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‘Safety’ mayhem on Phuket’s waters

Thaiger

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Editorial by Duncan Worthington

Let’s be clear from the off that we’re talking about speedboats, specifically day tour operators who pack in the tourists on an overpowered wooden speedboat and then zip off (at speed) to stop A, B, C and D, with a lunch thrown in along the way.

In Phuket’s high season, these overpacked “cattle tours” can be seen speeding around Phang Nga Bay and to surrounding islands such as Phi Phi, Racha and many more. Their sole goal is to get tourists from A to B as fast as possible. Then from B to C in the same fashion. Customer comfort or experience is not part of the equation.

In Phuket’s low season, these speedboats can be death traps. It’s not the boat per se, but more the driver and the sea state. Phuket and the Andaman region can experience heavy rain, low visibility and large swells at this time of year – conditions not suitable for small boats to leave shore. And even when official warnings have been issued, on occasion such boats have headed out. Money rules.

This past week Phuket has seen two more accidents – two more added to an ever-growing unacceptable toll of accidents at sea.

The first took place on Monday 31st July when two speedboats – Wararat and 999 Tour 41 – collided in Phang Nga Bay. According the The Phuket News, “Nineteen people, including 16 tourists and three Thais, were plucked from the sea.”

The second incident took place on Friday 4th August when a speedboat sank in Krabi, just 500 metres from the pier at Nopparat Thara Beach. Kritsada Meuanhawong reporting for The Thaiger, wrote: “Approaching the pier the boat was hit by a series of waves and strong winds pushing the boat into a rock nearby.” The ten passengers in the sea scrambled onto nearby rocks and were later rescued and taken to Krabi Hospital. No serious injuries were reported.

The good news is that nobody was seriously injured. It appears passengers were wearing life jackets which have clearly done their job – save lives.

There will, however, be more speedboat incidents before the low season ends. And historically, there have been deaths.

Sporadic half-hearted inspections by authorities have achieved little. Drivers caught breaking laws have been lightly fined or punished, yet the carnage continues. Surely it’s time to once and for all establish a registration system of all boats, drivers and operating companies? To check all safety equipment and increase the frequency of inspections? And to hold both driver and tour operator accountable?

Across on Thailand’s East Coast, Marine Scene Asia recently boarded a private speedboat at Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya all the time under the watchful eye of a local government official. As we boarded he questioned the captain as to the presence of life jackets, where we were going for the day and he also requested to check the boat and driver’s papers.

Prevention is always better than cure.

(Reprinted from Marine Scene Asia)

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Photo via Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

1,630 new Covid-19 cases and 22 coronavirus-related deaths were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. There are now 29,376 active Covid-19 cases. Since the start of the pandemic last year, the CCSA has reported 85,005 Covid-19 cases and 421 Covid-related deaths.

Out of the 22 deaths, most of the patients had chronic illnesses. Many contracted the virus from family members or close friends.

Most of the new cases were detected in Bangkok, particularly in districts with crowded communities and markets. While cases in Bangkok continue to be high, CCSA spokesperson Natapanu Nopakun says the number of new cases in most other provinces in Thailand is decreasing.

Health officials are rolling out proactive case finding campaigns in several high-risk communities, testing 9,000 to 10,000 per day, Nopakun says, adding that officials are working to provide the appropriate treatment as quickly as possible.

Those who test positive for Covid-19 and are asymptomatic must stay at an official field hospital for 14 days and then self-isolate at home for another 14 days.

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger Covid UPDATE: 1,630 new cases and 22 deaths, provincial totals | News by Thaiger

 

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Thailand

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Photo via Facebook/ Royal Thai Embassy Vientiane

With Laos, just north of Thailand, under lockdown measures to control a spike of Covid-19 infections, the Royal Thai Embassy to Laos helping the country combat the outbreak and has donated cash and materials valued altogether at more than 16 million baht.

While cases have remained low in Laos since the start of the pandemic last year with active cases typically under 10, there was a spike in cases in mid-April and active cases are now at 1,302. The country reported its first coronavirus-related death yesterday.

Thailand donates cash, equipment to Laos to help combat Covid-19 outbreak | News by Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Laos as of 9 May 2021, according to Worldometers.

Donations from Thailand help supply mobile biosafety labs to conduct swab Covid-19 testing and beds for Covid-19 patients as well as protective equipment such including 50,000 medical masks and more than 2,000 Personal Protective Equipment, or PPE, outfits.

An order of supplies valued at 8.5 million baht is set to be delivered by the end of the month. That order will have 2,000 more PPE outfits, Covid-19 test equipment, DNA/RNA extraction kits, and 2,500 test kits. Other equipment provided by Thailand include a defibrillator, patient monitoring machine, infrared thermometers, oxygen regulators, and pulse oximeters.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Chon Buri sees lowest number of new, daily infections since early April- Monday, 63

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Stock photo via Flickr

Chon Buri province, which features Pattaya, is reporting 63 new, daily Covid-19 infections, and 1 new death. The number is a large drop from yesterday’s totals and is the lowest daily amount reported since early April. The total in the current wave of infections is now 3,361, with 1,507 currently listed as in treatment for the virus, and 9 deaths. 1,845 have been released from treatment of the virus, with 78 being released yesterday alone.

The breakdown of new infections by district are as follows:

Mueang Chonburi- 20

Si Racha- 16

Banglamung (including Pattaya)- 14

Sattahip- 2

Ban Bueng- 3

Phan Thong- 5

3 patients from other provinces transferred to Chonburi for medical care.

The details on today’s cases given were:

3 confirmed patients from Samut Prakan Province

The details of the new infections include:
1 person who was around a confirmed previous Covid-19 patient from Chanthaburi Province.
24 family members of former Covid-19 patients
6 co-workers of former Covid-19 patients
29 cases under investigation

485 close contacts were tested through contact-tracing, 660 tested proactively, and 0 recorded as tested through the Royal mobile van testing units. The Pattaya News says the number of tests performed is lower than the previous average of 2,000 per day that has been present in the past several weeks.

Details on the new death have not been released. Chonburi Public Health Department officials stated that almost all of the new have arisen from mostly small, private gatherings, with 2-3 people who are not related, having drinks or food together outside. Thailand today, is reporting 1,630 new, daily infections and 22 deaths over the past 24 hours.

The only 5 imported Covid-19 cases yesterday were from neighbouring countries, Cambodia, Malaysia and Myanmar. Authorities say that patrols will have to be stepped up at this time to control the illegal border crossings. All 5 people caught were Thais who were were trying to cross back into Thailand without going through the border checkpoints. They’ve all been admitted to state hospitals.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

 

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