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Posts posted by Flashermac

  1. Roundup of airport escapees begins

    The government vows to take legal action against those who fled quarantine after returning on a flight to Thailand on Friday night and failed to report themselves by deadline last evening.

    It has demanded the 158 people who arrived at Suvarnabhumi airport enter 14-day state quarantine, in line with the Emergency Decree issued on April 2. Many passengers defied the order, triggering public outrage amid concerns about the spread of Covid-19 from imported cases.

    Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said 152 people who defied the quarantine order had until 6pm yesterday to report to authorities or face legal action under the Emergency Decree.

    By mid-evening last night, 134 returnees had reported nationwide. As for the rest, local police have been ordered to arrest them.

    Violators of the announcement under the Emergency Decree can be imprisoned for two years, fined up to 20,000 baht, or both. Violation of the Communicable Disease Act can result in one year imprisonment, a fine of up to 100,000 baht, or both.

    He said the government has asked Thai citizens abroad to delay travel home from April 2-15 and imposed state quarantine for all returnees to prevent imported cases.

    Dr Taweesilp said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha voiced concerns about the commotion on Friday night and stressed it should not happen again.

    "The arrival of Thai and foreign nationals in the past two weeks has contributed to an increase of cases because some don't self-isolate. That's why the prime minister has asked them to delay travel," he said.

    He said the government has information about the returnees and could track them down, but they are advised to contact the Emergency Operation Centre at Suvarnabhumi airport or the Damrongdhama Centre in their provinces and bring their families along if contact has been made.

    It is reported that out of the 158 returnees, 103 had arrived from Japan, 11 from Qatar and 44 from Singapore. Six of them agreed to be sent for quarantine at a hotel in Bangkok. "We don't want to take actions or punish anyone. We are concerned and we want them to report themselves," he said. "The public health and security authorities are working not for themselves but for the entire nation," he added.

    The CCSA spokesman said several groups of Thais who already have permission to return will have to comply with quarantine upon arrival. These groups include the Thai AFS students returning gradually from the US and those who attended religious functions in Indonesia.



  2. Thai returnees told to report for state quarantine

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered 152 Thais who landed at Suvarnabhumi airport on Friday afternoon and refused to enter state quarantine to report themselves before 6pm on Saturday so that they can be put into state facilities.

    A total of 158 Thais — 103 from Japan, 11 from Qatar and 44 from Singapore — landed at the airport at 1pm on Friday, Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said today.

    But only six of them agreed to be sent to a place prepared by authorities, which is a hotel in Bangkok.

    The remaining 152 refused to cooperate, saying they had not been informed about it in advance, and left for home.

    After a meeting on Saturday, the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration decided to put all of thses returnees in state quarantine.

    They must contact the Emergency Operation Centre (EOC) at Suvarnabhumi or the Damrongtham Centre in their provinces.

    Dr Taweesin stressed the government had their personal information and could track them down and warned about legal action.

    He also urged people close to them to self-isolate for 14 days.

    Thais in transit to return home should also contact Thai embassies for advice and they must agree to be put in state quarantine once landing, he said.

    The commotion at the airport on Friday occurred mainly because of the transition of rules.

    The group consisted of Thais who were able to fly home because they had obtained all the necessary documents — fit-to-fly certificates issued within 72 hours before boarding and letters from embassies confirming they are Thai nationals seeking to return home — when they boarded planes.

    Gen Prayut announced on Thursday evening all travel to the kingdom by both Thais and foreigners would be banned until April 15, effective immediately. After that period, he said all arrivals must be quarantined at state facilities.

    As a result, when this group of Thais landed and were told they must be quarantined at state facilities, they protested, reasoning they had not been informed beforehand by Thai embassies that this was part of the requirements.

    While recognising the importance of quarantine, they assumed they could do it at home. Some even claimed to have already booked hotel rooms for the purpose.

    The Foreign Ministry on Saturday denied it did not follow the government's order by enabling this group to return home, saying the prime minister’s announcement came after the embassies already issued the letters for them.

    Ministry spokesman Cherdkiat Atthakorn said that after Gen Prayut’s announcement banning all travel to Thailand on Thursday, the embassies stopped issuing the letters and shut down the online application for the purpose.

