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  • No quarantine for people visiting home provinces for Songkran

    Travellers from Bangkok and other risk areas heading to their home provinces for Songkran will not have to go into quarantine, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Tuesday.

    Mr Anutin said that although provinces had been divided into zones, designated by colours according to the infection rates, none would be locked down. People could still travel to other provinces without having to go into quarantine on arrival at their destination.

    Only people who had been infected with the virus, or were considered at high risk, would be quarantined, he said.

    On the suggestion that travellers from provinces designated as red zones could spark worries on arrival in other provinces, Mr Anutin said that in the true Songkran tradition people go home primarily to seek blessings from respected elders.

    They do not head there just to look for fun, go around drinking and visiting crowded places, he said. During the Covid-19 pandemic, people should avoid large gatherings.

    The public health minister asked that people remain alert and careful, and not be too fun-loving. It was clearly evident the virus spread among groups of people visiting entertainment venues, he said.:

    Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
    Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • Do you need to wear masks after Covid vaccine? New NIH-backed study hopes to answer that

      A new study backed by the National Institutes of Health aims to help doctors and public officials figure out what people can and cannot do after they get vaccinated against the coronavirus, including whether they will still need to wear masks and practice social distancing.

      The study, funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease within NIH, will test the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine’s ability to prevent infection of the coronavirus, limit the amount of virus in the nose and reduce transmission from inoculated people to close contacts.

      “We hope that within the next five or so months we’ll be able to answer the very important question about whether vaccinated people get infected asymptomatically and if they do, do they transmit the infection to others,” White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a press briefing Friday.

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said fully vaccinated people can gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people and some unvaccinated people without any precautions like wearing masks or maintaining distance. Vaccinated people should still mask up and practice social distancing in public, according to the CDC’s initial guidance.

      Scientists still don’t know whether immunized people can get asymptomatic infections or act as carriers that spread the virus to others. As more and more Americans get vaccinated, this NIH study aims to answer those questions.

      The randomized, controlled study will follow 12,000 college students aged 18 to 26 years old at more than 20 U.S. universities over five months. Preliminary study sites opened Thursday.

      Study participants will be randomly split into two groups. Six thousand students will be vaccinated right away with Moderna’s two-shot vaccine spread 28 days apart while. Six thousand will be vaccinated four months later as an initial control group.

      The students will swab their nose daily to test for coronavirus infection, complete electronic questionnaires and provide blood samples periodically.

      Around 25,000 individuals identified as “close contacts” of participants will also participate in the study and provide nasal swab and blood samples. Researchers will use the close contacts to measure the degree of virus transmission from vaccinated individuals.

      More than 133 million Covid vaccine doses have been administered in the U.S. as of Thursday morning, according to the CDC.

      President Joe Biden on Thursday set a new goal of 200 million coronavirus vaccine shots in his first 100 days in office.:
      • Coronavirus Cases: 128,978,966

      Deaths: 2,819,210

      Underreported US death count: 564,199

      American Civil War Casualties (North and South) - 214,938

      Originally posted by Boon Mee View Post
      it's been blown way out of proportion.
      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • 334 new Covid-19 cases confirmed, majority in Bangkok

        The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Wednesday reported 334 new cases, seven of which were overseas arrivals in quarantine.

        Of the 327 local cases, 153 had been discovered via proactive testing.

        The majority of the local patients or 221 were found in Bangkok, followed by 30 in Samut Prakan and 20 in Sa Kaew.

        Meanwhile, the infections from overseas included three Thais returning from India, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates, as well as nationals from Japan, Pakistan, India and Sudan.

        Meanwhile, 121 patients have recovered and been discharged.

        As of Wednesday, the number of confirmed cases in Thailand had risen to 29,905. Of these, 26,742 had been contracted locally, including 16,496 who were found via proactive testing, while 3,163 were returnees.:

        Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
        Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • Highly contagious UK strain of Covid virus arrives in Thailand

          Chulalongkorn University’s virology centre conducted genetic tests on the samples collected from Covid-19 cases in Bang Khae and Thong Lor and found the British strain of the virus.

