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DAILY UPDATE - January - February, 2020


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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
Thailand News
 

Chinese patient in Chiang Mai recovers from Coronavirus

CHIANG MAI (TNA) - A 28-year-old coronavirus patient from China’s Hubei province is recovering from the infection while being treated at a hospital in Chiang Mai.

The man was found to have the virus and admitted to Maharaj Nakhorn Chiang Mai Hospital two weeks ago after travelling to the northern city which is a popular tourist destination among Chinese tourists.

Dr. Porames Vinijjakul said in a press briefing on Thursday that the hospital had conducted virological checks three times before confirming him as the first coronavirus case in Chiang Mai.

The patient had been gradually recovering from pneumonia and the overall condition improved, he said, adding that the hospital waited for another test to ensure he had fully recovered.

Chiang Mai health officials and hospitals have exercised caution to prevent the spread of the virus as the province is monitoring about 60 people in a quarantine environment.

In Thailand, there have been 25 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection; nine of them have been recovered and discharged from hospitals. (TNA)

 


Last group of Chinese tourists on Koh Samui return to China

SURAT THANI (TNA) - The last group of Chinese tourists on Koh Samui has returned to China after their extended stays due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A Chengdu Airlines flight carried 85 Chinese tourists from Koh Samui to Chengdu of China’s Sichuan province on Tuesday night.

Many tourists told MCOT reporters they still wanted to stay longer out of concerns over the epidemic of the new coronavirus.

Health officials at Samui Airport scanned all outbound and inbound travelers with thermal scanners.

Samui Airport staffers greeted the tourists as they were boarding the airplane, wishing them well and inviting them to take vacation on the island again.

A number of Chinese tourists on Koh Samui had extended their visas since the Chinese New Year to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus.(TNA)


Coronavirus-infected cases in Thailand still at 25

BANGKOK (TNA) - The number of coronavirus-infected cases in Thailand remains unchanged at 25, as officials assure the sufficiency of face masks for domestic use.

The Ministry of Public Health Thailand announced Thursday morning that no more cases had been found and the country’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases stood at 25.

Nine of the patients have fully recovered while the rest are being hospitalized with improved conditions.

Meanwhile, officials also commented on face masks that, along with hand sanitizers, are listed as controlled products.

Public Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Sukhum Kanchanapimai and Domestic Trade Department Deputy Director-General Prayote Pensut said the measure ensured that face mask supplies in the country would be sufficient.

The Ministry of Commerce’s proposal was approved by the cabinet which limits the export volume of the products and requires sellers and manufacturers to report their supplies to ministry.

Prayote said producers of face masks and hand sanitizers could increase their production by 10-20 percent.

Retailers have been informed of the new measures deriving from the decision and asked to limit purchase of face masks at no more than 10 per person.

Before the listing, there had been complaints about shortages of face masks.

Authorities have attempted to provide the public with information on proper face mask use and handed them out to commuters.


Govt to help tourism operators after sharp drop in Chinese arrivals

 

BANGKOK (TNA) – The government will find measures to support tourism operators, hard-hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry will convene a meeting with tourism operators on aid measures in the middle term and the long term on Feb 13 before the proposed measures will be forwarded to the next economic cabinet.

Tourism and Sports Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakan disclosed that the number of Chinese tourists has dropped by 85 per cent from 30,000 to 3,000 people daily in the wake of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

It is projected the virus situation will cost more than 300 billion baht in losses to the tourism sector for the whole year.

The minister said if the new coronavirus situation prolongs, the country is likely to see a further drop in Chinese arrivals late this month.

If the situation returns to normal, the number of visitors is expected to rebound in the second half of this year and could double to offset the loss, incurred in the first quarter of this year.

He said omestic tourism will be promoted as well as other markets in ASEAN countries after tourist arrivals both from China and other countries are decreasing in the first quarter.


Thailand to hold World’s Largest Parade of Food Trucks

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Kingdom is set to host the “World’s Largest Parade of Food Trucks”, and is planning the largest assembly of food trucks in one place.

Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakan announced today that his ministry, in collaboration with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and Food Truck Club (Thailand) will be hosting the “World’s Largest Parade of Food Trucks” on March 7-8, 2020 at IMPACT Lakeside, Muang Thong Thani.

The event will involve more than 200 food truck vendors, making it the biggest such gathering in the world, one which will break the previous record, held by the U.S. State of Florida since March 29, 2014, with 121 vehicles.

Pipat expressed the view that the event should help promote and upgrade the image of Thai street food vendors as well as complying with the country’s Gastronomy Tourism policy. The government has been urging a change in the traditional practice of ‘cooking on the side walk’ to the setting up of mobile food trucks to improve cooking conditions and achieve better order in the popular business.

Indeed, putting restaurants on wheels is growing in popularity in Thailand; according to Food Truck Club (Thailand) President and Founder Chanin Wattanapruksa, there are roughly 1,500 food trucks representing 700 brands in the kingdom. The number is set to expand further as the government supports a greater emphasis on the colorful vending practice.

Those interested in setting up their own food truck business or wishing to turn their restaurant into a mobile food service are also welcome to attend the fair on March 7-8, 2020 at IMPACT Lakeside, Muang Thong Thani, as there will be a dedicated booth where staff will be available to offer suggestions and guidance on how to create a food truck.


PM offers moral support to Thais now back from Wuhan

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister has offered moral support to the 138 Thais, who recently returned from Wuhan, the ground zero of the new coronavirus outbreak. They are currently being quarantined, and vowed to provide assistance to the medical sector in preventing the spread of the disease.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, in a video call, welcomed home the Thai nationals, four of whom are being kept under close observation after exhibiting flu-like symptoms. He told them to inform officials of their needs during their period of quarantine.

In reply, the group of Thai citizens thanked the government for bringing them home, while adding that they have taken precautionary measures to protect themselves from the coronavirus. Some of them said however, they were not able to contact their families, to which General Prayut replied that he will instruct officials to help them reconnect in that regard.

The Prime Minister also discussed a possible cure for the disease with a team of doctors from Rajvithi Hospital; he said that finding a remedy is a priority that will be escalated to the international level.

Meanwhile, doctors have combined HIV medicines with flu drugs to make a cocktail of antiviral drugs that have so far produced “good results.”


French Ambassador pays official visit to Southern border

YALA (NNT) - The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC) has welcomed the French Ambassador who was making an official visit to the South to study the region’s economic, social and political situation.

Secretary-General of the SBPAC Rear Admiral Somkiat Ponprayoon and Ambassador Jacques Lapouge discussed the various missions of the SBPAC in improving the quality of life of the local people, using the principle of a triangle of stability, prosperity, and sustainability, building peace and promoting the role of women in society.

Rear Admiral Somkiat stressed that the operations of SBPAC conform with the government’s 20-year national strategy focusing on creating stability through career development and education in a multicultural environment. He is confident that the South will become a viable investment option, citing the development of the Southern Economic Corridor, and a special development zone at Chana district in Songkhla Province.

