Covid-19 General Information | Thailand

Thailand during the Covid-19 Pandemic: Thai Tourism and Airline News, Government Orders, Travel Restrictions and Immigration Updates.
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Mon May 03, 2021 1:45 pm

Covid UPDATE: 31 people die, 2,014 new infections, provincial totals

Today the daily 24 hour infection report for Covid-19 has jumped to back over the 2,000 mark with 2,014 new cases reported by the Thai health ministry. 31 people have died from Covid-related illness as well, a new high. Yesterday the death toll for a single day was 21.

The CCSA report that most of today’s reported deaths were from “close family and infected patients”.

All the people that died over the past 24 hours were aged between 31-83 years. 29,765 people remain in hospitals or field hospitals under state care.
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Mon May 03, 2021 1:47 pm

Buri Ram sees 2 villages go into lockdown after 8 Covid-19 infections

Thailand’s northeastern, or Isaan, province of Buri Ram, is seeing 2 villages ordered to go into lockdown after 8 Covid-19 infections have threatened the community. The provincial communicable disease committee is ordering the villages of Ban Sao-e and Ban Nong Phai, located on Moo 2 and Moo 12, respectively, to lockdown from 6pm on May 2. The villages have around 1,000 people in total and are in tambon Hin Lek Fai, of Khu Muang district.

The spread of the infections was attributed to parties being held between April 16-18 with outsiders in attendance. The 8 infections include both children and adults. The lockdown will prevent travelling in and out of the villages. Violators will face up to 1 year in jail or a fine up to 100,000 baht under Section 52 of the Communicable Disease Act of 2015. Yesterday, the total number of infections in the province totaled 111.
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Mon May 03, 2021 6:29 pm

Chalong, Phuket hospital closes - staff quarantine

Chalong Hospital in Phuket is closing after seeing an outpatient test positive for Covid-19. The hospital is now undergoing disinfection while its staff has been ordered to undergo quarantine. The 74 year old patient visited the hospital last Wednesday for dizziness and was sent home. 2

days later the woman returned with complaints of dizziness again and diarrhea. The next day, last Saturday, the woman developed a fever, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties prompting doctors to test her for Covid-19 and move her to an isolated room.

Chalong Hospital Director, Suchart Nichawanna says late last night, the results came in as positive for the virus. Suchart announced the “temporary suspension of services” today, posting the announcement online just before 1:30pm.

“As a result of the incident, many medical personnel at Chalong Hospital were at high risk exposure. Patients admitted to the hospital, doctors, nurses and hospital personnel have been quarantined and tested for Covid-19. Therefore, it is necessary for Chalong Hospital to temporarily suspend services to all patients.”

Meanwhile, Thailand today has reported 2,014 new cases with 31 people having died over the past 24 hours from Covid-related illnesses. The daily death toll is now the highest yet since the pandemic began. Yesterday, the death toll for a single day was 21.

New infections announced since April 25…
April 14 – 2,839
April 25 – 2,438
April 26 – 2,048
April 27 – 2,179
April 28 – 2,012
April 29 – 1,871
April 30 – 1,583
May 1 – 1,891
May 2 – 1,940
May 3 – 2,014
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Mon May 03, 2021 6:31 pm

Thai set up centre to investigate fake news surrounding Covid-19

Thai authorities are setting up a centre to investigate fake news surrounding Covid-19. The Department of Special Investigation says such misguidances could hamper the government’s efforts in containing the current pandemic.

The task force to combat so-called “false information” started last Saturday and is headed by deputy director-general Supat Thamthanarak. The move falls in line with Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin’s policy in supporting the investigations being conducted under the DSI law. Supat says fake news has been circulating throughout the Covid pandemic, with such misleading information ranging from the promotion of herbs as a virus cure to certain drug recommendations by so-called senior doctors.

The anti-fake news centre says it will investigate attempts to spread such news to mislead the public about the Covid-19 situation, focusing on online and social media platforms. The task force will be required to submit reports to the Justice Ministry and others overseeing it. Back in February, however, Thai police arrested 35 people for allegedly spreading false information about the coronavirus. Some posts shared online claimed that migrant workers had broken out of a quarantine facility, another claimed that the coronavirus is actually not a virus, but a bacteria somehow connected to 5G spectrum radio frequencies.

Only 4 people actually wrote posts online with false information while the other 31 people shared fake news posts. Digital Economy and Society Ministry’s Anti-Fake News Centre and the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission teamed up with police for the crackdown on fake news regarding the pandemic. Even earlier this year, COFACT Thailand published a list of the top 5 fake news stories and myths, relating Covid-19, that was circulating among Thai netizens at that time:

All Thais must enter lockdown
Drinking lemonade can kill coronavirus
Those who adopt an alkaline and vegan diets will lower their chance of becoming infected
Mailing parcels can pass on the coronavirus
Standing in direct sunlight can kill the coronavirus (something most Thais would NEVER do)
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Tue May 04, 2021 10:19 am

Phuket adds ‘soft’ curfew but sets up checkpoints to enforce

Phuket is now added to the list of provinces in Thailand that have introduced “soft” curfews – strongly worded requests for residents to stay home during specific hours. Phuket residents are being asked to stay at home between 10pm and 4am daily. The announcement is now in force. Checkpoints are being set up to advise and warn people who don’t cooperate.

