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Update March, 2020


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Health Advisory for travelers regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)



(MOPH) Department of Disease Control: Health Advisory for travelers regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Reduce your risk of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection

 (MOPH) Department of Disease Control: Health Advisory for travelers regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Thailand prepares for summer storms during March 15-17

BANGKOK (NNT) The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, has coordinated with every province in preparing staff and machines to deal with thunderstorms and wind gusts expected from 15th-17th March. The public will need to check their house’s durability because the strong winds and rain may cause severe damage.

The Thai Meteorological Department has predicted that upper Thailand will be hit with thunderstorms this month, and some areas may need to deal with hail and lightning.

In the South, there is an expectation of increased rainfall.

Meanwhile, during 18th - 21st March, the upper part of the country’s thunderstorms will ease, the temperature will rise, and residents of the area can expect hot weather during the day leading to heatwaves in some areas.

The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation under the supervision of the Ministry of the Interior, has ordered provinces and district security centers in high-risk areas to monitor the weather round the clock. Reinforcement of staff and machines needs to be ready at all times for rescue missions. The department has also asked members of the public to follow the weather forecasts and strictly observe any warnings.

Those badly affected by the storms, should call Hotline 1784, available around the clock.


PM drives all working teams to wipe out coronavirus (Covid-19)

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister has convened a meeting of relevant agencies to follow up on the Covid-19 situation. The discussion took place at Government House.

Prime General Prayut Chan-o-cha, as the commander of the Covid-19 Epidemic Situation Management Center, called the urgent meeting of relevant agencies to assess the current situation, at the Covid-19 Epidemic Management Center, Santi Maitri Building, Government House. The Prime Minister urged those in attendance to help create an understanding of the situation among people in society.

Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda said that since Covid-19 is a new issue for the country, all operations must originate at the center and that everyone has to help one another.

The Covid-19 Epidemic Situation Management Center’s work is divided into six areas consisting of public health, preventive medical supplies, information, foreign affairs, preventive measures and remedies. All are to be directed by the Prime Minister.

Initially, a meeting has been scheduled at 9 a.m. every day to follow up on the situation and report it to the Prime Minister for acknowledgment and further consideration of measures to be taken.


Air Force dispatches helicopters to alleviate PM 2.5 level in Thailand’s northern region

BANGKOK (NNT) - The level of particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) in the northern region is still high and is affecting the health of residents. The smoke and haze is due to forest burning both in Thailand and neighboring countries. The Prime Minister has ordered the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) to dispatch helicopters to spray water to reduce the impact.

Government Spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat disclosed today that Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha had been informed of the rising level of PM 2.5 in 17 Northern provinces of Thailand. Yesterday, the volume of PM 2.5 reached a level that affected health in many areas. Many hot spots have been found in the Northern provinces, along the Thai-Myanmar border area and in neighboring countries as a result of forest burning both in Thailand and in neighboring countries.

The level of PM 2.5 in the North is likely to go up due to still air. The Prime Minister has ordered all agencies to control and extinguish the forest fires and strictly prevent new fires in forest areas so as to urgently reduce the haze level. He has ordered the RTAF to use helicopters to spray water to reduce dust in the air in the North.

The Prime Minister has ordered relevant agencies to implement public health care measures such as arranging safety zones and dispatching mobile medical units to serve the public until the situation can be improved.


Thailand-China put all in to fight against COVID-19

 

BANGKOK (NNT) Thailand and China have vowed to cooperate in their fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) epidemic, with the Chinese authorities offering to share medical equipment as the situation in China is starting to resolve.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit, met yesterday with the Minister Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand Yang Xin, along with the Deputy Minister of Public Health Satit Pitutacha and delegates from related agencies.

The Chinese Minister Counsellor said China is willing to offer help to partner countries, now the situation in China is improving.

On this note, Thailand has requested support in obtaining medical equipment such as surgical masks, N95 respirators, personal protective equipment sets, and COVID-19 test kits, as well as a relaxation of import taxes and fees on certain items as necessary.

The Thai officials thanked China for its assistance, adding that the country can now produce 1.2 million surgical masks daily, and is eager to accept the support of China.

The Chinese Minister Counsellor, on this occasion offered thanks for continual cooperation from Thailand, and the support Thailand has given in the fight against COVID-19, stressing China’s willingness to offer help in return.


Thai man, woman arrested for selling overpriced masks via WeChat

BANGKOK (TNA) Immigration police arrested two Thais, a man and a woman, for allegedly selling overpriced surgical masks via chat software.

Immigration police commissioner Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang identified the suspects only as Mr Chai and Ms Nat. He said one of the suspects was arrested with 5,000 surgical masks at the parking lot of a hotel in Laksi district, Bangkok, on March 9.

Earlier police learned that foreigners were selling surgical masks at inflated prices via a mobile application WeChat account named Amazing Tom Café. In a sting operation, detectives ordered 5,000 masks priced at 15 baht each from the source. Mr Chai was arrested while delivering the products in five boxes.

Mr Chai told police he advertised mask supplies in Chinese through the chat application. Later police arrested Miss Nat who was responsible for financial transactions of the racket. She transferred money to Bangladeshi man identified only as Zaw, who was their real mask supplier.

Pol Lt Gen Sompong said that the gang transferred nearly 2 million baht over the past seven days. (TNA)


COVID-19 control measures intensified across Thailand’s provinces

CHIANG MAI, March 12 (TNA) -- Authorities have stepped up disease control in many provinces amid concerns on the outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

In Chiang Mai, doctors and nurses from the Dararassamee Hospital under the Border Patrol Police Region 3 shared knowledge about COVID-19 with local police commanders and police officers from 38 stations in the Northern Province.

The medical personnel also advised the officers on proper habits to cope with the global disease outbreak and handed out hand sanitizer gel produced by the wives of Chiang Mai police.

The hand wash gel will be placed for use by visitors to local police stations. So far local police officers have not tested positive for the disease.

In Phichit province, health officials checked the body temperatures of about 400 local administrative officials including village headmen and their assistants from 15 sub-districts of Muang Phichit district for the sake of disease surveillance.

The examination happened before their monthly meeting. About 10 village headmen and other local administrators had colds and respiratory illnesses.

They wore face masks before attending the meeting. Those who had fevers were asked to leave.

At Hat Yai airport in Songkhla province, officials were checking the body temperatures of all departing passengers. Those having fevers will undergo an established process of disease control in a bid to curb COVID-19. Air passengers were advised to arrive at the airport a few hours before their boarding time to pass the illness screening process first.

The number of travelers at Hat Yai airport obviously fell. Most of them wore face masks. Officials were regularly cleaning the passenger terminal and prepared hand sanitizer gel for travelers. (TNA)


Thailand reports 11 more Covid-19 cases found hanging out with Hong Kong tourist

BANGKOK, March 12 (TNA) Thailand reported 11 new coronavirus cases, bring the total cases in the country to 70 on Thursday, said Sukhum Kanchanapimai, permanent secretary for public health.

All 11 new cases are Thais. They are friends in the same group, hanging out with a tourist from Hong Kong, who was later found to be infected with the virus.

The group socialized and shared drinks and cigarettes at a restaurant in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area. All of the new patients have mild symptoms.

The public health ministry advised people to practice hygiene habits by eating hot meals and using middle spoons.

The ministry will step up lab test screening among flu patients.  (TNA)


Thailand’s temples clean up to cope with COVID-19

BANGKOK- The government is cleaning Bangkok’s Buddhist temples popular to tourists to control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The measure began with the Temple of Dawn. Prime Minister’s Office Minister Tewan Liptapallop who supervises the National Office of Buddhism led officials and volunteers to clean the pagodas and crematorium of the temple. Officials also sprayed disinfectant in the compound.

