(AFP photo)Thailand on Tuesday reported 287 new coronavirus cases, 278 of them local transmissions, bringing the total to 10,834. Taweesilp Visanuyothin of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration said 278 new cases were local transmissions, and nine were quarantined arrivals. They included 51 cases in Samut Sakhon province, 31 in Bangkok, six in Ang Thong and nine in Samut Prakan. Since Dec 18, 10 provinces have logged more than 50 Covid-19 cases each. They are Samut Sakhon, Chon Buri, Rayong, Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chanthaburi, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathom, Ang Thong and Pathum Thani.
January 12, 2021 05:16 UTC
Photo by Arnun ChonmahatrakoolPolice will crack down on a "new" type of drug known as "powdered milk ketamine", following the deaths of six people in Bangkok on the same day. Police could not yet confirm whether the substance, which looks like powdered milk, was a combination of ketamine and sleeping pills as speculated, as the results of the autopsies had not yet been released. All of them were believed to have died after taking the drug as the white powdery drug was found at the scenes. According to a police spokesman, the drug is a combination of heroin, ketamine, methamphetamine and a type of sleeping pill. The father of one of the people who died on Sunday said his daughter left home around 8pm.
January 12, 2021 02:48 UTC
Photo by WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKULThe Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) on Monday hinted it would soon consider lifting Covid-19 restrictions. This is despite cases in the capital rising on Monday by 37 and bringing its tally to 1,989. The two clusters consisted of 135 cases in total, he said, adding that some people from Bangkok had brought the virus home with them from Si Racha during the New Year. Bangkok's governor said the capital's new patients had visited or worked in entertainment places, restaurants and massage parlours. Health authorities were now trying to find other people who had been to these places, he said, adding public health authorities have already tested 15,908 at-risk people who visited markets across Bangkok.
January 12, 2021 02:37 UTC
Videos reveal violence of assault on US CongressSupporters of President Donald Trump violently attacked police during the siege of the US Capitol. WASHINGTON: Five days after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol, new videos are revealing the level of violence that left lawmakers cowering inside and police howling for backup. - Scarier than Iraq -Early videos showed a boisterous crowd press their way, without particular coordination, past police to barge into the Capitol. The buildings were ordered to lock down, and as the vice president was whisked to secret, secure premises inside the Congress complex, outside, a video shows, the crowd chanted, "Hang Mike Pence." Inside, video shows men decked out in combat gear carrying many plastic zip-tie handcuffs, suggesting they hoped to seize elected officials.
January 12, 2021 01:46 UTC
Application of logic needed in Covid battleIt's not easy being a national Covid-19 taskforce in a country ruled by an ultra-conservative government driven by cumbersome bureaucracy and a daily dose of hypocrisy. For a start, which contact-tracing application should we use: the Thai Chana app recommended for checking in and out of public places earlier or the Mor Chana app that has been suggested recently as a better track-and-trace tool? The name Mor Chana -- or Doctors Win -- is once that would not click easily with users looking for a track-and-trace application. The government's assumption might be that if more people download it, that will help doctors win the battle against the virus. Mor Chana is Doctors Win.
January 11, 2021 23:03 UTC
Not ready for online classesNot only has the resurgence of the novel coronavirus hit the country's public health sector -- and subsequently, its economy -- hard, but it has also exposed the disparities in the nation's education system. As a result, as more schools move their classes to Zoom, an increasing number of children and parents are becoming frustrated by the situation. Well-respected academic Sompong Jitradub said online learning and teaching are only effective if students have consistent access to the internet and computers, and if teachers have received targeted training and support for online instruction. The shift to online learning has shed even more light on the widening gap between children in rural and urban areas, with the expert saying that rural students in Thailand are about three years behind their urban counterparts. It must do what it can to narrow the education gap between rich children in urban areas and poor children in rural areas, with or without the threat of Covid-19.
January 11, 2021 23:03 UTC
Govt logs 249 new Covid cases Monday, warns officialsPeople dine separated by dividing screens at a street food corner in Bangkok's Chinatown on Sunday after authorities imposed restrictions on restaurants due to the recent Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. (AFP photo)Thailand on Monday recorded 249 new coronavirus cases, 224 of them local transmissions, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to date to 10,547. Of the 224 local cases, 78 were found through active testing, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said. Eleven of the 249 new cases were people who recently flew into the country and were in state quarantine -- six Thais and five foreigners. Warning for Interior Ministry officialsPermanent secretary for interior Chatchai Promlert on Monday issued a stern warning to any Interior Ministry officials still turning a blind eye to gambling and illegal entry from neighbouring countries in their jurisdictions.
