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Thailand News Today | Hotels wary, rain on the way | September 17, 2020

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Despite new tourist visa, hoteliers remain skeptical about reopening

As news comes of the cabinet approving a special long-term tourist visa scheme, hoteliers are remaining skeptical about reopening due to the lack of clarity in the recent announcement which will reportedly kick off next month.

The president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter says more hoteliers will consider reopening if the government gives further information about the plan in terms of prospective markets, arrival dates, origin countries, and flights. At this stage the government has signalled that they only accept charter flights which would severely limit the countries that could participate at the moment.

Around 90% of Phuket hotels reportedly remain closed and are revising their plans on a monthly basis to ensure any future income will not fall behind operation costs. In Chon Buri, the Tourism Council says only half of the 200 registered hotels have reopened, with up to 20 hotels applying to be on the list of the 14 day quarantine experience.

There are currently no international flights into either Phuket International Airport of U-Tapao which services Pattaya.

In the North, only 30% of hotels having reopened-some reporting an occupancy rate of around only 10%.

Disaster plan in place as Tropical Storm Noul puts agencies on high alert

Emergency services are on high alert after the Tropical Storm Noul approaches the Vietnamese central coast around Da Nang in the next 24 hours and is then set to drift across into north-eastern Thailand over the weekend.

The Agriculture Minister says a disaster plan is in place to help prepare for possible emergencies from the effects of the storm which strengthened from a tropical depression to a tropical storm 2 days ago.

Vietnam officials are considering evacuating half a million residents near its central coastal region.

Covid-19 mysteries still unsolved, health officials brush off risk of reopening borders

What’s the risk of spreading Covid-19 if borders are reopened? None apparently, just as long as tourists go through a 14 day quarantine when they enter the country.

This, according to the Thai Department of Disease Control. Now that long stay tourist visas have been approved by the Cabinet, the DDC deputy director general says the move will not raise the risks of local Covid-19 cases. He says those visitors are required to stay at state quarantine facilities for 2 weeks so any Covid-19 cases can be contained during that time. But his optimism has been tested recently…

A football player from Uzbekistan, who flew into Thailand last month, tested positive after he was released from 2 weeks of quarantine.

Another possible local transmission is a 2 year old Burmese boy who tested positive for Covid-19 after returning to Myanmar from Thailand.

2 weeks ago there was the case of the 37 year old DJ who was identified as positive during a routine test at a corrections facility in Bangkok. He hadn’t been out of the country this year.

Budget airlines ask for lifeline, no answers from PM

No surprise that one of the biggest industries to suffer from the border closures and travel restrictions was the airlines. The carriers are restricted to the routes and have lost an entire sector of their businesses – the international flights.

The Covid-19 pandemic crippled the industry and some say they’re barely surviving. They say the Thai PM promised a lifeline of billions of baht in soft loans, but he hasn’t followed up and they’re still waiting for a bail out. At the same time, tax reductions on jet fuel are ending, which will dramatically increase operating costs, they say.

Last month, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to allocate 24 billion baht in soft loans to 7 of Thailand’s domestic budget airlines, but there’s been no word on how or when the money would be allocated. Thai AirAsia, Thai Smile (the domestic ‘budget’ offshoot of Thai Airways), Thai Lion Air, Thai Viet Jet, Bangkok Airways and Nok Air all requested aid.

Students choose Thammasat University for September 19 protests without gaining permission

Students protesters are moving forward with rally plans September 19 at Bangkok’s Thammasat University despite failing to get permission from university administration.

The campus, known as Tha Phrachan, has been chosen before for such rallies and some students are reportedly threatening to break into the campus if they have to.

The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration Group has made waves recently for their anti-government protests with student leaders saying they will camp overnight if necessary. The group’s ongoing demands, to reform the Thai monarchy, has put them at loggerheads with other student protest groups and Thai conservatives.

The group plans to march to the Government House and may even spread out across the Royal ceremony field of Sanam Luang across the street from the university campus. The Thaiger will be reporting live from the protests and have a full video report next Monday.

Lottery winner had 8 winning tickets, a total windfall of 48 million baht

The winning number from yesterday’s bi-monthly Thai lottery was 244083 making instant millionaires out of some lucky Thais. A winning ticket receives 6 million baht.

The winner of a massive 48 million baht – 8 winning tickets – is Paisarn, a 36 year old car salesman from Chaiyaphum Province. He’s single (although we suspect he will get plenty of offers soon) and works at a Toyota showroom in the Chaiyaphum city area… for now anyway. How he ended up buying the tickets is a great story which you can read at thethaiger.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jason

    Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 5:59 pm

    I have to say that this new long term visa strategy (while I’m sure it will be welcomed by expats and retirees returning toThailand after long periods away because of the closed borders), will do little, (if anything) to redress the catastrophe that the virus and the closed border policy of the government has brought to the airline industry, the hotel industry and every person who relies on the income from tourism.

