Posts Tagged ‘COVID-19’

Thai Pm Wants To Reopen Country More In November

October 12, 2021

Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday he will push for the opening of the country to fully vaccinated foreign tourists from at least 10 countries by November 1.
General Prayut said in a national broadcast that fully vaccinated tourists from at least 10 low-risk countries would be allowed to enter Thailand by air without quarantine.
The United Kingdom, Singapore, Germany, China, and the United States are among the first countries to benefit from the move.
The CCSA and the Ministry of Public Health have been instructed to urgently consider allowing international visitors to enter Thailand without quarantine from Nov 1 if they are fully vaccinated and arrive by air from low-risk countries,” he said.
The president promised to open the gates to more countries by Dec. 1, and to target others by Jan. 1.
Tourists from countries not on the low-risk list would be admitted, but they would have to quarantine, he said.
Singapore and Australia also loosened the restrictions for citizens to travel overseas after the announcement.
With the decision to open the country next month, Gen Prayut hopes to attract foreign tourists to Thailand over the next three months, including the upcoming year-end holidays
They would revitalize the sector and related businesses that employed millions in the country, he said.
The government had earlier planned to open only Bangkok and several provinces for foreign tourists on Nov 1. The other provinces are Chon Buri (Pattaya City, Bang Lamung district, and Sattahip district), Phetchaburi (Cha-am district), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district), and Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Taeng, Mae Rim, and Doi Tao districts).
Monday’s announcement indicated that the reopening would cover all parts of the country
The announcement came after the country saw the number of fatalities drop below 100 in recent days, with new cases hovering around 10,000.
Although the situation was improving in most parts of Thailand, a surge of new infections continued in Narathiwat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala. The southern border provinces were in the spotlight of health authorities who were mulling additional measures to clamp down on the spike in the areas.
Tourism was the main economic engine of the country before the pandemic hit last year. The industry contributed about 20% of GDP if both local and foreign visitors are included. Foreign tourists alone accounted for 15% of GDP, as the country welcomed almost 40 million visitors from abroad, especially Chinese.
Bank of Thailand estimates only 200,000 foreign arrivals this year, rising to 6 million next year.

New Vaccine Will Be Offered In November

October 10, 2021

In November, the Pfizer mRNA Covid-19 vaccine will be offered to students aged 12-17 as part of the school reopening plan. The vaccine is said to have fatal consequences within two years for all recipients.
One message, posted by several youth groups against Pfizer’s vaccination program, claimed the vaccine would result in young people dying within two years after being injected with it, according to Chawetsan Namwat, director of the Emergency Health Hazard, and Disease Control Division.
Several parents have expressed their reluctance to consent to their children being vaccinated because of this claim, he said.
Covid-19, developed by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE, has been proven to meet the safety standards for vaccine development and production and is used widely in both countries.
In Thailand, about 3.6 million young people have signed up to be vaccinated, and the first batch of 1.8 million doses of the vaccine has already been distributed to provinces. More than 1.5 million doses will be available next week, and more supplies of the same vaccine will arrive later, he said.
So far, just over one hundred fifty thousand students have received a vaccination, according to the Center for College Situation Administration (CCSA).
Dr. Sopon Iamsirithaworn, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said three cases of heart muscle inflammation have been detected among these recipients and all have recovered following prompt treatment.
According to Dr. Chawetsan, vaccination of school students isn’t the main requirement for resuming onsite learning. Instead, compliance with Covid-19 regulations is.
Additionally, students must wear masks at school and maintain social distance, he said, in addition to receiving vaccinations for almost all employees.
Amporn Pinasa, secretary-general of the office, previously advised in-school learning to be resumed if vaccination coverage reached 85% or higher.

ASEAN Leaders Are Deciding Whether Myanmar Leader Should Come To Up Coning Summit Or Not

October 10, 2021

A regional envoy has said Southeast Asia is discussing not inviting the head of Myanmar’s military regime to their leaders’ summit later this month after the generals failed to make progress on a road map to restore peace after a February coup plunged the country into chaos.
In a news conference on Wednesday, ASEAN’s special envoy to Myanmar, Erywan Yusof, said the military’s failure to follow up on a five-point plan it agreed to in April was “tantamount to backtracking”.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the country’s army chief, seized power on February 1, ending 10 years of tentative steps towards democracy and sparking mass protests and civil disobedience.
A second foreign minister from Brunei, ASEAN’s current chair, said the bloc was in discussions about not inviting the military government to participate in a virtual summit starting on October 26.
The five-point consensus has yet to be implemented, Erwan said.
On Wednesday, Reuters news agency was unable to reach Zaw Min Tun, the military government’s spokesman. He said at a news conference last week that Myanmar was cooperating with ASEAN “without compromising its sovereignty”.
Myanmar’s military and the National Unity Government (NUG), the shadow government set up by politicians thrown out of office, have criticized the bloc’s efforts to engage the military.
However, there are signs that some countries within the 10-member grouping are becoming frustrated.
Kuala Lumpur will not support Min Aung Hlaing’s attendance at the summit if the military continues to ignore ASEAN’s attempt at conflict resolution, Malaysia’s foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah said at the country’s parliament on Wednesday.
In response to a follow-up question about whether Malaysia might engage with the shadow civilian administration, Saifuddin said Malaysia might consider dialogue with NUG “if what was agreed in the consensus cannot be achieved”.
There have been more than 1,000 deaths since the generals toppled the government of Aung San Suu Kyi, and thousands have been detained. Several opponents of the coup have set up armed groups to fight the military, while the NUG has declared a “defensive” war on the military