Soft or not, it’s a curfew, albeit requested politely. The Thai government has gone out of its way to introduce restrictions to control crowds and the spread of Covid-19 without using the words ‘lockdown’ or ‘curfew’. Phuket now has a total of 463 people infected with Covid since the start of April.

“Due to the situation in Phuket and across the country more people are infected daily and the number of deaths is increasing in which the infected persons were found in clusters. This is due to the organisation of activities that gather many people, the traveling of people from high-risk areas without strictly adhering to public health measures.”
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Tue May 04, 2021 10:46 am

Vaccination to be accelerated following outbreak in Bangkok’s Klong Toey

The government is accelerating vaccine administration among shantytown dwellers in Bangkok’s Klong Toey district following an outbreak of Covid-19. Thousands of people live in very close quarters within the slums and travel across the city and to neighbouring provinces for work. The cluster of infections has sparked fear the virus could spread further and overwhelm the healthcare system.

Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is pushing for an urgent vaccine rollout among the community. The Bangkok Post reports that vaccine administration will take place at Tesco Lotus branches at Rama IV and Klong Toey Withaya School from 1pm today. Officials aim to inoculate 1,000 people by the end of the day, and another 2,000 – 3,000 in the following days.

It’s understood officials are also carrying out daily proactive testing among the Klong Toey community, testing around 1,000 people a day between now and May 19. According to Apisamai Srirangson from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, a total of 39 Klong Toey communities will be tested. She adds that all infected patients have now been hospitalised. Nearly 1,000 people are considered high-risk contacts and are being prioritised for testing.

The Bangkok Post also reports that following the discovery of 60 new infections among the Bon Kai community of Pathumwan district, officials will also carry out mass testing there, with the aim of testing 4,000 people every day. Pongsakorn Kwanmuang from the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration says the cluster was sparked by someone who lives in the community and works at a nightlife venue in the Thong Lor district of the capital.

The outbreak in Klong Toey was mostly the result of infection being spread between family members and work colleagues. Pongsakorn says that with 75,000 houses in the Klong Toey slums, it is vital to speed up vaccination in the community.
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Tue May 04, 2021 3:14 pm

Half of Thai hotels can stay afloat for less than 3 months

A recent poll of the Thai hotel industry shows that 47% of those surveyed only have enough liquidity to sustain less than 3 months of business. The Bank of Thailand has published its confidence index of hotel business operators for April 2021 and the findings make for grim reading. According to a Nation Thailand report, a total of 188 hotels around the country took part between April 12 – 26. Among those surveyed, 30 properties are serving as alternative state quarantine facilities.

The poll shows that 56% of hotels have seen their liquidity drop by 20% compared to last month, as a direct result of the Covid-19 resurgence. Meanwhile, 47% say their liquidity is such that they can only remain open less than 3 months. Of the properties surveyed, 46% remain open as usual, while 13% have closed temporarily. Most of the shuttered hotels are in the south of the country and consist of properties that would normally attract foreign tourists. The report says these hotels plan to re-open in the last quarter of the year, when they hope the situation will have improved.

Nation Thailand reports that occupancy rates have plummeted across all hotels and among the 158 properties that are not serving as ASQ facilities, occupancy sits at an average of 18%. The lowest occupancy rate is in the north of the country, at 4.1%. In the north-east, it’s 10.9%, in central Thailand it’s 18.7% and in the south, 23.2%. Average occupancy this month is predicted to drop to as low as 9% if the Covid crisis is not brought under control.

The poll found that hotels still operating are employing 59% of the workforce they had prior to the third wave of the virus. Staff costs are being managed through salary cuts, unpaid leave, and alternating work days.
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Tue May 04, 2021 3:15 pm

Virologist urges government to carry out mass vaccination within 3 months

Prominent Thai virologist Dr. Yong Poovorawan is calling on the government to carry out mass vaccination of the population within 3 months, after a study showed that 1 dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine boosts immunity by more than 96%. Dr. Yong has been a persistent critic of the Thai government’s handling of the Covid outbreaks in the country.

Posting on his Facebook page, Yong cited a recent study conducted on Thai people who received a single AstraZeneca dose concluded their immunity was improved by 96.7%, compared to unvaccinated people. Furthermore, former Covid-19 patients who recovered between 4 and 8 weeks prior to being tested showed an improvement in immunity of more than 92%.