    Thailand has a choice to make. Remain largely closed and see it’s tourism sector slide into bankruptcy while the virus is controlled (if indeed it is controlled) or open without quarantine for 14 days, welcome tourists and have it’s tourism industries recover to something like normal (while keeping close watch on virus cases to ensure they do not get out of control and overwhelm hospital capacity).

    For the government, even doing nothing has consequences. Better to have a positive and balanced plan. !4 days quarantine can’t be part of the plan….no one will come. I hope the government hear that loud and clear. Foreign tourists won’t come on that basis. Any thought that we would come on that basis is, putting it bluntly, a farce. I have every confidence that Thailand can achieve both goals of bringing about a tourist resurgence and safety for it’s citizens. You have managed to keep the virus under control and can still do that and have foreign tourists again.

    Two things are worth noting.

    First, the world is experiencing the pandemic, not just Thailand. What was acceptable before (not maintaining social distance, not washing hands, not wearing a face mask) is NOT acceptable now. So Thailand will find that these behaviours have become normal behaviours among foreigners (and in a very short time). Foreigners will now willingly accept these behaviours because they are practiced in their own countries. So adhering to these behaviours in Thailand will be expected by foreigners.

    Second, Thailand’s Government, in my experience is very good at ensuring compliance. Thailand’s Government can bring in temporary laws that foreigners must comply with in order to visit the country. For example, maintaining social distance and wearing face masks when social distancing isn’t possible. These would be seen by foreign tourists as protecting both them and the country itself and reasonable.

    I can understand having a test on arrival. I can also accept being in quarantine (self isolation) until the result of that test is known. By international standards the maximum waiting timefor a Covid test resul is 3 days. If the test is negative, release to enjoy a holiday in that province only (for example Phuket). If positive, 14 days quarantine in and ASQ Hotel.

  2. Avatar

    Richard

    Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    Great, all I have to do is get a corvid test to come back positive and get it confirmed at a Thai embassy which is 250 miles from where I live. Book a flight and a hotel for 90 days. Get corvid insurance off a Thai company. All in 3 days. Then when I get there to spend 2 weeks in quarantine in a very expensive designated hotel? No problem? I will be there next week? NOT!!!

  3. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 11:03 pm

    These stupid Thais. They think there country is so good that people will arrive and spend 14 days in an overpriced hotel before they are allowed properly into the country.
    They are peasants that struck lucky and developed, through hardly any effort of their own, everything was developed by foreigners, a tourist and investment market.
    Now in five months they have destroyed tourism and investment.
    You can put a rice planter in uniform, and give him power, but he has not the skills or aptitude for anything more than being a rice planter.
    Hence the present economic disaster.

    • The Thaiger & The Nation

      The Thaiger & The Nation

      Friday, September 18, 2020 at 9:48 am

      Borderline ‘nasty’ Toby. We would usually urge commenters not to generalise and denegrade the locals. Clearly the vast majority of Thais are not ‘peasants’.

  4. Avatar

    Dave

    Friday, September 18, 2020 at 5:28 am

    This is a load of hooey. They are just dangling a carrot in front of the tourism industry with no real intention of opening the country. You are not fooling anybody!

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Alcohol sales may be banned in restaurants, but no lockdown for now

Maya Taylor

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Alcohol sales may be banned in restaurants, but no lockdown for now | Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook/ศูนย์ข้อมูล COVID-19

Thailand’s Public Health Ministry says it believes a lockdown is currently unnecessary, despite a record 1,543 new Covid-19 infections yesterday. Of those, only 3 were imported. However, Health Minister Anutin Chanvirakul says the government is confident it can control the spread of the virus without having to lock down the country.

“We have seen no point in imposing a lockdown for the time being. The (current) cycle of disease has only been 2 weeks and we have had good cooperation from all stakeholders. What we need to see now is less mobility. If we can do it, we will definitely see a declining number of new infections by next month.”

According to a Bangkok Post report, officials are proposing to group the entire country into “red” and “orange” provinces in order to determine the extent of disease control measures needed. It’s understood that the following 18 provinces will be designated “red” (maximum control) provinces: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Samut Prakan, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Nakhon Pathom, Phuket, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nonthaburi, Songkhla, Tak, Udon Thani, Suphan Buri, Sa Kaeo, Rayong and Khon Kaen.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration will meet today to discuss a number of proposed restrictions, which will apply to varying degrees across the country. In red provinces, it’s likely that restaurants will be required to close by 9pm, and 11pm in the rest of the country. There is also a proposal to ban the sale of alcohol in restaurants everywhere.

