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Bali: Thousands stranded as Mount Agung erupts again

Tim Newton

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Bali: Thousands stranded as Mount Agung erupts again | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: merdeka.com

Sitting in the KLIA Terminal in Kuala Lumpur, the announcement comes over the PA.

“Passengers are advised that the fight from KL to Bali has been cancelled.”

This is why.

Thousands of tourists are now stranded as the international airport closes following more eruptions from Mount Agung. People on the island report a thick plume of ash and smoke thousands of metres into the sky.

The airport closed earlier this morning and has forced the cancellation of up to 280 flights. Officials say the cancellations are affecting up to 16,000 passengers so far. A pilot reported traces of volcanic ash at a height of 23,000 feet, according to an AFP report.

The current travel chaos follows a similar disruption back in November when the airport was again closed with thousands of stranded tourists and cancelled flights disrupted travel plans and the Indonesian island’s tourism economy.

Mount Agung is about 75 kilometres from the main tourist hub on the island, Kuta Beach. At the moment there is a four kilometre no-go-zone around the volcanic mountain.

In 1963 Mount Agung erupted killing up to 1,700 people.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for nearly 40 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented 3,900 radio news bulletins in Thailand alone, hosted 450 daily TV news programs, produced 1,800 videos, TV commercials and documentaries and is now the General Manager and writer for The Thaiger. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

State Railway of Thailand furloughs 57 locals trains from Tuesday

The Thaiger

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State Railway of Thailand furloughs 57 locals trains from Tuesday | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Baolau

Thailand State Railway governor says that cancellations will affect 13 local services on the northern line, 18 on the northeastern routes, 12 in the southern region and 14 eastern trains.

“Most of the cancelled trains will start at Hua Lamphong station, including trains that are popular with tourists, including services to Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin.”

Niruj Maneepun says the move is to support the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s effort to curb the virus’ spread by maintaining travel restrictions.

“Already all sightseeing and most long-haul trains have been temporarily cancelled due to Covid-19.”

Thailand has logged 13,500 confirmed infections and 73 deaths since the start of the pandemic in January 2020. The current outbreak that began on December 20, with the epicentre centred around seafood markets in coastal Samut Sakhon, has spread to 63 Thai provinces.

Recently, Bangkok has allowed the reopening of 13 types of businesses as long as they follow strict guidelines surrounding safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Businesses allowed to reopen under these measures…

  • Banquet venues, which will need authorisation from BMA for events with over 300 participants
  • Beauty salons, tattoo and piercing shops
  • Fitness centers, but personal trainers and communal steam rooms are not allowed
  • Game Arcades; but all points of contact must be regularly disinfected and facemasks worn at all times.
  • Internet cafés
  • Senior nursing homes, but with limited activities
  • Sports venues, except for boxing rings and race tracks, but no audiences allowed
  • Spas, Thai massage shops, excluding massage parlours
  • Gymnasia and boxing venues for training only
  • Bowling alleys and ice skating rinks, but no competitions or audiences allowed
  • Dancing academies
  • Martial art schools, but no tournaments or audiences allowed
  • Amulet shops and markets

Other provinces in Thailand, such as Chonburi, are waiting for the green light to reopen businesses and travel. Chonburi has reported 0 cases of Covid for 3 days in a row, prompting locals to become frustrated with the strict measures that won’t ease up until at least the end of the month.

SOURCE:Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai researcher details her Covid-19 vaccination experience

The Thaiger

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Thai researcher details her Covid-19 vaccination experience | The Thaiger
PHOTO:Aecc Global

“General post-vaccination symptoms include a mild fever, headache, muscle pain and shivering.”

A Thai post-doctorate researcher at the University of Chicago is detailing her Covid-19 vaccination experience and offering insight into its effects. Siriruk Changrob has received 2 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but says just the vaccine won’t immunise people from getting Covid.

Siriruk says a person who is inoculated with the vaccine can still become infected and should continue to practice social distancing and wearing a mask until a herd immunity is developed by 60% of the population, or the virus dissipates. She says she received the first vaccine about 20 days ago and upon arriving for the 2nd dose, a nurse asked her about any side effects and whether she had tested positive for the virus in the past 90 days.

She says she didn’t feel anything until about 8 hours after the 2nd injection, when she started to feel feverish and some pain at the injection site. She noted that all her colleagues warned her that the 2nd injection would give her more painful symptoms.

The Pfizer vaccine requires 2 doses that must be administered at least 21 days apart. But Sriiruk warns that if you can’t get the 2nd injection within the recommended time frame, to hold off from the injection until the time frame can be followed. She also said that anyone who requires daily medication to treat other ailments should consult their doctor before being vaccinated, to ensure that the efficacy of the vaccine will not be affected by that medication.

She says the general post-vaccination symptoms include a “mild fever, headache, muscle pain and shivering”, positive signs that the body is developing an immunity. She warns that taking medication to prevent such symptoms as a fever, is not recommended as the vaccine only protects a person from developing symptoms, rather from being infected by the virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

50,000 to be tested for Covid-19 in Samut Sakhon, 198 new infections reported in Thailand today

The Thaiger

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50,000 to be tested for Covid-19 in Samut Sakhon, 198 new infections reported in Thailand today | The Thaiger

50,000 people are lining up to be tested for Covid-19 in the hotspot of Samut Sakhon over the next 5 days as health officials step up pro-active testing in the hard-hit Thai province. The target of 10,000 people to be tested per day will focus on factory workers, communities and dormitories in an effort to change Krathum Ban and Muang districts from red to yellow and then green zones.

Apisamai Srirangsun, the CCSA deputy spokesperson, says they expect to find 2,000-3,000 new cases as a result of the increased tracking, tracing and testing. She says health officials are trying to track down and free Samut Sakhon of new infections.

“Officials are optimistic that that the pandemic will ease during the 2nd week of February.”

Samut Sakhon is the centre of the 2nd core wave of Covid in Thailand as a cluster of infections broke out late last year in the provincial seafood markets along the coast, just south west of Bangkok. She also said that educational institutes, in some areas of Samut Sakhon, may be allowed to reopen during the next month, if the situation improves.

“But many businesses may have to wait to reopen.”

So far, 70,000 people in the province have been tested for the virus with 5,332 found to be infected. Most of those infected are migrant workers from Myanmar, with the infection rate around 7%.

According to the CCSA, 198 new Covid-19 cases were recorded today, including 191 locally-transmitted infections and 7 imported. 1 more fatality was reported, bringing the national total death toll to 73.

The latest victim was a 73 year old woman from Samut Sakhon, who also suffered from dementia, high blood pressure and epilepsy. She was found to have been infected by family members on January 9 and was admitted to the hospital suffering from fatigue and a severe lung inflammation. The woman was placed on a respirator and was transferred to Thaksin Hospital, but she passed away yesterday after her condition worsened.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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