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Started by thaiga, March 24, 2020, 08:38:19 PM

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Only after another 14 days without domestic Covid-19 cases can Thailand 'consider itself safe'
Thailand has had 13 days without any Covid-19 case and can consider itself safe if the trend continues for another 14 days, Dr Panprapa Yongtrakul, deputy spokeswoman of the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said on Sunday (June 7)

According to epidemiology and disease investigation for Covid-19, there is a 14-day incubation period but the low-risk virus period is two times the incubation period, which is 28 days, she said.

Panrapa added that even though the country has not found any domestic cases for 13 days, people still have to act responsibly and follow disease prevention and control measures, wear a face mask, keep a distance, wash hands, and avoid going to crowded places.

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


Thailand's tourism and MICE business will first reboot with low-risk countries
When Thailand's international borders are prised open, sometime after July 1 this year (that's the current date anyway), the first tourists and travellers are likely to come from a select group of fellow Asian nations who have had either low Covid-19 cases or been able to manage the number of cases to low, manageable levels.

Countries like Vietnam, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong all have 'manageable' Covid-19 situations. Even Singapore, which has had a huge spike in cases since the start of April, mostly from its migrant worker population, now appears to be getting a grip on new cases.

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says that talks have already begun with some nearby Asian countries to set up short term 'travel bubbles'. The idea behind the travel bubble is that countries can share travellers and tourists with low risk and allow them to enter other countries without having to do mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Yuthasak also noted that the first groups of travellers to Thailand could be for the MICE industry – Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions, Exhibitions. Thailand will be touted as a safe and reliable location for meetings but will probably need to rely on patronage from the regional 'low risk' countries in the early days.

Thailand MICE industry was already in decline before the Covid-19 crisis with the Thai baht and alcohol taxes making it difficult for Thailand to provide a price-advantage over other countries in the region. How the Covid-era MICE business will function is yet to be codified by the government although talks are underway between industry players and government officials about the new-look MICE business.

Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed talks between Tourism and Sports Ministry and other 'low risk' Asian countries to set up regional travel bubbles as a first step to re-opening Thailand's borders and restarting the tourist engine. Places like Pattaya and Phuket, that rely almost totally on tourism-related activities, are in desperate need of tourists to restart their local economies. Up to 60,000 workers have taken the opportunity to leave Phuket over the past month and return to their homes because of the lack of work. The island's land border was opened for restricted provincial travel for Thai workers to return home at the start of May.

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


13 returnees with high fever rushed to hospital
Thirteen of the 281 Thais who returned home on Sunday (June 7) from Israel and Singapore were found to have high fever and rushed to hospital, Suvarnabhumi Airport deputy director Kittipong Kittikachorn said.

"The 106 Thais departed from Israel on El Al Flight LY 081 and arrived at the airport at 11.45am," Kittipong said. "Preliminary screening found that six passengers had high fever and they were rushed to hospital."

Three expressed an interest in entering alternative quarantine while the other 97 were transported to the government's quarantine facilities in Chon Buri and Bangkok to complete the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

Isarel has reported 17,783 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 297 deaths.

"The second flight carrying Thais home came from Singapore," Kittipong added. "Singapore Airlines Flight SQ 976 touched down at Suvarnabhumi at 4.56pm. Out of 175 passengers, seven were found to have high fever and rushed to hospital."

Six passengers chose to go to alternative quarantine facilities while the other 162 were transported to the government's quarantine facilities in Bangkok.

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


COVID19 UPDATE (8 June 2020)

- 7 new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,119 total)
- 1 more discharged (2,973)
- 88 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

New cases are Thai returnees in state quarantine: 2 from Pakistan, 4 from the UAE (showed no symptoms), 1 from the US (no symptoms).     
credit @SaksithCNA     
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand Covid-19 Situation 08.06.2020
The Thai Government is providing an English language broadcast on Thailand's COVID-19 situation - Irish Community Thailand.

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


State of Emergency May be Extended
(TNA) -- The state of emergency may be extended while schools and airports will reopen and there will be long holidays next month, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.

"It is possible to extend the imposition of the emergency decree. It is being considered. The choice is to either extend or end it. However, measures will be reduced. For example, the curfew will be lifted and crowd gathering will be allowed. The emergency decree may remain in effect for the sake of swift solutions," Mr Wissanu said.