They also encouraged local monks to conduct disease control campaigns for the good health of monks and local people.

Visitors to temples should strictly follow disease control guidelines of the Public Health Ministry including regularly washing hands and wearing face masks before giving alms to monks and meeting monks, Mr Tewan said.

The cleanup also started at Wat Hong Rattanaram Ratchaworawihan, Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram, Wat SuthatThepphawararam, Wat Paknam Phasi Chaeroen, Wat Traimit Withayaram Worawihan and Wat Rakhang Khositaram. (TNA)


Thai Hotels Association (Northern Upper) re-elects Laied as president

Laied Bungsrithong (left) will serve another year as president of the Thai Hotels Association Upper North Region after a unanimous vote. At right is Pakanan Winitchai, Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Chiang Mai Office.

Nopniwat Krailerg

The general manager of RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort will serve another year as president of the Thai Hotels Association Upper North Region after a unanimous vote.

Laied Bungsrithong and a new THA board were chosen March 10 at the Rati Lanna.

The THA board for 2020-22 will includes Bungsrithong, Warunee Kummean from the Duang Tawan Chiang Mai Hotel, Klanarong Pungnak of The Empress Hotel, Ittithep Homnien from Furama Hotel Chiang Mai, Paul Watcharaprecha from Park Hotel, Noppadol Sangsawang of the Chiang Mai Hill Hotel, Punrada Siripakmongkok from the Dusit D2 Chiang Mai and Settapong Wattanakul of the Kantary Hills Hotel.


Chiang Mai calls off ‘Songkran Festival’, water splashing refrained

CHIANG MAI (TNA) The municipal office of the northern province has cancelled all activities related to the Songkran water festival in April to help control the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Chiang Mai mayor Tasanai Buranupakorn said the annual Songkran New Year festival that normally attracted huge crowds would be completely suspended and there would be only Lanna-styled decorations in urban areas and exhibitions on traditional lifestyles at the ancient Tha Phae gate and the Three Kings Monument.

“For the safety of people and tourists, we cancel any activities that would attract crowds of people. They include a beauty contest of women cycling while holding paper umbrellas, a procession of Buddha images and a tradition of extending Songkran greetings to the Chiang Mai governor,” Mr Tasanai said.

Besides, he said, the Chiang Mai municipal office treated water in the ancient moat of the province to improve the urban atmosphere.

Mr Tasanai asked the public to refrain from splashing water and especially using water from the moat for such activities to help control the disease. Virus could live in water for as long as 4 days, he said. (TNA)


Thailand’s factories ramp up mask production, shortages at hospitals eased

 

BANGKOK (NNT) - A representative of mask factories has insisted they are ramping up their production, with all masks produced being sent to the authorities for distribution. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization has confirmed that surgical mask shortages at hospitals will be resolved in coming days. The Ministry of Labour has also introduced a measure allowing employers to submit reduced social security payments for their employees.

The government’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Information Center today made its daily announcement regarding current government actions to overcome the impact of the epidemic.

At today’s press conference, a manager from Thai Hospital Products Paisarn Charuraksa, said the company has been increasing its production capacity of surgical masks, with the current maximum capacity now at 400,000 items per day. The company is delivering 350,000 pieces daily to the Department of Internal Trade and the Government Pharmaceutical Organization for distribution.

He said the company is trying to increase the production output to meet the rise in demand, insisting that the company doesn’t send surgical masks to any persons or companies, as the production line is now being monitored by officials from the Department of Internal Trade to prevent illegal exportation.

The company has ensured the current production is compliant with quality control measures and strict inventory control, with all information continuously shared with relevant organizations.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organization’s Managing Director Withoon Danwiboon, said today the GPO is now mainly occupied distributing the 410,700 surgical masks it receives from factories daily, to government agencies in need. The organization has successfully maintained distribution to 99 percent of hospitals in major provinces.

The Ministry of Public Health now distributes 400,000 surgical masks to public hospitals under its supervision, 30,000 masks to hospitals beyond its supervision, and 140,000 items to private hospitals and clinics, 70,000 items to hospitals under the supervision of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, and 60,000 of the masks to teaching hospitals belonging to universities, as well as dental schools.

Additionally, the Ministry of Commerce now handles 500,000 surgical masks each day. 200,000 of which are allocated to those at low-risk of infection. The ministry is selling 150,000 surgical masks each day to the general public through Blue Flag stores across the country, plus 25,000 items through pharmacies, and 125,000 masks through convenience stores and government offices. The ministry has distributed some one million surgical masks over the past three days, expecting the earlier shortage to be resolved soon.

Meanwhile, an advisor to the Minister of Labour Jak Panchupetch said today the Ministry of Labour has prepared aid measures to prevent affected businesses from closing, including a measure allowing employees to take leave while receiving 75 percent of their normal wage. In addition, the Social Security Office has approved a measure allowing employers to pay a reduced contribution to their employees’ social security fund, lowered from 5 percent to 4 percent. This measure is starting this month, and will continue for six months.


Thai Airways Int’l announces flight adjustments, check-in procedures in Thailand & Overseas

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THAI requires health certificate clarifying no risk of COVID-19 from passengers traveling from Disease Infected Zones following the CAAT announcement.

Bangkok, 10 March, 2020, at 13.00 Hrs. – Thai Airways International (THAI) has announced a new requirement for its passengers travelling from South Korea, China (including Hong Kong and Macau) and Italy to present a health certificate clarifying “no risk of COVID-19” prior to boarding pass issuance.

THAI’s passengers travelling from Seoul, Pusan, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Rome and Milan are required to complete the T8 form issued under Thailand’s Communicable Disease Act 2015 and present to the Disease Control Officers at the quarantine office in their destination airports in Thailand.

THAI’s measure is in accordance with the notification of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on COVID-19 control measures, which was issued on 8 March, 2020. The CAAT’s guidelines are in line with the Royal Thai Government’s announcement on 5 March, 2020, regarding the territories outside the Kingdom of Thailand: South Korea, Italy, Iran and China (including Hong Kong and Macau) defined as Disease Infected Zones for COVID-19.

In addition, THAI stated that as the ongoing outbreak of the COVID-19 decreased the number of passengers, THAI adjusted its flights to match passenger demand and advance bookings as follows:

Flights to Malaysia
Bangkok- Kuala Lumpur round trip
Cancellation of flights TG417/418 now until 31 March, 2020.

Flights to Denmark
Bangkok-Copenhagen round trip
Cancellation of flights TG950/951 on 12, 19, and 26 May, 2020.

Flights to Sweden
Bangkok-Stockholm round trip
Cancellation of flights TG960/961 on 14, 21, and 28 May, 2020.

Flights to Indonesia
Bangkok-Jakarta round trip
Cancellation of flights TG435/436 now until 31 March, 2020.

Flights to Sri Lanka
Bangkok- Colombo round trip
Cancellation of flight TG307 on 7, 9, 14, 16, 21, 23, 28, and 30 March, 2020, and flight TG308 on 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24, 29, and 31 March, 2020.

Flights to India
– Bangkok-Bengaluru round trip
Cancellation of flight TG325 on 9, 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, and 31 March, 2020, and flight TG326 on 10, 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, 24, 25, 27, and 31 March, 2020, as well as 1 April 2020.
– Bangkok-Kolkata round trip
Cancellation of flight TG313 on 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, and 30 March, 2020, and flight TG314 on 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, and 31 March, 2020.
– Bangkok-Hyderabad round trip
Cancellation of flight TG329 on 10, 12, 16, 17, 19, 23, 24, 26, 30, and 31 March, 2020, and flight TG330 on 11, 13, 17, 18, 20, 24, 25, 27, and 31 March, 2020, as well as 1 April, 2020.
– Bangkok-Chennai round trip
Cancellation of flight TG337 on 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 27, and 30 March, 2020, and flight TG338 on 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 28, and 31 March, 2020.
– Bangkok-New Delhi round trip
Cancellation of flight TG335 on 6, 13, 20, and 27 March, 2020, and flight TG336 on 7, 14, 21, and 28 March, 2020.

