Posts Tagged ‘international’

A New Solution To Stop COVID-19 in Phuket: Go After Expats Who Drink Beer

May 17, 2021

It seems that Phuket officials are so concerned about disease control orders banning parties and gatherings with friends, especially when alcohol is involved, that they’re searching for 4 foreigners who were caught drinking beer in a Rawai restaurant.

Based on a complaint from a woman who works for the district office, police raided the restaurant. The photos as well as a video showing a group of four foreign men and two Thai women were sent to the police showing their presence at Roxanne restaurant while she was out campaigning for face masks for locals.

Officials from the Muang District Office and Rawai Municipality also attended the restaurant. According to reports, men were seen leaving the restaurant on motorcycles just as 10 police officers and public officials arrived. The beer was still on the table when police arrived.

Officers took the owner of the restaurant and four of his employees to the Chalong Police Station. The owner faces charges of violating the provincial order that prohibits the sale and consumption of alcohol on the premises.

Just last week, police raided a home in Cherngtalay, breaking up a gathering of six people. Two UK citizens working in Phuket were fined 6,000 baht, while another four individuals are still waiting to appear at the police station.

As part of disease control measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and to prepare Phuket for a possible Covid-free reopening in July, officials have banned social activities and gatherings, except for traditional events like funerals. Foreigners who break the rules could be deported.

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The Thai Government Sets The Goals of the Bangkok COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign

May 13, 2021

One of the main focus of the vaccination effort is to get 5 million Bangkok resident within 2 months so that Bangkok can reach herd immunity as soon as possible.
So far, only 5 percent of the Bangkok population have been vaccinated against the pandemic.
Since April 2021, about 20,000 people have been infected by COVID-19.
The goal of the Public Health Ministry is administer 100,00 doas per dfay in Bangkok. The areas around the new Bang Sue Railway Central Station are going to be used as a vaccination hub. Officially, only people 18 and older in Bangkok can get the vaccination. Other resident and migrants who are not registered will still be part of Bangkok’s vaccination campaign, according to deputy director-general of the Disease Control Department.
The AsatraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines will be a part of the mass vaccination campaign, according to the chairperson of the government’s sub-committee on vaccination management, Sopon Mekthon.
In May 2021, the Thai government does expect more vaccine deliveries including 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca doses and 2.5 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
Recently, the Khlong Toey area of Bangkok has become a hotspot and a mass viccantiona campaign has already started. Hundreds of people have been tested positive. Some of the infected cannot afford to take time off work to self-isolate. The crowded conditions in this poor community have not helped, either.
Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Thai PM, says that so far, the number of people registered to get the vaccine is below what the Thai government.
PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says those who have now registered for a Covid-19 vaccine is below the target set by the government. Approximately 1.6 million people who are over 60, or who have an underlying health condition that puts them at risk of a severe Covid-19 infection, have signed up for the vaccine, of whom only 500,000 are in Bangkok. The Thai PM also said the following:
“We need to vaccinate as many people as possible so that Thailand can move forward… All types of (Covid-19) vaccines imported by the government are extremely safe and effective, as they are certified by the Public Health Ministry. They are used by millions worldwide, including many country leaders.”
Thailand plans to vaccinate 50 million people by the end of the year.

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The Myanmar Military Will Not Accept ASEAN Envoy Until Myanmar Is Stable

May 8, 2021

The ruling military in Myanmar is facing nationwide protests against the coup that brought down the elected government two months ago and has said that they would not accept a Southeast Asian envoy until they have established stability, prompting concerns that they will carry out more deadly violence against protesters and ethnic minorities.
Members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reached a consensus on five points at a summit on the Myanmar crisis last April 2021, which was attended by the architect of the February coup, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing
There was an end to violence, a dialogue between the military and its opponents, and a visit by a special ASEAN envoy.
Currently, we are prioritizing the security and stability of the country Major Kaung Htet San, a spokesman for the military council, said on May 7th, 2021.
Only after we achieve a certain level of security and stability will we cooperate with that envoy said the Myanmar military.
There has been turmoil in Myanmar since the coup unleashed anger among a public unwilling to accept a return to military rule after five decades of mismanagement and underdevelopment.
The biggest pro-democracy demonstration took place on Friday in the commercial capital Yangon, and smaller protests took place in at least 10 other places around the country.
At least 774 people have been killed and over 3,700 detained during the military’s crackdown on opponents, according to an advocacy group monitoring the crisis.
In social media posts, several people in Yangon have been taken by security forces without warrants.
Kaung Htet San, a military spokesman, said more arrests of terrorists than had been publicly announced had been made.
As a result of the April 24th, 2021 ASEAN meeting in Jakarta, analysts and activists remain skeptical that Myanmar will implement the five-point plan, which has no time frame nor mention of releasing political prisoners, including ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar Muslim Reporter Put In Solitary Confinement For Fasting For Ramadan