          Samples collected from entertainment venues in the Thong Lor area carried the British strain, which spreads 1.7 times faster than the normal strain and the viral load in the patient is far higher.:

          Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
          Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • UK Covid-19 strain in Thong Lor cluster

            The first local cases of Covid-19 with the UK variant of the virus have been reported in the Thong Lor cluster, a noted virologist said on Wednesday, and warned it could spread faster than the kind previously found in Thailand.

            Prof Yong Poovorawan, of the faculty of medicine at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, posted the waring in a Facebook message.

            He said the UK variant had been found in 24 cases in the Thong Lor cluster.

            The director of the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology also warned of the rapid pace at which the UK Covid variant could spread.

            "The strain found in the Thong Lor cluster is the UK variant. It will spread 1.7 times quicker than the normal strain," he said.

            It was the first time local infections involving the UK variant had been found in Thailand, he said.

            It is also known as the Kent variant.

            Dr Yong said that in January the coronavirus variant was detected in a British family of four members who arrived in the country from Kent. He did not give further details.

            The World Health Organization said in January the UK virus variant, which is technically known as the B.1.1.7 lineage, had spread to more than 60 countries. In Asia, Japan was one of the countries detected with the variant.:

            Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
            Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • Bangkok cancels Songkran festivities, shuts entertainment venues on Khaosan Road

              The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has decided to cancel all Songkran activities scheduled in all districts of the province in a bid to curb Covid-19 from spreading further after a new cluster of cases linked to entertainment venues in Thong Lo swiftly spread to other areas, deputy governor Kriangyos Sudlabha said on Wednesday.

              “The Songkran activities at Lan Khon Meuang Plaza in Phra Nakhon district will be cancelled. These include an alms-giving ceremony and pouring water on the Buddha image and elders as blessings,” he said.

              “Furthermore, activities scheduled to be held in other districts by the district office will also be cancelled,” Kriangyos stated.

              “As for public and private organisations which cannot cancel their planned Songkran festivities, the BMA urges them to employ strict measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he said.

              The BMA also announced on Wednesday that it would shut all entertainment venues on Khaosan Road from April 7 to 12 and would provide a free Covid-19 test to all merchants in the area.

              “During the Songkran festival, we advise people to perform the ceremony of pouring water on Buddha images and elders at home and avoid going out to crowded areas,” Kriangyos said.

              “If you have to travel, make sure to wear a face mask at all times, maintain at least a one-metre distance from others and wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol hand sanitiser,” he advised.:

              Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
              Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • Thailand records 405 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday

                At 30,310, Thailand’s cumulative COVID-19 infections have broken the 30,000-mark for the first time, with 405 new cases recorded today (Thursday), most of them linked to entertainment venue clusters.

                Of the new cases, 391 are locally-acquired, scattered across 24 provinces. Bangkok tops the list, with 48 new cases among those under observation and treatment and 47 cases found during proactive screening.

                Other provinces recording new infections today are:

                Samut Prakan, 23
                Chiang Mai, 6
                Lampang, 1
                Chiang R
                Phitsanuloke, 4
                Ayutthaya, 2
                Saraburi, 1
                Nonthaburi, 18
                Pathum Thani, 8
                Nakhon Pathom, 6
                Suphan Buri, 2
                Samut Sakhon, 9
                Chachoengsao, 1
                Chon Buri, 14
                Sa Kaeo, 14
                Rayong, 1
                Prachuap Khiri Khan, 14
                Khon Kaen
                Nong Bua Lamphu, 1
                Udon Thani, 7
                Buri Ram, 2
                Chaiyaphum, 2
                Yasothon, 1
                Phuket, 3
                Nakhon Si Thammarat, 1
                Chumphon 3
                Songkhla 2
                Narathiwat, 146

                There are 14 imported cases today, 6 from United Arab Emirates, 2 from Bangladesh and 1 each from India, Malaysia, Switzerland, France, the UK and Turkey.

                Cumulative infections, since December 15th, are 26,073, including 7,980 locally acquired cases, 16,690 cases found during proactive screening and 1,402 imported cases. The death toll in that period remains 35.

                Meanwhile, Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul insisted that the government is not monopolisingthe acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines and the private sector can procure them, but demand is outstripping supply.

