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Phuket passes on swine flu vaccine

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket passes on swine flu vaccine | The Thaiger

PHUKET TOWN: Phuket residents at high risk of contracting swine flu are failing to get vaccinated due to fears of side effects.

Fewer than 7% of those identified as being at high risk have taken the vaccine, according to figures from the Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO).

The PPHO says there are around 10,000 people in Phuket listed as having conditions that put them at elevated risk. These include women over three months pregnant, people weighing over 100kg, people with autism, sufferers of chronic diseases as well as health care workers.

However, since the vaccination program began in mid-January, just 666 people have been inoculated.

PPHO director Pongsawas Ratanasang thinks public fear about side effects is largely responsible.

He insists the vaccine is safe and to prove this point was the first person on the island to be inoculated under the program.

After the injection I felt perfectly normal,” he said. “There was no allergic reaction. Professors have guaranteed that the vaccine is very safe. It’s just as safe as the normal influenza vaccine, which has been used for many years,” he said.

The vaccine has the backing of the World Health Organization, he added.

Between January 11 and 29, a total of 83,615 people nationwide received the vaccine.

Of these, 52 experienced mild side effects that included fever, prickly heat, aches and swelling of the skin. In all cases the symptoms disappeared within three days.

Dr Pongsawas said the number of people seeking treatment for flu-like conditions has increased recently, but most were not infected with the A(H1N1) virus that causes swine flu.

Asked about rumors that there had been an outbreak of the disease at the Wichit Songkraam School near Central Festival Phuket, he said teachers there closed the school on a precautionary basis last week after many students got sick.

Subsequent testing revealed that all were suffering from normal flu, not the A(H1N1) strain.

Since the beginning of the year there have only been five new cases of A(H1N1) infection reported in Phuket, he said.

However, the number of people seeking treatment at Vachira Phuket Hospital for flu-like symptoms has risen markedly in recent weeks, he said.

At the start of the new year, about fifty people per week came to the hospital with flu-like conditions, compared to over a hundred currently.

Most are given the antiviral drug oseltamivir and sent home without testing for A(H1N1), which is expensive. If their symptoms persist or worsen, lab work is then ordered, he said.

Dr Weerawat Yorsaengrat, deputy director of Vachira Phuket Hospital, said there were fewer swine flu patients now than there were at the beginning of the outbreak last year.

Nevertheless, I’d like people to keep taking care of themselves by washing their hands and keeping everything clean,” he said.

Anyone who starts to feel sick should stop any exercise routines until they return to full health, he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo & S. Fein



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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway

The Thaiger

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The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC’s Hideaway | The Thaiger

This year the winner will receive 35,000 baht in prize money!

CC’s Hideaway, located in Kata, proudly presents its fifth ‘Stargazer Talent Contest’ which will take place on April 27 between 6 pm and 11 pm. 

The goal of Stargazer is to create an opportunity for new individuals and groups to perform and promote their special talents and, with media and hundreds of guests in attendance, maybe even get their big break.

Stargazer is open to the Thai and expat communities alike. In previous years, the contest has attracted contestants from around the world, including Thailand, the US, Russia, Australia, Singapore, the UK, Italy, Canada, Kyrgyzstan and The Philippines.

Stargazer brings together a wide range of singers, bands, dancers, acrobats and actors who are scored by spectators and professional judges.

This year, the winner will receive 35,000 baht and a the Stargazer trophy, second place will receive 20,000 baht and third place will receive 10,000 baht. There is also the ‘People’s Choice’ award, as chosen by the audience.

The 5th Annual Stargazer talent contest returns to CC's Hideaway | News by The Thaiger

Past winners include Same Size Crew, Bboys dance team (2015), Khun Maatam Rapter from Chiang Mai who sing’s like an lady (2016), Spectrum dance team (2017) and Daisy & Alvin, popular local Phuket performers (2018).

In line with CC’s Hideaway commitment to give back to the Thai community, the resort will donate a portion of the revenue generated by Stargazer to the Life Home Project Foundation whose mission is to offer children who are affected or infected with HIV/AIDS a more dignified life, prevent the spread of this disease in Phuket and fight against the stigmatisation of people living with it. 

To apply, email [email protected] with a short biography, a photo and a link to a video of your performance. Contestants must be aged 13 or over.