May 7, 2021

Kay Zon Nway, a Myanmar Now reporter who was arrested while reporting on a demonstration against a coup in Yangon in late February 2021, has been placed in solitary confinement at Insein Prison after she began fasting for Ramadan.
As a result of being charged under Section 505a of the Penal Code for incitement, she has been placed under solitary confinement since April 28. It was only when her lawyer, Nilar Khine, saw her on Thursday that she discovered this.
She says she didn’t do anything that Nilar Khine said. Some people do sit-in protests in prison, but she fasts because it’s Ramadan. She’s being arrested for no reason.
Prison officials couldn’t be reached for further information about her situation. Thursday’s hearing was held at the prison, not at a court.
Kay Zon Nway was accused falsely of fasting for Ramadan when the government arrested her, a woman recently released from Insein who had been arrested for protesting.
Some individuals have told prison officials that she is fasting because she is protesting.
Nilar Khine said that the plaintiff in the case, a deputy police major at Sanchaung police station, testified at Thursday’s hearing that she was arrested for inciting protests underneath the Myaynigone bridge in Sanchaung.
According to Nilar Khine, Kay Zon Nway has a right to report under Myanmar’s media law.
Her lawyer explained that she only had her phone and a tripod for the phone when she was arrested. Those items were used for reporting and not protesting.
The case against freelancer reporter Soe Yarzar Tun was also heard at Thursday’s hearing. The next hearing is scheduled for May 20th, 2021.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reports that 48 reporters are currently being detained in Myanmar in April of 2021.

The Opposition Group NUG Wants To Set Up A Defence Force To Protect People From The Myanmar Military

May 6, 2021

Recently in April 2021, Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG), set up by opponents of military rule, announced that it had formed a people’s defense force to protect its supporters from attacks and violence by the military government.
Myanmar has seen daily protests and a surge in violence since the military seized power on February 1st, 2021, and ousted a government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
The new force was argued to be a prelude to the Federal Union Army (FUA), which is responsible for ending decades of civil wars and for dealing with military attacks and violence by the State Administration Council (SAC) against its people.
Last month, an array of groups opposed to the junta, including ethnic minorities militias, established a unity government that promised to restore democracy, end violence, and build a federal democratic union.
It is reported by the Karen Information Center media group that as of March 31 the KNU’s Brigade 5 has killed 194 government troops, the country’s oldest rebel group.
An election commission found the November election fair, despite the military’s complaints of fraud by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy(NLD) party.
The military disputes the AAPP figure and has banned the group.
A total of 248 people have been killed since mid-April, 2021, and 24 police officers and soldiers have also been killed in the protests.
It has been impossible for independent media to verify casualties. Many of the journalists and activists have been arrested and detained as well. The Myanmar military has carried out military operations against ethnic groups in Karen and Kachin States, driving thousands of people to flee – some into Thailand.
The latest development comes as thousands of people stage protests across the country despite the violent crackdown.

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Thai Bits: New Soft Curfew for Phuket, Vaccinations For Bangkok District Due To COVID-19 Outbreak

May 4, 2021

New Phuket Soft Curfew Due To The Pandemic

If you are caught during these hours, the police will strongly suggest that you go home. It is best not to go out during these hours.
The curfew in Phuket will be in effect between 10 pm and 4 pm every day until things change. The announcement is now in full effect. Checkpoints are being set up to strongly request people who refuse to cooperate.
In spite of being polite, it is still a curfew. The Thai government has avoided the word curfew or lockdown, hence, the Orwellian soft curfew (google it if you don’t know what I am talking about).
Since the beginning of April 2021, Phuket has had a total of 463 people with COVID-19.

The Phuket government said the following when they made the soft curfew announcement:

Due to the situation in Phuket and across the country more people are infected daily and the number of deaths is increasing in which the infected persons were found in clusters. This is due to the organization of activities that gather many people, the traveling of people from high-risk areas without strictly adhering to public health measures.

