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Communist Laos appoints new president, prime minister

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Communist Laos appoints new president, prime minister
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


BANGKOK: Laos’s National Assembly on Wednesday appointed Communist Party chief Bounnhang Vorachit as the country’s new president and named foreign minister Thongloun Sisoulith as prime minister.

The picks are seen by many analysts as a continuation of the status quo in secretive Laos, where the communists have ruled since the end of the Vietnam War.

State television broadcast a meeting of the single-chamber National Assembly, at which lawmakers listed the virtues of Bounnhang, who was appointed Communist Party leader in January.

“The National Assembly has approved Bounnhang Vorachit as president, with more than two-thirds of the votes,” said assembly chairwoman Pany Yathotou.

The 149-member assembly completed the process of nomination and voting for both candidates in around an hour.

In his acceptance speech, Bounnhang said he would strive for “peaceful international policies, unity, friendship and cooperation”.

One of the fastest-growing economies in East Asia, landlocked Laos has averaged GDP growth of 7 percent over the past decade, with increasing use of natural resources contributing a third of output growth, the World Bank says.

This has boosted incomes and access to electricity, telecoms and healthcare for its mostly rural population of 6.7 million.

Laos has close political ties to communist Vietnam and mirrors its political system.

Communist neighbor China has been vying aggressively for influence in Laos, however, providing loans, aid and infrastructure investment.

Laos is still struggling to rid itself of the painful legacy of the Vietnam War, when it became the most heavily bombed country in history after the U.S. and its allies dropped about two million tons of ordnance from 1964 to 1973.

More than four decades on, the country grapples with millions of cluster munitions and other unexploded ordnance devices that kill and maim dozens each year.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Philippines

Philippine President Duterte: “Shoot them dead”

Greeley Pulitzer

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Philippine President Duterte: “Shoot them dead” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Straits Times

The president of the Philippines is warning that those who violate his coronavirus lockdown could be shot. He also says abuse of medical workers is a “serious crime that will not be tolerated.”

In a nationally televised address, President Rodrigo Duterte said it’s crucial that everyone cooperates and follows home quarantine measures to try to slow the spread of Covid-19 and prevent the country’s fragile health system from being overwhelmed.

As of yesterday the Philippines had confirmed 96 coronavirus deaths and 2,311 confirmed cases since the breakout. New infections in the Philippines are now being reported in the hundreds every day.

“It is getting worse. So once again I’m telling you the seriousness of the problem and that you must listen. My orders to the police and military … if there is trouble and they fight back and your lives are in danger, shoot them dead. Is that understood? Dead. Instead of causing trouble, I will bury you.”

His confronting comments come after reports of a disturbance and several arrests on Wednesday of residents in a poor area of Manila who were protesting about government food aid. They also follow outrage among the medical community about social stigma and cases of hospital workers suffering violence and discrimination. Duterte says this “must be stopped.”

Activists criticise Duterte for his fierce rhetoric and say he’s inciting violence and vigilantism, citing his war on drugs, in which police and gunmen have killed thousands accused of using or selling drugs. Police say their actions in the anti-drug campaign have been lawful. Duterte’s office typically calls his remarks “hyperbole to underline his point.”

The Philippines’ national police chief yesterday said police understood that Duterte is demonstrating his seriousness about public order, and that no one will be shot.

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coronavirus UPDATE: World total passes 1 million cases, Covid-19 vs Flu

The Thaiger

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Coronavirus UPDATE: World total passes 1 million cases, Covid-19 vs Flu | The Thaiger

Case numbers have passed through the 1,000,000 mark, whilst world deaths have now reached over 50,000 as we wake up on the final day of the week in Thailand. Just after 7am the total around the globe has now reach 1,015,000 cases since the outbreak started and over 53,000 people have nw died as a result of the Covid-19 virus.

717,000 of those cases are still ‘active’ cases and over 37,000 of the patients are considered serious or critical.

Bottomline, we’re still in the early days of this pandemic and the world has a lot more pain to endure, and action to take, before we see a levelling out of the curve and, eventually, a drop in cases. For now there is no cure whilst labs around the world are racing to develop a reliable and safe vaccine. Clinical trials are underway but scientists warn that the final results are probably a year away.

Again, it’s the US, which added 29,317 cases in the past 24 hours, that is contributing nearly 25% of the world’s current cases. Italy, Spain and Germany, all with populations of 46-82 million each, now lead China’s total number of cases. China yesterday added 35 new cases and 6 deaths as it grapples with a steady re-opening of services.

Here are the world’s 14 leading countries with coronavirus cases…

Coronavirus UPDATE: World total passes 1 million cases, Covid-19 vs Flu | News by The Thaiger

worldometers.com

THREE MONTHS AGO

Back on January 6 The Thaiger published an article about Thai arrivals being checked at four international airports after early cases of a mysterious virus were emerging in Wuhan, China. At that stage 59 patients had been placed under observation. Just three days later a case of the ‘Chinese pneumonia’ was detected in Chiang Mai.

DAILY TV NEWS REPORT below

THAILAND

Last night Thailand’s PM announced a nationwide curfew between 10pm – 4am starting from today (Friday) to try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus in the Kingdom.

There will be some exceptions to the new measure, including the transport of medical supplies, movement of people into quarantine, patients and travel of medical personnel, according to the statement presented this afternoon.

Also announced in the past 24 hours is a total ban on all foreign arrivals until at least April 15.

Thaveesilp Wissanuyothin, spokesman of the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says that PM Prayut Chan-ocha has ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a new directive prohibiting any new arrivals.