Flights to Oman
Bangkok-Karachi-Muscat roundtrip
Cancellation of flights TG507/508 on 8, 10, 12, 15, 17, 19, 22, 24, 26, 29, and 31 March, 2020. 

For flight and/or route adjustments, passengers may contact the THAI Sale Offices, visit thaiairways.com, or call the THAI Contact Centre at Tel. 0-2356-1111, 24 hours a day.


Thai Cabinet approves measures to help SMEs, hotels, transports survive COVID-19 crisis

Bangkok, 11 March, 2020, at13:00 Hrs. The Royal Thai Government has approved Phase One of a broad range of financial and fiscal relief measures to help Thai companies, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, alleviate the business downturn impact of the COVID-19 virus crisis.

Travel and tourism companies are a primary focus of attention for the relief measures. Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana said that tourism, which accounts for 12% of the GDP, has been one of the worst affected sectors due to a 44% decline in visitors in February 2020. Chinese visitors alone were down 85%.

The downturn has had a significant ripple effect across the Thai economy affecting all forms of transport, trade and other services. Many hotels have temporarily suspended operations. The lack of liquidity also threatens the future of other businesses as well as employment levels.

The package of relief measures was drafted by the Ministry of Finance based on the principles of “Timely, Targetted and Temporary as Necessary”. The measures, approved by the Thai Cabinet on 10 March, 2020, are as follows:

1) Low interest loans (at 2% interest for a period of 2 years, not over 20 million Baht per customer) in the total amount of 150 billion Baht.

2) Suspending the principal, reducing the interest rate for the debts of the Government Saving Bank and Government Housing Bank.

3) The Bank of Thailand has eased the rules for granting commercial bank loans.

4) The Social Security Fund will provide a credit line (at 3%, for a period of 3 years) in the amount of 30 billion Baht.

5) Reducing withholding tax from 3% to 1.5%.

6) Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) participating in low-interest credit measures to help entrepreneurs. Having a single account, 1.5 times deduction can be made for interest expenses that occur between 1 April, 2020 and 31 December, 2020,

7) Allowing SMEs to deduct 3 times the salary expenses paid in April 2020 to July 2020. For employees who are insured under the law on the Social Security Fund and receive wages of not more than 15,000 Baht per person per month. 

8) Dissemination of VAT refunds to domestic entrepreneurs within 15 days after filing the form.

9) Refund the deposit for electricity usage.

10) Reducing contributions to the Social Security Fund by employers and employees.

11) Government agencies to reduce rental fees for state property.

The Finance Ministry has also set up specific hotlines to answer queries, as follows: 

• Financial Measures, Tel: 0 2273 9020 Ext. 3235.

• Tax Measures, Tel: 0 2273 9020 Ext. 3509, 3529, and 3512.

• Measures to reduce contributions to the Social Security Fund of employers and employees / measures to build confidence in the capital market system, Tel:  0 2273 9020 Ext. 3643.

• Measures to alleviate the burden of fees, rental fees, and compensation for services provided by government agencies and state enterprises / measures to alleviate the burden of water and electricity bill payments / measures to assist those affected by the Coronary Infection Disease 2019 or COVID 19. Tel: 0 2273 9020 Ext. 3558.

• Measures to increase spending efficiency, budget expenditure for the fiscal year 2020, Tel: 0 2127 7000 Ext. 4588.

Tourism Authority of Thailand Governor Yuthasak Supasorn commented, “TAT has been in constant contact with the private sector, especially the industry associations, ever since the downturn began in late January. We have communicated their concerns and requests to the Ministry of Finance and all other branches of the Royal Thai Government.

“TAT deeply appreciates the rapid response of the Ministry of Finance, which should go some way towards helping travel and tourism companies survive the crisis.”


Songkran events cancelled throughout Thailand amidst COVID-19 fears, water splashing warned

BANGKOK (NNT) - Each year in April, Thai people celebrate the Thai New Year or Songkran with world-famous water splashing events. This year however, many organizers have already cancelled their events to help reduce the risk of the coronavirus disease 2019 or COVID-19 spreading among crowds of revelers.

Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has announced the cancellation of the main Songkran events on Khaosan Road, Silom Road, and Ratchaprasong intersection to help minimize the infection risk.

Other events where people normally gather are also cancelled, including the procession of the Phra Buddha Sihing statue, alms giving ceremonies, and other recreational activities.

City Hall has also asked private companies to cancel their events, which are normally held every year at Asiatique shopping center, Central World shopping center, and Siam Paragon shopping center. The general public is also asked not to come out and splash water, as this activity could potentially be favorable to the spread of this disease.

The BMA has also closed down Kilawet 1-2 gymnasiums at the Thai-Japanese Bangkok Youth Center, as well as some parts of the center’s swimming pools. All of the BMA’s swimming pools are now conducting body temperature checks on all users prior to entering. Those with a fever are not allowed to use the facilities.

In Nakhon Ratchasima, Provincial Governor Wichian Chantaranothai said on Tuesday that the province has announced a ban on all recreational activities on this year’s Thao Suranari Victory Day, with only religious rites and traditional dance performances still going ahead. The 12-day 12-night celebration has also been reduced to only one day on 23rd March.

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Govt requires arriving foreigners to Thailand to specify countries recently visited

BAGKOK (NNT) - The Immigration Bureau has announced that all foreigners arriving in Thailand must now specify the countries they have recently visited on their arrival card, to filter out the potential spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Immigration police deputy spokesperson Colonel Cherngron Rimpadee today announced that the Immigration Bureau after discussions with relevant agencies had resolved to ask all foreign passengers arriving in Thailand to list all the countries they have recently visited.

Prior to the announcement, the arrival card that foreigners fill in, only requested basic information, such as personal information, country of residence and the accommodation each individual was staying in, while in Thailand.

On March 5, the government declared four countries and two territories to be at high-risk of COVID-19, namely, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Italy, and Iran.

Currently, the kingdom welcomes roughly 4,500 passengers daily from these countries.

Disease Control Department Deputy Director-General Kajornsak Kaewjaras, shared today that all passengers from these high-risk destinations, and those who have visited them in recent times, must identify themselves to authorities.

Officials will provide a free medical checkup, and ask for contact details throughout their stay in the kingdom; government personnel will then be able to monitor their well-being.

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PM promotes ‘Disease-free Animals, Save Humans from Rabies’, Organic Farming

 

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, took part in an activity to promote the "Disease-free Animals, Save Humans from Rabies" project.

The Prime Minister attended the activity to promote the project, organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. He warned the general public not to buy pets, particularly dogs, at stores without proper permits. The pets may be of inferior quality and may have health problems, and the owners may have to abandon them due to high medical costs. He instructed relevant units to enforce the law to prevent the issue of stray dogs strictly, because they can cause problems, such as diseases, for communities, tourist destinations and temples.

The Prime Minister also urged supermarket cooperatives to sell more organic vegetables, fruit and meat. He instructed relevant agencies to help manage them, teach farmers about organic farming and market demand, and promote beef cattle farming. He also would like supermarket cooperatives to expand to all provinces nationwide.

Gen. Prayut then observed an exhibition, organized by the Ministry of Education, to encourage educational institutions to teach coding to their students, as coding will improve their logical thinking and analytical skills. They will be able to distinguish fake news from actual news and information.

