The Department of Disease Control of Thailand (DDC) is advising people to be careful with what they eat this summer to avoid food poisoning and diarrhoea.The Meteorological Department said Thailand has officially entered the summer season since Saturday, with temperatures averaging at 35 degrees Celsius in most areas.DDC director-general Dr Opas Karnkawinpong said people should avoid certain foods to avoid food poisoning.According to DDC, 1.342 million, 1.189 million and 915,289 food poisoning and diarrhoea cases were reported during summer in 2018, 2019 and 2020 respectively.DDC has advised people to avoid the following dishes:
Opas said diners must ensure the food they are served is hot and clean, adding that ice cubes are also carriers of germs.
Thailand’s move to turn cannabis into a cash crop gets underway in earnest on Friday (March 5), with the “360° Cannabis & Hemp for the People” expo in Buriram.
The three-day expo at the Buriram International Circuit will be launched by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, a government spokesperson said on Thursday.
It aims to provide a better understanding of how cannabis and hemp can bring huge medical and economic benefits for both Thai producers and consumers.
Visitors and entrepreneurs will be able to attend seminars, exhibitions and free workshops and also sample cannabis products. The focus will be on ways of creating added value from cannabis and also hemp. Certain parts of the cannabis plant were removed from Thailand’s narcotics list in December, opening the way for a medical cannabis business worth an estimated Bt8 billion by 2025. Meanwhile, stocks in large Thai food manufacturers have risen on news that oil from the plant can be used in their products.
The Buri Ram expo is being organised as part of Public Health Ministry efforts to promote the budding cannabis/hemp-related industry as a new economic engine for Thailand.
Thailand’s freedom status has dropped from Partly Free to Not Free among 210 countries and territories in the annual Freedom in the World report collated by Freedom House.
The US-based organisation rates people’s access to political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of expression and equality.
A country or territory’s freedom status is categorised as Free, Partly Free and Not Free, and according to the report, less than 20 per cent of people in the world live in free countries. This is the lowest since 1995.
Of the 210 countries and territories rated, 64 are ranked as Not Free – the highest since 2006.
Thailand only earned 5 out of 40 points for political rights, and 25 out of 60 on civil liberties, or a total of just 30 out of 100, which put it in the “not free” category.
“Thailand’s status dropped from Partly Free to Not Free after due to the dissolution of a popular opposition party that had performed well in the 2019 elections, and the military-dominated government’s crackdown on youth-led protests calling for democratic reforms,” Freedom House said.
Mae Sot Hospital in Tak province on the Myanmar border has banned visitors until Monday (March 8) after 19 of its staff came into contact with two Covid-19 patients.
The move was taken to enable disinfection of the hospital, its director Thawatchai Setsuppana said on Thursday.
He explained that two patients had tested positive for Covid-19 after being treated at the hospital. “Three doctors, 11 nurses and 5 patient assistants have been ordered to undergo 14-day quarantine,” he said.
Meanwhile, officials are questioning the two Covid-19 patients in a bid to trace other at-risk contacts.
Separately, Sukhothai Provincial Public Health Office has published the timeline of a Thai casino worker who tested positive after returning from Myanmar.
According to the report, she developed Covid-19 symptoms in Myanmar before entering Thailand via the Mae Sot border crossing on March 1.
She then travelled to her house in Sukhothai’s Ban Nong Ya Plong subdistrict to attend her grandfather’s funeral.
“On March 2, she took a Covid-19 test at Sukhothai Hospital and went shopping in Muang district before heading home. She was admitted to Ban Dan Lan Hoi Hospital on March 3 after her test came back positive,” the office said.
It added that 17 people came into contact with the patient and seven are at high risk of infection.
The Thai military’s Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) has again been penalised by Facebook over social media accounts targeting the deep South.
Facebook announced on Wednesday it had removed 185 accounts and groups engaged in military propaganda in the insurgency-hit region. The network comprised 77 accounts, 72 pages and 18 Instagram accounts linked to ISOC. Facebook said the accounts had been deleted for “coordinated inauthentic behaviour (CIB)”.
PM General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who chairs ISOC, said he had ordered the Defence Ministry to investigate the case.
In February last year, an opposition MP accused ISOC of waging a cyberwar against critics of the government and deep South human rights activists. MP Viroj Lakkana-adisorn said ISOC-linked social media and websites were spreading fake news “to sow hatred” and division among people.