Without the imposition of the executive decree on public administration in emergency situations, officials assigned by the public health minister could not integrate operations among the police, the military and civil service officials, the deputy prime minister said.

Under the state of emergency, officials assigned to cope with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) could bring returnees from airports to state quarantine facilities in provinces right away and the government paid for the quarantine, he cited.

Without the emergency decree, provincial authorities would have to approve the inter-provincial travel of returnees and payment for their quarantine, he said.

With the emergency decree, the government could close particular beaches, schools and shops just after infection is detected there, Mr Wissanu said.

The state of emergency was earlier set to be imposed until June 30. (TNA)

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


Thai travel bubbles are bursting out all over
It seems a great idea to reconnect countries which have had a good level of success in controlling the coronavirus pandemic domestically. Such travel bubbles or tunnels could in theory be used to kickstart commerce and tourism between partner countries. But no deal has yet seen the light of day.

The term appears to have originated in the Australian government which suggested in May an agreement between that country and neighboring New Zealand. It has also cropped up in the context of the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia which are also proximate as well as inter-dependent.

The Thai government has taken up the bubble idea with alacrity, but without a consensus what exactly the term means. The prime minister recently stated that foreign tourism would begin with a travel bubble between Thailand and countries such as Vietnam and China which had got a firm grip on the pesky virus.

The Thai tourist authority also weighed in with a suggestion that limited tours from favoured neighbors could fly into Bangkok but would be sent, without any stops, to the holiday destination which might well be a Thai island cut off from the mainland. It was also suggested that priority might be given to business travellers, supply chain coordinators and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) delegates.

The various announcements indicate that the Thai authorities are still exploring options rather than rolling out a planned policy. Thus a travel bubble ought to mean no hassle between those countries involved. But various Thai spokespeople have mentioned the ongoing need for a 14-day quarantine on arrival plus a file of documents which seem to include a pre-flight health certificate and hefty insurance premiums.

There is also still-mooted talk of requiring all foreigners entering the country to download an app to monitor their movements whilst enjoying their vacation. There is even discussion of introducing an immunity passport which China has already rolled out domestically to check on the health status of the individual. All citizens have their own QR code which changes colour dependent on health status and needs to be shown in many Chinese restaurants and malls.

In other words, the term travel bubble means not much until you know much more. As ever with state bureaucracies, the devil is in the detail. For the moment, the public at large must wait for a considered and clear approach to a very thorny set of issues.

The point to be taken on board by Europeans and Americans (amongst others) is that they do not in official Thai eyes hail from countries with a good track record in controlling the pandemic. Thus they are most unlikely to appear in any pilot entry schemes which the Thai government may eventually introduce within Asia. Exceptions may be made for special interest groups such as farang work permit holders, permanent residents and husbands of Thai wives currently stranded abroad. But there has been no indication of dates and regulations even for these groups, let alone the bulk of potential travellers without any special pleas to offer.

Mass foreign tourism is indeed a vital part of the Thai economy. But what is clear is the government's intention to make health issues a priority and relax the immigration rules slowly and step by step. This is hardly surprising as almost 100 percent of recent coronavirus infection cases originated outside the country and were brought back by returning Thai nationals.

Farang living in Thailand and those impatient to vacation here – assuming they exist in sizeable numbers – are very distant from the welcome-all immigration policy of yesteryear which has seen foreign visitors (yes a lot of Chinese) soar to a total of nearly 40 million in 2019. But there is a growing consensus that the traveller of the future is going to need a lot more documentation than a passport and a visa. International travel in the 2020s could even become a privilege rather than a right. Best pray for an effective vaccine real soon.

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


WHO says pandemic 'far from over' as daily cases hit record high
New coronavirus cases had their biggest daily increase ever as the pandemic worsens globally and has yet to peak in Central America, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday (Jun 8), urging countries to press on with efforts to contains the virus.

"More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told an online briefing.

After removing cumulative numbers for coronavirus deaths in Brazil from a national website, the Health Ministry sowed further confusion and controversy by releasing two contradictory sets of figures for the latest tally of infection cases and fatalities.