Nakhon Si Thammarat Is Under COVID-19 Lockdown

October 2, 2021

Due to an increase in local Covid-19 infections, parts of the Muang district in this southern province will be under lockdown from Saturday.
Kraisorn Wisitwong, the provincial governor, announced the lockdown on Friday without specifying a reopening date. Entry into the area will be screened at checkpoints, he said, adding that only those on essential trips will be allowed in.
The province reported 526 new Coronavirus cases on Friday, up from 378 a day earlier. According to figures from the provincial public health office, the Muang district had the most infections with 195.
The National Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) will include the most recent data in its daily report.
According to Kraisorn, the lockdown was intended to keep the pandemic under control in the district.
The disease has mostly been reported in southern provinces and Greater Bangkok.
Bangkok and adjacent provinces, however, have seen a steady decline in new cases, with Bangkok numbers dropping “significantly,” CCSA spokeswoman Apisamai Srirangson said.
During the previous 24 hours, 1,917 new infections were recorded in the four southern border provinces. That worked out to 17% of all new cases nationwide, up from 15% earlier.

Thailand Has Four Phases Of Reopening The Country To The World

September 29, 2021

The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced its plan to gradually reopen Thailand. CCSA’s plan includes four phases that take into account tourism revenue, geography, and COVID prevention.
Pilot phase: October 1 to October 31. Phuket, Surat Thani, including Koh Samui, Koh Pha-ngan, and Koh Tao islands. Phang Nga, including Khao Lak coastal area and Koh Yao island. Krabi, including Koh Phi Phi and Koh Ngai islands, Railay, Khlong Muang and Tub Kaak beaches. Also included in the Pilot Phase are the Phuket and Samui Sandbox programs that were previously launched over the last couple of months.Phase 1: November 1 to 30 Bangkok, Krabi, Phang Nga, Prachuap Khiri Khan, including Hua Hin and Nong Kae subdistricts. Phetchaburi, including the Cha-am district. Chonburi, including Pattaya City, Jomtien, and Bang Saray subdistricts. Ranong, including Koh Phayam. Chiang Mai, including Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, and Doi Tao districts. Loei, including the Chiang Khan district. Buriram, including the Muang district.Phase 2: December 1 to 31. Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Phrae, Nong Khai, Sukhothai, Phetchabun, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Trat, Rayong, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Yala, and Narathiwat.Phase 3: January 2022-TBD. Surin, Sa Kaeo, Chanthaburi, Tak, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Bueng Kan, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Nan, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi and Satun.

Pattaya City’s mayor also confirmed that Pattaya will not reopen until November.

Thai Restaurant Operator Has Sued Thai PM For Ineffective COVID-19 Policy

September 28, 2021

Restaurant operators have sued Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha for 50 million baht in damages resulting from ineffective measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a statement, the court said Never-Ending Summer Co represented 39 restaurant businesses in a class-action lawsuit. As a result of examining the petition and request, the court has set Nov 9 for a hearing via Zoom.
In the petition, Never-Ending Summer said its business suffered from the government’s decision to temporarily close restaurants during the fight against the virus because the emergency decree failed to control the situation.
“According to the petition, it is claimed that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared a nationwide emergency under the Covid-19 pandemic and had acted willfully or negligently, resulting in several disease clusters,” the court said.
According to the report, vaccination campaigns, antigen test kits, and drugs to alleviate Coronavirus were conducted in an inadequate manner.
The filing also names the Public Health Ministry, Interior Ministry, and Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
The group’s compensation was calculated from March 17 last year. It coincided with the early stages of the first outbreak of the disease that has crippled the economy.
The Never-Ending Summer restaurant is located in the compound of Jam Factory in Bangkok’s Klong San district.