Ambassador Jacques said he will submit the information collected during the visit to the French government, and added that he now has a better understanding of the workimgs of SBPAC. He recognized the difficulty and sensitivity of the center’s operations but is confident that the Thai officials will be successful in their missions.


Four Thai Wuhan evacuees under investigation

CHONBURI (NNT) 138 Thai nationals returned to Thailand last night on an evacuation flight from Wuhan, China. Four of them have shown suspicious symptoms after arrival and are now hospitalized at Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital. There, initial tests have returned negative, however further lab results are pending. The remaining 134 persons are now in quarantine at Sattahip naval base in Chonburi.

Speaking at a press conference, Deputy Minister of Public Health Satit Pitutecha today revealed the condition of all 138 Thai evacuees from Wuhan, China, who have arrived back last night at U-Tapao airport.

He said all evacuees were subjected to health screenings, in which two men and two women were found to have a fever. They are now being isolated at Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital, where they have received physical examinations, and x-rays. Specimens have been collected for laboratory tests to confirm the infection. Three of the patients presented with flu-like symptoms and coughs, while one of them had diarrhea.

However, by this morning, both male patient no longer had a fever. One male patient still has coughs and throat irritation. The third, female patient still has a minor cough with no fever. Chest x-A ray images of these three patients show minor abnormalities, and they have been referred for further consultations. The last patient who had diarrhea, no longer has the problem, and has no fever. Her chest x-ray also shows no abnormality.

Specimens from all four patients have been sent to the 6th Medical Sciences Center in Chonburi for laboratory tests to confirm whether they are infected with 2019 coronavirus.

The remaining 134 evacuees are now staying at residences inside Sattahip naval base in Chonburi under close monitoring 24 hours a day from officials. They are receiving continual checks including the collection of specimens for laboratory tests. Health authorities have designated Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital, Ban Chang Hospital, Sattahip Hospital, and Chonburi Hospital to handle possible further suspected cases.

The pilots, cabin crew, embassy officials, and medical team onboard the evacuation flight yesterday have been cleared for their normal duties, as their risk of infection is low. They were all wearing personal protective equipment and complied with infection prevention guidelines throughout the operation.


UTCC expects bleak Makha Bucha and Valentine’s Day this year

BANGKOK (NNT) - Concerns regarding the novel coronavirus and an economic slowdown will keep many people mostly at home, instead of going to temples or going out on MakhaBucha and Valentine’s day this year, according to the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, which is expecting reduced cashflow during these festivals compared to last year.

University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce’s (UTCC) President Thanawat Polvichai, has revealed outcomes of a consumer behavior survey on the upcoming Valentine’s day, where most people surveyed, 57.1 percent, had no celebration plan due to the poor economy, higher goods pricing, novel coronavirus outbreak, and air pollution; which are posing concerns on safety and health.

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Some of those surveyed are planning to have dinner with their loved one, purchase gifts and flowers for them, and go out together to shopping malls.

The UTCC expects that average spending per head this Valentine’s Day will be 1,814 baht, lower than the overall rate last year. The expected cashflow volume this year is 3.246 billion baht, showing a negative 1.23 percent.

For Makha Bucha Day, most people in the survey - 65.5 percent, said they will observe religious activities at respected or nearby temples. Overall total spending this Makha Bucha Day is expected to be 2.601 billion baht, a negative change of 2.5 percent.


25 confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Public Health reported that Thailand has 25 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. One of the patients, a taxi driver who was the first person in Thailand to be infected with the virus, has since recovered and has been discharged from hospital. So far, nine patients have recovered, while 16 others are recovering well.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, said the coronavirus-infected taxi driver has been cleared and discharged from the Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute. Mr. Anutin said the driver had fully recovered, but officials are closely monitoring his relatives and those who recently came into contact with him. Their condition to date remains healthy.

The taxi driver said he was happy following his recovering. He was initially concerned because it is a new strain of virus. The driver said he would like to thank each of the medical personnel who cared for him.

In Thailand, there have been 25 confirmed coronavirus cases, nine of whom have been discharged. The other 16 patients remain in hospitals and are responding well to treatment. Meanwhile, the condition of a 70-year-old tour bus driver, who also has tuberculosis, is stable and is under close supervision of medical personnel.


High PM2.5 levels in seven areas of Bangkok

 

BANGKOK (NNT) - The concentration of dust particles in Bangkok and other provinces was above the safety limit as of 4 a.m. today, according to the Pollution Control Department’s Air4Thai website.

The Director-General of the Pollution Control Department, Pralong Dumrongthai, said levels of particulate matter of 2.5 microns or less (PM2.5) measured between 29 and 57 micrograms per cubic meter of air in greater Bangkok. The figures were lower than yesterday’s. The air quality indicator was orange, which indicates unhealthy conditions, in seven areas. Highest dust levels were reported on Lat Phrao Road in Wang Thong Lang district and in Khlong Kum subdistrict of Bueng Kum district.

Meanwhile, traffic congestion was reported on several routes, and people are encouraged to use public transport instead of personal vehicles until the air situation improves.

This morning, fine dust pollution exceeded the safety threshold in 15 provinces. Some areas included Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya district in Ayutthaya province, Muang Loei district in Loei province and Si Racha district in Chonburi province. People in these areas should wear protective masks when going outside.


138 citizens returned from Wuhan

BANGKOK (NNT) - Although 3 Thai citizens missed the flight to return from Wuhan, 138 arrived in Thailand safe and sound on 4 Feb.

- 3 were not allowed to board the plane. // 2 have had a fever. // 1 has had visa issues.

- 138 returnees are being quarantined at a naval base near the U-Tapao International Airport. // 6 were found with fever and sent to a hospital for tests and treatment.

The standard procedures the returnees have had to walk through before they go home :

- The thermo scans at the airport located inside the navy base and the health checkup at the designated hospital (6 were detected with slightly-high body temperatures. Among them, 4 have remained in hospital and 2 were discharged and returned to the quarantine facility.)

- The quarantine at a controlled facility for at least 14 days (with psychiatrists to monitor their mental health) // Relatives of the returnees can contact them through video calls. // The returnees are provided with a controlled leisure area where they can relax during this quarantine period.

Expected date to receive clearance and go home : 19 February, 09.00 AM.


PM invites Buddhists to celebrate Makha Bucha

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister has invited faithful Buddhists to observe MakhaBucha Day with religious ceremonies, while using smokeless incense to minimize air pollution. The PM also insisted the national stock of sanitary masks is still sufficient.

Prior to the Cabinet meeting, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, promoted the Buddhism Promotion Week event celebrating Makha Bucha Day, between 6th-8th February 2020.

Activities will be held across the country, including the delivery of royal flames to light candles at royal monasteries, alms giving ceremonies by Ambassadors to Thailand from 12 countries at Pathum Wanaram Temple, moral promotion activities for children and youths, ASEAN Makha Bucha celebrations in 16 provinces, exhibitions, and prayer services.