These are the other provinces that have instituted soft curfews:

Central Thailand
Chai Nat: 11 pm – 4 am
Nakhon Pathom: 11pm – 4am
Nakhon Nayok: 11pm – 4am
Nonthaburi: 9 pm – 4 am
Pathum Thani: 9 pm – 4 am
Phetchaburi: 11 pm – 4 am
Samut Prakan: 9 pm – 4 am
Samut Sakhon: 11 pm – 4 am

Northern Thailand
Phrae: 11pm – 3am

North-East Thailand
Bueng Kan: 11 pm – 4 am

Southern Thailand
Ranong: 10pm – 4am
Songkhla: 10 pm – 4 am
Surat Thani: 10 pm – 4 am
Trang: 10 pm – 3 am
Yala: 10 pm – 4 am

The Klong Tuey District Get Vaccinations Sooner Because of COVID-19 Outbreak

The government is accelerating vaccine administration among shantytown dwellers in Bangkok’s Klong Toey district following an outbreak of COVID-19.
Within the slums, thousands of people live in very close quarters and travel to neighboring provinces for work. This has led to fears the virus could spread further and overload the healthcare system.
Prayut Chan-o-cha, Bangkok’s governor, says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is pressing for an urgent vaccine rollout among the community.
Officials aim to inoculate 1,000 people by the end of the day, and another 2,000 to 3,000 people in the following days, at Tesco Lotus stores in Rama IV and Ko Long Toey Withaya Schools starting at 1 pm on April 4th, 2021.
According to Rex Srirangson from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, a total of 39 Klong Toey communities will be tested. All infected patients have been hospitalized. Nearly 1,000 people are being tested for high-risk contacts dating back to the outbreak this summer.
In addition, the Bangkok Post reports that officials will also conduct mass testing at the Bon Kai community in Pathumwan district after detecting 60 new infections there. The aim is to test 4,000 people every day, Pongsakorn Kwanmuang from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says.
In Klong Toey, the outbreak was mainly driven by infections spreading among family members and work colleagues. Pongsakorn says that. The people in this district can live quite close together.

Thai Bits: COVID-19 Is Going to Hurt Economy in 2021, A COVID-19 Test Story in Phuket

May 3, 2021

COVID-19 is not just bad for Thais, it is bad for the Thai economy as well.
In recent months, the economic forecast for Thailand has been lowered to 2.3 percent as the outlook for tourism remains really poor as Thailand is experiencing a COVID-19 third wave.
The Thai Ministry of Finance’s Fiscal Policy Office forecast a 4.5 percent economic growth in 2021. This was partly based on the fact that COVID-19 appears to be weakening.
2.4 percent. In May 2021, it has dropped to 2.3 percent. By January 2021, the second wave had hit Thailand and the Ministry changed its predictions to 2.8 percent.
The Thai economic forecast assumes the Thai government will propose a stimulus package between May 2021 and the end of the fiscal year on September 30th.
According to the Finance Ministry, there is the hope of an economic recovery in the fourth quarter of the year. This could mean Thailand ends the year 2021 with 2.8 percent growth.
During the first two waves, Thailand did relatively well. However, the third wave has infected many more people in Thailand and the vaccine rollout has been slow. A positive effect from the global economic recovery is being undermined by COVID-19. The Thai economy may lose 100 million Thai baht per month for the rest of 2021.
Thai exports declined by 6.6 percent in 2020. The thriving export sector could achieve as high as 11 percent in 2021.
As much as 12 percent of the Thai economy comes from tourism in a mon-COVID-19 year. Tourism brought in 2 trillion baht in 2019. In 2020, there were delays in reopening to tourists on a large scale.
In total, 6.7 million tourists had arrived in Thailand by 2020. This caused a drastic 83 percent drop in tourism revenue in 2020. The only good thing was that a lot of Chinese tourists came.
At the time when they were more optimistic, they had more plans to open Phuket and tourist spots by July 1st, with Thailand fully open in October. Those plans were dashed by the new pandemic outbreak and tourist projections of two million had been revised downward. This could be a serious blow to the economy.

A Phuket COVID-19 Test Story

Just a heads up for people.
Yesterday we entered Phuket with our family and had to do a rapid Covid19 test. My son (10 years old Dutch/Thai passport holder) also had to do the test.
As expected they charged me 500 Baht but ALSO wanted to charge my son 500 Baht. The reasoning was that he had an English name and didn’t had a Thai ID card (he only has a Thai passport). After about a good 15 minutes of back and forth, they decided they were not going to charge my Thai son. However, it was a very unpleasant experience.
So a heads up for ex-pats with half children, expect some problems if they don’t have their Thai ID card.
Stay safe!

