AOB – 2021


26 July 2021

With the Delta variant spreading quickly worldwide countries in Europe haev responded with vaccine passports and tightened border controls.

Malta has barred entry to unvaccinated travellers and Germany has brought in stricter quarantine rules for people arriving from Spain and the Netherlands.

Authorities from Greece to Italy and France to Portugal are bringing in what are effectively vaccine passports for a wide range of activities, although most are shying away from using that term.

Italy requires proof of vaccination – through the Europe-wide “green pass” – to do anything from visiting a museum, to working out at a gym or watching a film.

Similar rules in France have sparked two weekends of headline-grabbing protests attended by tens of thousands, including far-right activists on Saturday. But most French adults are fully vaccinated now and polls show a majority support the new measures.

In Greece, bars and restaurants can now only welcome vaccinated customers inside, a curb that Portugal introduced at the start of July.

Current data shows that the Delta variant is about 60% more transmissible than the Alpha variant, which in turn is 60% more transmissible than the original variant from China, according to Martin Hibberd, professor of emerging infectious disease at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

So 10 people infected with the original Covid strain would pass the disease to about 25 other people, without restrictions such as lockdown or vaccinations. But 10 people infected with the Delta variant will make between 60 and 70 people ill.

 

Overall, more than half of the EU’s population has now been fully vaccinated, but there are significant differences between countries. And the fast rise in cases can even put the fully vaccinated at risk.

 

20 July 2021

Dad would have been 89 yesterday. He went too soon.

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Jeff Bezos went to space – Blue Origin. You can read about it in the mainstream media.

He did however take 82 year old Wally Funk. And she is The Right Stuff.

15 July 2021

A quick Covid round up – there is very little good news in Asia.

Malaysia’s health ministry has said the country will stop administering the Covid-19 vaccine produced by China’s Sinovac once its supplies end, as it has a sufficient number of other vaccines for its programme.

Barcelona and the surrounding northeast corner of Spain is shutting down once again amid rising Covid cases.

Regional authorities were today waiting for a judge to give the legal go-ahead for their request to restore a nightly curfew, their latest effort to ratchet up restrictions and discourage gatherings, AP reports.

The Associated Press reports that all diners in France from next month must show a pass proving they are fully vaccinated, or recently tested negative or recovered from the virus….and no surprise here – tourists are also confused about how they can get the Covid passes before they come into effect next month.

In Tokyo there is just over a week before the 23 July opening ceremony. The city reported 1,308 new Covid-19 infections today, its highest daily tally since late January. Organisers have imposed Olympics “bubbles” to prevent further transmissions of Covid-19.

A number of infections have emerged among several visiting athletes and people involved with the Games.

Rwanda is to put the capital Kigali and eight other districts across the country under lockdown from Saturday to rein in rising coronavirus cases and deaths, officials said.

Millions of Chinese people face bans from public spaces including schools, hospitals and shopping malls unless they get a Covid-19 vaccine, under new edicts covering nearly two dozen cities and counties.

AFP reports that the severe new rules would be imposed on numerous second-tier cities in a possible marker of what is to come for the whole country, as it attempts to inoculate 64% of its 1.4 billion population by the end of this year.

In Chuxiong city in the southern province of Yunnan – home to about 510,000 people – all residents above the age of 18 need to get at least one dose of the vaccine by 23 July, according to a new government notice.

Those who fail to meet the deadline “will not be allowed to enter public facilities including hospitals, nursing homes, kindergartens and schools, libraries, museums, and prisons or take public transport”, the notice said. A month later, two shots will be required to enter public buildings.

Russia on Thursday reported 791 coronavirus-related deaths, the most in a single day since the pandemic began and the third day in a row it has set that record. The coronavirus task force confirmed 25,293 new Covid cases in the last 24 hours.

Spain’s Balearic islands have been removed from England’s green list of restriction-free travel destinations abroad, a decision that will come into effect at 4am BST on Monday 19 July.

And then there is Thailand.

These are Bangkok vaccination numbers up to 13 July. Source – The Bangkok Post.

