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Stray dog round-up to begin – again

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Stray dog round-up to begin – again | Thaiger

PHUKET: Representatives from just five of the island’s 13 local government bodies attended a meeting yesterday morning to address the island’s long-standing stray dog problem. At the meeting it was also announced that dog owners in two areas can now apply for “passports” for registered pets.

The low-key meeting, held at Phuket Provincial Hall and chaired by Phuket Governor Udomsak Uswarangkura, was organized by the Phuket Provincial Livestock Office (PPLO), which was represented by its Chief, Sunart Wongchawalit.

Only four or five people were present at the start of the meeting, including representatives from the Tambon Administration Organizations (OrBorTor) of Mai Khao and Sakoo, along with Kata-Karon Municipality. Representatives of Wichit and Rawai OrBorTor arrived later.

Notably absent were representatives of the many animal welfare organizations on the island, who were not invited to the gathering.

Gov Udomsak stressed the need to control the number of strays at beaches and temples, saying that they pose a threat to tourism.

“I get complaints from many tourists who are afraid of stray dogs roaming the beaches. It’s no laughing matter if a tourist gets bitten, because we have a tourism-based economy and we must ensure that it is safe for tourists here,” he said.

“The province will do what it can, but in the end success will come down to the effort of each local government body,” he said, looking with resignation at the many empty chairs in the room.

Weekly round-ups of strays will take place on Fridays, starting on January 13 in the Chalong Bay area. There will be 13 round-ups altogether.

The PPLO expects to remove some 380 strays from 12 beaches (Chalong, Rawai, Nai Harn, Kata, Karon, Patong, Kamala, Surin, Bang Tao, Nai Thon, Nai Yang and Sai Kaew) and 330 more from Phuket’s 11 main temples.

PPLO officials working with the relevant local government bodies will use tranquillizer guns to capture strays from beaches, which will then be taken to the Mid-Road Dog Shelter in Thalang for sterilization. Those rounded up at temples will be sterilized on site.

K. Sunart told the Gazette after the meeting that the Governor had limited the number of strays that the shelter could hold to 500.

There are currently 420-430 animals housed there, he said.

The shelter had enough resources to care for this number of animals. Some 200,000 baht has already been approved by the Governor under his discretionary CEO budget, and additional funds have been made available by the Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) and private sector donations, he said.

He could not say when the 200,000 baht would actually be made available to the PPLO, however.

K. Sunart denied that any animals would be put down to accommodate new arrivals.

“If the number reaches 500 we’ll stop the round-ups,” he said.

It is unknown just how many strays there are on the island, but a survey conducted last year by the PPLO estimated the number at about 3,500.

Gov Udomsak said that special emphasis would be put on controlling stray dog populations in the north of the island, in Mai Khao and Sakoo Tambons, and that the Tah Chat Chai checkpoint would be monitored closely to prevent any new dogs from getting onto the island.

K. Sunart also told the meeting that the Livestock Department has approved Phuket as a pilot province for a “passport project”, under which all registered pet dogs would be implanted with microchips and issued with a permit by the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives that would allow the animal to travel internationally with its owners.

He said that Phuket was chosen because it is a small province and an island, which should make it easier to control the stray dog population and to microchip all registered dogs.

The project will begin in Sakoo and Mai Khao Tambons, the meeting heard.

When asked what role animal welfare groups would play in the effort to control the stray dog population, K. Sunart said he said he hoped they would help to publicize the need for owners to register their pets and to have them sterilized.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand

Tim Newton

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UPDATE: Field hospitals being established in Covid hot zones around Thailand | Thaiger

UPDATE: The field hospital in Bangkok’s Bang Bon district, west of the Chao Phraya river, had its first 10 Covid patients today. The director of the medical services office of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says that the 10 patients into the makeshift hospital, located at the Chalerm Phra Kiat Stadium, will enable assessment of the performance by the medical team, before more patients arrive – Thai PBS World

ORIGINAL STORY: Despite the confident posture and Songkran going ahead, amid restrictions, there is a lot of background activity which suggest the authorities are getting ready for a surge of new infections at the end of the Songkran break, officially this Thursday (but in reality, next Sunday at the end of the weekend when most people who travelled home will return for a resumption of work).

The Thai lunar new year celebrations – Songkran – are the largest mass movement of Thais each year, a source for a huge leap in road deaths and accidents. And, this year, a potential super-spreader event.

Quietly, at least 3,000 extra beds have been prepared in 10 field hospitals around Bangkok. The government has also confirmed that additional field hospitals are being set up in other potential ‘hot zones’, including Phuket, Chiang Mai, Chonburi and Hua Hin. Some of them were set up last year, and since closed, and now being prepared for new positive infections.

One Thai person who had been in one of the field hospitals put together a check-list of things to take IF you end up as an invited ‘guest’ HERE.