    He added several Thai embassies also informed in their announcements that Thais returning home would be quarantined at state facilities for 14 days without exception. The online form Thais abroad used to apply for the letters also mentioned the quarantine.

    Authorities have prepared facilities in Sattahip and two hotels in Bangkok for state quarantine.

    As a result of the confusion on Friday, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issued an announcement a few hours later temporarily banning all passenger flights from landing in Thailand until Monday to prevent further problems. It took immediate effect.

    The exceptions are state or military aircraft, emergency landing, technical landing (with no disembarkment), humanitarian aid or medical and relief flights, repatriation and cargo aircraft.

    Passengers on aircraft leaving other airports before the announcement took effect shall come under the communicable disease and the state of emergency laws. They must be quarantined for 14 days.

    A military source said Maj Gen Kosol Choojai, who was in charge of the EOC at Suvarnabhumi and allowed the 152 passengers to go home, was replaced by Gen Paripat Palasin. The major general will face a probe for his handling of the situation. 




  3. One death, total hits 2,000

    One man died and 89 more caught the coronavirus disease over the past 24 hours, raising the total to 2,067 cases and 20 fatalities, according to authorities.

    Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said the new death was a Thai man, 72, with chronic diseases.

    Of the total cases, 612 people had recovered, said Dr Taweesin. 

    Of the new 89 coronavirus infections, 31 were in Bangkok, 13 in Nonthaburi, eight in Phuket, five each in Chon Buri and Pathum Thani, four each in Samut Prakan and Narathiwat, three in Songkhla, two each in Yala and Suphan Buri and one each in Surat Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Samut Sakhon, Trang, Tak, Ayutthaya and Lampang.

    Bangkok had the highest number of cases with 980, followed by Nonthaburi (128), Phuket (107), Samut Prakan (93), Chon Buri (59), Yala (52), Pattani (44), Songkhla (37), Chiang Mai (33), and Pathum Thani (28).



  4. On 4/4/2020 at 2:29 AM, Coss said:

    And because religion - https://edition.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/03/18/coronavirus-social-distancing-church-police-orig-jk.cnn

    Apparently people still go and congregate and rub each other, in the name of God - see video at link


    Stay safe folks  :beer:



    There is a much stronger drive than religion ... sex! The Thais are having problems trying to reign in the backpackers and sex tourists, which is why the 10pm curfew went into effect in Bangkok. The Thai language papers report booze and pot parties being broken up almost regularly.

    p.s. There were no infections in the far south, until large groups of Muslims from Pattani went to huge prayer gatherings in Malaysia and brought it back with them. Now the southern border provinces are getting hit hard with it. Inshallah ...

  5. See how your community is moving around differently due to COVID-19


    As global communities respond to COVID-19, we've heard from public health officials that the same type of aggregated, anonymized insights we use in products such as Google Maps could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat COVID-19.

    These Community Mobility Reports aim to provide insights into what has changed in response to policies aimed at combating COVID-19. The reports chart movement trends over time by geography, across different categories of places such as retail and recreation, groceries and pharmacies, parks, transit stations, workplaces, and residential.



  6. 19 hours ago, buffalo_bill said:

    Sir, please get used to meeting people who are not confused by facts but willing to adjust their view of the world to existing facts even if the facts speak for idiots like Trump.


    Wow, I'll have to remember that. Thanks.


  7. Coronavirus: US accused of ‘piracy’ over mask ‘confiscation’

    The US has been accused of redirecting 200,000 Germany-bound masks for its own use, in a move condemned as "modern piracy".

    The local government in Berlin said the shipment of US-made masks was "confiscated" in Bangkok.

    The FFP2 masks, which were ordered by Berlin's police force, did not reach their destination, it said.




    Wow, the US has the power to confiscate shipments in Bangkok and somehow redirect them to the USA.

    You don't suppose the Thai government had anything to do with it, do you?  Nah, they wouldn't do that.

  8. Public transport to stop at 9.30pm

    Public transport services in the Bangkok area have been ordered to end their daily operations by 9.30pm from Friday, when the nationwide night curfew starts.

    Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said public transport services would be closed from 9.30pm to 4am in accordance with the prime minister's declaration of a nationwide curfew from 10pm to 4am to curb the spread of coronavirus disease.



  9. 9 hours ago, buffalo_bill said:

    What exactly did he see before the WHO ?