The public is asked to use smokeless incense sticks to help reduce air pollution and airborne particles, while the Prime Minister has insisted there is currently no national shortage of sanitary masks, and urged members of the general public to report any overpriced sales to the authorities.

The Prime Minister then joined the promotion of a campaign to plant one million trees to curb air pollution, as part of the Green City campaign by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The campaign will be launched officially in a ceremony on 9th February at Siam Paragon shopping mall, where the Prime Minister himself will preside over the occasion.

Sprouts of a plant known for its ability to absorb PM 2.5 airborn particles will be distributed to participants, along with an online manual on growing and caring for the species.

Meanwhile, the Digital Economy Promotion Agency has presented new developments in medical services, such as an prescription platform connecting hospitals with pharmacies electronically, an Ooca application for video calls with psychiatrists and psychologists, a QueQ Hospital digital customer queue management service, and games that incorporate physical exercises.

The Prime Minister suggested the developers of the new games add arm swinging motions that can help players exercise their lungs, and praised all the technologies presented, for complying with the national strategy, and being designed to help improve medical services.


Four Thai returnees treated in hospital

BANGKOK (TNA) – Four Thais, returning from Wuhan in a special flight last night have been treated in hospital while the rest 134 people appear well and have been under the 14-day observation in the Satthahip naval base.

 

Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutechaupdated the symptoms of four people in a press briefing at Abhakornkiatiwong Hospital inside the Satthahip naval base this morning.

Four returnees were separated from the group and sent to Queen Sirikit Hospital yesterday after having developed fever.

They had no fever this morning but chest X-rays showed three of them had some irregularities in their lungs and the other had diarrhea, said the deputy minister.

They have been under close medical surveillance and there has been nothing to worry about so far, he added.

The rest of 134 returnees, including one pregnant woman and two children are now staying at the naval base for observation. Orientation session will be held for them today.

After being quarantined under the standard practice, all of the returnees will be able to leave for home on Feb 19.

They are now banned from using mobile phones but communication equipment has been set up to allow them to talk to their relatives via video conference tomorrow.

Meanwhile, 16 crew and health staff in the same flight from Wuhan have passed medical check-ups and free from any infection as they wore medical protective gears during their mission.


Suvarnabhumi Airport increases hygiene measures

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Deputy Director of Suvarnabhumi Aiport, Kittipong Kittikachorn, said the coronavirus has infected people in many countries, including Thailand. To prevent its spread and regain the passenger confidence, Survarnabhum Airpot has asked all public transport operators, such as limousines, car rental companies, taxis, public and shuttle buses, to pay more attention to the cleanliness of their vehicles and service counters. This will limit the transmission of the respiratory virus between people with close contact, particularly drivers and passengers.

Some taxi drivers expressed concern about the situation, after one driver was exposed to the virus. However, they have followed the safety guidelines by wearing a face mask and cleaning their vehicles with disinfectant more frequently.


Virologist says measures must be implemented for one year to address coronavirus

 

Members of the public are advised to avoid crowded areas and direct contact with people who have respiratory illnesses as well as observe one’s own health. People, who have respiratory symptoms, such as cough and shortness of breath, should wear a protective mask and see a doctor or public health personnel immediately.

BANGKOK (NNT) - The emergence of the new coronavirus was reported in December last year, with the first cases turning up at a seafood market in the city of Wuhan, China. It is less deadly than the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

MERS’ mortality rate is 30%, while SARS’ mortality rate stands at 10%. The mortality rate of the new coronavirus is below 3%. Most of the fatalities have been in elderly patients as well as those with congenital diseases, such as brain disorders, lung cancer and diabetes. Children and people without congenital diseases have lower mortality rate.

"Take a look at the death toll now. There are almost no children. A nine-month-old baby is the youngest known patient, and the baby’s still alive. The youngest patients who died are about 30 years old. Most of them have congenital diseases, such as brain disorders, heart diseases, lung diseases, diabetes or cancer. There are patients who are over 80 years old. At first, more than half of them were over 80 years old. Many cases are 89. If you ask me, some 89-year-old people happen to fall and die. So, don’t panic about the number of fatalities. A majority of them have congenital diseases, pneumonia or influenza. Their depth of breathing is lower than normal, and there’s a possibility that they want to eliminate excess phlegm. This can pose a life-threatening risk. Most fatalities are not young people. There’s not much difference from the common influenza. If people who are 89 or 90 years old have influenza, that’s not good," said Prof. Dr. Yong Poovorawan, Head of the Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology (CECV) , Faculty of Medicine, Chulalongkorn University.

An CECV official showed a graph to illustrate the adverse impact of the coronavirus outbreak that even if the virus can be contained, and strict measures have been taken, the outbreak may last a year, but losses will be minimized. Given the contagious nature of the virus, people will gradually become immune and the outbreak will cease. The virus will then become endemic..

"We’ll lower its peak and extend the time, right medical sector can handle this, but it’s necessary to extend the time. Make it progress slowly, so we can handle it. Even better, make it more extensive. Take all necessary steps to push the curve lower. Let it progress gradually, we’ll handle it better," said Dr. Yong.

The country has to minimize the number of infected people for as long as possible, until the immune system can rid the body of the virus. Meanwhile, the medical sector will carry out measures to look after the patients and improve its public health facilities. Once the immune system responds to the virus, or a vaccine for the new strain has been produced, the outbreak will end. All sectors, particularly the public, must cooperate to slow down its spread.


‘Big Cleaning Week’ campaign launched amid Coronavirus Outbreak

BANGKOK (TNA) - The Public Health Ministry has launched a “Big Cleaning Week” campaign to promote sanitation at public places amid the coronavirus outbreak. 

In the wake of novel coronavirus outbreak, Public Health Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Dr. Sukhum Kanchanapimai said the campaign was aimed to increase public awareness on infectious disease prevention.

Big Cleaning Week would involve health officials and volunteers helping people improve sanitation and hygiene of public bus, taxi, train, offices, restaurants and so on, he said.

Meanwhile, face mask shortage has been reported at some locations as the government decided to put face mask along with hand sanitizer on the price control list.

Whichai Phochanakij, Director-General of the Internal Trade Department of the Commerce Ministry, said  manufacturers, distributors, exporters and importers had to inform the Department the production cost, sales prices, production volume, export and import volume and stocks as wells as price labels.

It is the latest measures to deal with the virus outbreak which the Ministry has said will be temporary ones.

The demand for the face masks has surged to 50 million pieces per month after the new virus outbreak from 30 million pieces a month previously, according to the Ministry.

Thailand produces about 30 million pieces of face mask a month.

The Department of Disease Control on Tuesday confirmed six more cases of new coronavirus in Thailand, four Thais and two Chinese tourists, bringing the country’s total to 25.

 


Thailand’s Coronavirus cases rise to 25

BANGKOK (TNA) - Thailand has confirmed six more cases of new coronavirus, four Thais and two Chinese tourists, bringing the country’s tally to 25.

