Thailand beefs up security ahead of ASEAN summit

Jeck Deocampo   •   November 1, 2019   •   445

 Thailand beefed up around the meeting venue for the 35th ASEAN Summit on Friday (November 1) as leaders from the Southeast Asian and other regional countries are set to gather for annual talks.

Various roads surrounding the meeting’s main venue in central Nonthaburi Province were already closed off by Thursday (October 31). The meeting is scheduled to kick off from November 2. Around 17,000 security officials were said to be deployed to oversee safety at the ASEAN Summit, according to local media.

The United States has downgraded its participation in back-to-back Asia-Pacific summits in Bangkok, a move bound to disappoint Asian partners worried by China’s expanding influence.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is confirmed to attend the Bangkok meet, while the United States has yet to announce any representative more senior than Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell.

Other issues that may figure at the Southeast Asian summit include the standoff between China and several regional states over its sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea, as well as Myanmar’s treatment of Muslim Rohingya after a military crackdown drove more than 700,000 into Bangladesh in 2017. — REUTERS

(Production: Vorasit Satienlerk, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

Schools across Thailand reopen after coronavirus cases slow down

UNTV News   •   July 1, 2020

Schools across Thailand re-opened on Wednesday (July 1) with coronavirus prevention measures in place, following months of closure.

Nearly 5,000 students returned to Sam Khok school, about 50 km north of Bangkok, wearing face masks and receiving face shields and temperature checks from the school.

“Once students arrive at school, teachers hand face masks to them because it’s mandatory to wear them. We (school) are also providing face shields for students’ project presentations or for eating,” said principal Chuchart Thiengtham.

He added that students were told to stay in home quarantine for 15 days before school re-started as an extra precaution.

The school has also turned old ballot boxes into classroom partitions to enforce social distancing between students.

“I feel safe, but annoyed at the same time because partition blocked my view,” said 17-year-old student, Soponwich Thianthong.

Thailand on Wednesday marked 37 days without a case of local transmission. The coronavirus has killed 58 people among its 3,173 infections.

The country has extended an emergency decree until the end of July in a bid to avoid the risk of a second wave of the coronavirus, although it is also set to ease more restrictions on Wednesday, including reopening bars and allowing some foreigners into the country. (Reuters)

(Production: Vorasit Satienlerk, Jiraporn Kuhakan)

No more touching: Thai mall installs foot pedals in elevators

UNTV News   •   May 21, 2020

No more touching in the elevators as a Thai shopping mall in Bangkok installed foot pedals for customers to step on instead of pressing the buttons, lowering the risk of having to be exposed to germs.

“Now everyone is worried about getting infected with the COVID-19 and the easiest way to get infected is that when you touch an object that has been contaminated with the COVID-19 virus, and then eventually touch your face and the virus will go into your mouth, your eyes or whatever. So, we came up with this idea of hand-free foot-operated elevator,” said Prote Sosothikul, the vice president of Seacon Development PLC which oversees the mall.

The foot-operated elevator pedal system is also welcomed by mall customers, saying they felt safer to use the lift without actually touching the buttons, reducing the risk of getting infected.

“I think they did a good job in preparing this. I feel much safer… Now that we can use our foot to press the elevator, it’s really great,” said 26-year-old Watcharaporn.

Thailand on Sunday (May 17) reopened malls and department stores for the first time since March in its second phase of relaxing measures as the number of new cases slowed.

Thailand has reported a total of 3,034 cases of the coronavirus and 56 deaths. (Reuters)

(Production: Artorn Pookasook, Juarawee Kittisilpa)

DFA: No Filipino harmed in Thailand shooting incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 10, 2020

There were no Filipino nationals harmed during the shooting incident in Thailand, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

In a statement, the DFA said no one from the nine reported Filipinos was harmed when a shooting incident occurred in Nakhon Ratchasima Province, Thailand, from the evening of February 8 until the early morning of February 9.

“The Philippine Embassy in Bangkok dispatched First Secretary and Consul General Val Roque posthaste to Nakhon Ratchasima to check on nine Filipinos who were reported to have been trapped in the mall at the time of the incident and had been able to escape and confirmed to be well and safe,” the statement reads.

The Philippine government and the Filipino people, meanwhile, offer their condolences to the Thai people, and in particular to the victims and their loved ones.—AAC

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