Ryan said Brazil's data had been "extremely detailed" so far but stressed it was important for Brazilians to understand where the virus is and how to manage risk, and that the WHO hoped communication would be "consistent and transparent".

Maria van Kerkhove, a WHO epidemiologist, said that a "comprehensive approach" was essential in South America.

More than 7 million people have been reported infected with the coronavirus globally and over 400,000 have died.

"This is far from over," van Kerkhove said.

Van Kerkhove said that many countries doing contact tracing had identified asymptomatic cases but were not finding that they caused further spread of the virus, adding: "It is very rare."

Ryan, asked about technical cooperation with the United States, after President Donald Trump's announcement 10 days ago that it was "terminating" its relationship with the WHO, said the WHO relies heavily on experts from the Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Health.

"We will continue to do that until we are otherwise instructed or informed," he added.

Source: Reuters

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


Skies may open to tourists end of June, though country may remain under state of emergency

Bangkok's popular tourist attraction, the Grand Palace, reopened to visitors on June 7.

Though Thailand is gradually preparing to reopen its doors to international flights, the state of emergency may not be lifted by the end of this month, senior officials said on Monday June 8.

Chula Sukmanop, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, said the authorities will meet with local airlines next week to find out if they are ready to resume international services.

"At the moment, we haven't yet decided whether we will extend the ban on incoming passenger flights as we are waiting for instructions from the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration [CCSA]," he said, referring to the flight ban order which is due to expire at the end of this month.

"We also have to see if other countries will open their skies. Things will become much clearer in the next week or two," he said.

Many European countries have lifted the ban on flights within Europe, while many other countries plan to reopen their international flights on July 1.

An informed source said Thailand may start reopening its skies to countries that have been successful in controlling the spread of Covid-19, or may only allow some groups, such as businesspersons, to fly in.

Meanwhile, Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam said the government's decision on whether it lifts or extends the state of emergency depends largely on the number of new infections in the country. He said the current situation is acceptable and the government may further ease restrictions in the fourth phase.

"However, my biggest concern is that schools will reopen on July 1, the state of emergency is scheduled to expire on the same day and international flights will resume bringing foreigners into the country. We have to take all these factors into account when considering the easing of more restrictions," he said.

He added that in case the government decides to extend the state of emergency, it may allow large gatherings of people.

Putting the country under a state of emergency allows the government to respond quickly, but under the Communicable Disease Act, the public health minister cannot mobilise police or military personnel to enforce the law, he said in reference to proposals to replace the state of emergency with the law.

Civil groups, meanwhile, have been accusing the government of using the state of emergency to silence the voice of political activists and people.

Wissanu, however, said if the Communicable Disease Act was used, it would not be clear how to control interprovincial travel, because this comes under the jurisdiction of governors.

One perfect example of the difference between the state of emergency and authority under the Communicable Disease Act is that the government can close all pubs right away in case there is a second wave of infections, but under the law's regulations, the authorities can only close individual pubs, he said.

As to whether the government will lift the state of emergency before allowing foreigners to land in the country, Wissanu said that closing the country to foreigners was consistent with the state of emergency. "However, stringent rules can be eased as it depends on the advice of medical doctors," he said.

Thailand plans to launch the fourth phase of easing lockdowns next week now that there have been no new Covid-19 infections in the country over the past two weeks, with the exception of infections among Thais who have been repatriated from overseas and put under state quarantine. Though foreigners holding residence or work permits were allowed recently to register for their return, the flight ban imposed in early April remains in place until June 30.

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


COVID19 UPDATE (9 June 2020)

- 2 new confirmed #COVID-19 cases (3,212 total)
- 1 more discharged (2,973)
- 90 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

New cases in state quarantine. 15 days w/o confirmed local cases, but CCSA dep-spokesperson Dr Panprapa cautions "not low risk yet". 
credit @SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thai doctor slams WHO over U-turn on face masks
A Thai expert in respiratory diseases has slammed the World Health Organisation (WHO) for reversing its guidance on face masks and recommending that all people wear one in public.

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, who works at Bangkok's Vichaiyut Hospital, said the (WHO) had misled the world after previously saying there was no clear evidence that a cloth mask could help prevent the spread of the disease.