The CCSA say they are looking for additional beds in hotels and previous state quarantine facilities (where repatriating Thais were housed for their free quarantine) to be used if needed.

This year’s Songkran had bad timing, coming just a week after a number of major clusters were identified around some of Bangkok’s popular nightlife areas in 3 key inner city districts. Even before Songkran these isolated clusters had already spread into the provinces. In the weekend before Songkran the government had already listed 37 provinces which had instigated some form of paperwork or restrictions for people who had been in any of the 3 Bangkok districts.

The government also leapt on the source of the new outbreaks – bars, clubs and entertainment venues – and promptly shut them down for at least 2 weeks. At this stage it looks likely that that ban will be extended beyond the 2 weeks and, depending on the extent of new infections following the Songkran holiday, additional restrictions will also be added.

Even today the Civil Aviation Authority published a number of new in-flight restrictions for passengers – another blow to the hard-hit domestic aviation sector.

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Chiang Mai

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half

Tim Newton

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Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | Thaiger

The TAT, ever the optimists regarding anything tourism related, even domestic tourism, predict that the Bangkok clusters that have emerged in the week before the Songkran break could reduce traffic and spending by up to half.

Today the CCSA is reporting 789 new infections and one additional death. 522 were local infections, mostly walk-ins to Bangkok hospitals, 259 were discovered through track and tracing. The remaining 8 were found in quarantine from overseas arrivals. In Phuket, another 17 cases have been reported today, taking the island’s week total to 43.

Tourism officials slash Songkran travel expectations by half | News by ThaigerGRAPH: Worldometer figures for Thailand, up to April 9

A 68 year old man from Nakhon Pathom province died on April 4 but wasn’t reported until today. The CCSA report that he died from Covid and “complications”. 33 other former patients have recovered and been discharged.

Last week the TAT estimated 3.2 million domestic trips would circulate 12 billion baht for the Thai economy. But the Tourism Authority has now slashed their estimates by half after hotels, airlines and bus companies reported mass cancellations in the last few days. Other provinces are reporting less than 20% cancellations. Although this weekend will see a lot of travel, Songkran doesn’t formally start until next Tuesday and the TAT expect there could be additional fallout as travellers decide to have a staycation for Songkran instead heading home.

Bangkok Post reports that 70% of travellers to Prachuap Khiri Khan and Hua Hin have already cancelled hotel bookings. Similar cancellations have been reported in Pattaya, Phuket and Chiang Mai. Many other provinces, particularly in the north east and north, are also enforcing quarantine on arrivals or additional paperwork to try and protect their provinces from any of the Bangkok clusters.

8 north eastern provinces rare now requiring 10 or 14 day quarantine periods for anyone arriving from areas where new clusters have been reported. Chiang Mai provincial officials say that tourists from Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom, Bangkok, Pathum Thani and Nonthaburi – basically Bangkok and surrounding provinces – must complete a 14 day mandatory quarantine or conduct a test for Covid when they arrive.

The reality is that the travel and quarantine changes are outstripping the ability to communicate them all. Anyone crossing into other provinces in the next few day, especially if you’re travelling from Bangkok and surrounding provincial ‘red zones’ can expect some additional paperwork or a Covid test. Or even quarantine.

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Education

Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation”

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Phuket student protests and is flunked as “not loyal to the nation” | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Student protests led to one student not graduating due to being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”

After participating in protests for student’s rights, a Phuket student was barred from graduating 9th grade, moving from middle school to high school, charged with being “not loyal to the nation, institution of the monarchy”. The student had advocated against mandatory uniforms and for student’s liberties. He told reporters that the school started paying attention to his actions last year when he participated in rallies in solidarity with students across Thailand. The school’s student affairs office received a copy of posts he made on social media encouraging others to join the cause. The school ordered a stop to his political actions, but he and his friends disregarded warnings and violated school rules when they handed out white ribbons to classmates. They received a warning from the student affairs office.

Student protests have increased after pro-democracy demonstrations surged in July last year, empowering many Thai people to speak out against injustices, including students’ rights and liberties. People from schools across the nation have been banding together in solidarity to bring their issues to public light.

On graduation day, all the students were promoted into high school, except for the one student protestor, says the Bad Student protest group. The theme of the day focused on dedication to the monarchy, country and religion, and specifically how students should be obedient. The student said he has received support from friends, but his parents remain neutral and his teachers have been completely silent on the matter. He is frustrated that he was punished for his right to express himself. He plans on testing with incoming students to re-enrol in the same school, and if he is not accepted because of the disloyalty charge, he will pursue legal ramifications, suing the school for blocking his right to an education over the student’s protests.

The student believes he needs to speak out to prevent school administrators from imposing on more students’ rights. He advocates for diversity in schools and ending prejudices, with increased liberties and freedoms for students.

“Schools must teach children to be able to think by themselves, not force children to think like them. Schools should create opportunities for students to express their ideas more freely.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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