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Follow seven steps for a safe return to Thailand      9 july briefing video below

At the daily briefing on the Covid-19 situation in Thailand on Thursday (July 9), Natapanu Nopakun, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry's Information Department, announced the steps Thais and foreigners under 11 groups need to follow before they are allowed entry into the country.

The steps are:

1. Contact the Thai embassy or consulate in your country to book a seat on a repatriation flight;

2. Foreigners must book a room at an alternative state quarantine site, get a fit-to-fly health certificate as well as a Covid-19 test that is negative and has been taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Foreigners are also required to have insurance coverage of US$100,000 specifically for Covid-19. Thais, on the other hand, only need to provide a fit-to-fly certificate;

3. All these documents must be submitted to the embassy or consulate to secure a seat on the flight;

4. Follow preventive measures while awaiting departure;

5. Upon arrival, foreigners will undergo health screening before they are transported to the alternative state quarantine site;

6. On the third to fifth day of quarantine, individuals will undergo Covid-19 tests. If negative, a second test will be applied between the 11th and 13th day of quarantine to confirm the end of the virus's incubation period;

7. People can travel around Thailand, provided they notify health authorities of their whereabouts, strictly follow health instructions as well as download and use the ThaiChana platform for tracking.

Meanwhile, foreign fathers who are not legally married to their children's mother can return to Thailand provided their name is mentioned in the child's birth certificate. However, foreigners with a partner in Thailand whom they are not legally married to will not be allowed to return.

Natapanu said every Thai mission overseas will follow the government's guidelines, but the arrangement of repatriation flights also depends on local regulations.

He added that Thailand will now allow 600 stranded foreigners per day to take repatriation flights that are heading to their country to pick up stranded Thais. Foreigners seeking to return home must contact their embassy, submit required documents and wait to be allocated a seat, because some countries are still not allowing commercial flights.  nationthailand.com

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thais Lower Guard against COVID
(TNA) -- Thai people are lenient in protecting themselves from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

CCSA spokesman Taweesin Visanuyothin said a survey on more than 400,000 people in the country found that 80.7% of respondents were serious about the self-protection. The percentage dropped from 85.3% in a previous survey.

The latest survey also showed that failure to use the Thaichana app for check-ins and checkouts to facilitate disease investigation happened to 46.9% of wet markets, 17.1% of department stores and 15.4% of shops at malls.

Of the respondents, 44.5% supported the arrivals of Thai returnees, 45.2% disagreed with 'travel bubble' tourism and 69.2% opposed international tourism. Meanwhile, 40.5% were confident that the government would be able to control the second spread of COVID-19.

Dr Taweesin also said a green light for the reception of foreign medical and wellness visitors supported private hospitals but the hospitals had already served such visitors before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The visitors would stimulate the national economy because they would be quarantined for 14 days and could visit local tourist destinations afterwards. About 2,000 selected foreigners would arrive from this month to September. They would not seek major operations and thus would not affect Thai medical resources, Dr Taweesin said.

The CCSA spokesman said security officials and local health volunteers would join forces to stop illegal migrant workers from entering the country and health officials would test more people for possible infection in order to control COVID-19.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thai People Confident of COVID-19 Control
The majority of Thai people are confident that the government can cope with the second spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), according to a survey by the Public Health Ministry.

Dr Tares Krassanairawiwong, director-general of the Health Service Support Department, said the Public Health Ministry, the World Health Organization's South-East Asia office and partners conducted their latest survey on people's efforts to control COVID-19 during business lockdown relaxation.

It was one of surveys conducted online, on phone and by local health volunteers with 407,008 respondents from May 15 to July 2.

It found that Thai people feared that pubs, bars and karaoke shops posed the highest risks of the second spread of COVID-19, followed by wet markets, nurseries and schools. However, 55.3% of respondents said they believed the government would be able to contain COVID-19 but 38.8% doubted the government's capability.

The survey also showed that people were protecting themselves less. In the first-week survey, 85.3% of respondents protected themselves from infection but the percentage dropped to 80.7% in the 7th-week survey.

Of respondents, 87.9% wore face masks, 86.2% used personal spoons, 84.9% regularly washed hands, 73.4% observed social distancing, and 72.4% avoided touching faces.

The survey also found that more people traveled to provinces in groups and many people did not use the Thaichana app for check-ins and checkouts because they were worried about their privacy and shops did not use the app or did not register their visits.

Of respondents, 88% supported the returns of Thai people from other countries, 80% thought the 'Travel Bubble' measure would revitalize tourism, and 70% opposed travel between Thailand and the countries where COVID-19 were spreading.

Six more such surveys will be conducted from July 16 to Sept 24.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


WHO advance team heads to China to set up probe into coronavirus origin
A two-member advance team of World Health Organization (WHO) experts has left for China to organise an investigation into the origins of the novel coronavirus behind a pandemic that has killed more than 550,000 people globally, the UN agency said on Friday (Jul 10).

The virus is believed to have emerged in a wholesale market in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year after jumping the species barrier from the animal kingdom to infect humans.

The two WHO experts, specialists in animal health and epidemiology, will work with Chinese scientists to determine the scope and itinerary of the investigation, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said, declining to name them.