    Sorry to confuse you with the facts, but ...

    - 20 Jan  1st diagnosed case in USA

    - 26 Jan  1st deaths in USA.

    - 31 Jan   US border CLOSED to Chinese! (WHO was still saying No - H2H transmission and closing border unnecessary.)- 

    - 11 Mar   WHO - declares it a pandemic.

    - 13 Mar  US border closed to EU & others


    Yep, Trump really dropped the ball. WHO is great! 

  10. All people in Thailand are banned from leaving home from 10pm to 4am starting Friday in the government’s latest move to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced the curfew on Thursday evening.

    Exempted from the curfew are medical and banking personnel, as well as logistic workers handling consumer products, farm goods, pharmaceutical products, medical supplies and equipment, newspapers, petrol, postal parcels, or products to be imported or exported. Movements of people to quarantine places are also allowed.

    Other exemptions are people working normal night shifts or those heading to or from airports with necessary documents stating the purposes, or officials working by the announcements or orders and those allowed by officials to leave the house on emergencies.

    Violation will result in a jail term of not more than two years and/or a fine not more than 40,000 baht.

    Existing curfew orders or announcements in any province with stricter requirements shall remain in effect. 

    For relief measures, Gen Prayut said three funds would be set up to help people affected by the mitigation measures.

    Centres will be set up to distribute face masks. “I won’t let anyone hoard the product and take advantage of people during this difficult time,” he said.

    More economic stimulus packages will be introduced such as financial aid, debt suspension, liquidity boost and debt restructuring.

    In terms of disease mitigation, a centre will be set up to manage travel in and out of the kingdom with strict screening, quarantine and monitoring measures. Gen Prayut also sought cooperation in delaying entry to Thailand until April 15.

    In terms of communication, a briefing will be held every day by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. Unauthorised people will not be allowed to give interviews.

    He again warned of the consequences of spreading fake news or sharing information from unknown sources.

    He urged everyone to cooperate for the ultimate goal of “zero”. 

    Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin, spokesman of the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, earlier explained the need for a curfew.

    "Past measures have slowed the daily number of new infections but still fail to reduce it. From the start, we intend to gradually impose measures, from soft to harsh ones," he said. 



    So if you are a people, stay indoors during the curfew!  :nono:


  11. 22 hours ago, buffalo_bill said:

    If 5000 Bht do really make the difference between live and die they must all be totally broke. Assuming 5000 are the gross result from 2 shorttime-sessions under  normal business-condition I wonder if the ladies could not save that sort of cash at any time. This is about 150 Euros.

    5,000 baht is survival money ... provided they have some place to live. If they have to figure rent into that, it is nowhere near enough to get by on, and their only hope is to return home. But remember that a bus conductor makes about 7,000 a month and sales people at the 7-Elevens aren't paid much more (maybe 9,000). Ordinary Thai working folks don't have much income at all, with taxi drivers often living day by day on their earnings. This is the reason women in the naughty nightlife went into it. They can make many times what they would as a waitress or working on the assembly line in a factory, which is about all their level of education qualifies them for.

    Unfortunately, few of the BGs have any plan to save money, spending it as fast as they can. (This applies to many Thais outside of the nightlife as well.) I commented about it on this board years ago, describing how some of the BGs I knew made fantastic amounts of money, but simply blew it all away by gambling or spent it on expensive clothes and other luxuries. Several board members promptly attacked me, saying what the BGs did with their money was none of my business and I should butt out. Fair enough, but then don't feel sorry for them when they end up broke and in trouble. It was their choice.


  12. China lied about the scope of its COVID-19 outbreak, US intelligence report claims

    In news that will shock absolutely no one, a classified assessment from U.S. intelligence agencies has reportedly concluded that China worked to conceal the exact scope of its novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak from the rest of the world,

    Citing three unnamed U.S. officials, Bloomberg News reports that the assessment — received by the White House last week — showed that the Chinese government's public reporting on positive COVID-19 cases and related deaths since the start of the country's outbreak in late 2019 was "intentionally incomplete."

    Chinese officials only publicly reported roughly 82,000 cases and 3,300 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University and cited by Bloomberg News, levels recently eclipsed by the nearly 200,000 cases and 4,000 deaths seen in the United States.