                Citing information from the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovations, as of April 5th, she said that worldwide advance vaccine bookings now total 9.6 billion doses, because some countries have ordered volumes of vaccines which are 2-3 times greater than their populations,while 658 million doses of vaccines have already been used.

                In addition to the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines, Ms.Traisulee said that the government has placed orders for other vaccines, but there is not enough supply to meet demand.

                She also explained that, currently, vaccine procurement is for emergency use only, which means that governments must be held accountable if there is something wrong with the vaccines and, therefore, vaccines of all brands are now procured by governments of many countries.

                Another important issue, she said, is that the government must make sure that the vaccines are genuine.:

                Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Thailand - Tax hikes may be unavoidable in post-COVID economy

                  COVID-19 has dealt a double blow to Thailand’s finances, reducing tax revenue while increasing the amount of money the government must spend to keep the economy afloat.

                  The Cabinet recently called on the Finance Ministry to study how tax revenue can be boosted, leading to speculation that value-added tax (VAT) may be hiked in the near future.

                  However, Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has insisted that the government will not raise the VAT rate for now.

                  The Revenue Department’s job

                  No major tax reforms have taken place since VAT replaced business tax (BT) in 1992. The government set VAT at 10 percent but eventually settled for 7 percent.

                  However, during the 1997 Asian financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) forced the Thai government to hike VAT to 10 percent from August 16, 1997 to March 31, 1999.

                  The IMF’s aim was to strengthen Thailand’s financial position, but instead, the tax hike deepened the economic downturn. Eventually, the IMF was blamed for prescribing the wrong medicine for Thailand, and VAT was cut back to 7 percent.

                  Since then, the rate has remained unchanged. But given VAT represents more than 30 percent of the country’s annual tax revenue, raising the rate would significantly boost government income.

                  Much more:

                  Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                  Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • Thailand - One virus death, 559 new cases

                    The government on Friday reported one new Covid-19 death, bringing the toll to 96, and 559 new cases, 549 of them local infections and 10 imported, raising the total to 30,869.

                    Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the 96th death was a Thai man, 60, who was a prison inmate in Narathiwat province. He had tuberculosis and had been in contact with a previously confirmed case.

                    On March 31, he complained of insomnia, breathing difficulty and fatigue. A lung X-ray found tuberculosis. His condition worsened and he became dependent on a ventilator.

                    On April 1 he tested positive for Covid-19. His condition deteriorated and he died on Thursday.

                    Of the 549 new local cases reported on Thursday, 401 were confirmed at hospitals and 148 in communities.

                    Dr Panprapa blamed the soaring infection rate on people frequenting pubs and the like. He said 214 of the new cases were linked directly to entertainment venues in various provinces - including 85 in Bangkok, mostly of working age, 31 in Samut Prakan, 28 in Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district), seven in Chon Buri and five in Chiang Mai.

                    Thirty-one new cases were people in close contact with the cases from entertainment places, and most of them were family members.

                    However, the number of new cases not linked to nightspots was also high, at 124 over the previous 24 hours, Dr Panprapa said.

                    Bangkok alone logged 266 new infections, or 48% of the daily increment. Of these 138 were confirmed at hospitals and 130 through mass testing.

                    Mass testing detected 17 new cases in Chon Buri and one in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

                    At hospitals there were 46 new cases in Samut Prakan, 29 each in Chon Buri and Prachuap Khiri Khan, 16 each in Chiang Mai and Sa Kaeo, 12 in Pathum Thani, 10 each in Nonthaburi and Udon Thani, nine in Samut Sakhon and eight in Buri Ram.

                    Also diagnosed at hospitals were six each in Rayong, Khon Kaen, Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Ratchasima and Songkhla; five in Chumphon and Chanthaburi; four each in Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Surat Thani and Phuket; three in Lop Buri, two each in Chiang Rai, Phetchabun, Chachoengsao, Saraburi and Chaiyaphum; and one each in Lampang, Nan, Phitsanuloik, Kanchanaburi, Trat, Samut Songkhram, Maha Sarakham, Nakhon Sawan and Nakhon Pathom.

                    The 10 imported cases were quarantined arrivals from the United Kingdom (1), the United States (1), Indonesia (1), France (1), China (2), Estonia (1), Malaysia (1) and Belgium (2).