The most vulnerable and the least vaccinated. But if you are a government official you have been well looked after.

14 July 2021

Thai League 2021-2022 Season: these are the current dates – but are hugely optimistic given the current Covid numbers – mainly out of Bangkok.

Aug 3, 2021 –   Transfer Window Closes
Aug 8, 2021 –   DAIKIN Thailand Champion’s Cup
Aug 13, 2021 – Matchday 1 of T1
Aug 14, 2021 – Matchday 1 of T2
Aug 21, 2021 – Toyota League Cup R1
Aug 28, 2021 – FA Cup R1
Dec 8, 2021 –   Jan 4, 2022 – Transfer Window 2
Jan 8, 2022 –    Start of T1 and T2 Leg 2
Apr 3, 2022 –    Final of Toyota League Cup
May 21, 2022 – Final Matchday of T1
May 22, 2022 – T2 Playoffs Final leg 1
May 28, 2022 – Final of FA Cup
May 29, 2022 – T2 Playoffs Final leg 2

12 July 2021

Euro 2021. One of the great recent tournaments, a thrilling, dramatic final, and we’re talking about racism.

What a state England is in.

3 July 2021

Thai Visa has been rebranded as ASEAN NOW – and appears to now be onwed out of Hong Kong.

And the first warning shot (on what is a dismal forum fill on angry people) states: “Please use discretion in your references to the government. Referring to Thailand or the government as a dictatorship, military dictatorship or other such terms will be removed.”

A government that took control by a military coup is a dictatorship.

2 July 2021

The Thai government is still pushing to open up the country my mid October.

From the morning of October 15, visitors overseas visitors can travel in Thailand without any quarantine providing that they have been fully vaccinated.

PM Prayut said that Thailand has now negotiated with six suppliers of vaccines, namely Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Sinovac and Sinopharm. By the end of year, he said Thailand would have amassed 105.5 million doses, which is sufficient to inoculate all the Thai population.

The government plans to administer an average of 10 million jabs a month from July so that by early October almost 50 million people, or 70 per cent of Thai population will have had their first shot.

Meanwhile the last three days have seen record infections and deaths in the Kingdom.

30 June 2021

Back at North Hill GC for the first time in far too long. The course is in good condition.

Last night – Euros last 16. England 2 Germany 0. End of 55 years of gloom.

29 June 2021

Here are the latest government numbers for Covid in Thailand:

24 June: 4,108 – 31 dead
25 June: 3,644 – 44 dead
26 June: 4,161 – 51 dead
27 June: 3,995 – 42 dead
28 June: 5,406 – 22 dead
29 June: 4,662 – 36 dead

A few weeks ago 2,000 cases a day was the norm. Now 5,000 a day. And testing is still very limited – as are vaccinations.

Bangkok is in a partial lockdown. All restaurants are takeaway only for 31 days from yesterday. But you can still go to the mall.

So Tai will take unpaid leave for July and come home to Chiang Mai. Though it is unclear what the quarantine rules are and how/if they are enforced.

21 June 2021

Still distracted – and not very happy. Sore back. Very sore back.

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Alex called – apparently it is fathers’ day – who knew!

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Golf report – yes I am playing much more – which may be why my back is sore.

Started playing at the local public nine – hole course – cheap, cheerful and to be honest a fun layout – with nine good golf holes.

Then two round at Highlands.

My first visit to Alpine.

My first visit to Mae Jo.

7 pars at Alpine and 7 pars in the second round at Highlands. So some decent golf at times.

Mae Jo was disappointing. Some nice views but the course is not in great condition. And who puts a tree in the middle of a greenside bunker.

14 June 2021

Sorry – distracted!

1 June 2021

Guardian: Thailand’s government has reversed a decision by authorities in its capital, Bangkok, to ease coronavirus restrictions, as the city battles its worst outbreak of the virus so far, Reuters reports.

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) late on Monday said the national coronavirus taskforce had overruled the city’s move to allow massage shops, clinics and parks to reopen from Tuesday. It did not provide a reason.