Facebook said it is now checking all new military-related accounts on Facebook or Instagram.
In October, Twitter banned 926 accounts it linked to the Royal Thai Army last October, accusing them of targeting prominent political opposition figures.
A month later in November, Twitter banned a Thai pro-royalist account for “violating our rules on spam and platform manipulation”. According to a Reuters investigation, the account was flooding the platform with spam via thousands of recently created followers that did nothing but post its hashtags promoting the monarchy and attacking anti-establishment protests.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, UNICEF urges greater investment in mental health services.
NEW YORK/BANGKOK, 4 March 2021 – At least 1 in 7 children – or 332 million globally – has lived under required or recommended nationwide stay-at-home policies for at least nine months since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting their mental health and well-being at risk, UNICEF warned today.
While almost all children worldwide have lived under some form of intermittent lockdowns for the last year, the new analysis by UNICEF, which uses data from the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker, identifies some of the most enduring lockdown conditions worldwide.
According to the analysis, 139 million children globally have lived under required nationwide stay-at-home orders for at least nine months since COVID-19 was characterized as a pandemic on 11 March 2020 – meaning they are required to stay at home with few exceptions – including children living in countries such as Paraguay, Peru and Nigeria. The rest of the 332 million – or 193 million – have lived under recommended nationwide stay-at-home policies for the same amount of time.
“With nationwide lockdowns and pandemic-related movement restrictions, it has been a long year for all of us, but especially for children,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “When – day after day – you are away from your friends and distant loved ones, and perhaps even stuck at home with an abuser, the impact is significant. Many children are left feeling afraid, lonely, anxious, and concerned for their future. We must emerge from this pandemic with a better approach to child and adolescent mental health, and that starts by giving the issue the attention it deserves.”
A survey conducted in Thailand in April 2020 by UNICEF and partners found that more than 7 in 10 children and young people reported that the pandemic was affecting their mental health, causing stress, worry and anxiety. The survey found that what worries them the most is the uncertainty of their family’s financial status.
As the pandemic enters its second year, the impact on children and young people’s mental health and psychosocial well-being is taking a toll. In Latin America and the Caribbean, a recent UNICEF U-Report poll of young people generated more than 8,000 responses and found that more than a quarter had experienced anxiety, and 15 per cent depression.
Even before the pandemic, children and young people carried the burden of mental health risks, with half of all mental disorders developing before age 15, and 75 per cent by early adulthood. The majority of the 800,000 people who die by suicide every year are young people, and self-harm is the third leading cause of death among 15–19-year-olds, with higher rates among adolescent girls. It is estimated that globally 1 in 4 children live with a parent who has a mental disorder.
For children experiencing violence, neglect or abuse at home, lockdowns have left many stranded with abusers and without the support of teachers, extended families and communities. Children in vulnerable population groups – such as those living and working on the streets, children with disabilities, and children living in conflict settings – risk having their mental health needs overlooked entirely.
According to WHO, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93 per cent of countries worldwide, while the demand for mental health support is increasing. A study from 194 cities in China found that 16 per cent of respondents reported moderate to severe depressive symptoms during the pandemic, and 28 per cent moderate to severe anxiety symptoms.
In response, UNICEF is supporting governments and partner organizations to prioritize and adapt services for children. For example, in Kazakhstan, UNICEF launched a platform for individual online counselling services for children, alongside distance training in schools for mental health specialists. In China, UNICEF and social media company Kuaishou launched an online challenge to help reduce anxiety in children.
In Thailand, UNICEF and Path2Health Foundation are providing free online counselling from 4 p.m. to midnight via http://www.lovecarestation.com to promote youth-friendly mental health services that are easy to access and specially designed for young people. Last year, UNICEF with Government and private sector partners in Thailand also launched The Sound of Happiness campaign, with 13 podcast episodes distributed through JOOX streaming app, featuring advice from mental health experts to help children and adolescents cope with issues affecting their mental health and well-being.
Later this year, UNICEF will dedicate its biennial flagship report, State of the World’s Children, to child and adolescent mental health, in an effort to increase awareness of the global challenge and provide solutions, and to encourage governments to place heightened focus on the issue.
“If we did not fully appreciate the urgency prior to the COVID-19 pandemic – surely we do now,” added Fore. “Countries must dramatically invest in expanded mental health services and support for young people and their caregivers in communities and schools. We also need scaled-up parenting programmes to ensure that children from vulnerable families get the support and protection they need at home.”