Public Health Ministry officials announced Tuesday evening that among the four Thais was a married couple who recently travelled to Japan.  The other two are drivers who had been in contacts with Chinese tourists. 

The ministry has coordinated Japanese authorities for investigation into the infected couple.

Conditions of five of these new patients had already improved; if the next test results were negative they will be discharged, officials said. 

However, the other case, a 70-year-old driver, was complicated.  He had been transferred from a private hospital in Samut Prakan province on Monday with tuberculosis before tested positive for the coronavirus, they said.

Responding to a media report that a South Korean patient is found to have infected with the virus after returning from Thailand, the Ministry says it has contacted South Korean authorities via World Health Organization’s mechanism.

The Ministry sought more information in order to investigate, officials said, whether it was the case or a local transmission.

The Ministry also reported earlier on Tuesday that seven more people have been placed under surveillance.   

Of the confirmed cases of coronavirus in Thailand, eight have recovered and discharged while 11 are being hospitalized.


Thai doctors successfully treat Coronavirus patient with cocktail of antivirals

 

BANGKOK (TNA) – Doctors from Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok successfully treated a coronavirus patient with a cocktail of anti-viral drugs used to treat flu and HIV.

The 70-year-old Chinese woman was tested negative to the new coronavirus and has been recovering well after she had been administered two groups of medications - oseltamivir, an anti-flu drug and lopinavir and ritonavir, two AIDS drugs, Dr Kriangsak Atipornwanich, a physician at Rajavithi Hospital said in a press briefing.

The patient was transferred from a hospital in Hua Hin to Rajavithi Hospital on Jan 29.

This anti-viral combined medication formula was used to treat three patients, including two Chinese nationals and one Thai. They developed pneumonia with high fever.

The other Chinese patient had allergic reaction to oseltamivir and the doctors keep monitoring any possible allergic signs in the Thai patient.

More research results will be considered by a committee of experts before the cocktail of the combined anti-viral medication formula will be used as a guideline for the treatment of severe novel coronavirus cases in Thailand. (TNA)


Construction works halted to reduce dust in capital

lBANGKOK (TNA) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has asked cooperation from contractors and operators of construction projects to suspend construction works for three days in Bangkok to curb the dust problem.

The move came after the PM2.5 had risen to unhealthy levels in most parts of the capital for several days.

Electric train projects across the city were also ordered to stop construction until Thursday.

Contractors were asked to spray water at construction sites and from the tops of buildings to reduce fine dust pollution.

Although construction is not the major contributor of PM 2.5 directly, other related activities could cause ultra-fine dust indirectly such as transportation of construction materials, use of diesel-power machines.  (TNA)


Public Health Ministry to seek information on South Korean virus case, returning from Thailand

BANGKOK (TNA) – Thai Public Health Ministry is cooperating with South Korean health authorities to seek information on a South Korean coronavirus patient, who returned from Thailand on Jan 19.

Thanarak Palipat, Deputy Director-General of the Disease Control Department said Thai authorities are cooperating with South Korean health authorities for more details to find the facts for disease control.

The transmission between travelers was possible, he said. However, he confirmed that Thailand had strong surveillance system and transmission in the country was limited.

The 42-year-old Korean woman showed symptoms six days after returning from Thailand on Jan 19. She is the 16th confirmed novel coronavirus in South Korea.

But the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was too early to conclude whether the patient contracted the virus while staying in Thailand.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Thailand stood at 19 in total and eight cases have been fully recovered and discharged from hospital.


PM: Govt takes long-term measures to tackle air pollution

 

BANGKOK (TNA) - Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has reiterated that his government is carrying out long-term measures to tackle the hazardous PM2.5 air pollution.

Prayut said the government had already begun working on the long-term masterplan step by step.  All measures must be taken gradually, otherwise they would cause problems in people’s daily life, he said.

In his previous comments, Prayut said under the masterplan the government pressed ahead development of the electric rail network and replacement of diesel-powered public buses.

The government has also considered a ban on personal car use in affected areas.

High levels of hazardous ultra-fine PM2.5 dust particles have prompted Bangkok authorities to order three-day suspension of railway, high-rise and road constructions from Tuesday to Friday.  

Proposing a green solution to the unhealthy smog, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) will hand out air purifying plants to the public.

Six types of plants including spider ivy and fern will be given on Sunday at the launch of the program, Green City by MOAC. (TNA)


161 Thais to Be Flown Home from Wuhan on Tuesday

BANGKOK (TNA) - Thailand will send an aircraft to evacuate 161 Thai citizens from China’s Wuhan city on Tuesday and put them in quarantine for 14 days after their return.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul revealed that none of the evacuees had been infected with the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

 “The only concern is their mental stress,” he said after chairing a workshop on disease control with over 500 medical personnel.

Initial reports say the flight will take the Thai citizens from Wuhan to U-tapao naval airbase in Chon Buri province.

Commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy Adm Leuchai Ruddit said the government had not finalized the plan but the Navy was ready to facilitate the operation.

If it was confirmed, vacation homes of the Royal Thai Navy could be used for the 14-day mandatory quarantine, said Adm Leuchai.

The new coronavirus has now spread to 27 countries and territories worldwide. There are 17,393 confirmed cases and 362 deaths as of Monday’s afternoon.

Thailand has 19 confirmed cases of the virus with 8 of them fully recovered.

On Sunday, a team of doctors at Rajavithi Hospital in Bangkok claimed they discovered a medical treatment that cured a patient of coronavirus in 48 hours. 

Dr. Kriangsak Atipornwanich said the 70-year-old female patient from Wuhan was given a combination of drugs used in HIV and flu treatments.

He said more tests were still needed to ensure the method’s effectiveness.

 


Thailand to repatriate four more smuggled Orangutans to Indonesia

BANGKOK (TNA) - Thailand will repatriate four more orangutans that have been seized from wildlife smugglers back to Indonesia.

 

It will be the third time that Thailand returns smuggled apes to Indonesia after sending 14 in 2015 and two more last year to the Southeast Asian neighbor.

Indonesian ambassador to Thailand Ahmad Rusdi on Sunday visited a wildlife protection facility of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in Ban Pong district of Ratchaburi province.

The Ambassador said his main objective was to give morale support to Thai wildlife officials who had taken care of the orangutans as the two countries celebrated the 70th anniversary of the diplomatic relations this year.

He said the two orangutans Thailand returned to Indonesia in December last year - a nine-year-old female named Kola and a seven-year-old male named Giant – had been in good health at a wildlife sanctuary on Borneo Island.

PrateepHermpitak, head of a regional wildlife conservation office, said Thailand was examining the origins and giving health care to the remaining orangutans before they were set for repatriation.

Thailand has repatriated orangutans to Indonesia under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites) which states that confiscated wildlife must be returned to their country of origin.(TNA)


Precautions raised after Bird Flu Outbreak in China

BANGKOK (TNA) The Livestock Development Department has raised its precautions in the wake of a bird flu outbreak in Hunan province of China.
Sorawit Thanito, director-general of the department, said provincial officials of his department were ordered to advise local farmers to prevent the disease and apply medicine in risk areas.