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Three more COVID-19 cases, found associated with Italy, confirmed in Thailand

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has reported that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Europe is starting to change. Meanwhile, Thailand has reported three more confirmed cases on March 10. The three cases are associated with Italy. Members of the public have been advised to exercise more caution when traveling to European countries.

The Director of the Bureau of General Communicable Diseases, Dr. Sopon Iamsirithawon, said on Tuesday the global situation is beginning to change. While the COVID-19 infections in China are apparently decreasing, the virus is spreading dramatically in Europe, especially in Italy.

The 51st case in Thailand is a 41-year-old woman. She was in close contact with the 45th patient, who was infected in Italy. The 52nd and 53rd cases are a couple. The wife, aged 46, recently returned from Italy. As she followed the Ministry of Public Health’s guidelines, she did not have contact with anyone except her husband.

Of the 53 confirmed cases, 33 patients have recovered and have been discharged. Nineteen other patients are still being treated in hospitals. Each of them was infected in other countries. People have been advised to exercise more caution when traveling to Europe. They should strictly follow all safety measures. If they cannot postpone their travel, they should check on the situation in advance.

There are no 4,682 people in quarantine, with 2,844 people having been allowed to return home. A quarantine facility at Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi province is looking after 188 Thai workers who returned from South Korea. None of them has any symptoms of the virus.

The Secretary-General of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Paisarn Dunkum, commented on the Ministry of Public Health’s announcements related to alcohol-based hand sanitizers and cosmetics. The purpose is not to prohibit cosmetics companies from producing alcohol-based hand sanitizers, but the ministry wants these products to contain at least 70% alcohol, which makes them suitable for disinfection. The general public can rest assured that alcohol-based hand sanitizers on the market are effective in killing bacteria and viruses. Producers and importers who fail to comply are subject to two years in prison and a 200,000-baht fine.

Vendors selling hand sanitizers with less than 70% alcohol are subject to six months in prison or a 50,000 baht fine, or both.

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Thailand’s Transport Min: 10,000-baht reward for COVID-19 high-risk groups who refuse to enter quarantine info

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Transport Minister, Saksayam Chidchob, said the government will award 10,000 baht to people who provide information about those who are at a high risk of being infected with COVID-19 but refuse to undergo the 14-day quarantine. More stringent preventive measures against COVID-19 have been put in place, as air passengers arriving from at-risk countries are now required to carry a medical certificate with them.

At Suvarnabhumi Airport, the Transport Minister inspected the Emergency Operation Center (EOC), set up to handle COVID-19 patients, and a screening zone to check passengers arriving from at-risk countries. He said the Department of Civil Aviation announced that passengers arriving from the Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Macao Special Administrative Region, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Italian Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran must carry a medical certificate with them before purchasing a plane ticket. They must present the certificate to the immigration officers during the screening process.

If the passengers are Thai nationals, their passports will be returned after they have undergone a health screening. Passengers who arrive from high-risk areas of South Korea will be separated and taken to a quarantine facility in Sattahip district, Chonburi province, immediately.

The measures will encourage passengers, arriving from at-risk countries, to exercise social responsibility to prevent any further spread of COVID-19. People, who provide information about high-risk groups refusing to undergo the 14-day quarantine to the authorities, will receive a tip-off reward of 10,000 baht


Thailand’s Commerce Min prosecutes vendors overpricing anti-COVID-19 face masks

 

BANGKOK(NNT) The Minister of Commerce discussed the guidelines for regulating consumer goods during the COVID-19 crisis with consumer goods entrepreneurs. Eighty-nine offenders have now been prosecuted.

Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, discussed the guidelines for regulating consumer goods during the COVID-19 crisis with consumer goods entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurs have promised to expand the production capacity of consumer goods by 30 percent to accommodate the market demand.

As for the production of medical masks, 11 factories in the country are now working at full capacity, increasing the national production yield to 36 million pieces per month or 1.2 million pieces per day. All of these new face masks will be entirely managed by the face mask management center which has resolved to allocate medical masks to hospitals or medical personnel or patients first. The hospitals of all types nationwide will be allocated 700,000 pieces per day. Another 500,000 pieces will be allocated and distributed through various channels to other groups of people.

Commerce Ministry Permanent Secretary Rit Kallayanamit said eighty-nine offenders have now been prosecuted. The offenders who are charged for not attaching a price tag and unreasonably raise prices will be subject to imprisonment for seven years or a fine of 140,000 baht or both. The offenders who sell face masks at a price of higher than 2.50 baht will be subject to imprisonment of not more than five years and a fine not exceeding 100,000 baht or both.


COVID-19 drags February Confidence Index to 27-month low, 500-billion-baht economic damage

BANGKOK (NNT) The COVID-19 epidemic and the drought have been major economic drawbacks, causing a slowdown in the Thai economy. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s (UTCC) Center for Economic and Business Forecasting’s (CEBF) latest TCC Confidence Index for February 2020 has fallen to 44.9, from 45.4 in January, the lowest figure in 27 months.

The lower score reflects the negative impacts from COVID-19 on tourism and service businesses, which in turn slowed domestic consumption. The drought disaster is also affecting farmers nationwide, reducing their farming areas and expected yields.

Despite these setbacks, the Thai economy is receiving a boost from a 3.36 percent expansion in exports in January, as well as a 0.9 baht per liter reduction in the price of diesel oil.

The private sector is urging the government to strengthen its measures to control the spread of COVID-19, encourage the general public to spend more and to travel domestically to help boost the economy, while ensuring a sufficient water supply for farming.

The UTCC President Thanawat Polvichai said COVID-19 is likely to cause 500 billion baht in damage to the Thai economy, while the government’s 100-billion-baht aid measures will only help the economy in the short-term.

He said the government must introduce long-term economic measures, as the spread of this virus is estimated to have long-term impacts on the economy.


44 more Thai workers from South Korea put in quarantine system, Sattahip naval base

Chonburi (TNA) More 44 Thai workers returning from South Korea arrived at the Sattahip naval base for quarantine on Monday, bringing the total number of Thai returnees, placed under quarantine to 187 persons.

Forty-four persons, including 16 men and 28 women travelled by a double decker bus from Suvarnabhumi Airport and were registered to the quarantine system at the navy’s facility in Chon Buri province.

The surveillance center in Sattahip has received 187 persons so far. 

The newcomers underwent thermal scanning while their luggage, shoes and communication devices were disinfected before they enter their rooms. 

The bus was also disinfected before leaving the premises.  

More Thai workers will come to the Sattahip naval base for 14-day quarantine, imposed among other measures to control the spread of the Covid-19.

The facilities there can serve 400 persons and 750 persons at the maximum.

Health checkup for the first lot of 143 workers found everyone has no fever. 

Staff will measure their temperature everyday. If anyone develops fever during their stay, that person will be sent to hospital immediately. 

Psychiatric counselling is available for anyone who has symptoms of tension or anxiety. (TNA) 


Thailand’s Minister denies hoarding 200 million masks all egation

 

BANGKOK(TNA) Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Thamanat Prompow has denied the allegation that his two close aides hoarded up 200 million medical masks for sales to other countries and had a turnover of about 1 billion baht.

Mr Thamanat said there were attempts to discredit him so that he would be excluded from the cabinet. Such attempts had failed during the recent censure debate, he said.

The deputy minister said he did not know Sornsuwee Puraweeratwatcharee who claimed in an online post to sell medical masks. He said that PittinanRak-ied was appointed as his close aide to honor the former candidate of his Palang Pracharath Party for obtaining at least 20,000 votes in the past general election.

Mr Thamanat quoted Mr Pittinan as saying that he met Mr Sornsuwee at a hotel for the first time and he had made a mistake by taking a photo with Mr Sornsuwee.

Mr Thamanat said he told Mr Pittinan to file a complaint with police to insist on his innocence. He said he would take legal action against anyone who discredited him.