"We know it's very, very similar to the virus in the bat, but did it go through an intermediate species? This is a question we all need answered," Harris told a news briefing.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus later told a news conference: "Two WHO experts are currently en route to China to meet with fellow scientists and learn about the progress made in understanding the animal reservoir for COVID-19 and how the disease jumped between animals and humans."

He added, "This will help lay the groundwork for the WHO-led international mission into the origins."

COVID-19 is the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

The United States, the WHO's largest WHO donor, this week notified the agency that it was withdrawing in a year's time after accusing it of being too close to China and not doing enough to question Beijing's actions at the start of the crisis.

"We view the scientific investigation as a necessary step to having a complete and transparent understanding of how this virus has spread throughout the world," Andrew Bremberg, US ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, said in a statement to Reuters.

"We expect that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) will offer the team of scientists full access to data, samples, and localities, and look forward to its timely report," Bremberg said.

US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have said the pathogen may have originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, although they have presented no evidence for this and China has denied it. Scientists and US intelligence agencies have said it emerged in nature.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID19 UPDATE (11 July 2020)
- 14* new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,216 total)
- 1 more discharged (3,088)
- 70 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

*All Thai returnees in state quarantine: 1 from Bahrain, 1 from the US and 12 from Sudan.
credit SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Nine points proposed to strengthen new normal
(NNT) - The Spokesperson for the government's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has presented nine points for strengthening the new normal and protecting against a resurgence of the pathogen, encouraging all sectors to circulate productive information.

Despite an easing in the COVID-19 situation, the state continues to call for strict measures to be observed, to protect against a second wave of the virus. The Thai Media Fund held a forum to collect views from the public, private and civilian sectors on preventive measures.

Advisors to the CCSA have presented nine points, aimed at avoiding a second outbreak of COVID-19. They include the production of media targeted at specific groups, such as teenagers, teachers and children, the creation of coordination spaces, the production of media promoting Thailand as a center for global health, based on its success against the virus, the production of media promoting charitable activities, promotion of religious activities centered on dealing with COVID-19, historical documentation of the phenomenon, analysis of the situation and promotion of self-care.

The forum heard from other groups suggesting approaches, with some calling for guidelines on how to attend temple and how to engage in religious practices. All practical ideas collected at the forum will be used to design the next iteration of COVID-19 preventive measures.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand situation, 12 July 2020
- Total confirmed: 3,217  (+1)
- Recovered: 3,088 (+0)
- Active cases: 71
- Deaths: 58 (+0)
credit @ thaimoph - 1 new case Thai in state quarantine returned from Japan
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


WHO reports record daily increase in global coronavirus cases, up over 230,000

(Reuters) - The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.

The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa, according to a daily report. The previous WHO record for new cases was 228,102 on July 10. Deaths remained steady at about 5,000 a day.

Global coronavirus cases were approaching 13 million on Sunday, according to a Reuters tally, marking another milestone in the spread of the disease that has killed more than 565,000 people in seven months.


Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thais remain cautious over opening up to arrivals
Most people are still opposed to opening the country to foreigners not infected with Covid-19, as the threat of global pandemic remains very serious, according to a survey carried out by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on July 6-8 among 1,251 people aged 18 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country.

A proposed "medical and wellness" programme would open the country to foreigners who test negative for Covid-19 to receive medical treatment. They would be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine before being allowed to travel in the kingdom.

A majority -- 55.3% -- disagreed with the programme. Of them, 41.41% strongly disagreed with it, saying those admitted could be carriers and cause a second wave of the pandemic, while Thailand already has many infections imported by Thai returnees from abroad. Another 13.9% said they disagreed because the situation does not yet warrant the entry of foreigners even if they have health certificates.

On the other side, 23.1% agreed, saying this would enhance the reputation of Thai medical facilities and spur the economy; and 21.58% moderately agreed, reasoning that measures taken by Thailand had proved effective.

A second proposed programme would allow those foreigners admitted for medical treatment to travel around Thailand after undergoing a 14-day quarantine. Asked about this second programme, 37.8% were against it and wanted Covid-19 to be 100% eradicated first because they had no confidence in the 14-day quarantine, while 14.5% disagreed with it, but less strongly, for fear of a second wave of the pandemic since Covid-19 was mostly imported by foreigners.

On the other side, 24.1% strongly supported the programme, saying it would help rehabilitate tourism and stimulate the economy, while another 23.2% somewhat agreed with it for showing confidence in Thai medical services.

Asked about the travel bubble programme that would allow foreigners from countries free of Covid-19 to visit the country, a majority -- 54.3% -- supported it. Of that number, 25.9% strongly agreed, saying it would help spur the economy and revitalise the airline industry, while another 28.4% were in moderate agreement for the same reason.

On the other side, 29.65% strongly opposed the programme, and a further 14.95% were in moderate disagreement for fear of a second wave of the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Thailand and Japan are expected to finalise a travel bubble agreement under which Japanese investors are permitted to enter or re-enter Thailand now that the Covid-19 lockdown has been eased. Details are being wrapped up including what health measures will be required to support the scheme, said Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.

