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China confirms first case of Zika virus

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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China confirms first case of Zika virus | Thaiger

PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

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

China confirms first case of Zika virus
Phuket Gazette / Reuters


PHUKET: China has confirmed its first case of the Zika virus in a man who had recently travelled to South America, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

The virus, which is causing international alarm after spreading through much of the Americas, was detected in a 34-year-old man from Ganxian county in the eastern province of Jiangxi, Xinhua said, citing China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission.

Chinese health authorities downplayed the risk of the mosquito-borne virus spreading because of the winter cold, Xinhua added.

Hong Kong’s Department of Health said in a statement that the man, who had travelled through the city on his return to China, worked in Dongguan, a bustling manufacturing city in the neighbouring southern province of Guangdong.

Hong Kong’s Port Health Office has stepped up inspections at the airport in response and reinforced training for boundary control inspectors, the statement added.

There is a risk that Zika could be spread locally if it was introduced to Hong Kong, the statement said, because Aedes Albopictus mosquitoes, which transmit the virus, live there. But no cases of the virus in Hong Kong have been reported so far, it said.

The infected man had been quarantined at a hospital in his hometown since Feb. 6, Xinhua said, adding that he was recovering with normal body temperature and a fading rash.

Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man told reporters that the bureau was seeking details of the man’s travel history from the mainland authorities because he had transited through the city.

The risk of contracting the virus through human contact was low, so the bureau was not worried about the spread of the illness in Hong Kong, Ko said, but he added the authorities were monitoring the situation closely.

Mainland health authorities could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zika has spread quickly in South and Central America and the Caribbean, with Brazil the worst affected country.

The World Health Organization declared an international health emergency on Feb. 1 over the virus, citing concern over a possible link with a rise in cases of microcephaly, a birth defect characterized by an abnormally small head that can result in developmental problems.

Most infected people have no symptoms or mild ones including fever and skin rashes.

The infected Chinese man had travelled to Venezuela and displayed symptoms including a fever, headache and dizziness on Jan 28, Xinhua said. He returned home on Feb. 5 via Hong Kong and Shenzhen.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Chiang Mai

Officials in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin express concern amid rapid rise in infections

Maya Taylor

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Officials in Chiang Mai and Hua Hin express concern amid rapid rise in infections | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

Health officials in the northern province of Chiang Mai and the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan are on high alert amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. Prachuap Khiri Khan has now reported 334 cases, with infections rising by 141 yesterday. The outbreak is primarily centred around the Hua Hin district, with provincial health official Suriya Khuharat saying most people contracted the virus after attending a concert at the Maya Exclusive Pub on March 30.

Anyone who is concerned they may be infected can receive a free Covid-19 test at either Prachuap Khiri Khan or Hua Hin hospitals. The Bangkok Post reports that, in the last few days, around 500 people a day have visited Hua Hin Hospital for testing.

Hua Hin district and health officials have filed a police complaint against the owners of the Maya Pub, who are accused of violating the emergency decree and disease prevention measures. The March 30 concert is thought to be behind the surge in infections in the seaside district, with over 90% of cases linked to the pub. The chain of transmission is believed to have originated with 1 customer who attended the concert after travelling from Bangkok. The woman is an employee at the Krystal Club in Thong Lor, itself at the centre of a Covid cluster.

Meanwhile, in Chiang Mai, health officials say a surge in infections, now exceeding 200 a day, is causing great concern. Yesterday, the northern province reported 260 new cases, with public health chief Chatuchai Maneerat admitting the surge could lead to a shortage of hospital beds.

“Currently we have 1,000 beds in the province’s field hospital and that may not be sufficient. So, the province’s communicable disease control panel has decided to add another 1,000 beds.”

Despite the rise in infections, the Department of Disease Control says there are currently no plans for a national lockdown, given that other provinces are not as severely affected. Opas Karnkawinpong from the DDC says the most important thing is for people to work from home and avoid social gatherings until at least the end of April.

“People are asking if there will be a lockdown. I’d say that a lockdown is the last resort if virus transmissions show no signs of letting-up. Activities that draw large crowds pose the greatest risk and should be avoided until the end of this month at least.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Hua Hin

Health officials say pubs, nightlife venues the new ground zero for third wave

Maya Taylor

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Health officials say pubs, nightlife venues the new ground zero for third wave | Thaiger
PHOTO: mtgf93 / Flickr

Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Thailand, with 967 new infections reported yesterday, when there were just 26 at the start of the month. Health officials are in no doubt where the surge is coming from, pointing the finger at nightlife venues. A rise in infections in Hua Hin appears to back up the theory first floated after a cluster of infections was linked to Bangkok nightlife.

The Bangkok Post reports that the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan has recorded 193 cases since the start of the month. 142 of them are in Hua Hin and officials believe they can be traced back to 1 “super-spreader” individual. A 26 year old woman, employed at the Krystal Club in Bangkok, travelled to Hua Hin with her boyfriend on March 30. At the time of her journey, she was showing no sign of infection.

On her first night in Hua Hin, she went to the Maya Exclusive Pub with 7 friends and family members. The next day, she developed a high fever, and the following day, April 1, was informed that her colleagues at the Krystal Club had tested positive for Covid-19. The woman went to a Hua Hin hospital to be tested and was confirmed as infected on April 3.

On April 4, she was admitted to Hua Hin hospital, but by then, the virus was already spreading in Hua Hin. The woman’s boyfriend tested positive, as did 140 people in Hua Hin, and 52 in other districts. The Public Health Ministry says the infections can be traced back to the woman’s attendance at the Maya pub on March 30.

Officials are using this example to illustrate the role pubs and entertainment venues play in this third wave of the virus. They say at least 137 nightlife establishments in at least 15 provinces are behind new surges of infection. Leading virologist Yong Poovorwan from Chulalongkorn University says the development is all the more concerning, given that the original cluster linked to Bangkok nightlife is the B117 variant, which is far more contagious.

Meanwhile, Opas Karnkawinpong from the Department of Disease Control accuses partygoers of not cooperating with contact-tracing officials, which makes controlling the spread of infection more difficult.

“Many pubgoers do not give us information until two or three days have passed.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Thailand’s most exclusive Beach Club | BaBa Beach Club Hua Hin | VIDEO

Thaiger

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Thailand’s most exclusive Beach Club | BaBa Beach Club Hua Hin | VIDEO | Thaiger

Nothing speaks more ‘private’ and ‘vacation’ than enjoying the beachfront view with a balcony pool and luxurious room. Follow Chris, as he (along with his family) takes you on a private get away in Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s most popular beach destinations on the Gulf of Thailand coast, for both tourists and locals.

*our vlogger’s stay at the BaBa Beach Club Hua Hin was complimentary*

Link to the Beachclub’s website HERE.

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