“It is a movement to take the deputy agriculture minister’s seat from me. A man in the party was discredited and was identified as a close aide,” Mr Thamanat said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha did not make a comment when reporters asked him about the matter.
In another development, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization will transfer its sales of medical masks to the Internal Trade Department on March 10. Many people arrived at GPO at 3am on March 9 to buy masks and 700 queues for the purchase were completely reserved before 8am.

Each person was allowed to buy 10 masks at 10 baht, 450 milliliters of alcohol at 41 baht, and two tubes of hand wash gel at 24 baht each.  The whole set was priced at 99 baht.

Natchukorn Kaewpratana said she arrived at GPO at 4am and bought the products for her daughter who was a nurse at Ramathibodi Hospital.


Thailand’s NHSO to add COVID-19 to national healthcare program

BANGKOK (NNT)-The board of the National Health Security Office (NHSO) has approved the inclusion COVID-19 in its health care coverage program which covers all stages from prevention to medical rehabilitation.

The NHSO has approved the inclusion of COVID-19 in its health care program which covers prevention, awareness campaigns, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for members of the national health program, also known as the Gold Card. Although the outbreak of the virus in Thailand is still in the second phase which indicates that no outbreak has occurred in the country, the NHSO needs to prepare budgets and measures to support the patients in order to build confidence among people and fully support the patient care commitment of its service units. For more information, please call the NHSO hotline 1330.


Sattahip Naval Base sets up center to screen Thai workers returning from South Korea

CHONBURI (NNT) Sattahip Naval Base in Chonburi has been designated a center for the screening of Thai workers returning from South Korea, to determine whether they should be quarantined in state facilities or enter self-quarantine at home.

Defense Ministry Spokesperson Lt Gen Khongcheep Tantrawanit said today that Deputy Defense Minister Gen Chaichan Changmongkhol had discussed with representatives of all armed forces, plans for the operation intended to support the Ministry of Public Health in coping with the COVID-19 outbreak. The Ministry of Defense has now scrapped an earlier plan to use guest houses on Chao Samran beach in Phetchaburi, Bo Fai and Suan Son Pradipat to house quarantined workers returning from South Korea, as the Ministry of Public Health and local government agencies think it would be inappropriate. Public Health officials will now be supervising the returnees during the quarantine period and if the outbreak escalates, all armed forces are ready to provide other quarantine centers for use by the Ministry of Public Health.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha meanwhile, has urged the armed forces to consider the outbreak of COVID-19 a security threat that must be addressed by preparing to fully support the work of the Ministry of Public Health until the situation improves.


Thailand’s health workers in need of face masksdue to COVID-19 outbreak

BANGKOK (NNT) - A shortage of face masks due to the COVID-19 outbreak has affected healthcare workers in hospitals around the country. The health ministry is working together with the commerce ministry to deliver medical masks to those institutions in urgent need.

Siriraj hospital in Bangkok, the largest public hospital in Thailand, was on the top on the list, receiving an early delivery of 60,000 face masks from the government’s face mask distribution center which is jointly managed by the two relevant agencies, the public health and the commerce ministries.

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit announced that each day, the center has 1.2 million face masks for distribution. The health ministry’s food and drug administration, receives 700,000 masks for daily distribution to medical institutions, and the commerce ministry’s internal trade department receives 500,000 masks a day for the general public. The demand for face masks in each area is evaluated daily, and the management is equipped to handle a real time situation.

Siriraj Hospital director Visit Vamvanit, said today the hospital needs 100,000 face masks per day as the daily number of people working and visiting the hospital, including staff, medical students and patients, is approximately 15,000. The hospital’s face mask stock is now critical. It would be enough for only three weeks.


Thailand denies Italian cruise ship passengers to enter Phuket, anchors 2 miles away

PHUKET (NNT) - Thai authorities in Phuket, a major tourist destination on the Andaman coast in the south of Thailand, this week declined to allow passengers and crew members of an Italian cruise ship to land in Phuket, as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Italian cruise liner, Costa Fortuna, has been at anchor in Phuket since Friday (March 6th), carrying 1,631 passengers and 984 crew members.

The original schedule showed the passengers would be allowed to enter and visit tourist attractions on the island. However, relevant state agencies conducted a risk assessment, and decided not to grant them permission to land, as some of the passengers may pose a risk of spreading the virus.

The cruise ship was permitted to anchor two miles offshore, and to leave Thai waters on Saturday (March 7th) as previously scheduled.


Thailand to stimulate COVID-19 hit SMEs and tourism businesses with 100 billion baht circulation

BANGKOK (NNT) - The global COVID-19 epidemic is bringing significant disruption to both the Thai and global economies, perceived as one of the most serious economic setbacks by the private sector. The Ministry of Finance is working with the private sector to develop some 100 billion baht in support measures for affected persons and business operators.

These measures will include financial a liquidity enhancement campaign for low-income earners, freelance workers and farmers. With this campaign, the government will transfer support benefits, via the country’s Prompt Pay platform, to some 14 million beneficiaries, who will be able to for spending on necessities.

Soft loans will be offered to SMEs and tourism businesses to help secure sufficient funding for their business operations, as well as special tax measures to help encourage companies to retain their employees. The Revenue Department will issue a special guideline reducing withholding tax payments to increase liquidity.

A fund will be set up to support employers who continue to pay their employees during temporary work stoppages forced.

These, plus aid measures for the stock market, will be proposed in the economic ministers’ meeting on 6 March.

 


Thai AirAsia to cut executive pay due to Covid-19 impacts

BANGKOK (TNA) – Thai AirAsia cuts salaries of executives to alleviate losses from the impact of Covid-19 outbreak.

Due to tourism slowdown in the wake of Covid-19 outbreak, Thai AirAsia decided to cut salaries of executives while it has no plan to reduce employees.

Pilots, aircraft maintenance engineers and managers are asked to take unpaid leave voluntarily for 2-5 days per month.

The short-term measure is put into effect from March to September 2020 to cut the company’s cost and maintain cash flow.

The company also adjusts strategies for efficiency in managing costs to avoid impacts on employees.

Thai Airways International (THAI) last month announced to cut salaries and other allowances of executives by 15-25% for six months, effective on March 1. (TNA)

 


No-Visa Thai dry cleaner in South Korea infected with Covid-19

pSEOUL (TNA) – The first case of illegal Thai worker, infected with Covid-19 in South Korea was reported by the Thai embassy in Seoul.

Pinyuda Chamchansri, Thai minister-counsellor for labour, based in South Korea said the Thai patient is a 27-year-old female worker at a dry cleaner in North Gyeongsang Province.

The woman lives with her husband in Gimcheon without a working visa. The couple arrived in South Korea together. 

She fell sick on February 26 and sought medical treatment three days later at a hospital, where she was diagnosed with the virus.

She is now under quarantine at a housing unit in the factory premises, waiting for the South Korean authority to find a suitable hospital for her, said Pinyuda.

There is no cost for Covid-19 treatment of foreign patients, according to the South Korean government’s policy, she added.

 


Four more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Thailand, 2 Thais 1 Chinese 1 Italian

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health on Thursday (March 5) announced that Thailand has reported four more confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), taking the country’s total to 47.

The first of the four confirmed cases is an Italian national who went to a private hospital after developing a fever. The patient was later transferred to Chonburi Hospital. The second of the four cases is a Thai national who returned from Italy. The second patient went to a private hospital in Chonburi province. The first two cases are not related. Neither case showed any symptoms during the screening of airport passengers.

The third confirmed case is a Chinese student who returned from Iran and was waiting to take a flight at Suvarnabhumi Airport. The student developed a fever, a cough and a runny nose, and was taken to the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute.

