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Thailand News Update | Thailand’s Northeast new floating solar farm

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Health authorities have reported the discovery of a new mutation of the Omicron coronavirus variant. The discovery has been made in Hong Kong which has been going through a horrendous time with Covid 19, recording record injections and deaths and an over-whelming of the country’s health system. In fact Hong Kong has recorded the world’s highest Sars Covid-2 death rate.Now the deputy chairman of a Thai Senate committee on public health has posted that Omicron has mutated into three subvariants… BA.1, BA.2, and BA.3…. based on the latest data out of Hong Kong. He claims in his post that the number of infections and deaths in Hong Kong coincides with the emergence of the BA.2.2 subvariant.The data shows that there are currently about 5,000 infections and 30 deaths per million people in Hong Kong each week. That figure is much higher than Thailand’s average 315 cases and 0.85 deaths, per million, per week.He also noted that the new variant BA.2.2 has not yet been detected in Thailand.We should also report that the Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data… the world’s leading database on genomic influenza, is yet to officially confirm the BA.2.2 as an official new variant of Omicron, or even it is the exact cause of high death toll in Hong Kong.The organisation says that the new BA 2.2 is only being referred to among Hong Kong scientists at this stage but they are urgently gathering data to decide if it is, officially, a new variant of concern.We will have more information about this at thethaiger.com.


In the wake of both the Chinese and Russian tourist taps being turned off, Thai tourism officials are planning to travel to Saudi Arabia for one of their travel road shows, with a goal of attracting 200,000-500,000 Middle Eastern tourists to Thailand this year.The Thai tourism ministry and Tourism Authority frequently run travel roadshows around the world as part of an ongoing marketing program to push Amazing Thailand to a wider audience.Last month, a Thai government spokesperson said the Tourism Minister had aimed for one million Middle Eastern tourists by the end of 2022. Now, Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister says he plans to promote medical check-ups in Thailand to Saudi officials during his trip there. Another Middle Eastern country the minister hopes to tap into for tourism is the United Arab Emirates. He claimed tourists from the Middle East spend on average almost 90,000 per person during their trips to Thailand. European tourists, on the other hand, spend about 70,000 baht per person on Thailand trips, according to the Minister. Thailand and Saudi arabia restarted direct flights with each other in February after decades of hostile relations. Now the TAT plans a new marketing campaign for this year called “Visit Thailand Year 2022: Amazing New Chapters”. The campaign will promote 3 main types of tourism in Thailand… medical tourism, beaches and shopping.


The mother of deceased actress ‘Tangmo’ is demanding a second autopsy on her daughter’s body by the Justice Ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic science. The mother, Panida Sirayuthyothin, went with a lawyer to the First Region Provincial Police Bureau in Bangkok on Saturday to make her demand. Panida’s lawyer says Panida is suspicious about wounds on Tangmo’s body. While a forensic doctor who examined Tangmo’s body denied ‘signs’ that Tangmo was hit in the head, either intentionally or on an object when she fell, a rescue volunteer claims he saw Tangmo’s right eye was swollen and bruised, and her teeth were broken. The latest forensic doctor, on the other hand, claims Tangmo had no broken teeth, head injuries, or any signs of trauma from a hard object. Like Panida, Tangmo’s fans over the weekend claim the investigation into her death is not transparent. Seven people also protested in front of the Nonthaburi police station holding posters of Tangmo and messages calling for justice.


The United States has not yet confirmed if it will approve the Royal Thai Air Force’s plan to purchase four F-35 fighter jets.The RTAF has already been in discussions with US’s Pacific Air Forces. The two sides discussed egional security, a free and open Indo-Pacific region and joint efforts to modernise Thailand’s Air Force. The Thai cabinet approved the plan to purchase the four US fighter jets starting in the 2022/2023 fiscal year at a cost of 13.8 billion baht. The Thai government will now formerly place the order with the US government.


A new solar farm in Thailand’s Northeast that floats on water is one of 15 that Thai authorities plan to build by 2037. The project aims to reduce CO2 emissions by 47,000 tonnes a year. Officials also hope the first farm in Ubon Ratchathani will attract interested tourists. They are calling it the “world’s largest floating hydro-solar farm”. The newly installed solar panels cover 720,000 square meters of water surface, and use a hybrid system that converts sunlight to electricity by day and generates hydropower at night. The project includes a ‘Nature Walkway’ shaped like a sun ray.Electricity authorities claim the farm will not impact agriculture, fishing or other community activities and is an important step forward for Thailand’s future energy sustainability. Thailand currently still relies heavily on fossil fuel. The country’s Energy Policy and Planning Office said in October 2021, 55% of power still came from natural gas. It said 11% came from renewables and hydropower. The Ubon Ratchathani farm took almost two years to build, partly because of Covid-19 and workers getting sick. It began generating power last November and cost US$35 million.


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