A member of the crowd-control police team from Bangkok’s Wang Thonglang Police Station has tested positive for Covid-19 and is now quarantined at home.
Police officer Somyot Naumcharoen visited his hometown in Samut Sakhon on February 18 and met friends in the neighbourhood. Samut Sakhon has been a hotspot for Covid-19 infections since mid-December last year.
On March 3, Somyot got tested after learning one of his friends was infected. Though he tested positive, Somyot is asymptomatic.
He then notified his commander and told him of the officers he had been in contact with. Everybody who was in close contact with him has been quarantined.
After returning from Samut Sakhon on February 18, Somyot’s timeline shows he mostly travelled between work and home, except on March 1, when he went to play football in a park near the Mass Rapid Transit Authority on Rama IX Road. He was also part of the crowd-control team that kept pro-democracy protesters out of the 1st Infantry Regiment on Vibhavadi Road on February 28.
Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction (Stecon) will start designing U-Tapao Airport’s terminal building now that U-Tapao International Aviation (UTA) has earmarked Bt1.8 billion for the project, said Pakpoom Srichamni, Stecon’s president and executive director.
UTA was set up by the BBS Joint Venture Group as the central agency responsible for U-Tapao International Airport and Eastern Airport City projects after the group won the bid last year.
The joint venture comprises Bangkok Airways, with a 45 per cent stake, BTS Group Holdings (35 per cent) and Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction (20 per cent).
“We are ready to start the construction as soon as we receive the notice to proceed [NTP] from UTA, which we expect will be in early 2022,” Pakpoom said.
“We are working on a detailed design and levelling the ground for the terminal building with the help of foreign partners, so we can start construction immediately once the NTP comes through.”
Pakpoom added that Stecon could not wait until the NTP arrives to start the design process because the deadline for the project is tight at three years. The construction of terminal buildings for other airports normally takes five years.
“Even if the NTP is delayed until mid-2022, we are still confident that construction will be finished as planned, as we are working on what can be done right now,” he said.
He added that UTA is now reviewing the master plan, which will be submitted to the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee for approval by June this year.
Amita Technologies, Inc has successfully developed state-of-the-art solid-state batteries called NAEPE, or Networked-Amide Epoxy Polymer Electrolyte, with the Industrial Technology Research Institute of Taiwan (ITRI), Energy Absolute Public Company Limited (EA) announced in a press release.
Amita, a subsidiary of EA Group, has already bagged the 2020 R&D 100 Technology Award, well recognised as “the Oscars of Innovation”.
Clean energy use and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions are now ingrained in the consciousness of all countries. Therefore, the introduction of renewable energy storage systems and the promotion of electric vehicles are being unanimously implemented by governments, automakers and enterprises across the globe.
The most critical strategic component of this is the lithium-ion battery.
“Whoever has a higher energy density battery with lower costs and higher safety will control the development trend of the latest wave of safer lithium battery technology,” the company explained.
“All-solid-state batteries are a goal everyone is striving for. However, stable and large-scale production of solid-state electrolyte materials and all-solid-state batteries have many bottlenecks that need overcoming in the current manufacturing process, which can reduce the production cost of batteries and increase the yield rate,” it said.
Now, with the introduction of NAEPE electrolyte, the design of the battery cell structure of Amita’s future lithium batteries is based on higher safety, higher conductivity and higher stability and reliability, the company said, adding that the battery’s interior resistance as well as the risk of becoming flammable will be greatly reduced.
In addition, NAEPE provides unique advantages to support lower costs, a longer life cycle and achievable development in fast-charging batteries.
NAEPE’s self-protection also allows the battery to maintain the original characteristics of rapid charge and discharge and has significantly improved the battery’s resistance to overcharged voltage and performance in a high-temperature environment.
The newly designed batteries can be quickly charged to 80 per cent of their capacity in just 15 minutes.
“Most importantly, unlike other solid-state electrolytes developed by top R&D battery players, NAEPE in the first phase as a quasi-solid-state electrolyte can be easily introduced into existing battery production processes by fast implementation of adding a few pieces of equipment in Amita’s 1GWh battery plant in Thailand,” the company said.
EA and Amita are now considering even further development and adoption of NAEPE, which is likely to be next year.