    The Bloomberg News report does not offer any sense of China's absolute number of positive COVID-19 cases and deaths.

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had previously accused the Chinese government of censoring information regarding its COVID-19 outbreak back in February, arguing that the lack of transparency was putting the rest of the world at risk.

    "Censorship. It can have deadly consequences," Pompeo said at the time. "Had China permitted its own and foreign journalists and medical personnel to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge."

    The accusation had sparked a war of words between U.S. and Chinese officials regarding which country bore ultimate responsibility for the spread of COVID-19, an exchange which saw the Chinese government accuse the U.S. Army of deliberately bringing the disease to the Wuhan province where it is thought to have originated.

    "China has been updating the U.S. on the coronavirus and its response since Jan. 3," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on March 19. "On Jan. 15 the U.S. State Department notified Americans in China U.S. CDC's warning about the coronavirus. And now blame China for delay? Seriously?"

    But on Tuesday, State Department immunologist Deborah Birx stated that China's public reporting had shaped assumptions among the international medical community regarding the nature of COVID-19 and its potential spread around the world — assumptions that now appear fundamentally flawed.

    “The medical community made — interpreted the Chinese data as: This was serious, but smaller than anyone expected,” Birx said on Tuesday, per Bloomberg News. “Because I think probably we were missing a significant amount of the data, now that what we see happened to Italy and see what happened to Spain.”



    But surely President for Life Xi wouldn't do that. He is a truthful champion of human rights who is an inspiration for democratic leaders around the world.


  13. 14 arrested in Phuket for partying

    Nine foreigners and five Thais were arrested in Phuket province on Wednesday (April 1) for allegedly using drugs and partying in violation of the emergency decree.

    Three British men, an American man, an Australian and a Ukrainian, along with three Ukrainian women and five Thai women were found at 10pm allegedly drinking alcohol and using cocaine along with marijuana while playing music from a DJ system.

    Patong Police Station charged all of them with gathering in a crowded place violating the emergency decree, violating an order from the Disease Control Department which might lead to the spread of Covid-19, and possessing two types of drugs.

    Police cracked down on the group after receiving a call that residents in the house were holding a party and disturbing the neighbours with loud music.



    Virus? What virus?  :dunce:


    Trying for the Darwin Award.

  14. Super apps Grab and Get have been locked in competition over the food delivery market, which is thriving as the "lazy economy” grows.

    The two unicorn startups have claimed strong growth for their delivery services, but ride-hailing services may see a reshuffle after the government is expected to legalise the service in March next year.

    “This is an exciting year for Grab in Thailand as in the past 10 months we achieved over 120 million bookings across all services,” said Tarin Thaniyavarn, country head of Grab Thailand.

    GrabFood is a “service hero” that mainly contributed to this high volume of bookings, he said. “It is the largest, fastest and No.1 food delivery platform in Thailand.”

    GrabFood registered 4 million transactions or bookings in the first four months of this year, compared with 3 million throughout last year.

    According to market research unit Kantar, in the third quarter of this year, 54% of 599 consumers surveyed said GrabFood is often used for their food delivery.

    Mr Tarin said the hyper-competition among the players, which rolled out various promotions, played a part in boosting the use of food delivery apps.

    The lazy economy will present more opportunities for on-demand services, he said.

    Food delivery apps are in the early stage and only account for a small portion of the total food industry, said Mr Tarin.

    To boost the segment’s momentum, Grab will expand GrabFood service to 30 provinces from 14.

    He is aware of the declining revenue of Grab drivers, but more incentives will be provided to attract them, he said.

    Grab provides ride-hailing service in 20 cities of 18 provinces and aims to expand more in second-tier cities that have a high number of tourists.

    Grab has yet to make a profit from its operations because of intense competition, Mr Tarin said.

    Strategies for profitability, he said, have been hammered out but they cannot be disclosed now.

    Get Thailand, the local arm of Indonesia's ride-hailing app Go-Jek, indicated it has gained 10 million trips in Bangkok for all services since it was launched in February this year.

    “The major contributor of the growth is Get Food service as it uses artificial intelligence to provide menus that suit each customer,” said Wongtippa Wisetkasem, Get’s director of platform operation.

    Get’s major group of customers are millennials, a demographic cohort between Gen Z and Gen Y, aged around 23-39, who grew up in the era of technology development, she said.