The fourth case is a Thai national who also returned from Iran. The patient went to a hospital in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, and is undergoing treatment.

Thailand now has an accumulated total of 47 confirmed cases, 31 of whom have recovered, while 15 others are being treated in hospitals. A critically ill patient is being treated at the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute. The virus is no longer detectable, but the patient remains under close supervision.

Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, has instructed the Ministry of Public Health and other relevant ministries and units to screen people at airports and prepare places to accommodate passengers who appear to have a risk of infection, as they have to be supervised by the government.

The Ministry of Public Health has provided criteria to help different agencies set up a proper quarantine facility. The facility must be safe. It must have a kitchen, a ward, a proper waste management system, other facilities and officers working in shifts around the clock.

People who recently returned from at-risk locations are required to observe a 14-day period of self-quarantine at home to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

 


TAT: Thailand’s COVID-19 control measures for visitors from affected areas

Thailand has strict surveillance aimed at safeguarding public health and to allow health authorities to effectively prevent and control the disease.

Bangkok– The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide clarification regarding the country’s Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) control measures for visitors from affected areas.

Currently, Thailand does not recommend any travel or trade restrictions against China or other affected areas. Also to date, the Thai government has not made any official announcement regarding self-quarantine for travelers from affected areas.

However, the Department of Disease Control has scaled up disease surveillance protocol for visitor arrivals at 46 point of entries including airports, sea ports and ground ports, aimed at safeguarding the public health for both Thais and foreign visitors.

TAT’s recommendations for tourists

Tourists are advised to “travel safely” by practicing frequent hand hygiene measures (washing with soap or using alcohol-based gel).

Kindly comply with the primary fever screening at attractions. Travelers showing any signs of the COVID-19 symptoms (fever, coughing, sore throat, runny nose and panting) are subject to further medical evaluation and treatment.

Kindly wear a hygienic mask while travelling, avoid close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms, and avoid visiting crowded places.

If feeling sick, do seek medical care as soon as possible and inform the healthcare worker about the details of your travel history.

Tourists can keep up to date with the COVID-19 situation in Thailand at the TAT Newsroom (https://www.tatnews.org/) and the Department of Disease Control (https://ddc.moph.go.th/viralpneumonia/eng/index.php).

For information and assistance relating to Thailand’s tourism, contact the TAT Contact Centre 1672 or Tourist Police 1155.

Infographic: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation in Thailand as of 5 March 2020, 11.00 Hrs.


Airlines in Thailand to refund tickets to COVID-19-hit countries

BANGKOK (TNA) – Airlines agreed to give refunds to passengers for air tickets to countries with high risk of Covid-19 infections if they bought the tickets before February 21, said Prime Minister's Office Minister Tewan Liptapallop. 

Tewan, in charge of supervising the Consumer Protection Board said he negotiated with all airlines including foreign airlines and low-cost airlines to assist Thai people, who bought the tickets in advance but cannot travel due to the Covid-19 outbreaks in high risk countries. 

Persons who bought the tickets before Feb 21 will get refunds for their cancellations but for those who made payment after Feb 21 will be allowed to postpone their flights until Dec 15, 2020.

For tour group bookings, the minister said would-be passengers are entitled to full refunds if they cancel 30 days before their trip but they will partial refunds or only 50 per cent if they make cancellations 15 days before travelling.


Thailand separate 17 illegal workers returning from South Korea for Covid-19 tests

BANGKOK (TNA) Airport screening found 17 Thai illegal workers, returning home from South Korea have fever and sent to hospitals for Covid-19 testing, said Pol Col Choenron Rimpadee, deputy spokesman of immigration police.

Among all 158 Thai workers, arriving at three airports yesterday, 17 persons had high fever, detected by thermal scanning at Suvanabhumi Airport. They were sent to Ramathibodi Hospital for the Covid-19 testing.

The rest of 90 persons are instructed to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

About 5,000 Thai workers initially requested to travel back to Thailand following the Covid-19 outbreak in South Korea.

Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul said a meeting was held today to find measures in response to the returns of Thai workers from South Korea.

He said his ministry had a general plan to handle the situation but it would look into the details in preparation of each relevant agencies and it would ask for cooperation from those agencies to implement the plan.

Regarding the proposal of the opposition parties, urging the government to issue the emergency decree to cope with the Covid-19 situation in response to the returns of illegal Thai workers from South Korea, he said he did not know about that.

Today’s meeting would discuss the plan to deal with the situation discreetly, he added.


Thailand to produce one million face masks daily to tackle shortage

BANGKOK (TNA) The government will conduct investigation from retailers to manufactures to determine the cause of face mask shortage in an attempt to solve this problem, said Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha.

According to initial information, he said more than one million face masks are produced daily. About 300,000 pieces are sold to the public health ministry for distribution to medical personnel at state-run hospitals and shops of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization.

The government will probe over the rest of 700,000 face masks to find out where they are sent to or whether the disappearance of the face masks is related to hoarding or exporting to other countries.

The premier said the government is trying to curb the face mask prices at 2.50 baht apiece.

However, he said raw materials have to be imported from China, Taiwan and Indonesia and every country also needs face masks for protection.

He then ordered the Board of Investment (BOI) to consider the feasibility to expand face mask manufacturing factories and to produce raw materials domestically. (TNA)


Thailand, BRN value peaceful solutions to southern violence

BANGKOK (TNA) The government’s peace negotiators and representatives of the Barisan Revolusi Nasional insurgent group agree to end violence in the Deep South with peaceful solutions.

The Thai negotiation team of Gen Wallop Raksanoh met BRN representatives led by Anas Abdulranhman in Kuala Lumpur on March 2 and 3 with the presence of Malaysia’s chief facilitator Tan Sri Abdul Rahim bin Muhammad Noor.

The meeting occurred in a constructive atmosphere. Both sides discussed the coordination and management of their peace negotiation process. They also started to talk about peace restoration and the reduction of violence to create a promising environment for their negotiation.

They admitted that the peace process would require times, continuation and support from all concerned parties.

Both sides agreed to adhere to peaceful steps and exercise all possible efforts to solve problems in Thailand’s southern border provinces. They were looking forward to discussing relevant details in the future.


PM: 5,000 returning to Thailand from South Korea strict COVID-19 screen

BANGKOK (TNA) Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha confirmed illegal Thai workers from Daegu, North Gyeongsang must be put under quarantine for 14 days to prevent the possible spread of the disease.

The government is considering the place for the mass quarantine, the prime minister said after the urgent meeting on Wednesday to prepare measures in response to returning of illegal Thai workers from South Korea.

Returnees from Daegu and North Gyeongsang with high risk of coronavirus infections will be placed under quarantine at the area, designated by the state only. They will not be in self-quarantine at home to prevent the spread of the disease, the prime minister said.

The Covid-19 management center, chaired by the prime minister was set up at Government House to oversee and direct policies to relevant agencies in preparation for a worsening situation.

The Covid-19 was declared as the dangerous communicable disease and the government has put in place enough measures against the spread of the disease. It can be seen from the infection figure in the country, ranked 17th out of 75 countries, he said.

Regarding public concerns over returning of illegal Thai workers from South Korea, he said the returnees have to undergo screening from the origin country. If they have fever, they will not be allowed to travel home. Strict health screening at Thai airports will separate passengers, who have fever and they will be placed under quarantine.

About 5,000 Thai workers, who request to return to Thailand will gradually travel home. They will undergo strict screening, imposed at airports, border checkpoints and ports, he added. 


Thailand ranked 17th on COVID-19 cases, confirmed remain: 43, discharged: 31

BANGKOK (TNA) Thailand is ranked 17th among 75 countries on the number of people infected with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as its confirmed cases remain at 43.

