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Protests well underway in Bangkok

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Protests well underway in Bangkok | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily, pocket-sized packet of news from around the world, compiled by Phuket Gazette reporters for foreigners who want it short, sharp and straight to the point.

PHUKET: Tens of thousands of soldiers and police officers have been deployed to maintain calm in Bangkok as red-shirted protesters prepare to convert their current “rally” into demonstrations against last month’s decision by Thailand’s Supreme Court to seize 46 billion baht of former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s assets.

According to The Times Online, the Thai government has warned of unrest as 50,000 security personnel, including 30,000 from the army, 10,000 police officers and 10,000 civil defence volunteers, lined streets and highways to deter “unruly protesters”. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said that fresh elections, and his resignation, were possible options to quell dissent. “I will not hold on to power,” he told parliament. “If the House dissolution or my departure will make things better, I have no problem at all. But a coup is totally unacceptable to me.”

Meanwhile, the Phuket Gazette notes that Phuket continues calm this morning, with the island unlikely to be directly affected by the protests as there are no known plans for any anti-government demonstrations here.

Bombs explode in Surat Thani, Thailand

Mcot.com
Five bombs rocked Thailand’s southern province of Surat Thani yesterday morning as the anti-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) began moving to Bangkok for the mass gathering aimed to topple the government. No one was wounded in the five incidents. Two bombs exploded almost simultaneously near a Tesco Lotus supermarket and a resting area in the municipality, after three bombs hit the province earlier in the day. An unexploded homemade bomb was also found. Police said the bombs were detonated by mobile phones. It is believed the bombs were intended to create disturbance ahead of the mass demonstrations of the UDD in Bangkok, which began yesterday.

Thai bank in billion dollar takeover deal

Business Week
Thanachart Bank Pcl, a Thai lender partly owned by Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia, will pay about $2.14 billion for Siam City Bank Pcl in a two- step purchase to create Thailand’s fifth-biggest bank. The combined institution will have 660 branches and 18,000 employees, Scotiabank said.

Scotiabank has operations in about 50 countries and does business in 12 Asian markets, including Hong Kong, Taiwan and Vietnam. The Thai purchase is targetted to add about 5 cents a share to earnings in the first year and 10 cents by the third year. The second stage of the takeover will be completed by July.

Cheap, eco-friendly Nissan for Thailand

Earth Times
Japan’s Nissan Motor Co on Friday kicked off production of its eco-car, the Nissan March, in Thailand, targeting the domestic and regional markets. The new car is to be the first model on the market under Thailand’s eco-car program, which offers auto manufacturers tax incentives to produce energy-efficient vehicles in the Kingdom. The company is producing the March for the Thai market and for export to other Asia-Pacific countries. In Thailand, the March is to be priced at 375,000 to 537,000 baht, making it one of the cheapest cars on the local market.

— Gazette Editors

 

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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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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… β€œWe 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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Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

Tanutam Thawan

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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