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Phuket to host Asian bike tour

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PHUKET: SpiceRoads Cycle Tours has launched an epic journey for cyclists – a 3,000 kilometer bicycle tour from Hanoi to Phuket. Riding through Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, the organizers say it will take 39 days to complete this “trip of a lifetime.”

The departure date is September 19, 2010 and the cost is US$7,500. Anyone booking by May 15 will receive a US$1,000 discount.

The tour company says the best natural and cultural wonders of Southeast Asia will be a part of the cycling adventure.

In addition to “stunning mountains, jutting limestone karsts, spectacular waterfalls, serene rivers and bountiful beaches,” the tour visits the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Luang Prabang, Sukhothai, Khampeng Phet and Ayutthaya, and cycling through a myriad of colourful ethnic hill tribe villages.

Angry Britons at Bangkok airport

Daily Mail
Hundreds of angry and frightened Britons left stranded in Thailand by the volcanic dust cloud nearly caused a riot at Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnaphumi) yesterday as they battled for plane seats out.

Many have been sleeping rough on cardboard mats at for days, since non-European airlines have declined to offer customers any hotel accommodation, which must be offered by air carriers under EU regulations.

These problems have been exacerbated by the violent ongoing street protests which have led The Foreign and Commonwealth Office to urge people to avoid Bangkok. The Office has elevated Thailand to the No 1 destination from which to repatriate British tourists.

An estimated 350 Britons surged around check-in desks shouting “Tell us the truth!” and “Get us out of here!” after they were refused permission to board flights. One British official described the scene as “like the last days of saigon”.

Peter Holley, from Ashford, Middlesex, said: “We have been stuck here since Saturday last week. Thai Airways tells us nothing. They don’t tell their staff anything, and the check-in girls have been reduced to tears….

“We queue for stand-by and they give us pieces of paper, [like] promissory notes, saying we will be on the next flight, and then it does not happen. There is no method in the system at all. People are going crazy.”

Bleak outlook for tourism

MCOT
Thailand’s beleaguered tourism industry sank deeper into disrepair as it became even more seriously affected by the grenade attacks in Silom Road on Thursday night, according to the Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (FETTA).

Apichart Sankary, a FETTA committee member, said the incident upped the number of foreign tourists who cancelled their trips for fear of the violence.

FETTA had earlier estimated that if the political turmoil were to continue, the number of travellers to Thailand would fall by 2-2.5 million because tourists have lost confidence in Thailand’s safety measures.

Due to the escalating tension, Mr Apichart said that it would be hard to believe that there will actually be 15 million visitors travelling to Thailand this year as the government had previously predicted. He said he thinks that reaching even 10 million visitors will not be easy now.

Red shirt discord

Bangkok Post
Red Shirt leaders in Bangkok tried yesterday to calm their fellow protesters, some of whom were angry over the leaders’ offer on Friday of negotiations with the government and PM Abhisit Vejjajiva’s noncommittal response.

“Don’t insult our Red Shirts’ olive branch. We offered a compromise to avoid further loss of people’s lives,” said Kwanchai Praipana at the protest camp.

Jaran Ditsatapichai added: “The new proposal does not mean we are retreating…If we shut down the door for negotiation it will be bad for us,” reiterating as well that foreign diplomats had put pressure on the Red Shirt leaders to find a solution to avoid a looming crackdown.

Jaran said the military was reluctant to disperse the rally, and that a likely violent and deadly crackdown would be shelved during the current negotiating phase.

Friendly Football: England vs Thailand

Goal.com
Thailand has announced that England will visit Bangkok in June 2011 for a friendly football match.

Football Association of Thailand (FAT) president Worawi Makudi says that Lord Triesman, head of the English FA, and Premier League chairman Sir David Richards have agreed to make the trip.

“It will be a great honour for Thailand to play England. I am sure that it will be a great match for Thai fans,” said Worawi, who is a member of FIFA’s Executive Committee.

Thailand’s national team, coached by former England captain Bryan Robson, recently just missed out on qualification for the 2011 Asian Cup.

— Gazette Editors

 

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

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket struggles towards herd immunity, vaccine rollout slow in other provinces

Tanutam Thawan

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Photo via Facebook/ วัคซีนภูเก็ต (PR Phuket)

So far, 22% of the population in Phuket is fully vaccinated against Covid-19 while the majority of provinces in Thailand have not vaccinated any of the residents, according to data compiled by researcher Peter Scully.

Bangkok, the epicentre of recent infections with more than 15,000 confirmed cases since April 1, has only fully vaccinated 1% of the population. Around 10 million people live in Bangkok. Surrounding areas Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, and Nonthaburi, which have all been hit hard by the recent outbreak, have each only fully vaccinated 1% of their populations.

Despite the recent wave of coronavirus infections, which has made up more than half of Thailand’s cumulative count of confirmed cases and virus-related deaths, the Thai government says they are still moving forward with plans to reopen Phuket to vaccinated tourists by July 1.

The island province has been rolling out a mass vaccination campaign in an effort to administer the 2-dose vaccine to 70% of the population by the end of June to reach herd immunity and reopen to foreign tourists. Tourism officials also plan to reopen Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya, and Chiang Mai.