 

According to him, the measures followed the report on Feb 2 that the H5N1 avian influenza virus was spreading at chicken farms in Shaoyang city of Hunan. Chinese agricultural authorities reported they celled about 5,500 chickens there.

The department bans the imports of poultry and related products from China in addition to the work of its officials at local farms. The officials were ordered to spray disinfectant in risk areas and reported cases of suspicious chicken deaths for immediate disease control action. Meanwhile, chicken farmers were banned from transporting their poultry without authorization.

Mr Sorawit said that good precautions had kept Thailand free of avian influenza for about 10 years.
“I ordered close surveillance along the border and asked farmers to monitor the conditions of their chicken. Do not hand out or sell any poultry that died abnormally,” he said. (TNA)


Agriculture Ministry steps up anti-fine dust measures

BANGKOK (TNA) -- The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives intensifies its measures to cope with smog, including serious efforts to stop burning in farmland.

Anant Suwannarat, permanent secretary of the ministry, said Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on ordered subordinates to seriously stop field burning to protect public health.

According to Mr Anant, the ministry is campaigning for farmers nationwide to bury crop residue instead of burning it. The campaign coverage expanded from 70,000 rai of farmland in the North as earlier planned.

The ministry will also watch out for field burning in areas of repeated hot spots based on data on the burning of paddy, maize and sugarcane fields in the past five years. It is seriously banning stubble burning in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Nan and Nakhon Pathom provinces to make them models for smog solution.

Besides, the ministry is increasing the networks of farmers against field burning from 210 to 226 in smog-stricken provinces including those in greater Bangkok. It is also applying rainmaking to help reduce fine dust from stubble burning and wildfire.


Unhealthy smog levels detected in Bangkok’s 33 areas

BANGKOK (TNA) -- The levels of particulate matter breached its safe threshold in 33 areas of the capital as City Hall officials were cleaning roads, spraying water and controlling construction sites to cope with the air pollution.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) reported that the levels of particulate matter 2.5 micrometers and less in diameter (PM2.5) were at 54-77 micrograms per cubic meter of air over the past 24 hours. The safe threshold is at 50mcg.

Unsafe PM2.5 levels were measured in Ratchathewi, Samphanthawong, Phaya Thai, Wang Thonglang, Pathumwan, Bang Rak, Yannawa, Chatuchak, Bang Kapi, Lat Krabang, Thon Buri, Klong San, Bangkok Noi, Phasicharoen, Bang Khen, Bang Phlat, Bang Khunthian, Phra Nakhon, Sathon, Klong Toey, Bang Sue, Laksi, SuanLuang, Lat Phrao, HuaiKhwang, Saphan Sung, PomprapSattruphai, Bang Kae, Chom Thong, Don Muang, Din Daeng, Phra Khanong, and Rat Burana districts.

People were advised to stay indoors, especially elderly people, children and respiratory patients.
BMA permanent secretary Silapasuay Raweesangsoon said BMA officials were trying to reduce PM2.5 by cleaning roads, controlling construction sites and spraying water from high rises. (TNA)


Infectious Diseases Institute director to pick up stranded Thais

BANGKOK (TNA) -- The director of Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute will lead a team of medical personnel who will pick up Thai people stranded in Wuhan city of China, Deputy Prime Minister/Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.

Visiting novel coronavirus patients at Rajvithi Hospital, Mr Anutin said they were recovering and doctors at the hospital made a good decision to apply antiviral drugs to successfully treat a 70-year-old Chinese woman who was seriously ill with the new virus.

Regarding the evacuation, Mr Anutin said Dr Apichart Vachiraphan, director of Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute, would tomorrow lead the eight-member medical delegation to pick up 160 Thai people stranded in Wuhan. The team includes emergency and epidemic doctors and psychiatrists. The evacuees would undergo 14-day quarantine after their return, he said.

Dr Somsak Akhasilp, director-general of the Department of Medical Services, said doctors at Rajvithi Hospital used oseltamivir and ritonavir and prescribed the medical cocktail to three patients. Two of them were recovering and the rest developed allergies, so the prescription was stopped for the particular patient. The dose had not been a standard treatment and concerned doctors had to monitor the patients closely, Dr Somsak said.

In response to the criticism that Thai doctors did not invent a medicine to treat the novel coronavirus, Dr Somsak said that Chinese and Thai doctors coincidentally tried such medication combination simultaneously but they came up with different formula.

Two pills of anti-HIV drugs, ritonavir and lopinavir, together with two pills of oseltamivir were given twice a day. Anti-HIV pills contained the disease and cold medicine suppressed the disease that penetrated into cells, Dr Somsak said. The prescription began at Rajvithi Hospital on Jan 29. (TNA)


Quarantine location for Thais from Wuhan to be finalized

BANGKOK (TNA) – Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha will chair a meeting on the update of the new coronavirus situation this afternoon and will conclude the measures to take care of Thai citizens, returning from Wuhan as they are scheduled to board the plane home tomorrow.

 

The meeting is expected to wrap up the details for receiving Thai people, scheduled to fly home on Feb 4 from Wuhan. Some 130-140 have registered to return home and they will be placed under quarantine for 14 days after their arrivals.

The meeting is scheduled at Government House at 2.30 pm. and will be joined by provincial governors across the country via a video conference to follow up the virus monitoring in each province.

Meanwhile, the commander-in-chief of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), LuechaiRuddit said the government is considering which airport should be used for landing of the AirAsia’s charter flight, carrying Thai nationals from Wuhan.

Utapao Airport, operated by the Royal Thai Navy is ready to receive them, he said adding that the RTN seaside resort may be used to accommodate them under observation. If they fall sick or have suspicious symptoms, they can be admitted to Abhakornkiatiwong Hospital in the Sattahip naval base. (TNA)


Air Asia ready to pick up Thais out of Wuhan on Tuesday

BANGKOK (TNA) – An Air Asia flight is scheduled to depart from Don Mueang Airport at 7 am. on Tuesday to pick up Thai citizens out of Wuhan, which has been locked down after the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

The Air Asia flight has the slot to land in Wuhan at 11.30 am. and will depart from Wuhan at 4.40 pm. It will arrive at Don Mueang Airport on 7.30 pm. on the same day.

About 130 Thai nationals have registered with the Thai embassy to return home.

In the light of the new coronavirus situation, Suvarnabhumi Airport has stepped up sanitary measures on public transportation service at the airport, said airport deputy, director Kittipong Kittikachorn.

Operators of limousines, taxis, buses have been instructed to sanitize vehicles and service counters to prevent the spread of the disease.

Face masks and disinfectants have been distributed to drivers to clean handles and seats in their vehicles.

