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Phuket tourist may be charged in jet-ski death

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket tourist may be charged in jet-ski death | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

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

PHUKET: The young man whose jet ski allegedly crashed into 20-year-old Loh Ying Jie in Phuket has not been allowed to leave Thailand and will likely face criminal charges on Thursday, according to the New Straits Times.

But the charges against Mr Tang Jun Han will depend on the ongoing mediation sessions between the families of the two young men, said Col Arayapan Pukbuakao, police superintendent for Phuket’s Kathu District.

Both families are now locked in discussions in Phuket over the amount of compensation. Initially the Lohs asked for S$500,000 (approx 11.7 million baht) before lowering it to S$250,000. The Tangs made a counter-offer of S$100,000.

In a phone interview, Col Arayapan said Tang could be charged with a ‘wrongful act’ that ’caused the death of another’.

The accident occurred on April 2 off Phuket’s Patong Beach and Mr Loh died in hospital on April 13.

Army chief to handle protests

Earth Times
Thailand’s Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva on Friday night appointed General Anupong Paochinda to head the government’s Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situations, which is responsible for enforcing emergency law. He replaces Suthep Thaungsuban who has had little luck in quelling the month long demonstrations in the streets of the capital.

Anupong is generally regarded as more peaceful than Suthep. Protest leader Weng Tojikarn says, “It may be good news for us because Anupong is a pigeon, not a hawk”.

Suthep has been blamed for several botched security operations against the red shirts, such as the April 10 violence in which 24 people died, and Anupong has stated publicly that he would be reluctant to use violence to settle the anti-government demonstrations.

Protest leaders may surrender

CNN
Leaders of Thailand’s anti-government protests said Saturday that they we would turn themselves in to police on May 15.

Lawyers for the protesters sent letters to the Thai government saying that 24 members of the group would turn themselves in. Those intending to do so have been named on arrest warrants and were wanted by the Thai police.

Three of the leaders embarrassed the government on Friday during a botched raid. The three were able to elude security forces who had surrounded them in a Bangkok hotel.

More trips canceled

Asia One News
The worsening political situation in Bangkok has prompted more Singapore schools to put off their plans to travel to Thailand.
During the holidays from March 13 to 21, at least four schools scrapped field trips to the country when unrest was deemed imminent.
For the coming June break, tour agencies have reported that at least nine secondary schools that had booked student field trips to Thailand have now either put the trips on hold or changed their country of destination. Three have changed to Cambodia, three have put their trips on hold, and three have cancelled their travel plans entirely.

Woes persist for tourism

Bangkok Post
Apichart Sankary, an executive member of The Federation of Thai Tourism Associations (Fetta), says the private sector is extremely worried over the political conflict in Thai society, suggesting that “the situation might deteriorate as has happened in Burma.” In his view, the dissolution of Parliament or the premier’s resignation would not resolve the conflict, and negotiations are the solution.

Prakit Chinamornpong, the president of the Thai Hotel Association, said currently there were no new bookings for the low tourism season from May to September. Visitors from Asian markets normally help maintain low-season occupancy at 50-60%.

He says promotions similar to last year are needed, when hotels and tour operators cut prices by 30% to encourage Thais to travel domestically to compensate for the drop in foreign visitors.

— Gazette Editors

 

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Thailand

Americans in Thailand urge US to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens overseas

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

Thai officials say expats living in Thailand will be included in the government’s mass Covid-19 vaccination plan, but exactly when that will be is still up in the air. With foreign embassies in Thailand clearly stating that they will not assist with providing citizens living overseas with vaccines, expats are relying on the Thai government.

A number of Americans are now urging the US government to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens living in Thailand. And with the recent outbreak linked to the more contagious variant of the virus, getting a vaccine in Thailand has become more pressing.

A “Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force” of Democrats Abroad Thailand members, as well as those from American organisations based in Thailand, is calling on the US government to deliver vaccines to citizens living in Thailand, chairperson of Democrats Abroad Thailand and a United Nations consultant, Paul Risley, told VOA.

“Americans who live abroad need to be vaccinated for the same reasons that Americans who live in the United States need to be vaccinated… Because it’s the only way to stop Covid-19.”

If an American were to travel back to the US for a vaccine, they would still need to stay in a hotel or certified facility for a 14-day quarantine at their own expense when re-entering Thailand. Along with getting together the required paperwork, they would need to go through numerous Covid-19 tests including before the flight, upon arrival and before being released from quarantine. The flights to and from the US can end up being more than 20 hours per trip and add up to thousands of dollars in travel costs.