He was speaking after meeting Japanese ambassador to Thailand Nashida Kazuya on Friday.

The Thailand Board of Investment was assigned to lead the Thai side in working together with its Japanese counterparts on the bubble arrangement, the minister said.

The most likely Covid-19 quarantine option for Japanese investors under this programme would be at private facilities, which will possibly be required along with a health insurance policy covering up to around US$100,000 (3.1 million baht), said Mr Saksayam.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID19 UPDATE (13 July 2020)
- 3 new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,220 total)
- 2 more discharged (3,090)
- 72 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

All cases are Thai returnees in state quarantine (1 each from Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt).
credit SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


An interview with the CCSA Spokesman on disinformation, virus numbers, and spreading the right message

Natapanu Nopakun is a Deputy Director-General at the Information Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but is better known as the face of Thailand's English-language Covid-19 public communications. At the height of the pandemic in March and April, the Covid-19 press briefing took place daily. Mr. Nopakun would take the 15 minutes after Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the Thai-language spokesman of the government's Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), translating live the contents of Dr. Taweesilp's briefing and supplementing it with information more relevant to his English-speaking audience.

Now, the press briefings take place three times a week – soon to be scaled down to once a week. The press conference area is particularly casual: the carefully laid out chairs are empty (as they have been since reports of a government official infected with COVID-19 in the vicinity), and the camera crew far outnumbers the officials present. When Dr. Taweesilp and Mr. Nopakun speak, their staffers continue their work in the background, typing away on laptops. The whole affair is finished in less than an hour.

But the moment you leave the Government House, immediately the briefings come up in conversation with taxi drivers and shopkeepers.

In his own words, Mr. Nopakun has some points to say about the broader context behind communicating Covid-19.

Some contents of the interview have been edited for concision and clarity:

Has disinformation been a problem in publicly communicating Covid-19?

Disinformation and misinformation are two different things. Disinformation involves intentionally misleading people with malicious or false information, while misinformation is erroneously saying the wrong thing. During the Covid-19 period, there was an important piece of disinformation that was spread, where some people tried to create the impression that Thais returning were bringing back the virus and spreading it in the country.

Thais have a right, according to the constitution, to return to their country. Everyone has a right to return to their own country – no matter how sick. Some took a surface-level approach to the issue, seeing only that some Thais coming back were infected. But in fact those who returned were all put in controlled environments, and all had to go to state quarantine. Of course, there were initial problems in April where some were not willing to go into quarantine, but now we have six or seven different types of quarantine that are utilized for both Thais and foreigners

This is important, because it created stigma and discrimination against not just Thais but also foreigners, anyone coming into the country.

Has it been a challenge coordinating with various organizations to ensure transparency and clarity?

Every organization has their own objective. When there's a crisis, you need to integrate policy, which is a challenge because in the beginning of a crisis anywhere in the world, there would be complete bureaucratic confusion. But from my perspective, you need to look at the broader picture. We can't try to pinpoint protection for one particular group, because the disease is borderless, boundary-less. As far as the MFA was concerned, our main challenge was trying to stop the stigma around people from other countries coming home.

There was a poster for example, which was produced by an agency that was slightly misleading, which said: there are now zero Thai infections, but there are a number of migrants infected.

It made it seem as if the migrant infection numbers didn't matter. Of course, migrants matter, and Thailand has international commitments in terms of human rights and respect migrant health and safety. We've spoken at IOM specifically about this. And in the end, they changed this poster, but it's important to communicate things in a way that is politically correct for everyone in the nation.

What is the power and role of the MFA in all of this?

Every organization has the right to communicate on their own behalf, every organization has their own interests. But when it's something at the macro or national level, we can provide input, especially if there's an international dimension. We're lucky that many people listen to the MFA, because we have the global perspective on many issues like migrants' rights.

When there's a crisis, of course, it can be difficult to get together and iron out an integrated message, because people turn to their own advisers and committees. But it's now much more integrated because of the CCSA.

The CCSA has ten operations centers, and we head the operation center on foreign affairs, which manages and takes care of people coming in from abroad (while the security agencies and Interior Ministry controls the enforcement of curfews or social distancing).

But in terms of communication specifically, there's English and Thai. In Thai the Ministry of Health communicates because the doctors have technical details, but as the Prime Minister also recognizes the importance of communicating directly with English speakers, so we handle that.

It's the first time we've ever had extensive English-language briefings from the government during a crisis. We receive our complaints from social media, and I channel it directly through the CCSA's clearing house, so the government is aware, and my team listens to that.

The problem is, despite the fact that our economy is becoming fairly advanced, we are very rarely internationally oriented and have very few English language channels. People have told me that we should do this more in the future, that when we speak directly to the English language audience and answer their questions, they feel confident that the government cares.

Of course, there are people who say I don't give enough detail in my briefings, but I only have fifteen minutes of airtime to speak which I make full use of.

How do you manage communicating contradictory information? For example, when the government was changing its policy daily on inbound travel?

It's a good thing, actually, that in situations like this you can adapt and adjust on a daily basis. The circumstances are very fluid, so you can't anchor yourself on what was said on a particular Monday if there's a changing situation in the days that follow.