The new guidance comes after many countries around the world, including Thailand, advised people months ago that they should wear masks outside the house.

This is not the first time the WHO has disagreed with disease control measures in Thailand and other countries. The WHO also warns against spraying disinfectants to reduce the spread of the disease, citing risks to health and the environment. The Thai Public Health Ministry and Infectious Disease Association have defended the measure at the WHO.

Meanwhile, Dr Manoon also shared his experience of another dispute with WHO representatives.

"Back in 1997, the World Health Organisation stated that examining tuberculosis drug sensitivity in developing countries is useless and wasteful. I contested that position in 1998, saying Thailand needs to check. Not knowing the [patient's] sensitivity to a drug may mean the doctor can't use it, because otherwise the germ targeted could become more resistant and continue to spread to others. WHO representative in Thailand at that time said my advice was irresponsible, pulling money from others' budgets."

He founded a fund for research into anti-tuberculosis drug sensitivity under the patronage of Princess Galyani Vadhana in 2001, to aid treatment in public hospitals. Eventually, the WHO changed its advice and recommended that all countries check sensitivity before starting treatment – but not before it earned criticism for its original policy from the Wall Street Journal in 2012.

Dr Manoon concluded that it was time for the WHO to reform and listen to different opinions so as to offer quick and accurate guidance on how to combat disease.

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


'To defeat virus, 9 out of 10 Thais must follow Covid-19 rules'
Dr Rungruang Kitpati, spokesman for the Public Health Ministry, on Tuesday (June 9) advised on Facebook that three things were necessary to defeat the Covid-19 outbreak so the country could return to normal.

The government is expected to announce the fourth phase of lockdown easing soon, after the number of new daily Covid-19 cases dropped to a trickle.

Rungruang explained that the first action necessary to defeat the virus was reducing the infection rate as much as possible.

"For example, if 1 million people are infected, up to 100,000 people will die because medical personnel will be overwhelmed by the situation," he said.

The second action was conducting proactive testing to seek out new Covid-19 infections, he said, adding that this was the trump card in beating the virus.

"We need to find these patients so we can contain the spread of this disease as soon as possible," he said.

The final thing needed was cooperation from everyone.

"If 90 per cent of people act in line with the government [health] measures, I can confirm that we will definitely win the battle against Covid-19."

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


COVID19 UPDATE (10 June 2020)

- 4* new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,125 total)
- 8 more discharged (2,981)
- 86 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

*In state quarantine from Madagascar, Pakistan and India.

This comes as #Thailand is mulling plans for "phase 4" of reopenings.  credit @SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Curfew to be lifted, emergency powers to remain
The night curfew could be lifted for 15 days, as a trial, but the emergency decree will remain in force to ensure continued containment of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).

Deputy army chief Gen Nathapol Nakpanit, who is also deputy of the government's committee on Covid-19 control, said on Wednesday the committee planned to lift the 11pm-3am curfew for 15 days.

However, use of state of emergency power under the executive decree on public administration in emergency situations will continue.

"Without the curfew people can resume their normal lives, but the state of emergency will remain in place in case the government needs to take swift action to stop Covid-19 from spreading," he said.

Normal laws would not facilitate swift and effective responses to the disease, he said.

The responses include 14-day quarantine for people arriving from other countries. The emergency decree prevented airlines from suing the government for banning their flights, Gen Nathapol said.

He did not say when the curfew would be tentatively lifted. He did say that during the 15 days officials would evaluate public feedback.

Gatherings would not be prohibited, to show that imposition of the emergency decree had nothing to do with any political interests, Gen Nathapol said.

Gen Somsak Roongsita, secretary-general of the National Security Council and head of the disease control committee, said that boxing stadiums might reopen in the fourth stage of relaxation of business and other activities.

However, all disease control decisions would be made by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, he said.

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


Thailand Covid-19 Situation 10.06.2020
The Thai Government is providing an English language broadcast on Thailand's COVID-19 situation. Irish Community Thailand.

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


Thailand to consider reopening more businesses as virus appears contained
(Reuters) - Thailand will consider a plan to reopen more businesses and establishments from as early as June 15, an official said on Wednesday, after the country has reported no local transmissions of the coronavirus in the past 16 days.

