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Thailand To Further Reopen For Investors



BANGKOK, Oct 6 – Thai government has planned to reopen further for potential investors, who will come for business deals and stay short–term visit after it allowed foreigners with work permits and some groups of tourists to enter the country under strict disease control measures.

Government spokesman, Anucha Burapachaisri said the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved visas for 11,000 businesspeople and foreigners with work permits, Thai news agency (TNA) reported. They agreed to enter alternative state quarantine for 14 days.

Starting from Oct 1, Special Tourist Visa (STV) is offered to tourists from no risk and low risk countries. They are required to complete 14-day quarantine upon arrivals.

The spokesman said now, the government targets to reopen for investors who will come to negotiate business deals as this group has the high potential to help stimulate the economy.

As they are likely to come for short-term visits, special measures are needed for this group of travellers.

Agencies concerned are mapping out the plan and will propose the measures to the ad hoc committee tasked with considering the relaxation of lockdown restriction and chaired by the secretary-general of the National Security Council, he said.

The issue will be forwarded to the Prime Minister later.

Initially, they must travel with the Covid-test result, conducted within 72 hours before entering Thailand and they are required to have COVID-19 health insurance coverage worth at least US$100,000, he added.



AMM Ready To Assist MOH In COVID-19 Management



The Academy of Medicine of Malaysia (AMM), which represents over 3,000 medical specialists nationwide from the public, private and academic sectors, is prepared to serve and assist the Ministry of Health (MoH) with its COVID-19 management plan, irrespective of their place of duty.

AMM, in its statement today, said the academy welcomes the government’s decision to engage with private sector healthcare providers to ease the burden on public hospitals and healthcare workers.

“If we collectively mobilise all public and private healthcare resources, we will have sufficient surge capacity to keep the pandemic under control until we achieve herd immunity through widespread vaccination. We hope that this is only the first step in a long-term process of better integrating our health system for the benefit of all Malaysians,” the statement said.

AMM said it was aware that there are many facets that need attention to streamline the public and private healthcare systems effectively and efficiently, and this includes, but is not limited to, patient coverage, distribution of hospital beds and personal protective equipment and fair compensation for healthcare workers.

AMM also takes note that there is some concern regarding private hospitals’ capacity to manage Covid-19 patients given the limited human resource infrastructure, ICU set-up and specialists in the private sector, who themselves may belong to high-risk groups.

“We trust that all these matters will be accounted for and hope to see creative solutions such as secondments of medical staff to private hospitals and cross-referrals between hospitals.

“Coordinating the two healthcare systems is no mean feat, but we are confident in MOH’s ability, in collaboration with the Association of Private Hospitals Malaysia (APHM) and all relevant stakeholders, to find solutions that will best suit all parties,” the statement read.

AMM said such collaboration is also timely in light of the increase in COVID-19 infections among healthcare workers as these are risks when they answer the call of duty.

“AMM sees great potential in private-public partnerships helping to mitigate these risks for our frontline healthcare workers in the future,” it said.

Sources: BERNAMA

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No Thaipusam Celebration, Coconut Demand Drops



GEORGE TOWN, Jan 20 — The enforcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which has restricted Thaipusam processions and related activities this year, has put coconut suppliers in a quandary.

Suppliers of coconuts, an essential offering in the celebration, are incurring losses and are having to find other ways to market the pre-ordered coconuts.

Each year thousands of coconuts are broken by Hindus during Thaipusam along the eight kilometre stretch from Lebuh Penang to Jalan Kebun Bunga, near here, during the the Golden and Silver Chariots procession bearing the statue of Lord Murugan to fulfill vows during the festival.

Joel Jeyachandran, 36, who owns the coconut suppling outlet Joez Coconut, said the demand for coconuts for this year’s Thaipusam festival had plunged due to the lack of mass demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The demand for coconuts has dropped 100 per cent, namely, from 80,000 (last year) to zero this year. This situation is expected to drag on until the Chinese New Year festival and also Hari Raya,’’ he told Bernama when met at his premises in Jalan Datuk Keramat here, today.

He said, this was because temples would not be open for any religious ceremonies for the festival such as fulfilling vows by breaking coconuts.

“However, the demand for coconuts is normal for daily needs such as coconut milk, young coconuts and for drink products that we sell such as coconut shakes, coconut jelly and other products,” he said.

According to Joel, his company was forced to shoulder a huge loss as it still had to pay the coconut supplier in Bagan Datuk, Perak for 80,000 coconuts as stipulated in the contract but would seek to mitigate the loss by selling the coconuts.

Meanwhile, a coconut retailer met at Joel’s premises, T. Muthumanickam, 28, said he was struggling to keep the family business, which he had been running for the past 30 years, afloat in the absence of demand.

“Business is very slow due to the pandemic. I was also forced to lay off two workers (because I could not pay their wages),” he said.

On Jan 8, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II Prof Dr P. Ramasamy stated that for Thaipusam, which falls on Jan 28, the chariot procession in the state may be cancelled this year and urged Hindus to stay home on that day to curb the spread of COVID-19.


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Coronavirus Found In China-Made Ice Cream



Recently, traces of the Covid-19 coronavirus have been discovered in ice cream produced in China. This shocking discovery has led to a government recall of products and 1,662 employees placed in quarantine.

Because of that, fresh questions among people have been raised over the risks of catching the coronavirus from food. According to a report, three samples of ice cream had been found to contain traces of Sars-CoV-2, which causes the disease Covid-19.

The particular company that made the ice cream is the Daqiaodao Food Co., Ltd and it is located in the northern Chinese city of Tianjin which is adjacent to Beijing and it already has been sealed.

Picture: Google

An investigation suggested that Ukrainian milk powder used to make the ice cream was the likely source. Three samples of the powder and two further samples of ice creams from the same batch were also found to contain the Sars-CoV-2. This was discovered after taking more than 2,800 samples from the ice cream, packaging, manufacturing plants, and retail stores.

There was no indication anyone had contracted the virus from the ice cream after employees were tested for the coronavirus. Authorities said that the company produced 4,836 Covid-19 contaminated ice cream boxes. Some 2,089 of which have already been sealed and contained in storage as of Jan. 14.

The ones sold in Tianjin stores were being tracked down. Most of the 29,000 cartons in the batch had yet to be sold. Authorities in other areas have been notified. A total of 21 ice creams remained unaccounted for. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the risk of catching Covid-19 from frozen food is low.

The contamination of ice cream is seen as a new risk as the food is consumed directly without heating or cooking first. The cold environment can also prolong the lifespan of the virus.

Sources: South China Morning Post, Mothership

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