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Orchard road bans smoking

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From The Straits Times – Asia News Network

Singapore’s shopping paradise, Orchard Road is now smoke-free. A smoking ban kicked in on January 1 which prohibits smokers from lighting up in public areas. However there are designated smoking areas along the famous shopping strip.

Enforcement officers from the National Environment Agency, dressed in white No Smoking Zone polo T-shirts, are on patrol in the shopping district on the second day of the new year, nabbing smokers.

Smokers were given verbal warnings and directed to the DSAs.

Orchard road bans smoking | News by The Thaiger

Some might suggest that these open-air Designate Smoking Areas are almost useless

More than 40 DSAs are available within the Orchard Road no smoking zone. During the initial three-month advisory period, officers will engage smokers and advise them to indulge in their habit within the DSAs. From April, enforcement action will be taken against all offenders.

Signs have been placed on bins and some lamp posts within the zone. Advertisements have also been put up at selected MRT stations and bus stops.

Bins with ashtrays have been replaced with those without ashtrays, and directional signage guiding smokers to the nearest DSAs have also been put up at the hotel’s side entrances.

Similarly, Royal Plaza on Scotts has put up a sign at the hotel’s entrance to inform guests of the no smoking zone and the nearest DSAs.

Other Asian tourist spots are looking at the Orchard Road smoking ban experiment to monitor reaction.

SOURCE: The Straits Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2 infected Thai women took domestic flights after illegal crossing from Myanmar

Maya Taylor

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2 infected Thai women took domestic flights after illegal crossing from Myanmar | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Oriental Escape

2 Thai women, both infected with Covid-19, took domestic flights after entering the Kingdom illegally from Myanmar and bypassing health checks and quarantine. It’s understood that a total of 10 Thai women have now crossed illegally from Myanmar, without undergoing any health checks or carrying out mandatory quarantine. All 10 have tested positive for Covid-19, with several having worked in the same hotel and entertainment establishment in the Burmese border town of Tachileik.

Nation Thailand reports that a 21 year old woman and her friend travelled to Myanmar between November 17 and 27. Both then both crossed back into Thailand at a natural border in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai, in the early hours of November 28, avoiding health checks. At the time, both were experiencing symptoms that included a fever, runny nose, and cough.

They checked into a hotel and later that day, booked a Grab taxi to Chiang Rai airport. The 21 year old woman flew to Don Mueang Airport in Bangkok, while the second took a flight to the neighbouring province of Phitsanulok. Some media reports say the woman who flew to Bangkok was not wearing her mask properly during a taxi journey to her condo in the suburb of Udomsuk. When she reported her symptoms at a clinic the following day, in the company of her boyfriend, she was told to go to hospital. She subsequently tested positive at a private hospital in the Bang Na district of the capital. Her boyfriend is considered high risk.

There is currently no information on her friend who flew to Phitsanulok, whom it’s understood had plans to travel to the neighbouring province of Phichit. Meanwhile, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is pushing to have the women prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Phuket officials concerned about virus risk from undocumented migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The discovery that 3 Thai nationals infected with Covid-19 returned from Myanmar and bypassed health checks and quarantine, has officials in Phuket on high alert. Over the weekend, it was discovered that a 29 year old Thai woman had illegally crossed from Myanmar and subsequently tested positive for Covid-19 after admitting herself to a Chiang Mai hospital. 2 other women who worked with her have also tested positive for the virus.

Phuket’s deputy governor, Pichet Panapong, says news of the 3 infected Thai women who managed to enter Thailand without undergoing any health checks or mandatory quarantine, has officials on the southern island worried. He adds that local authorities are monitoring Burmese workers, calling on them to follow disease control measures if returning to Phuket from Myanmar. (It would appear he missed the bit about the 3 infected women being Thai, not Burmese)

In a report in the Bangkok Post, Pichet says officials are considering setting up a quarantine facility for any migrant workers already in Phuket illegally, adding that of the 59,900 registered migrant workers on the island, 80% are Burmese. The Thailand/Myanmar border is longer than 2,000 kilometres with hundreds of official and “natural” border crossings.

“People can also act as eyes and ears for the authorities. If they find something suspicious in their communities, they should alert immigration police or local police.”

Phuket has 21 alternative quarantine properties, offering over 2,500 rooms in total, but arrival numbers are low. It’s understood that only 11 people have applied to enter Phuket in the period December 4 – 12, and so far, only a single application has been received for January. There are currently 726 people in local quarantine, 20 in alternative local quarantine, and 4 people carrying out yacht quarantine. Since Phuket agreed to receive foreign-registered yachts, 6 vessels have entered its waters, with all passengers and crew carrying out quarantine on board, 6 kilometres from shore.

Pichet says that, at a meeting of the communicable disease control committee, the Thai Yachting Business Association submitted a proposal to manage cruise ships, and officials have also received a request to extend the opening hours of shopping malls over the New Year holiday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak

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2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Border crossing at Mae Sai district in Chiang Rai, Northern Thailand

2 more people have been confirmed as infected with Covid-19in the current mini-outbreak in Northern Thailand. In this case both women had crossed the Thai/Myanmar border and worked at the same bar in Myanmar as the original patient, feared to be a potential super-spreader. The 29 year old is now being treated at a hospital in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Rai public health officials report that the women, aged 23 and 26, illegally crossed the Burmese border at Mae Sai district, Chiang Rai, from Tachileik, a border town on the Burmese side of the border, last Thursday night.

All 3 went to work in Tachileik last month, but returned to Thailand after Burmese health authorities imposed a curfew from midnight to 4am. There has been between 1,300 and 1,700 cases announced each day over the past week in Myanmar.

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak | News by The Thaiger

Thai public health officials say the new cases in Chiang Rai didn’t visit other public places, but stayed in a local hotel and ordered in food on delivery apps.

“We are less worried about the situation in Chiang Rai because they did not go out,” he said.

One of Patient Zero’s friends, the 26 year old, decided to get tested on Saturday after the news of her friend’s positive test result. Authorities then ordered her 23 year old friend to have a test as well. Both tested positive to Covid-19. Another 4 people have since been identified as “high risk” and are all being tested today. When added to the food delivery and hotel staff, the amount of people considered “at risk” could be up to 30.

Meanwhile, the Pattaya Mail is reporting that 2 of the women were arrested in Mae Sai and another 2 were arrested on a bus headed to Pattaya, via Bangkok.

Authorities say they will ramp up the border patrols but expect to see more infections coming from the original case in the next few days. Thailand’s border with Myanmar is more than 2,000 kilometres long, mostly inaccessible mountainous or forest terrain.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

2 more cases identified in the northern Thailand Covid-19 mini outbreak | News by The Thaiger

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