In this sense, some people look too broadly, and other people look too narrowly. The ministry needs to be able to balance between many factors. For example, in terms of inbound travel, we take into account three factors: is there enough space for quarantine? Are there enough flights? Are there enough doctors? So when people ask us why they can't fly immediately, even if they have the right documents, we need to take into account these other factors too.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Concern over infected Egyptian soldier in Rayong quarantine – among 3 new Covid-19 cases
Thailand saw three new confirmed Covid-19 cases, including that of an Egyptian soldier, in state quarantine without any death over the past 24 hours, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), reported today (July 13) – the 49th day without any domestic case.

The latest cases are an asymptomatic 48-year-old male worker, who returned home from Kuwait, where he stayed at a campsite which was previously hit by at least 10 cases, and a 22-year-old woman, who came back from Bahrain.

What has especially caused concern is the third case – of an asymptomatic 43-year-old male Egyptian soldier, who travelled with a military crew to Thailand on July 8. He was found positive yesterday when under state quarantine. He and his group travelled from Cairo to the United Arab Emirates (July 6), then to Pakistan (July 7) and Thailand July 8. He and the crew reportedly visited a Rayong shopping and community area. They left their hotel on July 9 and travelled to China on an unspecified military mission via U-Tapao Airport. They returned to Thailand the same day. On July 10, the crew of 31 got tested. However, they were allowed to go home on July 11 though their Covid-19 test results weren't confirmed. The soldier was found to test positive on July 12. Health authorities were questioning the staff of the unnamed hotel in which the group stayed.

Meanwhile, two local patients have fully recovered and returned home in the past 24 hours.

As for Saturday's case of a 9-year-old African girl, who is the daughter of an ambassador and was found to be infected with Covid-19 on arrival, she travelled with four other family members to Thailand on July 10, having been tested at the foreign airport she departed. She was taken to a hospital on July 11 while other members of her family stayed in a condominium in Bangkok.

"The CCSA has discussed such cases and the need for some measures to be tightened," Dr Taweesin said. "The government has allowed foreigners to enter but they need to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Officials have to further discuss the issue of relaxing this quarantine for short-stay visitors and other measures at every airport to meet public health standards. A medical team is investigating and checking the condominium to ensure the safety of Thais," he added.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


on above post

Thai officials tracing anyone who may have been infected by Egyptian soldier
The CCSA is asking anyone who thinks they may have had physical contact with an Egyptian soldier, who was on a short visit to Thailand last week and later tested positive for COVID-19, to come forward for testing, said CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin told a news briefing today (Monday)

The Egyptian soldier is one of the three new COVID-19 cases recorded in Thailand today by the CCSA.

Dr. Taweesin said that the 43-year Egyptian was among a group of 30 personnel who flew into Thailand on July 8th and entered quarantine at a hotel in the eastern province of Rayong. The following day, the group left for China and returned to Thailand the same night, checking into the hotel for a one-night stay, before departing for Egypt on July 11th.

Dr. Taweesin said that all the men were screened and swab tests taken on their arrival from China on July 10th.  Second swab tests were conducted the next day, before their departure, but the results, which came back yesterday, showed one of them was positive for COVID-19, he added.

While in Rayong province, the infected soldier is reported to have left the hotel to visit a shopping mall and a few other venues, said Dr. Taweesin, adding that Thai public health officials have been tracing people who might have had physical contact with the soldier.


Rayong hotel where an infected Egyptian stayed partially closed
The provincial administration of Rayong province has ordered the quarantining of some staff at, and partial closure of the hotel where a member of an Egyptian military delegation, who was later found to be infected with COVID-19, stayed.

Health officials in the province have been working frantically to trace anyone who may have been in physical contact with the infected soldier, after it was reported that several members of the delegation had left the hotel and visited a mall, among other places.

Governor Surasak said that it isn't known how many of the Egyptians went shopping, but officials are checking CCTV systems at the hotel and mall.

He said, however, that the two upper floors of the hotel, where the group had stayed, have been closed for disinfection and two hotel staff, who reportedly took room service orders to their rooms, were quarantined.

Meanwhile, the Passione Shopping Destination web page reported that Holiday Inn & Suites, Rayong City Centre, did not accommodate the Egyptian delegation, because the hotel does not accept foreign guests who have not entered 14-day quarantine.

The hotel is not a state quarantine facility, said the web page, adding that the venue will be cleansed with disinfectant tonight, to ensure safety for shoppers.

According to regulations, government guests and foreign delegations, on short visits to Thailand, are exempted from 14-day mandatory quarantine, but they are required to confine themselves to their hotels.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Family of infected girl from Sudan investigated
The family of a nine-year-old girl found infected with Covid-19 are being investigated after they were not in state quarantine and required only to self-isolate.

On Saturday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) reported a nine-year-old girl who came from Sudan with her family tested positive.

CCSA spokesmanTaweesilp Visanuyothin said on Monday she was at a hospital but the other four family members were not in state quarantine because they were the family of a diplomat.

They reportedly self-isolated at a condominium in Bangkok, which the CCSA did not name.

