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Quarantine ‘recommended’ but enforcement unclear

Quarantine ‘recommended’ but enforcement unclear

BANGKOK: Authorities scrambled yesterday (Mar 6) to ease worries about new self-quarantine measures for arrivals from six virus-hit countries and territories, a day after announcing compulsory isolation.

COVID-19corruptionChinesetourismtransportimmigrationhealth
By Bangkok Post

Saturday 7 March 2020, 09:18AM


A view inside Suvarnabhumi airport at 5pm on Monday. The number of foreign travellers arriving in Thailand has fallen by half since the virus outbreak. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

A view inside Suvarnabhumi airport at 5pm on Monday. The number of foreign travellers arriving in Thailand has fallen by half since the virus outbreak. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

But confusion persists over whether the government is ordering or merely “recommending” self-quarantine for 14 days, with punishment for travellers who ignore the “advice”.

South Korea, China, Macau, Hong Kong, Italy and Iran on Thursday were officially designated as “dangerous communicable disease areas”.

Public Health Ministry spokesman Rungrueng Kiphati told Reuters on Thursday that people arriving from those six places would be fined B20,000 if they did not self-quarantine for 14 days at home or in a hotel room, “where they have to report themselves to the authorities every day or officials will come to check on them”.

On Friday, however, other ministry officials took a slightly softer line.

“For now, we are recommending people to exercise home quarantine. But if you don’t follow that, then we will use the law to take you to government quarantine centres,” said Sukhum Kanchanapimai, the ministry’s permanent secretary.

The government’s Public Relations Department, meanwhile, appeared to be reading from a different script. On its verified Twitter account on Friday, it repeated the threat of a B20,000 fine for those who failed to self-quarantine.

Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, told reporters the health ministry would issue regulations requiring all arrivals from the six areas to report their health condition daily.

“If people don’t follow the rules or falsely report their condition, like they have a cough but said they do not, then they would be breaching an official order and that will be punishable,” he said, adding that the daily health report could be done by phone, mobile app, or other channels that the ministry will create.

The ministry also said the measures could become stricter depending on the circumstances.

On Tuesday, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul had posted on his Facebook page that all arrivals from Japan, Germany, South Korea, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, France, Singapore, Italy or Iran “must be quarantined for 14 days” – before deleting the post just a few hours later.

Over the following two days, officials pared down the list of targeted countries to six but continued to send mixed messages about exactly what travellers from those locations could expect when they reached Thailand.

Other ministries have issued different regulations on home quarantine.

The Education Ministry recommended to schools that children who had travelled from France, Germany, Japan, Singapore or Taiwan stay home under quarantine, according to an email sent to parents on Friday from the International School of Bangkok, even though the health ministry did not recommend this.

Meanwhile, the Public Health Ministry said people coming from Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands and the United States are recommended – rather than required – to quarantine themselves for 14 days.

The Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific said in an advisory that travellers from China, Hong Kong, Macau, South Korea, Iran and Italy “are allowed to enter” Thailand but have to self-quarantine at their hotel or residence.

The tourism-reliant economy is reeling from the travel curbs sparked by Covid-19, which globally has infected almost 100,000 people and killed over 3,000.

The Tourism Authority of Thailand confirmed Thursday the country could see a loss of six million visitors in 2020.

The country reported one new case of infection on Friday, taking its total to 48. There has been one fatality, while 16 people remain in hospital and the rest have been discharged.

But the number detected has remained surprisingly low, in a country visited by tens of millions of people each year.

Speculation is pointing at a limited testing regime in a country determined not to frighten off visitors.

 

Read orignal story here.

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Kurt | 08 March 2020 - 12:02:54

As a tourist, just avoid Thailand now. You, with some bad luck, just can become a toy in their gluing hands during this virus period during which they make less money. Nothing is clear law wise. It is up to any Official who will take your money to free you of 'misunderstanding'.

Kurt | 08 March 2020 - 11:47:48

Quarantine recommended, but enforcement unclear.
So far that Thai doing/not doing is clear to me. (TIT)
What is not clear to me in this article is the link between recommendation and law enforcement to detain you if you not follow recommendation.. What law? A lot of hollow bla bla.

Shwe | 07 March 2020 - 12:55:06

Some minister advised Thai people not to travel abroad and said that vacation could be your last, This is really true of Thailand with its poor safety record and pathetic approach to COVID-19. Advise to tourists don't come to Thailand it could really be your last vacation

Kurt | 07 March 2020 - 12:20:04

Macao is part of China, connected with a busy used bridge. By continuing being subjected to COVID-19 rules perhaps Macao remains virus free? That is the aim, right?

reubenm | 07 March 2020 - 09:43:15

Macau no longer has a single case.
This is madness.

 

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