Dr Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman of the Public Health Ministry, said that the 43 cases consisted of 11 at hospitals, 31 who recovered and were discharged and one death. The patients at hospitals included one with a critical condition.

There were 3,680 patients under investigation. Of them, 2,435 were discharged from hospitals and were being monitored. Most of them suffered from seasonal influenza. The rest 1,545 people were treated at hospitals.

In 75 countries, there were 92,321 patients including 3,137 deaths.


Two Thai workers from South Korea listed as suspected cases

BANGKOK, March 3 (TNA) – Two Thai illegal workers, returning from South Korea were found to have fever during the thermal screening upon their arrivals and sent to hospitals for monitoring and testing of the Covid-19 coronavirus. 

Immigration police found two Thai workers out of all seven persons, returning from South Korea had suspicious symptoms during the screening at Savarnabhumi Airport yesterday, said Pol Col Choenron Rimpadee, deputy spokesman of immigration police.

They were sent to hospitals for the Covid-19 test and five others are advised to monitor themselves at home for 14 days. 

Immigration police have prepared for the returns of illegal migrant workers in South Korea, called “little ghost”.

Airlines at the origin will report to Thai immigration after Thai workers check in to board the flights home. 

Speaking about the measures on the planes, he said they would be given seats in separate zones and must wear masks all the time on board and will be the last group of passengers to get off the planes.

They will undergo thermal scanning at the airplane’s door before they enter the passenger terminal. 

Illegal Thai migrant workers in South Korea have been given an amnesty by South Korean authorities to return to Thailand without having to pay a fine for overstaying their visa or being blacklisted. The amnesty began in December last year and continues until June 30 this year. 

Meanwhile, Thai Foreign Minister, Don Pramudwinai said according to initial investigation 136 Thai workers arestaying in Daegu, the epicenter of the virus outbreak in South Korea and 300 others in surrounding areas.


Thailand distributes 100,000 face masks to people for free

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health handed out 100,000 face masks to members of the general public, setting a limit of three masks per person, while the Ministry of Commerce launched a caravan of 111 cars to sell more face masks to people in different parts of the country.

At 9 a.m., officials started handing out 100,000 protective masks to the public at nine agencies under the Ministry of Public Health’s administration. They were the Department of Disease Control, the Department of Health, the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, the Department of Medical Services, the Office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Medical Science, the Department of Health Service Support and the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine. Many people waited in line to receive the masks. While waiting, officials provided information about ways people can protect themselves from diseases, such as by washing their hands regularly. Health officials were not allowed to accept the masks, because they were intended to be given to the general public only.

People who received the masks said they were happy that the government gave them out for free, but hoped it would still distribute more masks.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit, invited 11 face mask producers and representatives of the Public Health Ministry and hospitals to a meeting to revise the distribution of face masks in the country. The ministry can exercise its power to issue measures to regulate products and services, if any irregularities are found.

Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry launched a caravan of 111 cars to ensure that everyone has access to masks nationwide. Twenty-one vehicles are to operate in greater Bangkok, while the rest will be in other regions, starting March 5. The campaign has set a limit of a pack of four masks per customer, with a price of 2.50 baht per mask, or 10 baht a pack.

The government is dissuading members of the public from hoarding face masks, as they should think of other people who need them too.


Thailand asks to negotiate with China on antiviral drug to treat COVID-19

BANGKOK (NNT) - A meeting between the Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, and the Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Thailand, Yang Xin, discussed measures and cooperation to address the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

During the meeting, Mr. Yang and Mr. Anutin discussed the COVID-19 situation, with both sides expressing willingness to increase cooperation to deal with the ongoing outbreak and to support the use of anti-viral medication to treat patients.

The Public Health Minister also asked the Chinese official to negotiate with a licensed pharmaceutical company in China, in hopes that the company will sell its antiviral drug to Thailand as a special case. Currently, the drug is not banned from sale outside China.

Mr. Anutin said the amount of drugs produced in Thailand is adequate, but can be used for treatment, if the situation does not escalate. The country has drugs to enable patients to develop immunity against the virus and recover consequently.

The Public Health Minister then chaired a meeting of the Thailand Motorcycle Grand Prix (MotoGP) organization committee. After the meeting, Mr. Anutin said the committee resolved to cancel the event because of the COVID-19 situation. The Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, was informed of the cancellation.

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One more COVID-19 patient recovers, one more confirmed case in Thailand

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health has increased its criteria for screening the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and has set up an eight-member academic committee to provide suggestions related to the current situation and disease control.

The ministry reported that the present situation in Thailand is in the second stage, but medical personnel and equipment have been prepared in case the spread widens. On Monday (March 2), Thailand reported one more confirmed case of COVID-19, while another patient has recovered and been discharged.

The Permanent Secretary for Public Health, Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai, said the ministry has expanded the screening criteria. They now include groups of more than five patients with respiratory symptoms who recently visited COVID-19-risk countries and medical personnel.

The ministry will monitor other at-risk areas, in addition to the 11 places as previously announced. COVID-19 infections have been reported in England, the United States, Norway and other Scandinavian countries. Although the situation is under control, health authorities have to follow up on the situation and provide travelers with guidance.

A 43-year-old woman, who tested positive following a trip to Japan, has recovered and been discharged from Rajavithi Hospital. The latest confirmed case of COVID-19 is a 22-year-old woman. She had worked with the 37th confirmed case, a Thai man who had been in close contact with foreign tourists. Thailand now has an accumulated total of 43 confirmed cases, 11 of whom are still being treated in hospitals.

The Ministry of Public Health has set up the eight-member academic committee to provide suggestions on the current situation. The committee, together with many experts and doctors, are looking into the cause of the death of a patient who had been infected with COVID-19.

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Thailand Grand Prix MotoGP postponed due to Covid-19

BANGKOK (TNA) Thailand Grand Prix motorcycling event, MotoGP 2020, scheduled to be held in Buri Ram later this month has been postponed indefinitely to mitigate the risks of the Covid-19 outbreak, said Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul.

After presiding over the meeting of the Moto GP 2020 organising committee, he said the Covid-19 has global impacts and Thailand declared it the dangerous communicable disease. 

The decision was made that the hosting of the big event could inappropriately increase risks for the spread of the virus because there are participants and spectators from countries with risks of the virus infections.

The postponement of the MotoGP has reflected the government’s seriousness in curbing the outbreak and it has already made understanding with the organiser of the event. 

The world-class motorcycling event has been postponed until the outbreak situation improves. 

The OR Thailand Grand Prix 2020 is originally scheduled at the Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram between March 20-22.

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Thailand needs COVID-19 drugs from China

BANGKOK (TNA) Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul asked the Chinese envoy to convince the Chinese government to sell its medicine for Thailand to treat patients of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Mr Anutin said that in his meeting with Chinese charge d’affaires Yang Xin, he sought the favour from the Chinese government which did not have a plan to export the medicine.

“Most medicine that Thailand is buying will be used to treat patients in the country and most of them are Chinese people,” he said.

He admitted that the Government Pharmaceutical Organization bought an amount of medicine from China last week for local COVID-19 patients and the purchase resulted from the organization’s special connection with another drug manufacturer.

Mr Anutin denied the rumor that Thailand did not have medicine to treat COVID-19 patients.

“The drugs that Thailand makes can treat patients’ symptoms. Thailand has enough drugs to treat patients until their recovery on the condition that the outbreak does not get worse,” he said.

Thailand had more confidence in treating COVID-19 patients because 28 of 43 patients recovered and returned home, Mr Anutin said. Fourteen patients remained at hospitals and one of them died.

“The cause of the death has yet to be determined… He recovered from COVID-19 but also had other illnesses which made him unable to survive,” he said.

