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Swine flu update: seven confirmed cases in Phuket

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET CITY: There have been seven cases in Phuket of the viral infection that causes swine flu, but the situation is “under control”, health officials say.

PPHO Office Director Dr Pongsawas Ratanasang told the Gazette that the first confirmed case was that of an Australian tourist who visited Phuket before moving on to Hong Kong, where he developed flu symptoms and was later confirmed to have contracted the A(H1N1) virus that causes swine flu.

It was widely reported that the first case was a Hong Kong ‘national’, but this was not true, Dr Pongsawas said.

Three staff members of a pub visited by the Australian, including its 26-year-old cashier, have since come down with flu symptoms, later confirmed to have been caused by A(H1N1).

The fifth case was a French tourist treated at Bangkok Hospital Phuket, and the sixth was a nine-year-old Thai girl who arrived in Phuket by car.

Both patients have recovered and returned home, Dr Pongsawas said.

The seventh case is that of a Phuket girl studying at the Ratwinit Bangkaeo School in Samut Prakan.

She developed flu symptoms and was sent home by the school. She is now being treated at Mission Hospital.

Relatives and friends who came into contact with the swine flu patients are being given anti-viral medication even if they are symptom-free, Dr Pongsawas said.

Describing the situation as under control, Dr Pongsawas reiterated that all of the carriers had come from outside Phuket and that the number of “second generation” cases was limited to just the three in Patong.

However, with over 10 schools in Bangkok reporting outbreaks and being closed down temporarily, the return of students from these schools to their home provinces poses a risk to Phuket.

To keep A(H1N1) from gaining a foothold on the island, residents and tourists are asked to take preventive measures, seek prompt medical attention if flu symptoms develop and co-operate fully with doctors and medical staff, he said.

In its latest public relations campaign, the PPHO today distributed information and face masks to people at the Phuket City Bus Terminal and at cinemas on the island.

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of the mosquito-borne viral disease chikungunya in Phuket now stands at 1,301, more than any other Andaman Coast province.

The rise in the number of cases partially reflects the fact that PPHO workers have been going door-to-door seeking patients. Many people suffering from the disease do not seek out medical treatment, he explained.

To stop the spread, the PPHO has been giving one-month supplies of mosquito repellent to workers in rubber plantations where chikungunya is known to spread rapidly under wet conditions.

“We will get chikungunya under control in July [2009],” Dr Pongsawas added.

— Khunakorn Terdkiatkhachorn

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Business

Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub

Maya Taylor

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Approval sought for multi-billion-baht Phuket medical hub | The Thaiger
Mai Khao beach in north Phuket - PHOTO: www.makemytrip.com

Industry officials are seeking the go-ahead for a project to transform over 140 rai of government land in Phuket into a world-leading medical hub. The project is budgeted at 3 – 4 billion baht, depending on which report you read. Kitkong Tantijaraswarodom, from the Federation of Thai Industries, believes the development of a medical and wellness hub in the sub-district of Mai Khao, north Phuket, will help revive the southern island’s battered economy. Phuket has become increasingly reliant on a steady flow of tourists over the past 2 decades.

The southern division of the FTI covers Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Patthalung, Surat Thani, Ranong, Satun, Chumphon, and Songkhla.

“The FTI will ask the government to green-light the project during the scheduled mobile cabinet meeting on the island on November 3.”

Kitkong says businesspeople in the south are anxious for the government to approve the project, which will provide both locals and foreign medical tourists with state-of-the-art medical care. The facility is expected to include long-term care, hospice and rehabilitation services, in addition to a dental hospital, sports therapy centre, and a medical training school for doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical laboratory scientists.

The chair of the FTI’s southern chapter is also calling on officials to provide small and medium-sized businesses with additional support, in the form of access to loans, in order to deal with cash shortages.

“In the short term, the FTI wants the government to help SMEs, especially those in the tourism sector.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket

Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment

The Thaiger

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Man’s body discovered hanged in a Phuket Town apartment | The Thaiger

A man has been found hanged in Phuket Town apartment yesterday. Police are treating the cases as a suicide at the moment.

The man was found hanged from the apartment’s ceiling fan. His lifeless body was discovered around 11am after neighbours complained to the manager about the smell coming from the man’s room.

Police and the local Kusoldharm Foundation rescue workers attended the scene. Police later confirmed the incident happened in room on the 3rd floor of an apartment lock in Soi Phoonphol Soi 1, Talat Nuea in Phuket Town. Police said the man was 35-45 years of age and had a 29 year old girlfriend from Chumphon. He was paying 1,000 baht a month and had been renting the room for 2 months. Police estimate that the man had been dead for at least 3 days.

Police told media that the man had used, what appeared to be a dress, tied around his neck and then to the room’s roof fan. The apartment manager told police that he had been late on on his recent rent, speculating that the man may have been suffering financial hardship.

The man’s identity has not been released at this stage.

His body was taken to Vachira Hospital for an autopsy.

If you or anyone you know is in emotional distress, please contact the Samaritans of Thailand 24-hour hotline: 02 713 6791 (English), 02 713 6793 (Thai) or the Thai Mental Health Hotline at 1323 (Thai).

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Tourism

Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule

The Thaiger

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Bangkok Airways add 3 new local routes to their schedule | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Bangkok Airways' ATR72, servicing the re-introduced routes

Some domestic routes are being added as local routes continue to expand. This time Bangkok Airways has announced it’s resuming its Samui-Phuket, Phuket-Hat Yai and Phuket-Pattaya/Rayong (U-Tapao) flights.

The first additions to the schedule will be the Phuket-Samui flights resuming this Sunday, October 25, and the Phuket-Pattaya flights start again next Tuesday, October 27. The Phuket-Samui flights will be operating on Sundays and Wednesdays only on the airlines’ ATR72 turbo prop regional planes, same as before.

A casual search on the Bangkok Airways website, for a return flight from Phuket to Samui on November 1, then back to Phuket on November 8 indicates the cheapest fare (promo) is 2,430 baht. Coming back, the cheapest fare we found, again labelled ‘promo’, was 2,630 baht. Bangkok Airways operate as a “full service” airline and don’t compete with the country’s discount airlines. But they operate these three routes exclusively – like it or leave it.

Bangkok Airways say that the flights will be operated “with the highest preventive measures and standards”. Around the country the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand have eased a few of the onboard restrictions, including the start of catering services which were originally banned under the initial flight rules when domestic routes started flying again at the start of July.

The daily direct services between Phuket and Hat Yai are also being operated on the ATR72 aircraft. The flight to Ha Yai leaves Phuket at 8.40am and arrives at Hat Yai at 9:.45am. The return flights leave Hat Yai back to Phuket at 10.25am each day. The route was very popular for the airline before the ‘disruption’ when airlines had their fleets grounded in April.

The service between Phuket and U-Tapao, linking the party city with the party island, will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, again with the ATR72. Phuket to U-Tapao will leave at 12.10pm and then from U-Tapao to Phuket at 4pm on the three days. U-Tapao is about a 50 minute drive from Pattaya and the airport also serves the greater Rayong area.

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