The airport also increases frequencies in cleaning and disinfecting restrooms, baggage carts/trolleys, service counters, elevators, escalators, stair rails, check-in counters, passport control counters and resting areas.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are provided to passengers at terminals and boarding gates. (TNA)

 


PM concerned about people, provides support to public health practitioners

BANGKOK (NNT) - Regarding the corona virus outbreak, the Prime Minister is concerned about the effects on the population and is ready to bring Thai people back from Wuhan as soon as possible. He has also provided moral support to public health practitioners and related parties.

Government Spokesperson Narumon Pinyosinwat disclosed today that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has been closely following the effects of the corona virus outbreak since last week and remains concerned about the welfare and safety of Thai people in Wuhan and other cities in China because the health and safety of Thai people is the most important responsibility of those in government. He vowed to take good care of all Thai people both in Thailand and abroad.

As for bringing Thai people back from Wuhan, the government has been in close contact with the Chinese government on the topic. Evacuation will be executed as soon as the Thai government receives permission from the Chinese authority to enter its territory. The relevant ministries have prepared a commercial plane to bring Thai people back from Wuhan in coming days. He emphasized the safety of officials who will pick up Thais now in Wuhan and the safety of Thai people there.

The government has implemented procedures for disease prevention and control in accordance with international standards. Thailand’s public health sector has been well acknowledged in the global community, and is now ranked 6th in the world and 1st in Asia, in its preparedness to prevent an infectious disease outbreak. He called on people to believe that the government is still able to control the situation and prevent an outbreak in Thailand. At first, all Thai patients were infected with the disease brought from foreign countries. There is currently one Thai who became infected with the disease from Chinese tourists in Thailand but many of them are now fully recovered and the tourists have returned home. If an outbreak occurred here, the government already has measures in place to cope with the situation.

The Prime Minister thanked all for providing moral support to the public health practitioners and all Thai people. He reaffirmed that the Government would put the utmost effort into tackling and alleviating the situation, and would go through any further difficulties with the Thai people as one.

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Medical team to evacuate Thais from Wuhan city

BANGKOK (NNT) - The government has prepared medical teams, nurses and medical supplies to go on a flight to evacuate Thai nationals from Wuhan city.

Deputy Prime Minister/Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed today that the ministry has medical personnel and supplies ready for a mission to evacuate the Thais from Wuhan on Tuesday.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is now arranging the flight and coordinating with the Thai embassy in Beijing and Wuhan officials, to make possible the evacuation of the Thais from an airport in Wuhan. The eight-person medical team includes emergency doctors and infectious disease specialists in addition to nurses and medical supplies.

Upon arrival back in Thailand, each Thai national from Wuhan will be screened under the standard screening process to ascertain their status in regard to coronavirus. It remains to be seen if any might be quarantined, pending results of a consultation with the prime minister.


Thais in Wuhan to be evacuated by air

BANGKOK (NNT) - Air Asia has been readied to evacuate Thai nationals without fare payment from Wuhan city ; meanwhile a total of 135 Thais have asked to return home from China.

Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon confirmed today that the Ministry of Public Health has closely followed the coronavirus situation and noted it has not adversely intensified and that the Chinese authorities have now allowed the Thais to be evacuated from Wuhan.

Consular Department Director General Chatri Atchananan said a total of 135 Thais have requested a return home from China and Thai authorities have prepared travel papers for them. But the authorities cannot assure every one of the 135 Thais, that they will be returned in the face of the screening process and the requirement for complete documentation.

Deputy Prime Minister/Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed the Thais will be evacuated from Wuhan by air with medical staff and officials having been already prepared. Now only the date has to be fixed by Chinese authorities for the planned evacuation of Thai personnel to proceed.


Rare Omura’s whale spotted near Phuket

PHUKET (NNT) - A rare Omura’s whale was spotted in the Andaman Sea between Ko He and Ko RachaYai islands in Phuket province on the weekend. Officials from the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR) have spotted this hard to find whale while training tour operators in proper mooring buoy use.

The DMCR Director General Sopol Thongdee said the existence of this close to extinct marine animal represent the abundance of marine resources in the area, while more efforts are needed to protect marine and coastal resources in Thailand to be free from plastic waste and illegal fishing, in order for more of these rare animals to increase in population.

The general public is asked to report to the DMCR or related agencies should they discover any marine animal in distress or beached. These animals could be saved if help is provided in time.

Omura’s whale is a protected species under the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act B.E. 2562. It was first discovered in 2003 by a Japanese cetologist Hideo Omura, after whom the species is named. Omura’s whale has similar physical appearances to Bryde’s whale albeit smaller.

An adult male Omura’s whale can be as long as 10 meters, while an adult female can be as long as 11.5 meters in size. The whale has 80 to 90 ventral grooves that extend past the umbilicus, while its dorsal fin is taller but less curved compared to a Bryde’s whale.


BMA cleans up Skywalk to prevent coronavirus

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has conducted a cleanup activity and called on members of the public to wear health masks and to wash hands often to protect themselves from coronavirus.

BMA Permanent Secretary Silapasuay Ravisaengsura led over 1,000 BMA volunteers in the cleanup activity today, to prevent coronavirus in the Skywalk area in Pathumwan district of Bangkok. Skywalk stairway railings, walkway railings and poles were cleaned, while health masks and hand-washing gel were handed out to tourists and other passers-by.

Meanwhile, the BMA has called on members of the public not to panic and to eat hot food, use center spoons, wear health masks and wash their hands frequently. They should also avoid touching objects in public places.

Besides the Skywalk area, the BMA volunteers have spread out to other public spots to maintain the cleanup activity to prevent a further BMA spread of the new virus.

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PM2.5 rises in Bangkok, surrounding provinces

BANGKOK (TNA) - The Pollution Control Department reports the PM2.5 particles have risen to unhealthy levels in Bangkok and surrounding provinces with the highest level measured in Pak Nam, SamutPrakarn early Saturday.

The Department cooperated with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in measuring ultra-fine dust in Bangkok and surrounding provinces and found it ranged between 40 – 72 micrograms per cubic metre.

Thailand’s safe threshold is 50 micrograms per cubic metre.

In general, the air quality on Saturday was worse than Friday.

It cautioned that residents in Pak Nam of SamutPrakan province should temporarily refrain from doing outdoor activities and to also closely monitor the situation. (TNA)

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Search finds no clue on missing giraffe

CHACHOENGSAO (TNA) – A team of paramotor pilots supported a search operation to find a giraffe, escaped from a container truck and still on the loose in Chachoengsao province.

Zoo staff and local rescue teams scoured the area on land and also flew a drone to search for the giraffe, imported from Africa by Safari World Zoo.

Two giraffes went loose from the container truck at Bang Khla intersection on Route 304, Chaochoengsao-Phanom Sarakham while they were being transported from Suvarnabhumi Airport to a breeding station in Prachin Buri on Jan 28.  

It is believed the cage was accidentally left unlatched, so the giraffes could escape when the truck stopped at traffic lights.

One of them was captured by a tranquilizing shot later.

The surrounding terrain, where the giraffe has disappeared are paddy fields, grassland, eucalyptus forest and ponds.

