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Phuket worker’s family compensated after electrocution

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket worker’s family compensated after electrocution | Thaiger

PHUKET: The Arrow Media advertising company has agreed to pay 100,000 baht compensation to the family of one of its workers who was electrocuted by a bare high-voltage power line at the Darasamuth Intersection on September 28.

Wai Hayoung, 32, was killed instantly after being electrocuted by a 115,000 volt (115kv) power line while climbing an advertising board to make repairs.

An Arrow Media spokesperson expressed the company’s regret over the tragic death of Mr Wai, saying that he had been a skillful worker and a good team member.

“Nobody expected this to happen,” the spokesperson said.

“Mr Wai’s family should receive about 20,000 baht from the accident insurance and probably more than 100,000 baht from the social security benefit policy. In addition, Arrow Media will pay 100,000 baht compensation.” she added.

According to the spokesperson, the electric billboard that Mr Wai was sent to repair when he was electrocuted does not belong to their company.

Having noticed some parts were broken they sent workers to fix a competitor’s billboard, she said.

“We are well aware of the dangers of high-voltage cables and our company tries to avoid placing signs around high-voltage equipment and cables. However, it’s difficult to avoid as the power cables in Phuket are messy and unorganized. You try to avoid one, but run straight into another,” she said.

“I have reiterated to our workers to be extremely careful when working [close to electrical infrastructure],” the spokesperson added.

The Gazette contacted the Phuket Provincial Electricity Authority (PPEA) to find out how Mr Wai had come into contact with a high-voltage power cable so close to the advertising sign he was repairing.

“I arrived at the scene about an hour after he was electrocuted,” said Permpol Tunsakul, an electrical engineer at the Operations & Maintenance Department.

“The billboard is in a high voltage danger zone. The PPEA has several times issued written warnings to advertising and construction companies not to erect structures around that area, but some have not heeded our warnings,” he said.

Mr Permpol explained that at that site there were two kinds of electricity cables; a 33,000 volt (33kV) cable and an extremely high voltage 115,000v (115kV) cable.

“According to the news media, Mr Wai died after coming into contact with the 33kV cable, however our investigation places him much closer to the 115kV cable. It wasn’t the 33kV which was far below where he stood. I understand that he was standing on top of the billboard close to the 115kV cable, holding a galvanized panel,” he said.

Mr Permpol explained that electricity supplied by the Thalang power substation was carried along 115kV lines before being converted to 220v and distributed to users in Chalong, Patong and Phuket City.

“The 115kV cable is bare because we would have to spend a lot of money if we were to encase those cables in plastic jackets,” he said.

The minimum safe clearance from a 115kV cable is 2.5m, and 60 or 90cm for a 33kV cable, depending on the type of building, he explained.

“We have sent this information to all concerned, including advertising companies, not to place structures near high voltage lines. With buildings, usually there isn’t a problem as before construction begins they talk to the PPEA to ask about electricity distribution. We can then check to see if they are building in a high-voltage danger zone.

“However, advertising companies don’t have to inform us before they erect a billboard,” he added.

“When we notice billboards in high-voltage danger zones, we send the advertising company a warning letter, requesting that they remove the sign as we will not be held responsible for accidents. Many comply, but some take no action. We can sometimes file a complaint with the police, but can’t do anything ourselves as we don’t own the land,” Mr Permpol said.

Contacted to find out if an investigation of Mr Wai’s death would lead to those responsible being prosecuted, investigating officer Lt Col Nanon Pitakkultorn of the Phuket City Police declined to provide any information.

Mr Wai’s body was released from Vachira Phuket Hospital so that his wife, who is also employed by Arrow Media, could return to Nakhon Sri Thammarat to hold the funeral ceremony.

— Orawin Narabal

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Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

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Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Tim Newton

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Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger

Hi. Im Tim Newton. Just upfront saying that these are my personal opinions and don’t necessarily reflect that of The Thaiger.

So today the Thai Government now has officially announced vaccine passports. The documents are going to be the next big thing in the long and winding Covid road. Firstly, before some comments, the details that we actually know.

