Thailand News Update | Quarantine hotel “Asian Hotel California”

Following British journalist Jonathan Miller’s harsh and lengthy report on his stay in a Phuket quarantine hotel, the Governor of Phuket is calling for an investigation into the journalist’s allegations. The reporter documented the impromptu parties with Covid-infected travelers during his two-week stay in a Phuket ‘hospital’.

In the Sunday Times, Miller, classified as at high risk of contracting Covid-19, was sent to a quarantine hotel with his partner, who had tested positive for the virus. He says it was “Asian Hotel California” with “late night discos fueled by local beer.”

Now island officials are launching a full public relations campaign to deny the tarnished reputation of their Sandbox program and the quality of their hospitals, which are hotels that partner with hospitals to provide basic patient care. of Covid-19 with mild symptoms. The governor was later joined by top island tourism and health officials at a televised press conference, saying the negative news has created a crisis which they aim to use as an opportunity to make improvements and to correct the problems.

Miller’s biting report on the hotel came just days before the relaunch of the Test & Go program on February 1, which aims to welcome international tourists back with revised restrictions and conditions.

Whether the World Health Organization agrees or not, Thai health authorities have decided to declare Covid-19 an endemic disease by the end of this year according to the Ministry of Public Health.

A meeting of the National Communicable Diseases Committee claimed yesterday, in defiance of the WHO’s definition of when Covid will become ‘endemic’. Thailand will create its own academically acceptable criteria to measure whether Covid-19 is a pandemic or endemic, according to the Permanent Secretary for Health after the meeting.

The decision would be made based on 3 criteria that Thailand is already very close to meeting. First, 80% of those at risk must have received at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Second, the daily Covid-19 infection rate must be below 10,000 cases per day, a figure Thailand has not surpassed since October 18 last year. And finally, the death rate must not exceed 0.1%, or about one ninth of that where it currently hovers around 0.92%.

The permanent secretary explained that as death rates come down and infections are less severe, and people are fully vaccinated, Covid-19 can go up and down, but the main danger has passed.

In the province of Yasothon, in the northeast of the country, police arrested 3 men on several counts related to the sale of a 16-year-old girl for sexual purposes. Police tracked down the 3 men as part of a wider investigation into a previous suspect they had arrested on similar charges of underage prostitution, involving another girl, also 16.

The 3 men, aged 27, 32 and 33, were taken into custody by officers from the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Division. Two of the men are accused of recruiting the girl through her Twitter account and forcing her to meet older men for sex.

The men arranged clients for the 16-year-old girl, charging between 1,200 and 1,500 baht for each meeting. The pair took a commission of between 400 and 500 baht for each meeting and arranged several clients for her, often driving her to meet themselves. with clients for sex. They will now face charges of collusion in human trafficking and forced detention.

A proposed amendment to increase fines for traffic offenses is expected to pass the Senate later this month and come into effect in July. Nikorn Chamnong, deputy chairman of the House panel, said the proposed amendment to the Land Transportation Act has been approved and awaiting deliberation by the Senate.

Under the bill, the fine for traffic offenses such as disobeying traffic signs will increase fourfold from 1,000 baht to 4,000 baht. The House committee has been working on road safety rules, particularly speeding, and pushing for tougher regulations for riders of fat bikes who must have a special license to limit accidents involving such vehicles.

The majority of road deaths in Thailand involve motorcycles.

African swine fever is spreading through Thailand. The country’s agriculture minister reports that the disease has infected pig farms and a slaughterhouse in 13 Thai provinces, mainly in central, northeast and southern Thailand.

Infected farms and the five-kilometre radius around them are now declared epidemic areas. Instead of giving the ministry’s 2.9 billion baht emergency budget to pig farmers as he originally planned, the minister will now spend the money trying to contain the virus, which is not a threat to humans.

But a member of the Move Forward Party says swine fever is more widespread than reported by the Department of Livestock Development. The MP made the claim after speaking to a livestock official in Nakhon Pathom. The livestock manager said fever tests might not always pick up the disease, as infected pigs often die soon after being infected. In the meantime, expect your hog prices to remain high.

In one of the strongest signals of Singapore’s reopening, the Singapore Tourism Board has announced a new seven-year deal to continue hosting Formula 1 racing in the island nation. The deal is the longest renewal with the Formula 1 group and will be used to help promote Singapore as a business and lifestyle destination.

The last two night races were canceled during the Covid pandemic…. This year’s F1 race is scheduled for October 2 at the Marina Bay Street Circuit.

As the Omicron wave moves across Asia, Tokyo reported 16,538 new Covid infections yesterday, rewriting its record for the third straight day as the surge shows no signs of abating.

Nationally, the daily tally reached nearly 79,000 cases, topping 70,000 for the second day in a row. Tokyo’s Covid hospital bed occupancy rate has now reached 44%, a 300% increase in just one week.

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Nicholas E. Crittendon