January 11, 2021 04:51 UTC
Most palm oil products in Thailand and Asean nations come from small and medium-sized oil palm growers. To pave the way for greener practices and greater economic benefit from the palm oil sector, policymakers, businesses and consumers have key roles to play in supporting sustainable palm oil by demanding it, experts say. GIZ recently co-hosted a business forum, "Road to Transforming the Sustainable Palm Oil Market in Thailand", in Bangkok together with the RSPO under their Sustainable and Climate-friendly Palm Oil Production Project (SCPOPP). However, it is still vital that palm oil businesses work with oil palm smallholders in the supply chain to enhance their productivity and improve livelihoods. It is aimed at improving the accountability of local palm oil products as well as promoting domestic consumption of sustainable palm oil.
January 11, 2021 03:52 UTC
Vaccines must be safeIn a race to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, every country is trying to secure as many vaccines as it can, as soon as possible. The government has pre-ordered some 26 million doses from the British-Swedish company AstraZeneca, and it recently bought another 35 million doses. The announcement came after reports emerged that some countries in Asean have received their Covid-19 vaccines and begun vaccinating their people. The countries include Indonesia, which received 1.8 million doses -- its second batch of coronavirus vaccines -- from Sinovac in December last year, adding to the 1.2 million it received earlier. Some believe the Chinese-made vaccine is safe, as its production method is relatively simple, and its mechanism of action is widely shared by other vaccines -- it uses virus particles to trigger the body's immune response.
January 11, 2021 01:28 UTC
Covid confusion is the new normalWith this new surge of Covid-19 cases hitting the country, Thais know that the disease is not new. However, adding to the pandemic's new normal are myths, confusion, and fake news circulating online. We understand that in such circumstances, the prime minister has the final say. There is also speculation over the reliability of Away Covid-19 application developed by Phitsanulok-based tech start-up Mapedia. In the end, the developer of Away Covid-19 came out and said all of this was wrong.
January 10, 2021 23:48 UTC
"In the past year, many companies turned the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity to shake up their structure. [That said,] despite the voluntary retirements and resignations, some were still forced to lay off employees," Mr Chalee said. According to the Social Security Office, 327,693 employees were let go in 2020 with the highest number losing their jobs in August. "I did not even get my unemployment insurance because my employer said it was the employees' fault," she said. It had risen year-on-year from December 2019 to December 2020, meaning overall, there were more people in gainful employment, he said.
January 10, 2021 23:37 UTC
Karnjana KarnjanatawePrayadpon and her sister Maliwan co-founded the Khao Hom Thong Community Enterprise in Ban Champa. A package of 1kg of khao hang or khao hom thong. After the husk is removed, the golden brown rice known as khao hom thong or khao hang is revealed. They can sell a kilogramme of hang rice for 80 baht, much higher than the average of 35 baht a kilogramme. Khao hang or khao hom thong is registered as a geographical indication (GI) rice of Sakon Nakhon.
January 10, 2021 23:37 UTC
In Bangkok, the vaccinations will be carried out at public health centres, he added. To ensure its safety, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has pledged to prioritise patients' well-being when it evaluates the vaccine, which is expected to arrive next month. "The decision to approve that vaccine will depend on its safety and efficiency," said Surachoke Tangwiwat, the FDA's deputy secretary-general. Dr Surachoke said the FDA is waiting for Sinovac to send documents for the FDA to review and insisted officials will not fast-track the approval process. He admitted that the plan to administer the vaccine next month may still change, as the FDA will have to adhere to the strictest health and safety principles.
January 10, 2021 23:27 UTC
Covid vaccine progress needs investmentIn normal times, a vaccine is a health product that works its way to protect a person from a disease. There are also several health research organisations under the Public Health Ministry including the Health System Research Institute and Health Intervention and Technology Assessment Program which enable knowledge sharing among scholars. The government also founded the National Vaccine Institute in 2012, with an ambition to make Thailand a leader in vaccine development and manufacturing in Southeast Asia. Chula Specialist Vaccine Research Centre, under Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine, started a Covid-19 vaccine research project last year with a 300 million baht grant from the government. The grant has been delivered in instalments making it difficult for researchers to make quick progress in vaccine development.
January 10, 2021 23:26 UTC
Several crackdowns on gambling dens have been conducted after a casino saga in Rayong that is linked with a Covid cluster infection. Ask anyone in Rayong whether they believe the money trail from illegal gambling activity stops at the regional police chief? That explains why his illegal gambling operation has flourished and been untouched by police since long before the pandemic struck. If it wasn't for Covid-19 the influential illegal gambling dens in Rayong and their police connections may never have been exposed. Illegal gambling dens and police are like Siamese twins in the sense they are mutually dependent and beneficial.
January 10, 2021 23:26 UTC