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Thailand warning on dengue fever

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Thailand warning on dengue fever | Thaiger
Phuket NEWS Hound

– A daily digest of news from around the world compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community. World Cup? Get instantaneous scores and news updates right here on the Gazette Online (fed directly from FIFA).

PHUKET: Thailand is facing a major outbreak of dengue fever and cholera, which have killed 30 people over the past six months.

A report in The Nation this morning quotes Health Minister Jurin Laksanawisit as saying that 26,185 dengue fever cases have been reported and six people have died during the past week alone.

Meanwhile, the number of dengue fever cases in Phuket is soaring, according to the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO).

The ministry says that people aged 15-24 are most at risk of infection with dengue, followed by children between 5 and 14.

A cholera outbreak in 2007 infected 986 people in Thailand, seven of whom died. The number of infections was reduced to 200 in 2008, but climbed to 300 last year, with 2-3 deaths a year.

Here in Phuket, Provincial Health Director Narinrach Pichyakamin told the Gazette two weeks ago that his office had recorded 213 cases of dengue fever between January 1 and June 12 this year.

The initial target for 2010 was to keep the figure below 170 cases for the entire year, Dr Narinrach said.

Phuket currently has the highest incidence rate (63.4 cases per 100,000 residents) of dengue of any of the Andaman Coast provinces, and currently ranks 13th among Thailand’s 76 provinces.

Dr Narinrach pointed out that June and August usually see the highest numbers of dengue cases in Phuket.

For more about the threat of Dengue fever in Phuket, click here.

Singapore casinos breed tourists

Earth Times
During the administration of several Thai governments over a 15-year period ending with the ouster of Thakisn Shinawatra in 2006, a number of proposals were made to legalize gambling and establish casinos in Thailand, most notably in Phuket.

This would fuel a boom in both domestic and international tourism, proponents said.

But the idea repeatedly met with staunch resistance based on the notions that gambling is incompatible with Buddhism and that casinos breed crime wherever they are located.

Resistance in Phuket was particularly fierce because of the crime factor.

But the pro-casino lobby in Thailand will almost surely have been heartened by an announcement in Singapore yesterday.

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) revealed that arrivals into the island state were up 30.3 per cent year-on-year in May, to 946,000 people, marking the sixth consecutive monthly record.

Total room revenue at Singapore’s hotels was up 45.2 per cent in May compared to a year ago, reaching 164 million Singapore dollars (105.4 million US dollars), the STB said.

The average occupancy rate in May was 85 per cent, an increase of 17.1 percentage points year-on-year, it added.

Singapore’s tourism sector was hit hard by the global recession, but got a boost this year by the opening of two multibillion-dollar casino resorts.

Tax breaks for Thai tourists

Bangkok Post
Political tensions over the past few months, culminating in the May 19 riots in Bangkok, have had a devastating impact on tourism.

Some of Bangkok’s most luxurious hotels, including the Four Seasons, Centara Grand at CentralWorld, the InterContinental and the Dusit Thani, saw occupancy plummet to single digits during the red-shirt anti-government protests from March to May.

Authorities have announced a five-part package of tax incentives to help the industry, starting with a 15,000-baht personal tax deduction on domestic tourism-related spending for Thai residents.

Tax incentives to help revive the struggling tourism sector in Thailand will aim to encourage domestic tourism and offer assistance for small and large businesses alike, says Winai Wittawatkaravet, the director-general of the Revenue Department.

Thai to lead UNHRC

FACT
The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has unanimously elected Thailand’s ambassador in Geneva as its president for the coming year.

Sihasak Phuangketkeow succeeds Belgium’s Alex Van Meeuwen after being nominated as the Asian region’s sole candidate.

Asia is entitled to name the new chair under rules intended to ensure that each region holds the rotating presidency of the 47-member council every five years.

Phuangketkeow’s election yesterday comes on the heels of criticism by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who was outspoken in her views of the recent violent protests in Thailand.

Navi Pillay last month urged the Thai government to ensure an independent investigation of the street clashes in which some 90 people died and about 1,800 were wounded.

Migrant worker crackdown

The Phnom Penh Post
Between June 16 and June 25, Thai authorities arrested and detained 1,105 illegal Cambodian migrant workers, according to a summary report provided by the Bangkok based Human Rights and Development Foundation’s Migrant Justice Program.

The crackdown appeared to target Cambodians specifically, and was approved in a June 2 order signed by Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.

— Gazette Editors

 

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