournament in what was Brazil’s 100th World Cup game. It also made Neymar top scorer with four so far.

In a game where Brazil rediscovered the swagger that won them the Confederations Cup last year, Fred added a third and Fernandinho a fourth in the second half. That gave the hosts top spot in Group A and the reward of facing Chile in Belo Horizonte on Saturday when the exciting knockout rounds start.

“The team has got back that spirit that we used to have,” a delighted Fernandinho said.

The result sparked delirium in the Brasilia national stadium and around the country, where fireworks flew and parties began.

In the other Group A game, impressive Mexico beat Croatia 3-1 to win second spot and a last-16 game against the Dutch on Sunday. Rafael Marquez, Andres Guardado and Javier Hernandez scored the Mexican goals in the second half.

DUTCH DELIGHT

Earlier, the Netherlands continued their outstanding start with a third win, 2-0 against Chile, showing power and pace.

The 2010 runners-up have lost three World Cup finals, earning them a reputation as perennial nearly-men, but may have a chance to rectify that in Brazil with one of the strongest-looking sides. They have scored 10 times in the group phase.

Against Chile, who qualified for the last 16 as runners-up in Group B, they left it relatively late.

Substitute Leroy Fer scored with his first touch of the tournament, thumping home a close-range header in the 77th minute. Then another replacement, Memphis Depay, made it two in stoppage time after Arjen Robben broke down the left.

“This is not where we want to stop,” said Robben.

In the other Group B game, a meaningless encounter between homeward-bound Spain and Australia, the Europeans at least salvaged some deeply-hurt pride with a 3-0 win thanks to goals from David Villa, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata.

“We played with dignity,” said Spanish coach Vicente Del Bosque who is considering his future after the end of the reigning champions’ six-year domination of world football.

OFF-PITCH POLEMICS

As ever, there was controversy off the pitch.

Ghana were angry at British media reports accusing their national football association of agreeing to rig international matches. “It’s not true,” association president Kwesi Nyantakyi said, calling the reports a mix of “half-truths and half-lies”.

Also, FIFA has been coming under fire from various smaller teams over locations and schedules of matches.

But Germany defended the global football body on Monday in response to criticism from U.S. coach Juergen Klinsmann that the Europeans had more time to recover, and were travelling less, before their Group G showdown on Thursday.

“The match schedule was known to everyone before the draw and no one complained at the time,” said assistant coach Hansi Flick in response to Klinsmann’s accusations of favouritism.

Beyond football matters, Brazilians have been going out of their way to help the estimated 600,000 foreign visitors.

Cab drivers are using smartphones to understand foreign languages, street vendors are grilling meat on their doorsteps to satisfy spectators left hungry by long queues at stadiums, and some locals are ferrying fans by bike to beat the traffic jams.

With political protests only sporadic, and anxiety over infrastructure subsiding, the tournament has come alive in the way fans around the world expected it would in a football-mad nation also famous for its beaches, samba and caipirinhas.

ALL GROUPS COMING TO HEAD

The scintillating on-field action has helped too, with a goal glut, generally attacking style, and several major upsets quickly eclipsing the more dour football of South Africa 2010.

On Tuesday, Groups C and D come to a head with plenty still at stake to hold fans’ interest round the globe.

Already through on a maximum six points, giantkillers Costa Rica need only a draw against eliminated England to guarantee top spot in Group D and will have no fear of ‘The Three Lions’ after beating two other former champions Italy and Uruguay.

Italy will join the Central Americans in the knockout phase if they can draw with or beat Uruguay on Tuesday. Confirmation of striker Luis Suarez’s fitness gives his team hope they can gun down Italy like they did England and grab the second berth.

For England, it is only about pride.

“The mother of football cannot leave without points,” Costa Rica coach Jorge Luis Pinto said, wary of a backlash after a first English failure to reach the second round since 1958.

Later on Tuesday, high-flying Colombia need only a draw against Japan to ensure top spot in Group C.

Second-placed Ivory Coast hope to beat Greece to guarantee the other berth in the World Cup’s second stage. Though only on one point, Greece and Japan are not dead and could squeeze through with a win in a group with multiple permutations.

— 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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