Before the trip, the mother took everyone to get tested in Sudan last Tuesday. All tested negative.

Three days later, they were tested on arrival and the results were negative. But more comprehensive tests showed the girl was infected.

The CCSA spokesman said officials were investigating this case.

"Diplomat families are required to self-isolate at embassies or residences for 14 days and up until now there were no problems. The CCSA will rethink its measures to make them more comprehensive," said Dr Taweesilp.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand tightens borders over fears of second wave of coronavirus
(Reuters) - Thailand ordered security stepped up at its land borders on Monday after concerns surged over a possible second wave of coronavirus infections, following the arrests of thousands of illegal migrants in the past month.

Since the start of June, authorities have arrested 3,000 migrant workers for overland entry attempts, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for Thailand's task force on the disease.

Taweesin also raised concern about weak regulation for foreign arrivals by air, after two such visitors tested positive, with one breaking quarantine rules.

The government identified a 43-year-old crewman of an Egyptian military plane and a nine-year-old girl in the family of a Sudanese diplomat as the new cases that could potentially trigger a second wave.

"This exposes a weakness, but there is no damage yet if we can control and correct this weakness and issue more thorough regulation," said Taweesin.

With no locally transmitted case reported for more than six weeks, Thailand's virus tally since January stands at 3,220 infections and 58 deaths.

Air crew and the families of foreign diplomats are among the few groups of foreigners allowed into the country since March, on condition of spending 14 days in quarantine.

The Egyptian arrived on Wednesday and spent time in the eastern province of Rayong before leaving on Saturday. After a virus test came back positive on Sunday, authorities found he had left the hotel where he was supposed to stay in isolation.

The Sudanese girl was hospitalised on arrival in Thailand, but her family was allowed to self-quarantine in its Bangkok condominium with no official supervision. There were no reports that the family had left the residence.

Although Thailand has partly lifted its entry ban on foreigners, including permanent residents, business travellers and medical tourists, it still bars ordinary tourists and migrant workers.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Coronavirus crisis may get 'worse and worse and worse', warns WHO
The raging coronavirus pandemic has the potential to get far worse if all nations do not adhere to basic healthcare precautions, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday. "Let me be blunt, too many countries are headed in the wrong direction, the virus remains public enemy number one," Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing from WHO headquarters in Geneva. "If basics are not followed, the only way this pandemic is going to go, it is going to get worse and worse and worse. But it does not have to be this way."

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thai health officials are scrambling to contact trace people and places in Rayong after a Egyptian military officer was tested positive for COVID19 and his group went to public places. credit @SaksithCNA

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand situation, 14 July 2020
- Total confirmed: 3,227  (+7)
- Recovered: 3,091 (+1)
- Active cases: 78
- Deaths: 58 (+0)

credit @ thaimoph

7 new cases Thais in state quarantine
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


CCSA offers an apology for mishandling foreign VIP arrivals
Thailand's CCSA has offered a public apology, especially to the people of Bangkok and Rayong, over the mishandling of foreign VIP arrivals, and has promised to review all privileges extended to foreign diplomatic and military missions and their families, particularly the exemption from 14-day quarantine for short-term visits.

"I am sorry that our officials lowered their guard. We have discussed improvements.  We apologize for the incidents and we promise to close the loopholes.  We thought they (the Egyptian military delegation) would land at Suvarnabhumi airport, but they landed in U-tapao instead, for which we had not planned," said CCSA spokesman Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin.

He said that the Egyptians also refused to be tested for COVID-19 during their stay at a hotel in Rayong, requiring Thai officials to seek intervention by the Egyptian Embassy.  Several of them also left their hotel to go shopping and sightseeing, causing concern among the town's residents, once it was discovered, post departure, that one of the members of the delegation was infected.

The Egyptians visited Leamthong and Central malls at the same time as 394 Thais at Leamthong and 1,488 at Central, according to the check-in records. Dr. Taweesin said that officials from the Disease Control Department have been trying to trace these people for testing, adding that, if anyone is in doubt, they can ask for free tests.

Regarding the visit of the Egyptian delegation, he said that the request was made through the Thai embassy in Egypt and the Thai Foreign Ministry, and permission was granted by the Royal Thai Air Force to land at U-tapao airport, in the compound of the Sattahip naval base.

According to Regulation 5 under the 7th Emergency Decree, Dr. Taweesin said there is no requirement for the aircraft's crew to be subjected to COVID-19 tests, but it was reported that they had already been tested in their home country.

In the incident involving the family of a Sudanese diplomat, who stayed at a Sukhumvit condominium after their arrival in Bangkok, a young girl in the family tested positive for COVID-19 upon arrival, which was confirmed by a second test at a private hospital.  She was immediately admitted for treatment and later moved to a state hospital.  The other four family members tested negative, but they are to be tested again.

The incidents have drawn heavy criticism from the public over what is being seen as lax enforcement of regulations regarding VIPs, and Dr. Taweesin admitted that the CCSA was accountable.

He disclosed that eight Egyptian Air Force flights, which were granted permission to land in Thailand, have now been cancelled, and short visits by diplomats and businessmen are suspended.

