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Thailand News Today | Covid-19 arrival screenings to be dropped October 1


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Visitors to Thailand will soon be free to show a Covid vaccination or test certificate starting October 1. 

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced the changes after a meeting with the National Communicable Disease Committee today. In that meeting, it was also deemed unnecessary for people with mild or no virus symptoms to enter isolation.

Anutin says the committee decided to redefine Covid as a contagious disease under surveillance. New measures would be adopted, such as advising infected people to continue to use face masks and increasing hand washing and social distancing for five days. After the five days, the restriction that would typically require a Covid test has also been lifted.

The move comes as the Department of Disease Control deputy director-general concluded that current coronavirus symptoms are not appearing to be severe, with many infected people displaying only cold-like signs. 

The Thai government has been planning to move to a post-pandemic era for some time, with health officials describing the situation as more of an endemic than a pandemic. Just two days ago, the cabinet removed the virus from a list of forbidden diseases among foreign visitors, essentially allowing foreigners to enter the kingdom even if they are infected. 

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Heavy rain is in today’s forecast for 62 of Thailand’s provinces. 

The Meteorological Department has warned residents in these provinces, which include Bangkok, to brace for torrential rain. According to the forecast, a monsoon trough is moving its way down the lower northern region of the country and the upper Central Plains over the next day.

A moderate southwesterly monsoon is present over the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea. The department warned people in those regions to adjust plans accordingly due to expected heavy rain, forest run-offs and flash floods. It says the areas along foothills, near waterways and lowlands, are mainly concerned.

About 60 per cent of the north is expected to see heavy rain and thunderstorms, while the northeast, central plains, and southwest regions are expected to see 70 per cent. Eighty per cent of the eastern area is expected to see the same conditions. The department warned that strong winds could produce waves of up to 2 metres in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea.

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Another tragic fire broke out in Thailand, this time in the eastern Chon Buri province, in the central city district. The blaze hit three houses on Wednesday, killing a 52-year-old man named Suriya Eimsawad, reportedly disabled.

His two dogs also died as they were chained in the house and couldn’t escape. 

A city district chief said gusty winds helped spread the fire on the narrow street. He said this was compounded by cars parked on both sides of the road blocking access for fire trucks. 

Seven fire trucks from the city district and surrounding districts arrived on the scene. Firefighters spent an hour putting out the blaze. 

There have been a few fires in Chon Buri in recent months. Earlier this month, an elderly monk was tragically killed in a fire that destroyed a temple in the Sri Racha district.

Meanwhile, 23 people died from the horrific fire that consumed the Mountain B Pub in Sattahip, Chon Buri, on August 5. The blaze claimed its 23rd victim nearly a month after the fire. This victim was the 10th person to die in the hospital following the catastrophe, which initially claimed 13 lives inside the flaming pub.

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An ongoing row over passengers between motorcycle taxi riders and app-based riders erupted into a brawl on Sunday on Soi Ratchada 18 in Bangkok.

One motorcycle taxi rider demanded that the app-based riders give them more respect and stop random pickups on the street when motorcycle taxi services are nearby.

The first fight started last Sunday. One motorcycle taxi rider recorded a video of the incident, which was later circulated on Thai social media.

In the video, an app-based rider is seen waiting for his passenger in front of a condominium. He is then approached by a motorcycle taxi rider who threatens him and tells him to avoid the area.

They then shouted at each other before exchanging punches.

Another man from a motorcycle taxi group went to assist his friend in attacking the app-based rider. They finally stopped when someone shouted “police!”

But the story didn’t end on that day.

The app-based rider returned with about ten friends the following day and attacked the motorcycle taxi rider, later identified as 57-year-old Saksit.

Saksit’s left arm and right leg were cut, and he suffered other wounds and bruises to his body after being attacked by a knife and a baseball bat. He said he had to flee into the forest to save his life.

Another motorcycle taxi rider, 25-year-old Saharat, who tried to intervene, was also attacked.

Saharat revealed he was eventually saved by a pack of barking dogs and some other motorcycle taxi riders, who chased the men away.

Saharat said the attack went too far, and both motorcycle taxi riders should try to understand each other in the future.

Saksit and Saharat filed complaints at Sutthisarn Police Station and gave statements this morning.

The identity of the app-based rider and his friends hasn’t been reported as the investigation continues.

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Former Burmese beauty queen Han Lay has been denied asylum in Thailand after speaking against the Myanmar military.

23-year-old Han Lay, winner of Miss Grand Myanmar in 2020, is allegedly targeted by the Myanmar ruling military junta after a speech she made during the pageant’s finale in Bangkok. In that speech, she spoke out against the junta and urged it to stop using violence against its people.

The military junta issued a warrant for her arrest after the competition ended, but the model stayed in Thailand. After going to Vietnam for some time, the model tried to return to Thailand and was detained at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. Official reports of her status are still unclear, as some sources say the junta revoked her passport.

Immigration Bureau Deputy Chief อาชยน ไกรทอง claims an immigration officer spotted an irregularity on her passport. That irregularity could be that she had no passport in her possession or that the junta had revoked it, and the system caught it when it was scanned. Archayon says she was then denied entry based on violating Section 12 of the Immigration Act 1979 of Thailand.

อาชยน said, “She will be sent back to the country where her flight originated, or she can fly to an alternative destination subject to approval by the airline she flew with.”

Miss Grand International pageant founder, ณวัฒน์ อิสรไกรศีล, who also represents Han Lay, says she was stopped on arrival from Vietnam due to being the subject of an Interpol notice. According to a Facebook account called “Natty in Myanmar,” the model had already sought asylum with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Thailand. But that statement has not been confirmed.

He said, “She doesn’t want to go anywhere else. She wants to live in Thailand. She’s waiting for a solution on how she can stay in Thailand.”

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An art exhibition by the controversial British street artist Banksy is coming to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok next month.

Under the banner of The Art of Banksy: Without Limits. The exhibit will display over 150 works by the anarchic graffiti artist on October 26 until the end of the year.

The exhibit will showcase several authentic pieces using video mapping modes, including photographs, prints, sculptures, and multimedia expositions.

Banksy’s artwork takes several forms. It is satirical, subversive, and political, combining a distinctive stencilling technique with black humour and biting political and social commentary.

Banksy once characterised graffiti as an underclass “revenge,” or guerrilla warfare that allows an individual to snatch away power, territory and glory from a more extensive and better-equipped enemy.

Advance tickets can be bought until October 12 from MOCA Bangkok and ZipEvent. Prices are 185 baht for students and 260 baht for adults.

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Another tragic fire broke out in Thailand, this time in the eastern Chon Buri province, in the central city district. The blaze hit three houses on Wednesday, killing a 52-year-old man named Suriya Eimsawad, who was reportedly disabled.

His two dogs also died as they were chained in the house and couldn’t escape. 

A city district chief said gusty winds helped spread the fire on the narrow street. He said this was compounded by cars parked on both sides of the road blocking access for fire trucks. 

Seven fire trucks from the city district and surrounding districts arrived on the scene. Firefighters spent an hour putting out the blaze. 

There have been a few fires in Chon Buri in recent months. Earlier this month, an elderly monk was tragically killed in a fire that destroyed a temple in the Sri Racha district.

Meanwhile, 23 people died from the horrific fire that consumed the Mountain B Pub in Sattahip, Chon Buri, on August 5.

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