Search continues and local villagers were asked through social media to inform officials if they spot the giraffe.

The search in the five –kimometre radius failed to find any trace of the animal. (TNA)

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Thailand to mull suspension of visa on arrival for Chinese nationals

BANGKOK (TNA) - The committee in charge of preventing emerging diseases will meet on Friday to roll out various measures in the wake of the new coronavirus outbreak in China, said Public Health minister, Anuthin Charnvirakul.  

One of the measures to be proposed is suspension of visa on arrival for Chinese nationals, which is in line with Chinese authorities’ ban on outbound group tour, he said.

The minister assured that the government gave priority to health and safety of the Thai people.  

He confirmed that the number of new coronavirus cases, found in Thailand remained at 14. Six persons were discharged from hospital.

 All are linked to infections in Wuhan. So far, no Thai nationals in Wuhan are infected with the new coronavirus.

When coronavirus patients were detected in Thailand, they were placed under medical surveillance and their relatives were also tested for the same virus to prevent the spread of the disease here.

From Jan 3-29, there were 202 suspected novel coronavirus cases in total.  Out of this number, 135 people remain in hospital and the rest 67 cases were released from hospital. Most of the patients had seasonal flu.

Yesterday alone, there were 44 new cases of novel coronavirus, now under investigation. The new suspected cases include two taxi drivers, who picked up Chinese tourists two days ago.  (TNA)

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Tour groups from China cancel trips to Chiang Mai

CHIANG MAI (TNA) - Nearly all tour groups from China have cancelled their trips to Thailand’s Chiang Mai province while over 100 tourists from Wuhan city have decided to extend their stays. 

Chiang Mai which is one of the most popular destinations among Chinese people normally sees around 6,000 Chinese tourist arrivals in one day.  Now the number decreased by half after most of planned tour groups are cancelled in the wake of the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

Most of tourists on 21 flights from 10 Chinese cities at the international airport are individual travelers.

Like other tourist spots across Thailand, the iconic ThaPhae Gate ruin in Chiang Mai city had much fewer Chinese tourists after the Chinese government imposed a ban on group tour.  

Around 10 percent of Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai have reportedly decided to stay longer in Thailand.  At least 123 of them are from Wuhan city, arriving in Chiang Mai earlier. (TNA) 


Confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in Thailand remain at 14

BANGKOK (TNA) - Confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Thailand remain unchanged at 14 while 158 people are being quarantined, health officials said on Wednesday.

In a daily press statement, the Ministry of Public Health Ministry said no more cases were reported in the country.

On Tuesday, the Ministry announced six more patients were confirmed bringing the country’s total to 14 cases.

Meanwhile, 22 more people have been placed under surveillance, bringing the number to 158 since the Ministry began health quarantine measures on January 3.

Dr. Thanarak Palipat, Deputy Director-General of the Disease Control Department, reiterated that no cases had been infected in Thailand.

The disease control measures in Thailand had proved their effectiveness, he said, most of the corona-virus infected cases were detected at airports.

In addition, 125 people had been quarantined after seeking treatment at hospitals; four were reported by tour operators.

Quarantine measures were critical in containing the virus, Dr. Thanarak said.  (TNA) 

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Coronavirus: PM to inspect Suvarnabhumi Airport

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Prime Minister is to visit Suvarnabhumi International Airport this afternoon and provide moral support to officials responsible for preventing the spread of the new coronavirus.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and a group of officials from the newly formed National New Disease Prevention and Mitigation Committee will meet with airport officials responsible for overseeing disease prevention efforts.

The new committee -- chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul-- is charged with monitoring the situation and instructing related units accordingly. According to the Minister, the committee will also be responsible for handling similar cases involving epidemics and other public health emergencies in the future.

Furthermore, Minister Anutin said Thais in China -- particularly those residing in the quarantined city of Wuhan -- are being looked after by local authorities and kept in contact with Thai officials.

Thai citizens in China are urged to take precautionary measures against the coronavirus and follow instructions from Chinese authorities.

He also reiterated that the Thai government is ready to evacuate Thais in Wuhan, once the Chinese administration grants permission.


Provinces on high alert preventing coronavirus spread

BANGKOK (NNT) - Thailand is at maximum alert level to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus in the country.

All provinces are now following disease control protocols, especially at border crossings where many Chinese visitors continue to arrive, such as at the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge in NongKhai. Meanwhile, the authorities in Phuket are ready to screen some 6,000 passengers onboard a cruise ship docking off Pathong beach.

Vachira Phuket Hospital Director Chalermpong Sukontapol has revealed the latest update on novel coronavirus surveillance in Phuket province, saying that there have been 19 suspected cases since 5th January, with 12 testing negative and being discharged from the hospital, and seven now waiting for test results. The seven patients are now receiving treatment in hospitals in the province.

Phuket province will be receiving an influx of visitors today and tomorrow as two large cruise ships are calling on the island. The first cruise ship is bringing in 2,000 passengers today, while the second ship will have 4,000 passengers onboard. These passengers will be subjected to strict health screening procedures, exactly as conducted at Phuket International Airport.

In the northeastern Nong Bua Lamphu province, the provincial public health official said today that one patient had suspected symptoms, and is now isolated in a negative pressure chamber at Non Sang hospital.

The patient is a postgraduate student who travelled from Wuhan, China. Confirmation tests to see whether this patient is actually infected with novel coronavirus will take three days, while two persons in close contact with him have been diagnosed with influenza A, and have been treated accordingly.

In NongKhai province bordering Laos, Provincial Governor Ronnachai Chitwiset has observed health control operations at the first Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge in the province’s city district, and at nearby provincial health control office.

Here, officials have stepped up the health screening protocols, installing thermal cameras to scan the body temperature of Chinese nationals passing through the border into Thailand, most of whom are travelling in a group tour. There have been no other travelers from Wuhan passing through the border at the Thailand-Laos Friendship Bridge in recent days.

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Transport Ministry to promote rail transport to 30% of national logistics

BANGKOK (NNT) - The Ministry of Transport is working to increase the utilization of the railway network, to transport more passengers, ordering the Department of Rail Transport to improve services and make transportation by rail 30 percent of national logistics.

The Minister of Transport SaksayamC hidchob has delivered policies requiring the Department of Rail Transport to adopt operational practices from countries known for excellent rail network development, in Thailand, with the goal being to increase rail transport volume to 30 percent of the national logistics, helping reduce logistics costs and better serve passengers.

The Transport Minister has ordered the rail department to renovate level crossings and set up fences along railways to prevent accidents, as well as communicate with the general public on the necessity of infrastructure development projects, some of which may affect the livelihoods of certain communities.

He then urged the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, to ensure that development projects are not only concentrated in urban areas; to ensure the effects of construction projects on villagers are carefully considered, and to work together with related agencies to help affected persons. The office is in charge of national logistic development planning for land, water, air and rail transport.