Meanwhile, seven new COVID-19 cases have been recorded today, all of them are returnees from abroad and currently in state quarantine.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Just further proof that exceptions are the path to destruction. The resurgence in Eastern Australian states is another example. You cannot give away safety for convenience.


Visits by foreign diplomats, business reps suspended
Loopholes being plugged in quarantine measures

The government has temporarily banned the entry of foreign diplomats and special business representatives after the young daughter of the Sudanese attache was found to be infected with the coronavirus after the family arrived from Khartoum.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, on Tuesday announced the suspension of arrivals by privileged foreigners and business reps under special arrangements, and foreign diplomats and their families.

He said it would remain in force while the CCSA plugged loopholes in its disease control measures.

Privileged visitors are people the prime minister or an emergency state supervisor invited to the country. Business reps under special arrangements plan on only short stays. Both categories have been allowed in since July 1.

Dr Taweesilp said that in future arriving foreign diplomatic staff and their families would have to stay for 14 days at "alternative state quarantine" facilities that the government would arrange. It would be dangerous for them to stay at embassies, he said.

The CCSA decision was a response to the case of the 9-year-old daughter of the Sudanese attache in Bangkok, he said.

The girl's mother took their family of five for health checks in Sudan on July 7, and they were given clearance to travel.

They left Sudan that day and arrived in Thailand at 5.40am on July 10. They reached their residence at One X condominium in Sukhumvit area at 9.25am. The same flight also carried 245 Thai returnees.

Upon arrival, the family was asymptomatic but samples were taken for Covid-19 tests. It was known later that morning that the girl was infected.

Her father took her to a hospital in Bangkok, where a second test confirmed the first result.

On July 11 the girl was diagnosed with pneumonia and was referred to Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health in Bangkok on Juy12. The same day, her family moved into the Sudanese embassy on Soi Suan Phlu.

The family had been staying on the 19th floor of the One X condominium building, which has 329 rooms of which 200 were occupied.

About 70% of the residents were foreigners and about 50% of them wore face masks while using elevators there, Dr Taweesilp said.

Seven people were deemed at high risk of infection - the girl's parents and younger sister, a limousine  chauffeur, two airport van drivers and a Sudanese embassy official.

Fifteen other people who used the same elevator the family used were deemed at low risk of infection, he said. The family and drivers would be tested on Wednesday.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Nine Thais returning from Jordan, South Korea hospitalised with high fever
Nine of the 320 Thais who returned home on Tuesday (July 14) from Jordan and South Korea were found to have high fever and rushed to hospital, Suvarnabhumi Airport deputy director Kittipong Kittikachorn said.

He said 120 Thais departed Jordan on Royal Jordanian Flight RJ 6180 and arrived at the airport at 3.35pm.

"Preliminary screening found that eight passengers had high fever and were rushed to hospital. "The rest were transported to the government's quarantine facilities for the mandatory 14-day quarantine, except one person for whom there was an arrest warrant and was taken to official custody."

Jordan has reported 1,183 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 10 deaths.

"The second flight repatriating Thais came from South Korea," Kittipong added. "Korean Air Flight KE651 touched down at Suvarnabhumi at 9.15pm. Out of 200 passengers, one was found to have high fever and rushed to hospital. The rest were transported to the government's quarantine facilities in Bangkok."

South Korea has reported 13,511 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 289 deaths.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Plug virus loopholes, orders PM
Egyptian saga triggers 'privileges' review

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered authorities to review privileges given to foreign diplomats and family members, and military delegations after an Egyptian soldier and the daughter of a Sudanese attache who tested positive were exempted from quarantine.

He ordered the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to review the easing of Covid-19 restrictions to plug loopholes in disease control measures.

Besides diplomats and their families, flights from foreign countries, including military aircraft, will have to follow these measures, Gen Prayut said.

The prime minister, who chairs the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), on Tuesday apologised to the public for an incident in which an Egyptian soldier confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 was found to have visited shopping malls in Rayong province.

As a result, 1,889 local people who went to the same malls as the Egyptian who tested positive now face home quarantine.

"This incident should not have happened. It's a lack of discipline, showing disregard for the rules and the common good," Gen Prayut said.

Gen Prayut said the visitors who left the quarantine facility breached regulations. He has asked the Foreign Ministry to discuss the matter with the Egyptian embassy in Thailand.

"It was a lack of responsibility and failure to keep a promise. But they [the Egyptian delegation] still ventured outside. I've told the Foreign Affairs Ministry to discuss the matter with the [Egyptian] ambassador to make sure this will not happen again," Gen Prayut said.

"All flights will not be allowed into Thailand temporarily until the problems are fixed. The CCSA has been told to review the easing of the measures. This problem has affected public confidence and safety. The government will do its best. Give the CCSA some time to fix the problem," Gen Prayut said.

However, there was no need to put the country back under a lockdown, though proper measures will be devised to respond to the current situation, the prime minister said.