    “In a month, GET has over 300,000 orders of bubble milk tea which indicates the continual rise of the bubble milk tea era. Apart from drinks and meals, snacking is a popular habit for Bangkokians,” Ms Wongtippa said.


  15. Globalisation has been one of the buzzwords of the past 25 years.

    It may seem a rather strange concept, since any economic historian will tell you that people have been trading across vast distances for centuries, if not millennia.

    You only have to look at the medieval spice trade, or the East India Company, to know that. But globalisation is really about the scale and speed of international business, which has exploded in the past few decades to unprecedented levels.

    Easier travel, the world wide web, the end of the Cold War, trade deals, and new, rapidly developing economies, have all combined to create a system that is much more dependent now on what is happening on the other side of the world than it ever was.

    Which is why the spread of coronavirus, or Covid-19 to be specific, has had such an immediate economic effect.

    Professor Beata Javorcik, chief economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, says that the pace of change in the global economy over just the past 17 years has been profound.

    "When we look back at 2003, at the Sars epidemic, China accounted for 4% of global output," she says. "Now China accounts for four times as much, 16%. So that means that whatever is happening in China affects the world to a much larger extent."

    Globalisation helps to explain while nearly every major car plant in the UK has shut down - they are dependent on sales and components from around the world. When both collapsed, they just stopped making cars.

    China's wealth and health therefore matter to us all far more than they used to, but this is not just a matter of scale - there is also a deeper problem with globalisation.

    Ian Goldin, professor of globalisation and development at Oxford University, and author of "The Butterfly Defect, How Globalization Creates Systemic Risks, And What To Do About It", says that "risks have been allowed to fester, they are the underbelly of globalisation".

    That, he says, can be seen not only in this crisis, but also in the credit crunch and banking crisis of 2008, and the vulnerability of the internet to cyber-attacks. The new global economic system brings huge benefits, but also huge risks.

    While it has helped raise incomes, rapidly develop economies and lift millions out of poverty; that has come at the increased risk of contagion, be it financial or medical.

    So what does this latest crisis mean for globalisation?

    For Prof Richard Portes, professor of economics at London Business School, it seems obvious that things will have to change, because firms and people have now realised what risks they had been taking.

    "Look at trade," he explains. "Once supply chains were disrupted [by coronavirus], people started looking for alternative suppliers at home, even if they were more expensive.

    "If people find domestic suppliers, they will stick with them… because of those perceived risks."

    Professor Javorcik agrees, and believes a combination of factors will mean Western manufacturing industry will start bringing work back home, or re-shoring it as it is called.

    "I think that the trade war [mainly between the US and China], combined with the Coronavirus epidemic, will lead companies to actually take re-shoring seriously," she says.

    "They will re-shore activities that can be automated, because re-shoring brings certainty. You do not have to worry about your national trade policy, and it also gives you an opportunity to diversify your supplier base."

    However, this is not all good news for Western economies, which may now believe they have become too dependent on globalisation. Instead this cuts both ways.

    A great deal of globalisation is not about moving manufactured goods around the world, but moving people, ideas and information; something that we in the UK and other Western economies are very good at.

    As David Henig, director of the UK Trade Policy Project at the European Centre for International Political Economy, points out: "The service sector must have fallen off a cliff, and just look [in particular] at tourism and universities.

    "There must be real concern about the number of new entries to Western universities this autumn. This is a huge export industry… many universities are dependent on Chinese students, for example."

    The idea that globalisation is just about moving manufacturing or supply chains to cheaper Asian countries is too simple. It has also led to massive increases in foreign students willing to pay to study at our colleges and universities, and a huge influx of wealthy tourists who want to spend money here, to name just two service sector businesses.

    Slowing or even reversing globalisation would hit those industries very hard indeed. But even so, Prof Goldin thinks that this pandemic marks a sea change and that "2019 was the year of peak supply chain fragmentation".

    Although, some factors such as 3D printing, automation, the demand for customisation, and quick delivery, as well as protectionism were already being felt; it seems that Covid-19 can only accelerate that process.

    The real concern is, however, not whether these changes happen, but how far they go, and how they will be managed?

    Prof Goldin has a simple and clear way of explaining the options - will the result be more like what happened after World War One, or after World War Two?