The government's Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration will consider the plan for the next phase of more "high risk" reopenings on Friday, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, the centre's spokesman.

A draft of the plan currently includes schools, alcohol sales in dine-in restaurants, concerts with seating arrangements, amusement parks and playgrounds, and outdoor sports facilities, he said.

The businesses and activities could resume as early as June 15, or sometime before the end of the month, said Taweesin.

The plan does not yet include nightlife venues or "soapy massage" parlours, he said.

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


Are asymptomatic people spreading the coronavirus? A WHO official's words sparks confusion, debate
The World Health Organization moved Tuesday to clarify its position on whether people without symptoms are widely spreading the new coronavirus, saying much remains unknown about asymptomatic transmission.

A comment by a WHO official on Monday - calling such asymptomatic transmissions "very rare" - touched off a furious scientific debate over the unresolved question and attracted widespread criticism of the organization.

Less than 24 hours later, WHO convened a special news conference to walk back its comments, stressing that much remains unknown. But the comment from Monday had already spread widely and been seized upon by conservatives and others to bolster arguments that people do not need to wear masks or maintain social distancing precautions.

The episode sparked criticism of WHO's public health messaging and highlighted just how fraught and easily politicized such work remains months into the pandemic.

Calling the controversy "a misunderstanding," Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO's emerging disease and zoonosis unit, said that during the news conference Monday, she was trying to respond to a journalist's question when she said asymptomatic transmission was "very rare."

"I wasn't stating a policy of WHO or anything like that," she said. "We do know that some people who are asymptomatic, or some people who do not have symptoms, can transmit the virus on."

It was not the "intent of WHO to say there is a new or different policy," added Mike Ryan, head of emergency programs for WHO. "There is still too much unknown about this virus and still too much unknown about its transmission dynamics."

While asymptomatic transmission does occur, no one knows for sure how frequently that happens. Studies and models have suggested many of those infected never show symptoms. And it remains an open question whether they are a large force driving transmission. At the same time, however, some countries using contact tracing to work backward from confirmed cases have not found many instances of asymptomatic spread, WHO officials noted.

Differing definitions of what it means to be asymptomatic complicate matters. Some people who are infected never show symptoms - experts would considered those truly asymptomatic cases. But some only show symptoms later on and could be spreading the virus before those symptoms manifest - they would be considered presymptomatic case.

Further complicating matters is the fact that in some people, symptoms are so mild - or manifest themselves in less expected ways such as diarrhea or muscle aches, instead of the classic fever and cough - that people aren't aware of them until later on.

"It's a mess. I don't know why they would say asymptomatic transmission is very rare when the truth is we simply don't know how frequent it is," said Eric Topol, a professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research. "And it doesn't change the facts we do know, which is that this virus is very transmissible and is very hard to combat."

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


Summer might slow coronavirus but is unlikely to stop it
(Reuters) - The arrival of warmer weather in the Northern Hemisphere raises the question of whether summer could slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Here is what science says.

While warmer weather typically ends the annual flu season in temperate zones, climate alone has not stopped the COVID-19 pandemic from sweeping any part of the globe. In fact, outbreaks in hot and sunny Brazil and Egypt are growing.

Still, recent data about how sunlight, humidity and outdoor breezes affect the virus gives some reason for optimism that summer could slow the spread.


The virus has not been around long enough to be certain.

Respiratory infections like flu and the common cold follow seasonal patterns in temperate regions. Environmental conditions including cold weather, low indoor humidity, and spending more time indoors can all hasten the spread of an epidemic.

Real-world evidence about the effect of weather on the new virus is mixed. One study of 221 Chinese cities found that temperature, humidity and daylight did not affect speed of spread.

Two other studies did find an effect, including a look at new infections in 47 countries that linked higher temperatures to slower transmission in places like the Philippines, Australia and Brazil. "The Northern hemisphere may see a decline in new COVID-19 cases during summer and a resurgence during winter," concluded the authors of another study of 117 countries, which found that each 1-degree of latitude increase in distance from the Equator was associated with a 2.6% increase in cases.


"The reason why cold weather is presumed to cause spreading of coughs, colds and flu is that cold air causes irritation in the nasal passages and airways, which makes us more susceptible to viral infection," said Simon Clarke, an expert in cellular microbiology at Britain's University of Reading.