This Covid passport legislation has now been announced in the Royal Gazette, so it’s not being considered, it’s actually law. According to media info, the vaccine passport will be an official document which can be used by vaccinated people travelling abroad.

I fear this Covid passport will end up as just another victim of the unintended consequences. The benefits, mostly intended for international travellers, will be used as another way of whittling away our remaining privacies and adding another layer of little annoyances to life and work in the Land of Smiles.

Look at the vaccine roll out in Thailand. Usually a business should try and under-promise and then over deliver. In this case the Thai government have done the exact opposite. Timelines for vaccination are not being met and the ordering of vaccines appears chaotic and, at best, just slow in getting to the startline.

The PM has rushed to assure the citizenry that the delays have been caused by an abundance of caution. And unfortunately the 2 horses they’ve backed in the vaccination race are having a few bad PR days and neither may be a long term solution to the latest variants of Covid-19 spreading around Thailand. But I’ll let the scientists sort that out… certainly not the legion of instant vaccine experts that have now infected the internet.

I’m all for trying to get the country open again, as soon as practicable, and safe to do so. But I’m starting to think the best course of action is to lock my gate and resort to an online worklife and Food Panda… the mad foreign guy locked up in his house with his 3 cats.

Here in Phuket we now have an arrival regime that demands either proof of vaccine, a negative Covid test, or a 300 baht rapid Covid test at the airport. The chances of me subjecting myself to an airport officials sticking a swap up my admittedly large nose in the vague hope it will probably come back negative, is zero. Again, on a daily basis we get emails from foreigners who say they’ve been whisked away to hospitals, and more recently field hospitals, with no recourse or means of appeal, or even the chance to get a second test.

Here’s one from this morning…

I can’t call the embassy as I don’t have a SIM card, I also have been told to order outside food as they won’t feed me. They won’t provide me with my test results and told me that I’d need to stay 14 days here in quarantine, but the doctor I talked with yesterday said 5 more days. I’m so confused as to what to do next.

Now, stripping all this back to basics, I’ll concede that we’re all in this mess together at the moment, and that we may have to forego a few personal freedoms for the greater good. I have no issue wearing a mask in public. I have no worries leaving my phone number at the door when entering premises. I will do my best to stay socially distant when in public.

But all these restrictions are easy to ramp up and much harder to wind back. And, at a deeper level, our trust in institutions, governments, and medical officials is being eroded. And that’s not good as we stumble forward in trying to get the world open again.

Will I get a vaccine passport? Probably. And I’ll also expect to have to carry it everywhere I go as it’s used as just another reminder that I’m just a guest in this country and I better just get used to it.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test

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Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Checkpoints in Phuket will only allow Covid-19 tested or vaccinated travellers in.

To help wrangle the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Phuket, strict controls for everyone entering the island go into effect today until the end of April. The provincial communicable disease committee approved the measures in an effort to stop the proliferation of Covid-19 in the province.

The new regulations state that only people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have tested to be Coronavirus-free within 3 days of arrival, will be allowed to enter Phuket. Proper certification or documentation must be presented to verify this information – either a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Anyone attempting to enter Phuket without the full vaccine doses, or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours, will be charged 500 baht for a rapid antigen test at their port of entry. For Thais, the cost is free. The 2-tier price policy has been slammed by expats and other foreigners in the country. Read HERE.

These tests generate results in about 15 minutes and then negative-tested visitors will be allowed to proceed. If a person receives the test and is diagnosed positive for Covid-19 they will be sent to medical facilities immediately for treatment.

All entrants to Phuket are also required to use the Mor Chana Covid-19 contact tracing app to check in and record their travel timelines. That mobile app is available at gophuget.com.

The new restrictions apply to local and foreign travellers except for people making deliveries that are not staying overnight. Those people will get a special certification from their companies to present at the checkpoint entrance to the island.

Phuket is now classified as a Red Zone province, one of 19 provinces throughout Thailand where infections are on the rise. 208 current Covid-19 infections were registered at the start of this week in Phuket.

In response to the increasing Covid-19 infections in Phuket, Surat Thani has made special restrictions for anyone travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani. Those people will be required to scan and register their trip through the “Save Surat” website before being quarantined for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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