Gen Prayut also expressed concern that many Thais and business operators are lowering their guard, adding that he has ordered officials to ensure that premises, particularly nightlife venues, strictly follow health measures.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the CCSA, on Tuesday that in future arriving foreign diplomatic staff and their families would have to stay for 14 days at "alternative state quarantine" facilities that the government would arrange. It would be dangerous for them to stay at embassies, he said.

Privileged visitors are people the prime minister or an emergency state supervisor have invited to the country. Business reps under special arrangements plan on only short stays. Both categories have been allowed in since July 1.

The Sudanese attache's family had been staying in Bangkok, he said, on the 19th floor of the One X condominium building, which has 329 rooms -- 200 of them occupied. About 70% of the residents were foreigners, Dr Taweesilp said.

Seven people were deemed at high risk of infection -- the Sudanese girl's parents and younger sister, a limousine chauffeur, two airport van drivers and a Sudanese embassy official.

Fifteen other people who used the same elevator the family used were deemed at low risk of infection, he said. The family and drivers would be tested today.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang said on Tuesday that all foreign visitors must inform authorities of their residences and travel schedules. Violators will face legal punishment under the Communicable Disease Act, he said.

The CCSA on Tuesday reported seven new imported cases of the novel coronavirus, all Thai nationals who recently returned from abroad -- six from Egypt and one from the US. The death toll remained unchanged at 58.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Govt pins blame on Egypt embassy
The government said yesterday the Egyptian embassy dodged quarantine for its 31-strong military party visiting Rayong province, and 1,889 local people who went to the same mall as the Egyptian who tested positive for Covid-19 now face home quarantine.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), put the blame squarely on the Egyptian embassy in Thailand for arranging hotel accommodation for the Egyptian delegation instead of sending the visitors to a state quarantine facility.

"Regulations required quarantine during their stay but the embassy contacted the hotel directly. Health and security teams learned later about the incident and did their best to cope," he said.

Dr Taweesilp was referring to the 31 Egyptian military visitors who stopped over in the eastern province of Rayong on their way to China. One of them was later found infected with the novel coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

The spokesman said the delegation arrived on the EGY1215 and EGY1216 military flights at U-Tapao airport in Rayong at 7pm on July 8. They reached D Varee Diva Central Hotel in Muang district, Rayong, at 11pm the same day.

On July 9 they left U-Tapao at 5.30am for Chengdu City, China. They returned to the airport at 11.30pm the same day and arrived at the D Varee Hotel at 2am on July 10. At 11am that day, 27 of the 31 visitors walked into the Passione Shopping Destination mall and stayed there until 2.56pm. Four others caught taxis to Centralplaza Rayong department store and stayed there from 2pm to 6pm.

After learning about their trips, local disease investigators tried to convince the visitors to take Covid-19 tests. They finally cooperated when the embassy was contacted. The delegation left for Egypt at 11.30am on July 11.

"CCTV showed that three of the visitors wore face masks. The others had face masks but did not wear them. The infected person wore his face mask while in public," Dr Taweesilp said. He assured reporters that the visitors did not go out at night. He said nine people are considered at high risk of having contracted Covid-19 from the infected Egyptian officer: two van drivers at U-Tapao airport and seven staff at the hotel in Rayong. The seven were two two managers, one salesperson and four maids.

The Egyptian embassy yesterday expressed its most sincere regrets and sympathies to all those who may have been adversely affected by this unfortunate incident.

It also said the embassy wants to take this chance to reassure the Thai public that it is working closely with the Thai authorities to ensure swift containment and any mitigation of any possible threat to public health safety that may have been caused by this incident.

Because of the visitors' behaviour, the CCSA has cancelled eight Egyptian air force flights due to bring visitors on July 17-20 and 25-29, he said.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


PM says sorry over Covid-infected Egyptian soldier

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha today came out to apologise over the case of a visiting Egyptian soldier who was allowed to roam Rayong city before being found to be infected with Covid-19 virus.

He added that as the head of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, he regretted the incident and took full responsibility.

The 43-year-old Egyptian soldier landed at Rayong's U-Tapao Airport last Wednesday along with a delegation of 30 who were on their way to China on unexplained military business. They were not confined to their Rayong hotel and visited a shopping mall. On Sunday, the soldier's Covid-19 test came back positive.

Prayuth admitted the case should never have happened, and said he had instructed the CCSA to review all relaxed measures, and ensure tight rules apply for all incoming and departing flights.

Prayut also asked Thais to remain confident in the country's public health system.

He added that the incident will not lead to a return of Thailand's full lockdown but would boost efforts to plug loopholes in disease control.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID19 UPDATE (15 July 2020)
- 5 new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,232 total)
- 1 more discharged (3,092)
- 82 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

All new cases are Thai returnees in state quarantine: 1 from the US, 2 from Singapore, 2 from UAE.
credit SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


COVID19 UPDATE (16 July 2020)
- 4 new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,236 total)
- 3 more discharged (3,095)
- 83 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

New cases are Thai returnees in state quarantine: 2 from UAE, 1 from the US and 1 from Egypt (no connection to military officers).
credit SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


CAAT tightens up control of stopover charter and special flights

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has tightened the control of chartered and special flights by Thai airliners and international flights, which land in Thailand for refueling or brief stopovers with their passengers remaining on board.