                    Of the 30,869 total cases, 28,128 (91%) had already recovered, including 27 discharged on Thursday, and 2,645 were at hospitals.

                    This week, new Covid-19 cases were reported in 45 provinces, Dr Panprapa said.:

                    Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                    Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Ten military facilities in Bangkok reserved for field hospitals as needed

                      Thailand’s Ministry of Defence has made available ten areas in Bangkok for the setting up of field hospitals, with a combined capacity of up to 3,000 patients, in case COVID-19 infections overwhelm existing hospitals.

                      Lt-Gen Kongcheep Tantravanich, spokesman for the ministry, said today (Friday) that, in addition to the field hospitals, the military has also prepared medical personnel and equipment to take care of the patients.

                      Meanwhile, both the Rajavithi and Ramathibodi hospitals have separately announced the limitation of non-urgent medical services and are urging patients, who are not urgently in need of treatment, to postpone their visits, after some of their staff contracted COVID-19 and several others, who were in close contact with them, were quarantined.

                      The Rajavithi Hospital said yesterday that ten more staffers had contracted the virus, resulting in several of their colleagues being placed in isolation for observation.

                      On the same day, Ramathibodi Hospital said that five medical personnel had contracted COVID-19 outside the hospital. It assured that the disease has not spread within the hospital, but some non-urgent services have been suspended, due to the resulting staff shortage.:

                      Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                      Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • Thailand - Airlines nervous over Songkran

                        Airlines are urging the government to shut down domestic travel during the Songkran holiday period to prevent a third wave of Covid-19, or else Thailand's tourism will risk losing more over the long run.

                        With the fresh outbreak starting to spread from entertainment hubs in Bangkok to 20 provinces, the contagion must be nipped in the bud as the long holiday next week will see a mass exodus, particularly of people returning to their hometowns and holidaymakers, said Tassapon Bijleveld, executive chairman of Asia Aviation, the largest shareholder of Thai AirAsia (TAA).

                        The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration on Thursday announced that there will be no lockdown during the traditional New Year celebrations as millions of people have already planned their trips.

                        However, each province still has the authority to impose its own travel restrictions, such as mandatory quarantine for inter-provincial travellers, if there are risks of virus exposure.

                        Mr Tassapon said the spike of cases at this time is worrisome as it challenged the government on how to contain the virus when people still continued with their trips.

                        Most TAA passengers are sticking with their plans. The average load factor next week will hit 80-85%, while the airline recently called almost all furloughed staff back to their posts.

                        "There won't be a third wave if the government can stop it earlier. It should consider imposing strict travel restrictions. Even though the tourism industry may lose lucrative income, we have to accept it if that would be benefit the whole country," he said.

                        "That would be better than facing another nationwide lockdown afterwards," said Mr Tassapon.

                        Thailand has set the reopening date for inoculated tourists, starting in July with Phuket as the first destination to remove mandatory quarantine from entry requirements.

                        He added that travel restrictions are necessary for the country as long as the vaccination programme rollout remains slow.

                        For instance, employees in the aviation industry who have already been vaccinated are just those who work in high-risk areas or those residing in Phuket where 70% of TAA's staff have been vaccinated.

                        Nuntaporn Komonsittivate, head of commercial operations at Thai Lion Air (TLA), said travel restrictions are reasonable for the ongoing situation because the infection clusters are not easily controllable like the labour clusters in Samut Sakhon late last year.

                        From the latest outbreak, people that were infected tend to travel around which increased the risk of the virus spreading to wider areas.

                        "Travel restrictions won't be good for airlines, but in the meantime, we should prioritise long-term benefits instead of short-term revenue," she said.

                        TLA forecasts a load factor of over 70% next week, but it expects that some guests may cancel their trips if the number of new cases escalates in the next few days.:

                        Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                        Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.
                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • Thailand - 10 more staff infected at Rajvithi Hospital

                          The management of Rajvithi Hospital said late on Thursday night that 10 more staff members had caught Covid-19, and asked people not to visit the hospital unless it was really necessary.

                          The announcement said a surgeon at the hospital tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday, and the 10 new cases there were people who had been in close contact with the doctor.