Entry is free for the first 25 people who come before 7 pm and is 250 baht thereafter, including a drink. Guests and contestants are encouraged to dress in neon colours.

For more details, visit HERE, call 076 333 222 or email [email protected]

https://web.facebook.com/thethaigerradio/posts/1222840634520106

Tim Newton speaks to last year’s winners, Daisy and Alvin Tumulak

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Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Legality of Seastead likely to be tested in an international court | The Thaiger

The perceived naiveté of the team surrounding the seastead structure off Phuket’s south-east coast are about to be tested as the matter is likely to end up in an international court.

Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says that the Thai government has the right to demolish the floating sea home and welcomed the threat of a lawsuit by its builder, Ocean Builders. Ocean Builders is a well-funded group backed by Peter Theil.

“Peter Andreas Thiel is an American entrepreneur, venture capitalist, philanthropist, political activist, and author. He is a co-founder of PayPal, Palantir Technologies and Founders Fund.”

The media narrative has been of a naive couple who wandered into the offshore lifestyle project and then went into hiding when questions started to be asked and the Navy came knocking at their offshore front door.

At the same time the Thai Government has rolled up its sleeves and showed its angry face claiming that the project was a threat to national sovereignty and security.

Some enthusiast local media included the threat of ‘death penalty’ in its reportage (covered in the Act relating to treasonous acts against the sovereignty of Thailand)  providing sensational headlines for international tabloids.

Speaking at a press conference at the King Prajadhipok’s Institute yesterday, Wissanu said Thai officials could remove the floating structure, which is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 22 kilometres  from the Thai mainland, because its presence clearly violated Article 119 of Thailand’s Criminal Code as threatening the Kingdom’s security and sovereignty.

(These claims continue to be made by Thai officials without any explanation or evidence on how the 6 metre aluminium and steel structure threatens the country’s security.)

Wissanu says the structure would also be an obstacle to marine navigation as it is located near a sea drilling site.

But the company behind the project, Ocean Builders, has announced it will sue Thailand in an international court if the government removes the seastead. This legal test in a court, predicted by The Thaiger, will force the Thai Government to measure its hard-line position on the seastead in an international court of law.

But Wissanu kept pouring on the local rhetoric yesterday…

“The Thai government would be glad if a lawsuit is filed. We want a lawsuit to be filed so that we will have a chance to explain the truth.”

“Attempts have been made to build seasteads in several nations but no government had allowed them and builders were always arrested and legal action taken against them,” according to Wissanu.

From the Ocean Builder website…

“We are just beyond 12 nautical miles from shore. Under International law this puts us just outside of the territorial waters of Thailand but within their 200 nautical mile excusive economic zone. This means that we are not subject to Thailand laws other than those that deal with their natural resources (drilling for oil, mining, etc.) and no interfering with their customs (can’t act as a way to get goods and people into Thailand to get around their import and visa laws). As well as following the law of the sea which prevents “egrevious acts” such as murder, slave trade, etc.”

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Phuket

Phuket seastead will be removed today

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Phuket seastead will be removed today | The Thaiger

The Third Naval Area Command will remove the seastead stationed off Phuket south-east coast today, belonging to an American bitcoin investor and seasteading innovators Ocean Builders.

Thai authorities plan to seize the structure as evidence in a criminal case. They fear the structure will continue to be a navigation hazard if left there.

US national Chad Elwartowski and his Thai girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet (aka Nadia Summergirl), are facing charges of threatening the Kingdom’s sovereignty. Last Sunday officials from the Royal Thai Navy and Phuket Maritime boarded the structure saying it violated Article 119 of the Criminal Code and also posed a navigational hazard.

The couple launched the ‘Ocean Builders’ seastead on February 2 off the coast of Phuket. The structure is located to the southeast of Koh Racha Yai, approximately 12 nautical miles (22.2 kilometres) from the mainland.

Elwartowski has claimed that his seastead is outside Thailand’s territorial waters, but Thai authorities insist that it violates Article 119 and challenges Thailand’s territorial rights.

“The Royal Thai Navy has full authority and duty to protect national interest and marine sovereignty in the area,” according to a Navy spokesperson.

Regarding the couple’s claim that they feared for their lives, Vice Admiral Sitthiporn Maskasem, commander of the Third Naval Area, said that authorities had followed the legal procedures.

“We are neither hunting them down nor threatening them,” said the commander.

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