COVID-19 vs SEASONAL FLU

Covid-19 and influenza vary drastically. 80% of Covid-19 infections have so far been relatively mild or even asymptomatic, 15% are severe (requiring oxygen and hospitalisation) and 5% are critical (requiring ventilation). These figures are considerably higher than what is typically observed in flu, a LOT higher.

Covid-19 is also more deadly than seasonal influenza. The raw data for mortality rates for Covid-19, based on cases to date, is currently estimated by the World Health Organisation (and all the available statistical data) to be between 3-4%, with seasonal influenza sitting well below 0.1%.

US

The US has now reported more than 244,000 cases, and the number of deaths has reached 5,900, 795 of them just yesterday. And 6.6 million people in the US filed for unemployment last week, the highest number of initial claims in history.

The government’s appointed task force’s response coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, says she can tell by looking at the US curve of coronavirus cases that not every American is following the guidelines set out by the administration for people to stay home and be vigilant about washing their hands.

“Just to everybody out there across the country, when we say no gatherings of 10, we want to be clear, if you have a family of 10, we don’t want you to be split up. The guidelines mean people should be having no dinner parties, no cocktail parties.”

“I know you’ve seen the slope on the US versus the slope in Italy, and we have to change that slope. What it means in the US is not everyone is doing it.”

With more than 1,000 cases added in one day, there are now 9,191 people in California with coronavirus and 203 have died. New York City has a total of 49,707 coronavirus cases and has recorded 1,562 deaths.

BRAZIL

For third day in a row, Brazil’s health authorities have reported a consecutive spike of more than 1,000 new Covid-19 cases in a single day. 1,074 new cases were announced yesterday, bringing the South American country’s total number of cases to 7,910 and 299 deaths. The rapid spike, over the past week, is an indication of the country’s starting of mass testing.

SPAIN

Spain announced 961 people had died in the previous 24 hours. The number of confirmed Spanish cases rose from 102,136 on Wednesday to 112,065 – an 8% rise that is similar to the rate recorded in previous days. Authorities believe the virus is now peaking and say they expect to see a drop in figures in the days ahead. Spain, the second-worst hit nation in terms of deaths, has also lost nearly 900,000 jobs.

María José Sierra, from Spain’s health ministry’s emergency co-ordination unit says… “We continue with an increase of around 8%. This points, as we have already seen, to a stabilisation in the data that we’re registering.”

CHINA

The Chinese city of Shenzhen, sharing a border with Hong Kong, is banning the eating of dogs and cats as part of a wider clampdown on the wildlife trade since the start of the new coronavirus.

Scientists speculate the coronavirus passed to humans from animals. Some of the earliest infections were found in people who had exposure to a popular wildlife market in Wuhan, central China, where bats, snakes, civets (small cat-like mammals) and other animals were sold.

TRACKING

If you want to track the growth of Coronavirus, and hopefully the eventual dropping of case numbers, here are some websites you can go to for the info…

Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering

The map aggregates data from 17 sources, including the World Health Organisation, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, and several individual governments.

COVID Tracking Project

These statistics lay out the cases numbers and stats around all US states.

Worldometer

It’s a general reference site that aggregates case numbers and lays statistics out in an orderly, numerical fashion.

91-DIVOC

If you want to track the ‘curve’ we’re watching for the ‘flattening of the curve’, here it is in stark daily upsets.

SOUTH KOREA

How did South Korea contain, but not eliminate, Covid-19?

“A multi-prong approach was key”, explains South Koreas Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha. She says the country worked quickly and identified “super spreaders,” those who pass the virus to multiple people. Key, however, was taking an all-government approach, mobilising government ministries as well as regional and city governments.

“That strategy paid off, especially when it came to limited health care resources.”

“When one region ran out of hospital beds we asked other provinces to open up beds in their hospitals. When it ran out of doctors, we asked doctors in other regions to help.”

The Thaiger’s daily ‘Thailand News Today’ below…

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Panama’s separation of the sexes to fight coronavirus

Greeley Pulitzer

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Panama’s separation of the sexes to fight coronavirus | The Thaiger
PHOTO: New York Post

A new, rather unconventional strategy is being rolled out in the Central American nation of Panama to fight the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Separation of the sexes.

Beginning yesterday, only women are allowed to leave their homes to buy necessities, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Men are allowed to venture outs to run errands on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. But everyone has to stay home on Sundays. Officials say the restrictions will last for at least 15 days.

The additional measures, over and above the national quarantine already in place, will in theory make it easier for police to limit the number of people going out in public. A statement by Panamanian President Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo on Twitter read: “The great quantity of people circulating outside their homes, despite the obligatory national quarantine, has led the national government to take more severe measures.”

Like many places, areas of Thailand included, Panamanian officials have ordered all citizens to stay inside except for emergencies and to buy food. But worried by the number of people still going out, Panamanian officials decided to divide the days by sex to further limit how many people are outside their homes at any one time. Even on their designated days, men and women will only have 2 hours to do their shopping, according to a government release.

Panama has 1075 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 27 deaths, and has already taken some of the toughest measures in the region to stop the spread of the illness. The country has banned all domestic and international travel. It has shut down airports and will prevent even Panamanian citizens from entering the country, after a March 22 deadline.

A curfew has already kept Panamanians from leaving their homes between 9pm and 5am every day. Under the new, more stringent measures, the curfew will now begin at 5pm.

SOURCE: CNN

Panama's separation of the sexes to fight coronavirus | News by The Thaiger

PHOTO: Panamanian men sneaking out for shopping on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – Al Dia News

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