                          A number of personnel at the hospital had gone into quarantine and as a consequence some services had to be reduced and others suspended.

                          The announcement advised people not visit the hospital for the time being, unless it was really necessary.:

                          Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                          Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • 16 more Covid-19 cases in Phuket

                            Sixteen more coronavirus cases have been reported in Phuket, lifting the number of infections found there recently to 26.

                            Deputy governor Vikrom Jakthee said on Friday that quick response and investigation was proving successful in containing the spread of the viral disease in the province.

                            Covid-19 vaccine shots had began to create a herd immunity in the local population, as the province prepared to reopen its doors to tourists on July 1, Mr Vikrom said.

                            However, there had been another Covid-19 outbreak, with the new cases linked to entertainment venues, the deputy governor said.

                            He was speaking at a meeting of the provincial communicable disease control committee.

                            The island province reported 16 new cases on Friday, raising the number of cases reported recently in the province to 26.

                            “Today, the number of infected people reported in Phuket has reached 26, many are from entertainment venues. This figure is relatively high. It jumped from 10 to 26 cases.

                            "We will invite operators of entertainment places in for discussions,’’ the deputy governor said.

                            In July, Phuket will be the first province to waive the quarantine requirement for foreign visitors who have been vaccinated, as part of the government's plan to reopen the country.:

                            Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                            Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • Chonburi records 40 more COVID-19 infections related to entertainment cluster

                              Chonburi province has reported 40 new COVID-19 cases, all related to entertainment venues in various cities, including Bangkok, according to the provincial health department.

                              There are another 510 people, considered to be at high-risk, waiting for their test results.

                              While there are people who walk-in to the medical centres in the province to get tested for COVID-19, Chonburi is calling for its residents to contact its health department if they have been to a night entertainment venue, or any other place listed by the administration as being at high risk.

                              The local administration is asking its residents to be cooperative with disease control measures, maintain good personal hygiene, practice social distancing, wear face masks, wash their hands frequently and avoid crowded places.:

                              Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                              Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • Fresh virus outbreak in struggling Phuket

                                Phuket, which has been battling to rebound from its Covid-triggered economic doldrums, has been hit by a new bunch of infections, many linked to bars both locally and one in the Thong Lor area of Bangkok.

                                The tourist-dependant island on Wednesday reported eight new cases, half of which were related to entertainment venues, said Kusak Kukiatkul, chief of the Phuket provincial public health department

                                Among the four patients linked to entertainment venues, one had visited a bar in Thong Lor and the local authority has ordered that 12 people who had close contact with that patient be quarantined and monitored. The other three had visited local bars.

                                Four other cases, including a child aged nine, are local people, said Mr Kusak, and local health officials are trying to find out how and where they became infected.

                                All eight patients have been hospitalised and are under close monitoring.

                                Phuket governor Narong Woonciew said local health officials had already inspected the local bars visited by the three local patients and had ordered them to shut and be thoroughly cleaned.

                                "We have ordered local police and officials to enforce tough laws on entertainment venues that violate Covid-19 preventive legal measures," Mr Narong said, adding that since Covid-19 erupted in early 2020, Phuket had ordered two bars to stay closed for five years, as well as fining and temporarily shutting several others.

                                The governor urged people who had visited pubs and bars to self-quarantine, and go to the hospital immediately if they had unusual symptoms.

                                He insisted that his provincial administration had stepped up measures to monitor travellers from other provinces entering the province either by land, sea or air.

                                Meanwhile, Thanes Supornsahasrungsri, president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council, feared a new wave of infections there would affect the province's tourism sector despite no holidaymakers having yet cancelled their plans to visit.

                                Mr Thanes asked the government to vaccinate 70% of health workers, tourism employees and other workers in Chon Buri.

                                He said that while Pattaya is reporting 60% hotel occupancy for Songkran next week, the town still depended greatly on foreign tourists.

                                The town's major foreign market, China, is currently not allowing people to travel abroad because of its lockdown policy, he said, while another major source of tourists, India, is dealing with its own escalating Covid-19 crisis.:

                                Originally posted by Somchai Boonporn View Post
                                Perhaps a blessing in disguise for the Golden Land.

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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