Bangkok and the provinces around it are the epicentre of the two-month-old outbreak, during which the vast majority of Thailand’s coronavirus cases and deaths have been recorded.

Massage shops, clinics and public parks must remain closed along with schools, cinemas, gyms and zoos for at least 14 more days.

The decision comes as the government faces growing public criticism for a slow and chaotic vaccine rollout, which is due to start on 7 June.

Thailand reported 5,485 new cases on Monday, with 1,356 of those in Bangkok. The country also reported 19 new deaths on Monday, bringing its total to 1,031 since the outbreak started.

15 May 2021

PA reports that a total of 46,992,750 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and May 14, according to NHS England data, including first and second doses, which is a rise of 531,484 on the previous day.

NHS England said 30,331,992 were the first dose of a vaccine, a rise of 185,059 on the previous day, while 16,660,758 were a second dose, an increase of 346,425.

Well done England – but it only goes to widen the gap between the have vaccine nations and the don’t have vaccine nations – and that wealth and health gap may do more damage to our world than any pandemic.

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Brazil recorded 85,536 further confirmed cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours along with 2,211 deaths, the country’s health ministry said. Brazil has registered more than 15.5 million cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 432,628,

11 May 2021

This is from the WTF is wrong with people list:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced fines totaling $20,000 against two airline passengers who interfered with crews. The civil penalties come as as part of a zero-tolerance policy designed to combat a surge of similar cases in recent months.

The agency said it will seek a $10,500 fine against a passenger who repeatedly ignored orders to wear a mask, which is required by federal regulation, then coughed and blew his nose into a blanket during a JetBlue flight from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Los Angeles in December.

A second man, who slammed overhead bins and shouted profanities at flight attendants and the captain after boarding a JetBlue flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in March before he was escorted off the plane, faces a $9,000 fine, according to the agency.

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Brazil recorded 25,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours and 889 fatalities, the health ministry reported.

The total number of confirmed cases in Latin America’s largest country had now reached 15,209,990 and the official death toll to 423,229

10 May 2021

From Thailand’s near neighbours:

Malaysia’s government has announced that it will impose a national lockdown in response to rising coronavirus cases, according to Reuters.

The lockdown measures will come into effect on 12 May and last until 7 June.

The government has said all social gatherings will be banned during lockdown, while schools will be closed.

“All educational institutions are to be closed, with the exception for students sitting for international examinations. Only three people will be allowed in private vehicles, taxis and e-hailing vehicles, including the driver,” Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced in a statement reported by English language daily, The Star.

Travel between Malaysia’s districts and states will not be permitted except in cases of emergency.

Despite the imposition of strict rules on socialising, travel and education, all economic sectors will remain open.

The latest coronavirus wave in the southeast Asian country has seen new cases surpass 3,600 per day on average over the last week. During the January peak, the seven-day average reached around 4,750.

8 May 2021

The latest from Phuket where from May 15, all arrivals from any areas without a COVID-free certificate or vaccination certificate must face 14 days quarantine.

No more tests on arrival.

The question is how is anyone expected to make any travel plans in Thailand with these almost daily changes.

6 May 2021

Second day in a row without leaving the house.

Had a huge migraine on Tuesday afternoon – one of those migraines where I cannot even lie down – followed by a ropey night…

Feeling much better today – so think all well now.

But quiet.

Not much point in heading out anyway – restaurants and cafes can only do takeaway of delivery.

5 May 2021

Before we all get too complacent:

Dr David Nabarro, a special envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organization, warned the “majority of the world is heading into a very, very dark period”.

He told BBC Radio 4’s World at One programme:

“This pandemic is fearsome and it’s accelerating faster than ever and it’s a global phenomenon. There are a few countries that are able to demonstrate that they’ve got much lower levels of disease and they’re actually feeling that they’re recovering, but the majority of the world is heading into a very, very dark period. The reason why it’s particularly dark is that now we don’t have the full data because more and more the pandemic is spreading in places where testing is not available, so the numbers that we have we know are a major under-estimate. It’s bigger than ever, it’s fiercer than ever and it’s causing more distress than ever, this is a bad phase.”