Winter weather tends to inspire people to spend more time indoors, although air conditioning may also bring people back inside in the summer.

In the lab, when temperatures and humidity rise, coronavirus particles on surfaces more quickly lose their ability to infect people - and they are inactivated especially fast when exposed to sunlight, U.S. government researchers found.

It is still a good idea for people to wash hands frequently, practice social distancing and wear a mask in summer, experts say. While virus particles coughed or exhaled by an infected person will disperse faster outdoors, one study found a gentle breeze could carry saliva droplets up to 6 meters (19.69 feet).


Vitamin D: Researchers are investigating whether levels of immunity-regulating vitamin D in people's blood affect how vulnerable they are to infection with the new coronavirus or how sick they become. The majority of vitamin D in the body comes from skin exposure to sunlight.

Pollen: A study in the Netherlands of all "flu-like" illness, including COVID-19, in recent years concludes that pollen concentrations are a better predictor than sunlight of respiratory disease trends. Clouds of pollen act as air filters, snagging virus particles, and pollen activates immune responses, even in people without overt allergies.

The study found that flu-like illness started to drop when pollen in the air reached 610 grains per cubic meter, a typical level from early spring to October in most middle latitudes.

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


COVID UPDATE (11 June 2020)

- ZERO new confirmed #COVID19 cases (3,125 total)
- 6 more discharged (2,987)
- 80 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)   credit @SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


'Good news about curfew' in pipeline
"Good news" about the curfew would be announced on Friday (June 12), declared National Security Council (NSC) secretary-general, General Somsak Rungsita, on Thursday.

He made his remarks following Thursday's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration meeting presided over by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Earlier this week, the NSC proposed lifting the curfew for a 15-day trial period while maintaining the state of emergency. The 15 days would be used to evaluate whether a return to normal life minus the curfew had any effect on the spread of Covid-19.

"Related authorities have reported guidelines for venues at high risk for Covid-19 infections," he said.

"Meanwhile, the prime minister did not give any orders [during the meeting] because the process of lockdown relaxation is 95 per cent completed, while we have received good cooperation from the public as well."

He added that the government will ease lockdown measures as much as is safely possible to allow people to return to their normal daily activities.

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


Second wave of infections may not be so bad if everyone cooperates: expert
A respiratory diseases expert believes that Thailand may be able to avoid a second wave of Covid-19 infections if people do not let their guard down.

Dr Manoon Leechawengwongs, a respiratory diseases expert based in Bangkok's Vichaiyut Hospital, said on Thursday (June 11) that Thailand has had an exceptionally low fatality rate, with only 58 deaths, seven of whom were foreigners.

The virus has only claimed lives at a ratio of 0.08 to 100,000 people in Thailand, compared to 0.33 in China and 0.72 in Japan. Thailand's ratio is even lower when compared to 33.56 in the US, 43.51 in France and 60.95 in the United Kingdom.

Also, compared to countries in Europe or in the Americas, the virus has claimed fewer lives in Asian countries such as China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand.

Scientists, meanwhile, are working on finding out why the number of Covid-related deaths in Asia is so low, with many believing that this may be due to many factors such as genetic differences, ethnicity or immunity. Also, experts say, Asians may have been affected by a weaker version of the virus because the infection has not been too severe among many elderly patients or those who have chronic conditions. They also believe this version of the virus does not spread so easily.

The lower number of deaths can also be put down to cultural differences, such as people not holding hands or kissing each other in greeting. Public cooperation in wearing masks, washing hands frequently and maintaining social distancing may have a hand, as well as the hot weather, humidity, better public health system and the devotion of doctors and nurses may also have played a part.

Thailand learned from its mistake, when it allowed a large number of people to gather in a boxing stadium, Dr Manoon said, adding that now Covid-19 tests have become faster and the country is better prepared to handle the outbreak.

"We have not had a local infection for 16 consecutive days now. However, after the government eases some measures, people should keep their guard, because if there is a second wave of the outbreak, we will have the strength to deal with it," the expert said.