    We could, like after 1918, get weak or weaker international organisations, the rise of nationalism, protectionism and economic depression. Or, as followed 1945, more cooperation and internationalism, like Bretton Woods, the Marshall Plan, the UN and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

    Prof Goldin remains cheerful, but worries about who is going to take the lead. "We can be optimistic, but we are not seeing leadership out of the White House certainly," he says. "China can't step up to the plate, and Great Britain cannot lead in Europe."

    This is a worry shared by Prof Portes, who points out that: "The London G20 Summit of 2009 agreed a $1tn (£800bn) package of international cooperation, even Germany joined in. But now there is no leadership in the G20, and the USA is absent from the international scene."

    Will globalisation be reversed? Probably not, it is too important an economic development for that to happen, but it could well be slowed down.

    The bigger question is, however, have we learnt the lessons of this crisis? Will we learn to spot, control and regulate the risks that seem to be an integral part of globalisation? Because the cooperation and leadership necessary to make that happen seem to be in short supply.


  16. K-Pop star sorry for coronavirus April fool's joke

    K-pop star Kim Jaejoong has apologised for posting on Instagram that he was in hospital having contracted Covid-19, admitting it was an April fool's joke.

    The singer told fans he had caught the virus after "ignoring" government warnings and "living carelessly".

    In a subsequent post, he claimed he had simply wanted to raise awareness of the virus.

    But the now-deleted joke appears to have backfired with many of his 1.9m followers voicing their disapproval.

    "How can you pull a prank like this when the situation right now is so serious?" one fan responded. "It's really disappointing."

    South Korea was one of the first countries hit by coronavirus, and it is believed to have killed 165 people there so far.



  17. China may have prevented 95% of virus cases if it enacted measures after silenced whistleblower’s warning

    China could have prevented 95 per cent of coronavirus infections if its measures to contain the outbreak had begun three weeks earlier, research from the University of Southampton suggests. However, China only took vigorous action in late January – weeks after police silenced a doctor for trying to raise the alarm.

    First detected in Hubei, more than 146,000 people globally have now been infected with Covid-19, whilst over 5,500 have died from the SARS-like disease.

    The study published this week by population mapping group WorldPop measured the effectiveness of nonpharmaceutical interventions. The researchers examined how China isolated ill persons, quarantined exposed individuals, conducted contract tracing, restricted travel, closed schools and workplaces, and cancelled mass gatherings.

    The analysis – which has yet to be peer-reviewed – found that early case detection and contact reduction were effective in controlling the virus and combined measures can reduce transmission. They can also delay the timing and reduce the size of the epidemic’s peak, and thus buy time for healthcare preparations and drugs research.

    Coronavirus cases could have been reduced by 66 per cent if the measures were taken a week earlier, the study suggested, or by 86 per cent if action began two weeks earlier. If action was taken three weeks later, then the situation could have worsened 18-fold.

    Dr Li Wenliang

    Most efforts to tackle the outbreak took place in late January, weeks after Wuhan ophthalmologist Dr Li Wenliang tried to warn about the mystery disease on December 30. He was among eight people who were punished by police on January 1 for spreading “rumours” about the virus.

    The Public Security Bureau made Li sign a letter stating that he had made “false comments” and had “severely disturbed the social order.” He died last month of the disease, aged 34, prompting widespread outrage in China.

    According to the New York Times, China also ignored offers of help in January from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization.


    With the virus now classed as a global pandemic, the University of Southampton researchers concluded that social distancing measures should continue for the next few months and China’s approach should be adopted elsewhere as early as possible.


  18. 'Talk like Doraemon': Malaysian ministry issues tips for wives during COVID-19 movement control order

    KUALA LUMPUR: Married women in Malaysia were briefly issued a set of recommendations on how to manage their households and husbands during the movement control order, including speaking in "Doraemon's voice" and giggling coyly. 

    The Women and Family Ministry on Monday (Mar 30) posted several tips on social media on how to avoid domestic arguments between husband and wife.

    The posts, made public on both Facebook and Instagram, were taken down a day later. 

    “If you see your husband carry out a task in a manner that clashes with your own method, avoid nagging,” the ministry said in a since-deleted infographic.

    In a separate image, the ministry said wives should instead use “humorous” words and phrases such as “this is the proper way to hang the clothes for drying, my dear (cara sidai baju macam ni lah sayangku)”.