For the vast majority of Americans in Thailand, flying back to the US is the only way to get vaccinated at the moment. The US Embassy in Bangkok says vaccines will not be provided for US citizens living overseas.

The Department of State does not provide direct medical care, including vaccinations, to private U.S. citizens abroad. We are committed to providing all possible consular assistance to U.S. citizens in need overseas, including by providing information on local medical resources when appropriate. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

At a recent Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “all people who reside in Thailand, regardless of their nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the government’s plan.”

Mass vaccination campaigns are being rolled out in high-risk areas, such as Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum where a cluster of infections was reported, as well as Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist islands that are said to be of “economic significance.” Health officials are trying to hit herd immunity on the 2 islands to reopen to foreign tourists.

Expats in Phuket who have a valid work permit can now register for a state Covid-19 vaccine. The registration must be under the company name and expats are told to have the company’s human resources staff assist with the registration process.

While no official announcement has been made regarding expats in Koh Samui, some foreigners who work as English teachers on the island say they have received both doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. Schools apparently helped with the registration process, but some teachers say they told to keep quiet about getting the vaccine. Some did not receive a vaccine certificate or any other documentation confirming that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

SOURCE: VOA

 

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Phuket

ICU beds for Covid-19 patients in Phuket are close to a “critical” low

Tanutam Thawan

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FILE PHOTO

Covid-19 patients in severe condition may have to been transferred from a government hospital in Phuket to a private hospital as the number of available hospital beds at public intensive care units in Phuket is close to a “critical” low, according to Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Chalermpong Sukontapol.

There are 9 ICU rooms at the Vachira Phuket Hospital. 5 are being used for Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms while the other 4 rooms are for those with mild symptoms and are under observation before being moved to another bed.

“If the 9 rooms are full of severe symptom cases, that will be a big critical stage. We may need to transfer our patients to other provinces or private hospitals, which may involve additional costs.”

He says 50% of the Covid-19 patients in Phuket are asymptomatic while 30% have mild symptoms and 10% have severe symptoms. For most of those with severe symptoms, the virus has moved to their lungs and they are in need of special equipment, like ventilators, to help them breathe and Charlempong says those patients need to be under close observation.

SOURCE: Phuket News

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

For travellers to Phuket, testing is out, quarantine is in

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Phuket Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong (via Facebook)

The on-again-off-again plans for testing people for Covid-19 as they arrive in Phuket will be replaced by quarantine after May 15, according to Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong’s latest announcement. In an online video broadcast last night, the vice governor confirmed the new scheme after Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew first mentioned it in an executive meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall yesterday.

There are now 25 provinces on the Phuket red zone list that they instated on April 22, with anyone arriving from those places required to have proof that they are either fully vaccinated or tested negative for Covid-19 within the last 72 hours. Without proof, people have to take a rapid antigen test to confirm they did not have Covid-19 before they would be allowed on the island. The test was first set to be 300 baht for everyone, and later controversially made free for Thai people and 500 baht for foreigners.

There had been some back and forth with budget concerns of being able to provide the mass testing and who would pay how much for continued testing. Perhaps requiring people to quarantine in Phuket is cheaper than testing them when they arrive (cheaper for Phuket officials anyway).

The original scheme was set to expire May 15, and announcements were made about extending the plan and stopping testing right away. For now, this debate seems to have settled on replacing the testing with a mandatory quarantine upon entering Phuket.

The vice-governor explained that the rapid antigen test will continue through May 14, and then starting May 15, anyone who arrives without a vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arriving in Phuket will be required to quarantine for 14 days. They set a goal of zero new infections by the end of the next two weeks. And he stated they are committed to doing whatever it takes as “Phuket cannot continue with this risk”.

Speaking to The Phuket News… “We want to send a sign to the country that we are cleaning up our province. The 3 vice governors [in Phuket] have been ordered to take care of each district by cooperating with local administration officers as well as community leaders to do proactive screening,”

After announcing the quarantine plan for Phuket, the vice governor spoke confidently that in the near future the island will have enough jabs to vaccinate every person on the island. Religious leaders from any faith are currently being vaccinated because of their general proximity to people during religious ceremonies and practices.

Vice Governor Piyapong pled with people with the people of Phuket who were on the fence about Covid-19 vaccinations, anti-vaxxers, or those otherwise resisting getting the jabs needed to reach herd immunity.

“If you are still deciding whether or not to get vaccinated, please come to get vaccinated”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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