According to the Bangkok Post, 61 people took part in the study over a 1-month period from when they received their first vaccine dose. Higher levels of immunity were reported in individuals under the age of 60, with Yong pointing out that immunity increases further and lasts longer following a second dose of the vaccine. “Therefore, the government should administer the first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine to as many people as possible, or 10 million people each month in the first 3 months of mass vaccination.”

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, says officials are ready to approve the registration of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine after meeting with representatives of its Asian distributor, Zuellig Pharma. The head of the Food and Drug Administration, Paisarn Dunkum, says the distributor submitted all required paperwork last week and registration of the vaccine will be completed in May.

Anutin has confirmed the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation is preparing to import doses of the Moderna vaccine but says the private sector must inform the GPO of their orders in advance, saying the organisation can’t stockpile the vaccine in anticipation of the private sector buying it.
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Tue May 04, 2021 11:58 pm

6 top tourist zones start opening for quarantine-free travel in July

Full steam ahead. The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s insists that the sandbox re-opening plans for 6 of Thailand’s most economically sensitive tourist magnets will start on July 1… July 2021.
Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai will, according to the TAT, be open to foreign tourists who have received 2 doses of Covid-19 vaccine (or 1 if that’s the vaccine dose of a registered vaccine in Thailand).
Phuket will be the first destination to lift quarantine requirements for vaccinated foreign tourists under the ‘Phuket Sandbox’ program. And the TAT say the date WILL be July 1, 2021. “Tourists will be required to spend the first seven days on the island, before travelling to other Thai destinations.” The media release doesn’t specify any of the paperwork or travel restrictions that may still be imposed on international travellers to the 6 targeted areas.

The TAT says that authorities continue to work on vaccination programs on the island “to safely achieve herd immunity against Covid-19 for 70% of Phuket’s population, including residents, workers in tourism-related businesses, and migrant workers.” So far, the best intentions of Phuket officials have only vaccinated around 90-100,000 residents, less than 25% of the island’s resident population but well ahead of other parts of the country.

The Thai government are trying to acquire additional vaccines to reach the target of 100 million doses to vaccinate 50 million people across Thailand by the end of the year, according to the TAT. “Bangkok, Phuket, Chon Buri which includes Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Surat Thani which includes Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, as well as 8 other high-risk provinces were being prioritised in the rollout of the first vaccine doses.”

Some 1.47 million people in Thailand have now received at least 1 dose of the 2-dose vaccines available in Thailand at this time. The country’s mass vaccination rollout is scheduled to begin in June when the first batch of 6 million doses of the locally licensed AstraZeneca vaccine will start to be delivered by Siam Bioscience. “The amount will increase to 10 million doses a month between July and November, and the last batch of 5 million doses in December.”

The Thai government is also in the process of acquiring 37 million more doses of vaccine to be delivered within this year from either Pfizer, Sputnik V, Johnson & Johnson or Sinovac, as well as from Moderna, Sinopharm and Bharat. “According to the government, all people in Thailand, regardless of nationality, are eligible to receive the vaccine and can register for the vaccination program via the Mor Prom (“Doctors Ready”) Line official account, or at hospitals and health promotion hospitals nationwide. ”

We keep receiving complaints from foreigners who are trying to register with the app but, like many Thai people at the moment, the app and Line registration have been crumbling under the initial high levels of registrations since it opened last Saturday. Foreigners will currently need a Pink ID card to register but many foreigners with even a Pink Thai ID card are reporting problems getting a receipt of their registration.

The vaccines for this current registration will start on June 7 for the main priority groups, people aged 60 or older and those with seven chronic diseases… ung disease, kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, obesity, diabetes, and cancer. “Other groups or people aged 18-59 can register in July 2021, and the vaccination starts in August 2021.”
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Wed May 05, 2021 2:04 pm

Bangkok opening first ICU field hospital for Covid-19 patients

With the rising number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Bangkok, the epicentre of the new wave of infections, pushing hospitals to their limits, an ICU field hospital is opening in Bangkok.

Field hospitals have been used for Covid-19 patients who are asymptomatic, or who have mild symptoms. Those with more severe symptoms have been treated at hospitals. Since the start of the new wave of infections in late March, around 14% of Covid-19 patients in Bangkok had moderate to severe symptoms. The Bangkok governor says they plan to set up more ICU field hospitals to “make sure that intensive treatment will be available if the infections rise.”

Governor Aswin Kwanmuang made the announcement on his Facebook page saying the Chaloem Phra Kiat Stadium in Bangkok’s Thung Khru district has already been converted into a field hospital. It can house up to 432 patients. “Charoenkrung Pracharak Hospital will be providing medical professionals and equipment that can take care of Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms, including lung x-ray machines, oximeters, and a comprehensive telemedicine network to ensure that the patients are monitored by doctors at all times.”
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