The Minister of Transport has ordered related agencies to follow up on other policy tasks, including the vehicle speed limit increase from 90 kilometers per hour to 120 on all roads with four or more lanes, and the implementation of technology for traffic and construction management.


Corrections department launches Coronavirus control in prisons

 

BANGKOK (TNA) A Medical Volunteer for Prisoners in Thailand programme has been launched at the time the Corrections Department is closely monitoring the health of prisoners to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Prisons across Thailand have been ordered to monitor the health of prisoners, particularly of the 14 new Chinese inmates admitted this month.

As the Corrections Department opened the volunteer programme on Wednesday, it introduced a mobile medical unit equipped with x-ray system at Bangkok Remand Prison.

The Corrections Department's Director-General Narat Sawetanan said that the mobile unit had the artificial intelligence (AI) system capable of conducting medical diagnosis for respiratory diseases.

Of about 4,000 inmates at Bangkok Remand Prison, 200 new inmates and those who have respiratory illnesses will be given medical checks.   

Narat admitted that respiratory diseases posed great risks for 143 prisons and about 380,000 inmates in Thailand.  At the time of the coronavirus outbreak, close surveillance was much needed, he said.

The 14 new Chinese inmates have so far showed no signs of health problems and none of them were from Wuhan city, the outbreak epicenter, said Narat.

Dr. Weerakit Hanparipan, Deputy Director of the Department, said 50 inmates had been selected to the volunteer programme.  They would receive basic medical training covering live-saving procedures such as automated electrical defibrillator (AED).

This first group of volunteers would be on duty at seven prisons in Bangkok, he said. (TNA)


Public Health Ministry inspects travelerscreening at Chiang Mai Airport

CHIANG MAI (TNA) - Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul inspected screening for the new coronavirus at Chiang Mai airport.

The minister visited Chiang Mai International airport Wednesday morning to follow up surveillance measures of the airport in screening for travelers who may carry the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The minister said he gave moral support to health officials and he was confident that all related agencies worked in the same direction.

The government prioritized public safety and also took care of tourists, he added.

During his visit, the minister gave away alcohol-based hand sanitizer gel to 27 inbound passengers, arriving from Shanghai by Spring Airlines.

Meanwhile, Airport deputy director Thananrat Prasertsri said Chiang Mai airport stepped up surveillance measures to the highest level, focusing on screening all travelers, arriving from China by all airlines. (TNA)

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Coronavirus outbreak unlikely to affect border trade, says senior official

BANGKOK (TNA) - The coronavirus outbreak is unlikely to affect Thailand’s border trade, says a Commerce Ministry senior official.

The Foreign Trade Department’s Director-General KiratiRatchano commented on Tuesday on the epidemic crisis that he believed the problem would not have any impacts on Thailand’s cross-border trade as the Chinese government would speedily control the virus outbreak. 

The worrying factor was in fact the stronger baht, he said.

Last year, Thailand missed the target of cross-border trade volume due mainly to the baht appreciation, said Kirati.

The border trade in 2019 totaled THB1.33 trillion, a 3.43 percent decrease, he added.

Global economic slowdown, continued trade war and overall volatile foreign exchange have also weighed in on Thailand’s border trade.

Of the total figures, exports from Thailand accounted for THB750 billion, down 2.72 percent from the previous year, while imports were worth THB587 billion, down 4.31 percent, said the senior official. (TNA)


Thai PM inspects airport screening for Coronavirus

BANGKOK (TNA) - Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday inspected the screening of travelers for coronavirus at Suvarnabhumi Airport and assured that the precautionary measures are in line with international standards.

Prayut visited Suvarnabhumi Airport, one of five airports in Thailand conducting health screening for coronavirus since January 3, to boost morale of the health officials.

The prime minister and Cabinet minister observed the screening of international passengers and expressed their support for the operation.

Prayut reiterated that the government had been able to fully contain the outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus after stepping up its monitoring and assessment.

The government's effective measures were carried out under international standards and the screenings of international passengers were done thoroughly, he said.

There have been 14 confirmed virus infection cases in Thailand, five have recovered and been discharged from hospital while the rest are given treatments at hospitals.  

The prime minister also informed that the government was ready to evacuate 65 Thai people living in Wuhan whenever the Chinese government gives permission.

Thailand and China had coordinated on the matter through diplomatic channels while the Thai Embassy in Beijing had provided assistance to the Thai citizens, he added. (TNA) 

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More News  Page 1 , Page 2
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Chinese patient in Chiang Mai recovers from Coronavirus

Last group of Chinese tourists on Koh Samui return to China

Coronavirus-infected cases in Thailand still at 25

Govt to help tourism operators after sharp drop in Chinese arrivals



Thailand to hold World’s Largest Parade of Food Trucks

PM offers moral support to Thais now back from Wuhan

French Ambassador pays official visit to Southern border

Four Thai Wuhan evacuees under investigation

UTCC expects bleak MakhaBucha and Valentine’s Day this year

25 confirmed coronavirus cases in Thailand


High PM2.5 levels in seven areas of Bangkok

138 citizens returned from Wuhan

PM invites Buddhists to celebrate Makha Bucha

Four Thai returnees treated in hospital


Suvarnabhumi Airport increases hygiene measures

Virologist says measures must be implemented for one year to address coronavirus

‘Big Cleaning Week’ campaign launched amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Thailand’s Coronavirus cases rise to 25

Thai doctors successfully treat Coronavirus patient with cocktail of antivirals

Construction works halted to reduce dust in capital

Public Health Ministry to seek information on South Korean virus case, returning from Thailand

PM: Govt takes long-term measures to tackle air pollution


161 Thais to Be Flown Home from Wuhan on Tuesday

Thailand to repatriate four more smuggled Orangutans to Indonesia

Precautions raised after Bird Flu Outbreak in China

Agriculture Ministry steps up anti-fine dust measures

Unhealthy smog levels detected in Bangkok’s 33 areas

Infectious Diseases Institute director to pick up stranded Thais

Quarantine location for Thais from Wuhan to be finalized

Air Asia ready to pick up Thais out of Wuhan on Tuesday


PM concerned about people, provides support to public health practitioners

Medical team to evacuate Thais from Wuhan city

Thais in Wuhan to be evacuated by air

Rare Omura’s whale spotted near Phuket

BMA cleans up Skywalk to prevent coronavirus

PM2.5 rises in Bangkok, surrounding provinces


Search finds no clue on missing giraffe

Thailand to mull suspension of visa on arrival for Chinese nationals

Tour groups from China cancel trips to Chiang Mai

Confirmed cases of Novel Coronavirus in Thailand remain at 14


Coronavirus: PM to inspect Suvarnabhumi Airport

Provinces on high alert preventing coronavirus spread

Transport Ministry to promote rail transport to 30% of national logistics

Corrections department launches Coronavirus control in prisons

Public Health Ministry inspects travelerscreening at Chiang Mai Airport

Coronavirus outbreak unlikely to affect border trade, says senior official

Thai PM inspects airport screening for Coronavirus