Existing medicine could treat patients’ symptoms to allow them to build their own immunity and recover from COVID-19, Mr Anutin said.

He also said that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha would today announce a plan to cope with COVID-19 and that the disease’s outbreak remained at its second stage, not the third stage of wide spread among many people.

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COVID-19 making face masks in high demand nationwide

THAILAND (NNT) - The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation has resulted in heightened awareness of personal health and led to a shortage of protective masks in the market.

One pharmacy in Khon Kaen province has reported that it receives many requests for masks from customers but has been unable to supply them for over a month now, as only N95 masks designed to filter particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less in diameter (PM2.5) remain. Some customers say they went to four different pharmacies looking for appropriate masks.

Another pharmacist pointed out that wariness of COVID-19 has resulted in the high demand for medical masks, which has even deterred factories from promising orders and shipments. One pharmacy has switched to carbon masks, which are chosen as an alternative by some customers, when fabric masks are not available.

Public health volunteers from 26 districts of Ubon Ratchathani province were given training on how to effectively use fabric face masks, and have been tasked with passing on the information to local communities. The training included how to sew a fabric mask for personal use and how to wash them for re-use. Volunteers also gained knowledge on other preventative measures against respiratory illness and were told to remember the need to

"Eat Hot, Use Serving Spoons and Wash Hands".

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Approval being expedited after Digital Fund 2020 receives over 400 proposals

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Digital Economy Fund was set up in 2017 as required by the Act on Digital Development for the Economy and Society. The fund, supported by the National Broadcast and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC), has reached over 5 billion baht.

The fund was established to support state, private and individual non-profit and non-commercial projects concerning development of digital technology with a public benefit. So far this year, over 400 projects have been submitted for approval.

The Secretary-General of the National Digital Economy and Society Commission, Vunnaporn evahastinna Ayutthaya, said today that 10 projects have received approval for a total 150 million baht in funding. Of the 10, seven are public projects, two are run by private organizations and one is from an individual. Success of the 10 will enrich Thailand’s digital development and create an ecosystem for coping with technological change while fostering new digital services in the realms of education, public health, management, agricultural and governance, benefiting all citizens.

The fund is still open to submissions.

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Domestic sales of fruit backed to offset China export blockage

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Commerce has prepared measures to support the sale of fruit in Thailand, after the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation cut exports to China. The ministry has also called on oil palm farmers to be confident the price of their produce will not fall further after dropping from seven baht a kilogram to just above the state guarantee price of four baht, at a current five baht.

The Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade (DIT), Whichai Phochanakij, says that while oil palm fruit is near its marketable period between March and June, demand is still growing due to state measures, such as using the produce in B10 diesel production. From March 1, B10 diesel will be available at all service stations, raising usage of oil palm fruit this year to two million tons, or two-thirds of the national production. With imports of the crop restricted to Khlong Toei Port, and meters being installed to monitor stocks more efficiently, Mr. Wichai voiced confidence the price of oil palm fruit will be maintained.

The DIT chief noted state stocks are actually below their 300,000-ton requirement with only 230,000 tons held in government silos, following palm oil use in fuel production. After a replenishment of stocks, he said the price of oil palm fruit won’t dip below five baht per kilogram.

As for fruit sales being affected by the COVID-19 situation, it was indicated that measures have been prepared to offset the impact such as a reduction in tourist numbers from China who would usually buy up durian. The Ministry of Commerce will turn its focus to domestic sales and has begun coordinating with airlines to feature Thai fruit in-flight, and with retailers to organize fruit fairs set to start in the North in March.

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Public Health Min. organizes ‘Rare Disease Day Thailand’

BANGKOK (NNT) - Health welfare programs have added 24 rare diseases to the national health insurance scheme, with all to be highlighted at the 10th Rare Disease Day Thailand, organized by the Ministry of Public Health.

The Thai Rare Disease Foundation, the Genetics Society of Thailand and Ramathibodi Hospital are each involved in this event, which had its opening presided over by the Deputy Minister of Public Health, Dr. Satit Pitutecha.

There are currently over 6,000 recorded rare diseases with up to 30,000 Thais suffering from such ailments. Unfamiliarity with the conditions can lead to issues in treatment starting with diagnosis.

So far, 24 such diseases have been added to the gold-card healthcare scheme ensuring equal access to health services and compelling the Government Pharmaceutical Organization to produce and distribute needed medicine.

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DAILY UPDATE

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Health Advisory for travelers regarding Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Reduce your risk of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Infection

Thailand prepares for summer storms during March 15-17

PM drives all working teams to wipe out coronavirus (Covid-19)

Air Force dispatches helicopters to alleviate PM 2.5 level in Thailand’s northern region


Thailand-China put all in to fight against COVID-19

Thai man, woman arrested for selling overpriced masks via WeChat

COVID-19 control measures intensified across Thailand’s provinces

Thailand reports 11 more Covid-19 cases found hanging out with Hong Kong tourist

Thailand’s temples clean up to cope with COVID-19


Thai Hotels Association (Northern Upper) re-elects Laied as president


Chiang Mai calls off ‘Songkran Festival’, water splashing refrained

Thailand’s factories ramp up mask production, shortages at hospitals eased

Thai Airways Int’l announces flight adjustments, check-in procedures in Thailand & Overseas

Thai Cabinet approves measures to help SMEs, hotels, transports survive COVID-19 crisis


Songkran events cancelled throughout Thailand amidst COVID-19 fears, water splashing warned

Govt requires arriving foreigners to Thailand to specify countries recently visited

PM promotes ‘Disease-free Animals, Save Humans from Rabies’, Organic Farming

Three more COVID-19 cases, found associated with Italy, confirmed in Thailand


Thailand’s Transport Min: 10,000-baht reward for COVID-19 high-risk groups who refuse to enter quarantine info

Thailand’s Commerce Min prosecutes vendors overpricing anti-COVID-19 face masks

COVID-19 drags February Confidence Index to 27-month low, 500-billion-baht economic damage

44 more Thai workers from South Korea put in quarantine system, Sattahip naval base

Thailand’s Minister denies hoarding 200 million masks all egation


Thailand’s NHSO to add COVID-19 to national healthcare program

Sattahip Naval Base sets up center to screen Thai workers returning from South Korea

Thailand’s health workers in need of face masksdue to COVID-19 outbreak

Thailand denies Italian cruise ship passengers to enter Phuket, anchors 2 miles away


Thailand to stimulate COVID-19 hit SMEs and tourism businesses with 100 billion baht circulation

Thai AirAsia to cut executive pay due to Covid-19 impacts

No-Visa Thai dry cleaner in South Korea infected with Covid-19

Four more cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Thailand, 2 Thais 1 Chinese 1 Italian


TAT: Thailand’s COVID-19 control measures for visitors from affected areas


Airlines in Thailand to refund tickets to COVID-19-hit countries

Thailand separate 17 illegal workers returning from South Korea for Covid-19 tests

Thailand to produce one million face masks daily to tackle shortage

Thailand, BRN value peaceful solutions to southern violence

PM: 5,000 returning to Thailand from South Korea strict COVID-19 screen

Thailand ranked 17th on COVID-19 cases, confirmed remain: 43, discharged: 31


Two Thai workers from South Korea listed as suspected cases

Thailand distributes 100,000 face masks to people for free


Thailand asks to negotiate with China on antiviral drug to treat COVID-19

One more COVID-19 patient recovers, one more confirmed case in Thailand

Thailand Grand Prix MotoGP postponed due to Covid-19

Thailand needs COVID-19 drugs from China


COVID-19 making face masks in high demand nationwide

Approval being expedited after Digital Fund 2020 receives over 400 proposals

Domestic sales of fruit backed to offset China export blockage

Public Health Min. organizes ‘Rare Disease Day Thailand’