CAAT director Mr. Chula Sukmanop said today that the new regulation will require all passengers on such flights to carry fit-to-fly certificates, to ensure that they were cleared of COVID-19 before their embarkation.

He explained that the new regulation is designed to prevent a repetition of two recent incidents involving chartered flights of Thai Lion Air and Thai Air Asia X, originating in Indonesia and Malaysia respectively and heading to Tianjin and Guangzhou in China, with non-disembarking stopovers in Bangkok.

Upon arrival in the China it was discovered, by Chinese health officials, that there were people infected with coronavirus among passengers. Both Thai airlines have now been temporarily prohibited from landing in China.

Mr. Chula said that the Civil Aviation Authority of China (CAAC) will immediately ban any airline from landing in China for one week, if it is discovered there up to ten infections among the passengers on each flight, and four weeks if the number of infections are more than 10.

He added that most chartered flights are repatriation flights.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


No One Knows What Thailand Is Doing Right, but So Far, It's Working
No one knows exactly why Thailand has been spared.

Is it the social distancing embedded in Thai culture — the habit of greeting others with a wai, a prayer-like motion, rather than a full embrace — that has prevented the runaway transmission of the coronavirus here?

Did Thailand's early adoption of face masks, combined with a robust health care system, blunt the virus' impact? Was it the outdoor lifestyle of many Thais, or their relatively low rates of pre-existing conditions?

Is there a genetic component in which the immune systems of Thais and others in the Mekong River region are more resistant to the coronavirus? Or is it some alchemy of all these factors that has insulated this country of 70 million people?

One thing is certain. Despite an influx of foreign visitors early in the year from countries badly hit by the coronavirus, Thailand has recorded fewer than 3,240 cases and 58 deaths. As of Thursday, there had been no cases of local transmission for about seven weeks.

Thailand's low rate of infection appears to be shared by other countries in the Mekong River basin. Vietnam has not recorded a single death and has logged about three months without a case of community transmission. Myanmar has confirmed 336 cases of the virus, Cambodia 166 and Laos just 19.

Yunnan, the southwestern Chinese province through which the Mekong flows before meandering to Southeast Asia, had fewer than 190 cases. None are active now.

"I don't think it is about immunity or genetics alone," said Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, the Covid-19 spokesman for Thailand's Ministry of Public Health. "It has to do with culture. Thai people do not have body contact when we greet each other."

"This is how the countries in the Mekong region greet each other as well," Dr. Taweesin added.

It didn't always look so upbeat. In January, Thailand confirmed the world's first case of the coronavirus outside of China — in a tourist from Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the outbreak is believed to have begun.

Another wave of infections was set off by people arriving from Japan, Europe and the United States. A Thai boxing event turned into a super-spreader event. But after a lockdown was enforced in March, shuttering businesses and schools, domestic transmissions subsided. All of Thailand's recent cases have been among people who arrived from overseas.

Dr. Wiput Phoolcharoen, a public health expert at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok who is researching an outbreak of the coronavirus in Pattani in southern Thailand, noted that more than 90 percent of those who tested positive there were asymptomatic, much higher than normal.

"What we are studying now is the immune system," he said.

Dr. Wiput said Thais and other people from this part of Southeast Asia were more susceptible to certain serious cases of dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus, than those from other continents.

"If our immune systems against dengue are so bad, why can't our immune system against Covid be better?" he asked.

Though Thailand's hospitals have not been overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, the country's tourism-dependent economy has been battered.

In April, Thailand banned almost all incoming flights, amid the tightening lockdown. Holidaymakers stopped coming to Bangkok, once the world's most visited city. The Thai tourism and sports ministry estimates that 60 percent of hospitality businesses could close by the end of the year.

The International Monetary Fund predicts the Thai economy will shrink by at least 6.5 percent this year. More than eight million Thais may lose their jobs or income in 2020, the World Bank has said, in a nation already cleaved by a yawning gap between rich and poor.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand situation, 17 July 2020
- Total confirmed: 3,239  (+3)
- Recovered: 3,096 (+1)
- Active cases: 85
- Deaths: 58 (+0)   credit SaksithCNA

Three Sudan returnees test positive for Covid-19  nationthailand.com
Three new Covid-19 cases were confirmed in state quarantine with no deaths over a 24-hour period, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesperson for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, reported on Friday (July 17).

Friday also marked the 53rd day without a single domestic case since May.

The new cases were three women aged 22, 23 and 28, who had taken the same flight from Sudan as the Sudanese ambassador's daughter.

Two of the patients are asymptomatic, while one has a fever, sore throat and coughing.

Meanwhile, one patient from an earlier case recovered fully and returned home.

As of Friday, the total number of confirmed cases in Thailand stood at 3,239 (302 found in state quarantine) – 85 are being treated, 3,096 have recovered and 58 have died

Globally, the total number of confirmed cases is 13.9 million, up by 255,010 (the highest daily number for new cases so far), with 8 million having recovered and 586,000 dead.

Thailand has dropped to 101 in the list of countries with most Covid-19 cases, while the US tops the list with 3.6 million, followed by Brazil 2 million and India 1 million.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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