By Tobie Oud

ASEAN Will Work With Myanmar To Resolve Crisis

April 25, 2021

The Myanmar military leader did not reject a proposal to stop violence against Myanmar citizens at the Association of South-East Nations (ASEAN) summit.
The proposal came after ASEAN leaders had their emergency meeting with Min Aung Hlaing, a leader of the Myanmar regime, in Jakarta, Indonesia. Malaysian PM Najib Razak said it went well beyond expectations.
As the first ASEAN meeting since the Myanmar regime took control of the government on February 1st, 2021, this was the first ASEAN meeting after the military junta took over the country.
Human rights groups that monitor the Myanmar military believe that hundreds of unarmed protestors have been killed by the Myanmar military since the coup.
Prime Minister Lee said the Myanmar general was not opposed to an ASEAN delegation visiting Myanmar. ASEAN members agreed to a proposal to quell the conflict.
The ASEAN wants to start a dialogue with Myanmar, to allow aid to reach the country, to release political detainees, and to appoint a special ASEAN representative to Myanmar (Burma).
The ASEAN wrote a five-point statement on the Myanmar crisis that calls for an immediate ceasefire and for all parties to exercise restraint. Since the military coup, Myanmar, an ASEAN member, has been in chaos.
ASEAN’s document of April 25th called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
In addition, the statement stated that all parties should find a peaceful solution in the interests of the people.
The ASEAN Secretary-General will send a special envoy to mediate with the assistance of the ASEAN Special Envoy.
ASEAN will provide humanitarian aid, and the ASEAN representatives will meet with all parties involved in the crisis.

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The Thai Immigration Online Reporting System Is Up and Running Again

April 24, 2021

The Immigration Bureau is now allowing foreigners to submit 90-day reports or notifications online once again.
According to immigration authorities, the online reporting system has been down for many months.
Deputy Commander of the Immigration Bureau, Police Major General Achayon Kraitong, believes online reporting is essential to reduce the number of people going to Immigration offices during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Expats in Thailand have been complaining about the frequent outages of the online reporting system at a time when the pandemic has been a major concern. Even when the system was working, it did not always save your 90-day form (TH47).
With the online reporting system, foreigners no longer have to go to the Immigration office every time they have to report. They don’t have to mail the form through the mail. Furthermore, Achayon believes it will also reduce travel costs and time spent traveling to and from the office.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) announced that the Entry Thailand online platform is now available for international visitors who have received vaccinations and are considering visiting the country.
The one-stop platform highlights the necessary preparations visitors must make in advance of their visit, in line with government policy to gradually reopen to tourists who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus.
International visitors who have received one or both recommended shots (depending on the brand) of a vaccine registered with the Ministry of Public Health or approved by the WHO no less than 14 days before travel can apply to have their quarantine reduced to seven days.

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Rights Groups Put Pressure On ASEAN To Expel Myanmar From Organization

April 23, 2021

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), an economic-trade alliance of ten Asian countries including Myanmar, is under pressure from human rights groups to expel the country from the trade alliance and invalidate the coup leader’s legitimacy.
ASEAN is holding a summit on Saturday, April 24th, 2021.
One of the seven heads of state expected at the summit is Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who led the successful coup on February 1st. Thailand and the Philippines will only send their foreign ministers.
ASEAN members are Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia (host of the summit), Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines.
There was a meeting in the first global effort to address the Maynmar crisis. The Myanmar military has killed about 700 people since the coup.
At the summit, ASEAN will be tested. In the past, ASEAN did not interfere in the internal affairs of a member.
According to UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarris, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also pressed ASEAN leaders to stop the crisis from escalating and there may be a humanitarian crisis that goes beyond Maynmar’s borders.
As the UN spokesperson said, the UN is sending Special UN Envoy Christine Schrener Burgener to the summit. She will discuss with ASEAN leaders putting together a political solution to the Myanmar crisis.
On April 22nd, 2021, Fortify Rights believes that by inviting the coup leader Hlaing, they are ignoring the legitimate civilian leaders that were elected last year. If the coup leader doesn’t talk about ending the crisis, ASEAN should expel Myanmar.
Other human rights organizations are in agreement with Fortify Rights.
As the military has run the government intermittently since 1988, ASEAN did not ban them from the organization.