Thailand News Today | Airports screen international arrivals for monkeypox
The Thai government is taking precautions to screen incoming travellers from countries with monkeypox outbreaks.
The deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control has asked airports around the countries to step up efforts of their quarantine offices and increase screening of foreign arrivals from countries with monkeypox spread. By the end of this week, 138 travellers from Africa and 2389 travellers from Europe have been screened for monkeypox, though no infections have been found so far.
Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul reassured people that monkeypox is not nearly as serious or contagious as the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s still important to try to avoid its continued spread. Unlike the Coronavirus, monkeypox cannot be transmitted without direct content of lesions or bodily fluid, or extended contact with someone infected. And once contaminated, the infection may be uncomfortable, but most people can recover at home with a low risk of death.
Still, the authorities are pushing both to be proactive in preventing the spread, and testing and reporting possible infections, with health authorities increasing education campaigns. Sexually active people, especially those who have multiple sex partners, are the most at risk since monkeypox is spread through close physical contact.
The World Health Organisation reported that sexual contact between two men is still the most common source of transmission.
Thailand has found two confirmed cases of monkeypox so far. The first was a dramatic tale of a 27 year old Nigerian man who was diagnosed on July 18 in Phuket and fled the country by swimming into Cambodia where he was arrested in Phnom Penh. More than 50 people have been tested for monkeypox after coming into contact with that man, and so far no new infections have been found.
The second infection was completely unrelated and found in a 47 year old Thai man who reported that he developed symptoms on July 15 after he had sex with a European man, who health authorities are still searching for. Some 16 of the 17 people identified as having come in contact with that Thai man have tested negative for monkeypox with one test still pending.
Anyone feared to have been exposed to monkeypox is being placed in a three-week quarantine to avoid possible spread. Vaccines are in development, with many believing that old smallpox vaccines may be effective against a similar disease. Vaccines that become available will be allotted for frontline workers and healthcare professionals first to immunise them when treating any possible outbreaks.
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt called upon the city’s private sector to help solve the capital’s age-old flooding conundrum.
The 56 year old chief said he is determined to sort out Bangkok’s perpetual drainage system. He revealed that, after a thorough investigation, the city needs to replace about 300 water pumps that are over 15 years old.
Last Friday, Chadchart inspected the pumping station at Bang Sue Canal to gauge how prepared it is to handle more flooding in Bangkok. The city chief made known that out of the 17 water pumps he investigated at Bang Sue Canal Pumping Station, around 10 of them were old and needed replacing.
The governor said there are an additional 300 plus old pumps throughout the capital, from 190 pumping stations in Bangkok, that needed to be changed for a better drainage system.
Chadchart stated that it would be better for the city to construct a water tunnel at about 5 – 6 million baht than replace one water pump, which would cost around 4 million baht.
He said, quote “I will try to spend less of our budget for the best benefit. Unimportant projects will be cut or postponed. The project to construct a water tunnel will also be paused for now. The water drainage system and canals in Bangkok are the focus. They will be improved and dredged, and the pipe jacking technique will be operated to allow water from Bangkok’s alleys to go into the canals.”
The city supremo also urged the private sector to get involved if it cared about the city, and its people, and added it is in the best interests of their businesses.
“Some companies opposed a dam construction project saying ‘it would cause misfortune’ to their businesses. Then, floods washed up roads and communities. Those companies should be more selfless. Don’t be worried about the cost. Save people’s lives first.”
Flights in and out of Chiang Rai’s Mae Fah Luang International Airport in northern Thailand are expected to resume as normal on Wednesday, August 3, at 10pm. The runway has been closed since 6am yesterday after a Nok Air Boeing 737-800 aircraft skidded off the runway during landing due to adverse weather conditions on Saturday night. No one was injured.
The plane departed Bangkok’s Don Mueang International Airport at 8:00pm and landed in Chiang Rai at 9:00pm on Saturday. The plane skidded off the runway during landing after continuous heavy rain caused slippery ground conditions. The 164 passengers and six cabin crew aboard the aircraft were unharmed thanks to the pilot’s ability to control and bring the plane to a halt after it came off the runway.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand – or CAAT – classified the incident as “severe” and closed the runway on Sunday morning at 6am to investigate the cause. Initially, the airport planned to reopen at 10pm yesterday. However, the airport later released a statement to say the runway would be closed for three days and flights would resume as normal at 10pm on Wednesday, August 3.
Thousands of people were affected by the airport’s closure, which happened during Thailand’s busy four-day long holiday. All passengers planning to fly out of Chiang Rai on Saturday night were put on buses to Chiang Mai International Airport instead, a 3 hour 15 minute drive away.
Nok Air made a public statement stating that they took good care of all passengers and provided refreshments while transferring them and their luggage to Chiang Mai. However, some passengers took to Facebook to reveal a different side to the story, saying they did not receive any food or drinks throughout the whole ordeal, despite the airline’s claims.
A U-turn bridge over the Rama II Road heading towards Bangkok collapsed yesterday at 8pm, falling onto four vehicles and killing two people. One passenger died at the scene and a construction worker who fell from the bridge later died in hospital from their injuries. Two more people were injured.
The incident happened in front of Vibharam Hospital in Samut Sakhon province. The bridge was temporarily closed for maintenance.
Police from Mueang Samut Sakhon Police Station found a Chevrolet sedan trapped underneath a ten metre concrete slab weighing approximately five tonnes. The bridge fell onto the left side of the car, instantly killing the passenger sitting in the front seat. The driver was injured but survived the accident.
Construction workers were standing on the bridge when it collapsed. Two people who fell were seriously injured, one of whom later died from their injuries at Samut Sakhon Hospital.
The bridge also partially fell onto a pickup truck with a family of five people inside but no one was injured.
The accident caused a huge traffic jam because a crane was needed to lift the heavy slab of concrete. It took one hour for the rescue team to cut the dead body out from the wreckage of the Chevrolet.
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