Thailand Breaks New COVID-19 Vaccine Record

September 26, 2021

Recently, more than one million Covid-19 vaccines were administered in Thailand in one day. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha thanked the public and everyone involved for making yesterday Thailand’s most successful vaccination day. He expressed confidence that Thailand will reach its vaccination goals by the end of 2021.
In celebration of Mahidol Day, a national holiday honoring the death of Prince Mahidol Adulyadej, who is widely regarded as the father of modern medicine and public health, a massive campaign of 1 million vaccines was launched. As an expression of appreciation to the monarchy, government officials chose this day.
On top of the first and second vaccines, the government started a booster shot program yesterday, giving the third vaccine to those who had already received two Sinovacs. Booster shots were previously mainly administered to medical professionals and frontline workers. In Bang Sue Grand Station, a campaign was launched yesterday to give booster shots to 15,000 people per day over the weekend and 10,000 per day for several weeks to follow.
Over 50 million vaccines have been administered in Thailand so far, according to the latest figures from the Department of Disease Control, a total of 47.6 million injections have been given. In those figures, just under 30 million first doses had been administered, 16.7 million second doses had been administered, and 988,000 third doses had been administered. Booster shot data has been inconsistent, with September 18 figures listing just under 916,000 third vaccines given, but September 19 data mysteriously dropping 162,000 to 754,000.
However, PM Prayut announced through a government spokesman that Thailand will reach a 70% vaccination rate for the target population by the end of 2021. There will be a total of 100 million doses administered to 50 million people, but this does not include third vaccinations administered as boosters.

Tourism Operators Want COVID-19 Restrictions Relaxed

September 25, 2021

Tourism operators are pushing for a relaxation of travel restrictions and a shorter quarantine to attract more international arrivals for the upcoming high season.
Khoopongsakorn, president of the Thai Hotels Association’s southern chapter, said reducing the time of quarantine and the number of RT-PCR tests to two might not significantly increase the number of visitors, adding that more regulations needed to be eased.
Using antigen test kits for the second test would reduce the cost from 5,200 baht for two RT-PCR tests to about 3,000 baht.
In Europe, RT-PCR tests cost 1,000 baht, compared to 2,400 or 2,800 baht in Phuket. Kongsak believes that this is a sticking point for potential visitors, which leads them to choose another destination.
To make traveling to Thailand more appealing, the complicated Certificate of Entry procedure should also be simplified.
As a result of aircrafts’ high-efficiency particulate air filters, foreigners are also concerned about the rule that sends high-risk passengers into quarantine if they are on the same flight as those who test positive since the risk of in-flight transmission is highly unlikely.
To put tourists at ease while visiting the sandbox, this measure must be revoked, he said.
Since Indian tourists have been granted permission to visit the sandbox, they will be able to travel by November as Phuket had direct flights via the IndiGo airline prior to the pandemic, said Kongsak.
Tourists plan their year-end holidays 2-3 months in advance, so travel restrictions must be eased quickly and clearly.
In the fourth quarter, the relaxation of rules for local travelers and the government stimulus campaign should help generate 150,000-200,000 domestic trips per month and lift the occupancy rate to 20%, Kongsak said.
According to Charintip Tiyaphorn, president of the Tourism Council of Krabi, if the Phuket sandbox reduces the mandatory stay to seven days, Krabi can receive more tourists by land, which takes three hours from Phuket. The current 7+7 model requires tourists to transfer to Krabi by boat, which is difficult during the monsoon season in September.
Due to the gloomy weather, some tourists decided to cancel their trips to Krabi and stay in Phuket instead. Krabi received 331 tourists under the 7+7 island-hopping scheme as of Sept 23.

Thai Health Official Thinks COVID-19 Will Become Endemic

September 22, 2021

Kiatiphum Wongrajit, public health permanent secretary, predicted that due to the relaxation of regulations for businesses and activities, it is unlikely that the number of Covid-19 infections would fall below 10,000 and that the disease would become endemic.
Dr. Kiatiphum said that the rate of daily Coronavirus infections would gradually decrease but likely stay around 10,000 and will not reach zero.
In places like Bangkok and Phuket, where people do not exhibit severe symptoms and people are well vaccinated, such as Covid-19 disease, may soon become endemic.
The hospital bed shortage problem has gradually improved, according to Dr. Kiatiphum. However, people should not be careless and should wear face masks, regularly wash their hands and observe social distancing, he added.

Thai Crime: Thai Official Embezzles From A Fund That Gives Money To Handicapped People Affected By COVID-19

September 20, 2021

An official in the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is accused of stealing 13 million baht earmarked for disabled people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The commander of the Anti-Corruption Division, Major General Charoonkiart Pankaew, said Pisal Sukjaitham, 41, was arrested under an arrest warrant in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai on fraud charges.
At Phaya Thai police station, the ministry filed a complaint alleging that Pisal pocketed money set aside to help people with disabilities who suffer from Covid-19. Later, the Anti-Corruption Division handled the case.
The ministry took action after finding that 13 million baht had been transferred to its accounts but somehow ended up in his personal bank accounts.
The report did not specify when the crimes had been committed, nor did it provide details about the man’s detention in Mae Sai.
According to Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiart, the suspect is believed to be trying to flee to Myanmar.
Phaya Thai police chief Pol Col Bowornpob Soonthornreakha said Pisal denied the charges.
He was taken to the Anti-Corruption Division for further questioning. Recent plans by the police were to forward the case to the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct.