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Thailand warning on dengue fever

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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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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Phuket

British citizens fined 6,000 baht each for illegal ‘party’ in Phuket

Tim Newton

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An unedited video circulating, showing Phuket police raiding an illegal gathering in Cherngtalay, ended up with 2 UK citizens, working in Phuket, being fined 6,000 baht each. The Cherngtalay police are also calling on another 4 foreigners attending the party to present themselves to the police station to be charged as well.

Cherngtalay Police descended on the property around 5pm on Sunday following a tip-off from residents in the same street.

The video shows the police at the front gate of the property demanding entry… “Open, open, open the door… now!” The people inside the gate shouted back “no party”. The policeman leading the raid was Capt Prasan Ketsaro. Despite a number of other foreigners, and Thais, at the gathering, only the 2 British people attending the event were fined after being taken to the station.

British citizens fined 6,000 baht each for illegal 'party' in Phuket | News by ThaigerThey were officially charged with “acting against the Communicable Diseases Act, BE 2558 and the Phuket Provincial Order #2284/2564 Section 5,” according to the police report.

At the end of April the Phuket governor made an announcement, tightening restrictions for the island province.

“For social activities, all people must refrain gathering for celebration, such as birthday parties, welcome or farewell parties, or others, except traditional events, such as funerals, weddings, or ordination.”

At the time the vice governor of Phuket said that foreigners breaking the rule could also be subject to being deported. Foreign consular officials were also invited to the provincial offices with Governor asking them to ensure the citizens they represented would abide by the current rules and restrictions.

The video of what appears to be an afternoon soirée, complete with alcoholic drinks and a barbecue, was deemed by the attending police to be in clear contravention of the current restrictions, a point that the lead police officer, doing all the talking, kept making as he beckoned everyone inside the house to come out.

“Everybody, outside. Come one, come on, outside!”

None of the foreigners were wearing face masks in the early phases of the video although the Thai people inside the property either were, or were quick to put them on as the cameras were rolling.

The police kept berating and accusing the people inside the property… “you come for party”. They pointed to a pile of iced drinks on the verandah of the property (which contained wine, beer and other beverages)… “what is this, what is this?”

Any conversation was a bit one-sided with the Captain doing most of the talking whilst the owners of the property, and their guests, were at least trying to explain their situation.

The accusations were flying thick and fast “Why party?! You party!”

The foreigners insisted it wasn’t a party and were trying to reason with the police about the intentions of the afternoon’s gathering but the police had already made up their mind.

The lead police told the accused that they could take photos of the ‘raid’. The Thaiger has decided not to air the video but have shared some edited screenshots.

British citizens fined 6,000 baht each for illegal 'party' in Phuket | News by ThaigerBritish citizens fined 6,000 baht each for illegal 'party' in Phuket | News by ThaigerBritish citizens fined 6,000 baht each for illegal 'party' in Phuket | News by Thaiger

A lot of the social media commentary about the incident has focussed on whether the gathering was a “party” or not and accusations that the attending police were just after some tea money.

“The high crimes and misdemeanours of having drinks and a BBQ in your garden “

“What party? Even the mosque in Bang Tao is packed everyday, local Thai restaurants are packed – this it outrageous.”

“Pretty strange…. a good way to make money.”

“What a country this place is turning into.”

“The video is on all the Thai news site… and it not look like a party at all.”

The names of the people involved in the raid have been published in other media.

 

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Thailand

Americans in Thailand urge US to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens overseas

Tanutam Thawan

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Stock photo by Mufid Majnun for Unsplash

Thai officials say expats living in Thailand will be included in the government’s mass Covid-19 vaccination plan, but exactly when that will be is still up in the air. With foreign embassies in Thailand clearly stating that they will not assist with providing citizens living overseas with vaccines, expats are relying on the Thai government.

A number of Americans are now urging the US government to provide Covid-19 vaccines to citizens living in Thailand. And with the recent outbreak linked to the more contagious variant of the virus, getting a vaccine in Thailand has become more pressing.

A “Covid-19 Vaccine Task Force” of Democrats Abroad Thailand members, as well as those from American organisations based in Thailand, is calling on the US government to deliver vaccines to citizens living in Thailand, chairperson of Democrats Abroad Thailand and a United Nations consultant, Paul Risley, told VOA.

“Americans who live abroad need to be vaccinated for the same reasons that Americans who live in the United States need to be vaccinated… Because it’s the only way to stop Covid-19.”

If an American were to travel back to the US for a vaccine, they would still need to stay in a hotel or certified facility for a 14-day quarantine at their own expense when re-entering Thailand. Along with getting together the required paperwork, they would need to go through numerous Covid-19 tests including before the flight, upon arrival and before being released from quarantine. The flights to and from the US can end up being more than 20 hours per trip and add up to thousands of dollars in travel costs.

For the vast majority of Americans in Thailand, flying back to the US is the only way to get vaccinated at the moment. The US Embassy in Bangkok says vaccines will not be provided for US citizens living overseas.

The Department of State does not provide direct medical care, including vaccinations, to private U.S. citizens abroad. We are committed to providing all possible consular assistance to U.S. citizens in need overseas, including by providing information on local medical resources when appropriate. Please follow host country developments and guidelines for COVID-19 vaccination.

At a recent Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said “all people who reside in Thailand, regardless of their nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine under the government’s plan.”

Mass vaccination campaigns are being rolled out in high-risk areas, such as Bangkok’s Khlong Toey slum where a cluster of infections was reported, as well as Phuket and Koh Samui, tourist islands that are said to be of “economic significance.” Health officials are trying to hit herd immunity on the 2 islands to reopen to foreign tourists.

Expats in Phuket who have a valid work permit can now register for a state Covid-19 vaccine. The registration must be under the company name and expats are told to have the company’s human resources staff assist with the registration process.

While no official announcement has been made regarding expats in Koh Samui, some foreigners who work as English teachers on the island say they have received both doses of the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccine. Schools apparently helped with the registration process, but some teachers say they told to keep quiet about getting the vaccine. Some did not receive a vaccine certificate or any other documentation confirming that they are vaccinated against the coronavirus.

SOURCE: VOA

 

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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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FILE PHOTO

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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