    The ministry also recommended that women should “mimic the tone of Doraemon” and follow their statements with a coy and feminine laugh. 




  19. More than 1,000 elephants face starvation in Thailand because the coronavirus crisis has slashed revenue from tourism, conservationists say.

    An almost total absence of visitors means that many caretakers are struggling to afford food for Thailand's 4,000 captive elephants.

    The animals can eat up to 200kg (440lb) of food a day.

    Thailand reported 127 new confirmed cases of the virus on Monday, bringing the country's recorded total to 1,651.

    Lek Chailert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, told the BBC: "If there is no support forthcoming to keep them safe, these elephants, some of whom are pregnant, will either starve to death or may be put on to the streets to beg."

    Alternatively, some elephants may be sold to zoos or they may be returned to the illicit logging business, which officially banned the use of elephants in 1989.

    "It's a very bleak outlook unless some financial help is received immediately," Lek Chailert adds.

    It's a challenge to keep the animals fed and healthy at the best of times but now it's the dry season, which makes the situation even more extreme.

    Kerri McCrea, who manages the Kindred Spirit Elephant Sanctuary in Mae Chaem, in northern Thailand, said the villagers who live near her had brought approximately 70 elephants back to her area because they were not receiving any money from tourism anymore.

    "Feeding elephants is a priority but the issue is that there's not enough forest left to feed them," she explains.

    Ms McCrae, who originally comes from Northern Ireland and is also a co-founder of the sanctuary, has to drive up to three hours a day to find enough grasses and corn stalks to feed the five elephants in her care.

    She says local elephant caretakers are forced to do the same.

    The country, which normally relies on tourism for a large portion of its economic growth, has been forced to close its borders to all tourists and much of the country is in lockdown.

    Happy elephants, Kerri McCrae says, are usually swinging their tails or flapping their ears or even giving themselves dust baths to keep cool. But elephants get depressed when they're hungry, and none of that happy behaviour would be on display.

    "The worst case scenario is that owners will have to chose between themselves and their elephants," Ms McCrae says. "The people here don't have much, but they're doing what it takes to keep the elephants alive for now."



  20. Thousands of Thai sex workers, estimated to be around 300,000, mostly out of work due to the Covid-19 coronavirus crisis, will receive no labour protection from the government. Empower Foundation, an organisation for the rights and opportunities for sex workers across Thailand, has sent a letter to the government pleading for help.

    “Many are mothers and main family providers and carers. Due to Covid-19 the government has ordered closures of entertainment places which means that over 100,000 sex worker across Thailand are out of a job. In emergencies women are often the ones who do the work of caring for others. Yet this work is not recognised, nor compensated or supported.”

    “For example, even though entertainment places are reported to earn around 6.4 billion dollars per year and sex workers create 4-10% of the GDP. Sex workers are criminalized and left out of labour protection and social security. The closure order affects sex workers who now have no income at all. Sex workers are ready to help society, but also still must pay their rent, live and care for their family.”

    The organisation is yet to receive a response from the government, and it’s estimated the number of sex workers without a job across the country has now reached 300,000.

    Mai Janta, a community representative of sex workers in Chiang Mai working at Empower Foundation, told reporters that they were the first to be affected when the government declared all entertainment venues closed.

    “When the massage parlours, bathing venues, bars and karaoke closed we all agreed with and supported the government’s measures. Yet our kind of work means that we have zero chance of any income during this time. Also the government has shown no interest in helping at all. Now we can only follow the situation and check in on the women we know of, which is our 3,091 members across Chiang Mai.

    “This government has focused on arresting and enforcing, never supporting. The labour law has never protected these women even though we contribute greatly to the economy. There are some women who are under the social security scheme; those working for larger businesses who have proper working hours such as beer girls, karaoke girls and such. But freelancers and women working in bars are often left out in the cold,” according to Chiang Mai City News.

    “The government’s 5000 baht compensation, which is still not available and may not be for months, only applies to a few women, as most are migrant workers or tribal people with no Thai ID.”

    “These are the most vulnerable of all. They have nowhere to go and no resources at all. What we want is the nearly 500 million baht the government seized a few years ago from the human trafficking owners of Victoria Secret and Natalie massage parlors.”


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