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


COVID19 UPDATE (12 June 2020)

- 4 new confirmed COVID19 cases (3,129 total)
- no new discharged (2,987)
- 84 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)   

All 4 new confirmed COVID19 cases are Thai returnees from India found in state quarantine. They also all showed no symptoms
credit @SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Thailand Covid-19 Situation 12.06.2020
The Thai Government is providing an English language broadcast on Thailand's COVID-19 situation. Irish Community Thailand.

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


CCSA shoots down July Songkran holiday compensation
Culture Minister Ittipol Khunpluem revealed today (July 12) that the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) had decided to scrap plans to move the postponed three-day Songkran holiday to July.

"The panel now aims to compensate people with one day of holiday per month over three months, near the weekend, not six consecutive days of holiday [as before]," said the minister, adding that plan would be firmed up later.

Ittipol initially proposed June 2 as a Songkran substitute holiday, but Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said the CCSA needed to monitor the virus situation and capacity of medical personnel to deal with unforeseen events after months of battling the virus.

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


COVID19 UPDATE (13 June 2020)

- Total confirmed: 3,134 (+5)
- Recovered: 2,987 (+0)
- Active cases: 89
- Deaths: 58 (+0)

credit @SaksithCNA

All five new cases are returnees from Saudi Arabia who are in state quarantine. nationthailand.com
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


Government assures emergency will be lifted
Ending the night curfew is one step towards lifting the state of emergency, which the prime minister will surely do, Suporn Atthawong, vice-minister of the Prime Minister's Office, said on Friday (June 12).

He made his remarks in reply to red-shirt leader Nattawut Saikuar's comments that ending the night curfew was not good news because the government could use the state of emergency to reimpose curfew.

"We want Nattawut to understand that the government and the Office of the Consumer Protection Board worked on the process and found that if there were no state of emergency, the night curfew cannot be announced," he said. "The allegation that the government is continuing the state of emergency to maintain political power is an old way of thinking."

He added that the government had achieved success in dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak, adding that 95 per cent of the lockdown measures had been eased.

"Once the situation returns to normal, the government will certainly allow people to live a normal life," he added.

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


Ban on overseas entry to stay
'Low-risk' local flights don't need distancing

From Monday, there will be no night curfew, but strict controls under the emergency decree will continue to be enforced especially on entry into Thailand because Covid-19 is still present in other countries, a senior government spokesman announced on Friday.

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said the curfew would be lifted on June 15 to allow local people to travel, because there had been no cases of local coronavirus infection for some time now.

However, the emergency decree remains in effect and the government would maintain controls on all entry -- by land, water and air -- because all new Covid-19 patients were people returning from other countries, he said.

The CCSA had also agreed on other aspects of the fourth stage of relaxation of restrictions on business and other activities, effective from Monday, Dr Taweesilp said.

International, cram and informal schools, as well as small formal schools with no more than 120 students each will reopen. If there are larger numbers of students, they will have to submit management plans, according to a source.

Meetings and seminars, exhibition, convention and event halls can also resume activities, along with theatres, but social distancing must be observed.

Alcoholic beverages can be served at restaurants, food centres and hotels, but pubs, bars, karaoke shops and entertainment venues will remain closed.

Parlours offering Thai massage and saunas can reopen, with only a limited number of customers allowed to use facilities at the same time. Soapy massage parlours will remain closed. Group exercise in parks and other outdoor locations can resume, with up to 50 people participating.

Dr Taweesilp said domestic airlines can sell all seats on a flight, because planes have good ventilation systems and flights are short, about one hour. Becoming infected needs at least two hours of exposure to the coronavirus, he said. However, airline passengers must continue to wear masks.

However, occupancy rates on buses would be limited to 70% of seats, because bus trips are longer and their ventilation systems are poor, he said.

Water parks, playgrounds and amusement parks can reopen, except for ball pits and inflatable playgrounds, which are difficult to disinfect. Sports can resume, but without spectators. Game arcades in malls can reopen.

Officials would announce detailed measures of the relaxation this weekend before it takes effect on Monday. All businesses and activities that resume must be subject to disease-control measures, Dr Taweesilp said.

Panpimol Wipulakorn, director-general of the Department of Health, said that pubs and restaurants that have registered as eateries can reopen in the fourth stage of relaxation, while venues that will be allowed to serve alcohol on their premises must also have liquor sale licences.