Parties and gatherings of more than 50 people will also be banned. The government will be asked to close schools and universities, with students reverting to online learning. If the measures are approved at today’s meeting, they will be in force until at least the end of the month.

Anutin says there will be no ban on travel around the country, but provincial officials will be able to implement their own measures at their discretion.

“We only suggest that people who visited home for the Songkran festival should work from home at their hometown for 2 weeks. Full-time wearing of facemasks is also a must when getting outside.”

While infections in this latest wave of Covid-19 are more widespread and numbers are rising faster than with previous outbreaks, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam says the government must balance disease prevention measures with the country’s economic recovery. The Bangkok Post reports that he declined to speculate on whether the planned re-opening to foreign tourism would go ahead on time.

NOTE: a meeting of the CCSA this afternoon at 4pm will decide to upgrade its list of red zone provinces or to add or remove restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

New red zone map shows where restrictions may apply after this afternoon’s CCSA meeting

Tim Newton

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New red zone map shows where restrictions may apply after this afternoon’s CCSA meeting | Thaiger

This new map is up for discussion today when the CCSA meets today. 18 provinces are to be designated as red zones. The amount of red zones may changes as well after this morning’s CCSA update on new infections. The CCSA will meet later this afternoon, chaired by the PM Prayut Chan-o-cha.

According to some early notes on the upgraded restrictions which are almost certainly going to be announced today, restaurants will be able to stay open until 9pm in the red provinces and until 11:00pm in the orange provinces. Bars, karaoke bars, massage places, must not sell liquour and cannot drink in restaurants in every province. Schools will stay closed.

The map cuts a red swathe through the north east, and the north west areas of the country, and some provinces around Bangkok, including Bangkok,.

The red zones, as of now, include…
1. Bangkok
2. Chiang Mai
3. Chon Buri
4. Samut Prakan
5. Prachuap Khiri Kan
6. Samut Sakhon
7. Pathum Thani
8. Nakhon Pathom
9. Phuket
10. Nakhon Ratchasima
11. Nonthaburi
12. Songkhla
13. Tak
14. Udon Thani
15. Suphanburi
16. Sa Kaeo
17. Rayong
18. Khon Kaen

The list of red zones may be updated after this morning’s CCSA meeting, and in coming days. The list of restrictions applied may also vary across provinces. Governors have a certain level of flexibility when applying and enforcing restrictions.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s mercurial Public Health Minister says he is “confident” the Kingdom can overcome the current Covid-19 crisis without imposing a nationwide lockdowns.

“We have seen no point in imposing a lockdown” for the time being.

He says that the current cycle of the new infections has only been 2 weeks and the Health Ministry has had good cooperation from all stakeholders.

“What we need to see now is less mobility. If we can do it, we will definitely see a declining number of new covid-19 infections by next month.”

NOTE: These zonings and list of possible restrictions are NOT final until announcements made following this afternoon’s CCSA meeting.

New red zone map shows where restrictions may apply after this afternoon's CCSA meeting | News by Thaiger

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Thailand

Is spraying disinfectant on the Thai-Burmese border effective?

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Is spraying disinfectant on the Thai-Burmese border effective? | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Spraying disinfectant has been effective in the community but controversial in forested refugee camps.

Some controversy exists over the Royal Thai Army attempting to sterilize areas of the Thailand-Myanmar border by spraying disinfectant along the border region. The army sprayed areas set up as a temporary holding facility for many Burmese refugees. The move drew condemnation from critics who claimed the disinfectant was not effective and not worth the expense of implementation. A spokesperson for the Royal Thai Army responded to social media ire justifying the action.

The spraying was done after the Burmese refugees had returned across the border to Myanmar, after fleeing temporarily to escape the escalating humanitarian crisis following the February 1 military coup. After the refugees left, disinfectant was sprayed around the area in compliance with Public Health directives designed to slow the Covid-19 spread and maintain safety. The disinfectant was intended to kill any possibly contagious remaining virus or disease in the area.

The spokesperson said the military used existing government equipment they requested from the Ministry of Public Health to efficiently disinfect the area. She asserted that the spraying was not just to help local people, but also to reassure them that it was safe to return to their daily lives in the area, to go to work or do farming, without fear of becoming infected with Covid-19.

While the response online to the spraying disinfectant scheme is still generally negative, it’s worth noting that the same spraying has been used to effectively sterilize 162 schools and 268 other areas since January. The spray is a safety precaution to minimize the spread of Covid-19 and has been used throughout communities in places like bus terminals, marketplaces, temples and other places where people tend to gather.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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