It’s unclear exactly how many vaccines have been administered on the island of Koh Samui where health officials are rolling out a mass vaccination campaign. Some expats who work as English teachers on the island say they have received the vaccine. According to Peter’s data, 2% of the population in Surat Thani, which includes Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan, have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

Province Population fully vaccinated
Bangkok 1%
Nonthaburi 1%
Phang Nga 1%
Phuket 22%
Ranong 1%
Rayong 1%
Samut Prakan 1%
Samut Sakhon 7%
Surat Thani 2%
Tak 3%

*Data compiled by Peter Scully

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Rising Phuket Covid-19 infections may cause ICU shortage

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: ICU beds may be in short supply in Phuket soon.

A shortage of ICU beds in Phuket may be coming soon according to an epidemiologist at the main government hospital, Vachira Hospital in Phuket Town. The Phuket governor held a live broadcast press conference where the doctor explained that, with the spread of the B.117 variant, which is more transmissible and often leads to pneumonia, she fears beds might fill quickly as infection numbers increase across the province.

The first and second wave of Covid-19 saw very little pneumonia, but national reports on the third wave show about one-in-four infections have pneumonia symptoms. Only 10% of cases in Phuket have severe symptoms, while 30% have light pneumonia symptoms, and about 50% see no symptoms.

Still, even 10% may require a lot of ventilators and overwhelm the health care system. At the government hospital, there are 200 beds available, but only 19 ICU beds for severe cases. ICU beds are already half full, and the number of pneumonia patients who may soon require those beds is growing quickly. An 80% bed occupancy is considered a critical situation for the ICU.

Infection rates have been high in Phuket, per capita, and experts warn that the island desperately needs to reduce the number of new infections immediately to avoid an ICU bed shortage catastrophe. The vice governor said that proactive screening has been stepped up, especially in Rawai, Cherng Talay, and Mai Khao, and health officials will expand to other at-risk areas. They’re hoping proactive screening will be more effective than asking people for 14 day self quarantines.

Phuket currently has 476 people receiving treatment for Covid-19 with all but 1 originating in the province. 253 of those people have been discharged from the hospital, and the remaining patients are spread between 7 area hospitals while an additional 73 patients are receiving treatment at field hospitals.

Outbreaks have been spreading to different areas recently with Phuket town, Cherng Talay, Wichit, and Rassada currently marked as hotspots. With the frequent movement, the government is asking people to call 191 to report areas that may have many infections. The governor vowed that medical staff would then provide proactive testing and give care to those with Covid-19 already in order to slow spread and prevent an ICU bed shortage in Phuket.

Below are the latest figures for infections around Phuket.

  • Wichit ‒ 48 infections
  • Patong ‒ 45
  • Phuket Town – 44 (Talad Yai 27, Talad Neua 17)
  • Rassada ‒ 44
  • Cherng Talay ‒ 43
  • Kathu ‒ 38
  • Chalong ‒ 34
  • Kamala ‒ 32
  • Srisoonthorn ‒ 29
  • Rawai ‒ 26
  • Thepkrasattri ‒ 19
  • Koh Kaew ‒ 13
  • Pa Khlok ‒ 10
  • Mai Khao ‒ 8
  • Sakhu ‒ 8
  • Karon ‒ 7

SOURCE:The Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigation: Was 91 year old woman’s death from Covid-19?

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Medical workers take safety precautions dealing with the 91 year old woman's body. (via NWI Times)

Medical staff are investigating the remains of a 91 year old woman whose body was found last night in order to determine if Covid-19 was a factor in her death. The woman was found in her home in Karon, Phuket, after police, rescue workers, and a medical team from the Phuket Provincial Hospital arrived around 6:30 p.m. She was found on the floor at the foot of her bed and her body was recovered using Covid-19 safety measures. The entire home was sprayed with a disinfectant for sanitation. The woman, Puan Kingkaew, was considered high risk for Covid-19 as she was treated about a week before her death at Chalong Hospital next to a woman that was later determined to have the Coronavirus.

That woman, an unnamed 74 year old, had entered the hospital on April 28 feeling dizzy and was later discharged after receiving treatment and medication. She was readmitted on the 30th with complaints of diarrhoea and dizziness. At some point on April 30, she was in the bed next Puan whose death is being investigated for Covid-19 involvement. The next day her symptoms worsened to include difficulty breathing and a fever and doctors x-rayed her lungs and tested her for Coronavirus before moving her to an isolation room. The following day, test results confirmed that the woman did have Covid-19, prompting Chalong Hospital to close until May 10.

The hospital director said that as many as 45 medical personnel and employees were exposed to the woman, and have been admitted to a local quarantine facility at the Royal Paradise and Spa Hospital in Patong. 14 more employees were considered low risk and told to self-quarantine at home and pay attention to any sign of infection.

In addition to the staff, four patients were considered at risk to exposure from the woman, and they and their families were transferred to Dibuk hospital for further treatment. Chalong Hospital announced they will still reopen on the 10th as planned, but if an outbreak of Covid-19 is identified that plan may change.

Meanwhile, medical personnel at Vachira Phuket Hospital are investigating further if the death of the 91 year old woman found in her home did in fact have Covid-19 and succumbed to her infection or complication. A recent case involving an elderly woman dying at home with Covid-19 while waiting for a hospital bed sparked national interest and mourning.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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