Eateries which have licences to play live music can also reopen, but places that have registered as night entertainment venues will remain closed, Dr Panpimol said.

"Eateries will still have to comply with disease-control measures, especially mask-wearing, providing hand sanitisers, regular cleaning, physical distancing, and limiting the number of visitors, as well as using the Thai Chana app for check-ins and check-outs," she said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said that when the fourth stage of relaxation takes effect from Monday, he hoped that it will reinvigorate the economy and more people will go back to work.

"I have sympathy for people on low incomes. I believe they will earn more money after the lockdown easing on June 15. The government cannot afford to find money to look after people forever," the prime minister said.

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


Hunt for crowned bats in Thailand to discover if they carry COVID-19 virus

Image Credit: Matichon

Officials from Thailand's Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, and from the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, have been in Khao Soi Dao wildlife sanctuary, in the eastern province of Chanthaburi, to hunt for crowned bats for research into whether they carry the COVID-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2).

Mr. Pattharaphol Manee-on, chief of the department's wildlife health management section, said that they went to a cave in Tambon Tapsai, home to millions of bats, to capture up to 100 crowned bats on Thursday night, in order to take samples of their blood, saliva and excrement for lab tests.

He disclosed that there are about 23 species of crowned bats in Thailand, and this is the first time that the bats have been captured for tests.

During this expedition, the officials also met with community leaders, teachers and students in Tambon Nong Ta Dong to educate them on how they can safely co-exist with the bats and about the risks of being infected if they eat bat meat.

Ms. Supaporn Watchaprueksadee, a researcher at the Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at Chulalongkorn hospital, who was the first to identify COVID-19 in Thailand, said that it is necessary to study the bats, because the strain of coronavirus in China was reported to be the same as that found in crowned bats.

Although research on viruses in various species of bats in Thailand has been underway for almost two decades, she said that crowned bats have not yet been studied.

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


Slight majority no longer afraid of Covid-19: Nida Poll
A slight majority of people say they are no longer afraid of the Covid-19, reasoning that the pandemic has been brought under control and that they are confident in the work of the country's health personnel, according to an opinion survey by the National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll.

The poll was conducted on June 8-9 on 1,270 people aged 15 and over of various levels of education and occupations throughout the country to gauge their readiness for the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown in the fourth stage.

Asked to mention places and activities that should be allowed to reopen in the fourth stage of the easing of the lockdown, with each allowed for more than one answer, their replies were:

- Schools and educational institutes (82.28%);
- Scientific centres for education (80.94%);
- National parks and botanic parks (78.35%);
- Beaches and coastal areas (70.24%);
- Sport fields, gyms and fitness centres for training and competitions (69.29%);
- Nurseries and homes for elderly care (63.70%); and
- Shooting of movies and video (63.46%).

Places and activities which should not be allowed to re-open yet were:

- Entertaining venues, pubs, bars and karaoke outlets (82.20%);
- Massage parlours (78.74%);
- Concerts, musical shows, events and goods exhibitions in an area of over 20,000 square metres (75.59%);
- Amusement parks, water parks, children's playgrounds and game shops (70.08%); and
- Assemblies of more than 200 people (65.83%).

Asked whether they were now afraid of being infected with Covid-19, a slight majority - or 52.76% - said "no." Of them, 32.83% said they were no longer afraid of it, reasoning that the number of cases had considerably reduced, most of the people had protected themselves well against the pandemic and they were confident in the work of the country's health personnel; and, 19.93% were not afraid of it at all, saying the Covid-19 situation had considerably improved, no new infections were found in the country, and they believed Covid-19 would definitely disappeared from the country.

On the other side, 33.39% said they were still afraid of it as there were still new cases and some people were paying no attention to protect themselves, leading them to fear that there could be a second wave of the outbreak; and, 12.91% were most afraid of it as long as the virus had not disappeared from Thailand and there were still no vaccine against it.

The rest, 0.94%, had no answers or were not interested.

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


COVID19 UPDATE (14 June 2020)
- 1 new confirmed #COVID19 case (3,135 total)
- no new discharges (2,987)
- 90 in hospital
- no new deaths (58)

New case is a Thai repatriated from the US and tested positive in state quarantine. She did not show any symptoms.  credit @SaksithCNA
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

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