3 May 2021

Its like groundhog day…..

26 April 2021

Well done Watford FC. Back to the Premiership after one (strange) season.

21 April 2021

Chiang Mai FC have had a clean out –  the following players have left according to the CMFC website –

Korraphat, Sadney, Atthawit, Kongnateechai, Samroeng, Nattapoom, Praphat, Apisit Sorada, Yuki Bamba, Bernardo, Nattachai, Eakkaluk, Pratya.

Ryo Matsumura’s departure to BG has already been announced.

For now the CMFC squad is down to 16 players:

4 Somyot
5 Apisit Samurmuen
6 Chutiphan
15 Suchanon
26 Meedech
32 Porncha
35 Tassanapong
37 Jaturong GK
38 Sumeth
43 Narupon Wild
63 Athibordee
88 Amornthep
91 Pinyo
Veljko Filipovic
Danilo Lopes Cezario

Seiya Sugishita

Not a team that will strike fear into the opposition.


13 April 2021

A few country reports – this is not going quietly into the night.

Italy: daily tally of new infections rose to 13,447

Netherlands:  51,240 new cases in its weekly review, up 6% from the week before, with a higher concentration of new cases in young adults.

Sweden: Sweden has registered 19,105 new coronavirus cases since Friday, health agency statistics showed on Tuesday.

Iran on Tuesday reported a record 24,760 new Covid-19 cases in the past 24 hours, as the worst-hit country in the Middle East faced a fourth coronavirus wave.

The progress Canada has made against Covid-19 is being threatened by the spread of more contagious and dangerous variants, prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

“The situation we’re facing with Covid-19 remains extremely serious [ ..] this is not the place anyone wanted to be,” Trudeau told reporters, citing a rapid rise in the number of cases and an increasingly strained health care system.

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Summary – from PR Chiang Mai – some sensible advice in response to the latest Covid outbreak in Thailand

1 – no symptoms, and no contact with an existing patient = don’t need to go test, but please stay home and save lives.
2 – no symptoms but have contact with an existing patient = do not need to test but self quarantine at home for 14 days
3 – have minor symptoms and no contact with existing patient = do no need to test but self quarantine at home for 14 days
4 – have minor symptoms and contact with existing patient or been in a risky area = go get tested
5 – have symptoms which aren’t minor = get tested
6 – have any symptoms and over 60 = get tested

9 April 2021

The field hospital at the Chiang Mai International Exhibition and Convention Center is being expanded to 500 beds by tomorrow, April 10 due to an expectation that there will be over one hundred patients on site by the end of today, April 9.

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ZenJournalist noted on twitter that “Ground zero of latest Thai coronavirus outbreak was Krystal hostess club on Thonglor. Transport minister Saksayam Chidchob, spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd, and the Japanese ambassador all caught it there. So many cabinet ministers visit the club it’s nicknamed “Government House 2” – or Government House Club.

At Baht 380 for a “lady drink” the expense bills run up pretty quickly.

Meanwhile many private hospital in Bangkok have stopped doing COVID19 testing as they have run out of test kits and they don’t have enough beds. This will probably lead to a drop in cases which might give people a false sense of security that things are getting better

7 April 2021

Brazil’s coronavirus catastrophe has deepened further after more than 4,000 daily deaths were reported for the first time since the outbreak began in February last year.

At least 4,195 people were reported to have lost their lives on Tuesday, taking Brazil’s total death toll – the world’s second highest after the US – to nearly 337,000.

Brazil also reported 86,979 new infections. Experts fear a record 100,000 Brazilians could lose their lives this month alone if nothing is done.

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Canada’s Covid-19 hospitalisations are surging, intensive care beds are filling up and coronavirus variants are spreading as a third wave of the pandemic sweeps across much of the country, prime minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

6 April 2021

Sadly silence does not mean that Covid has gone away – maybe just a hope that we are making some progress in learning to live with it.

In India, Delhi’s government has imposed a night curfew taking effect from today until 30 April. The curfew will be in place from 10pm to 5am every day. The curfew will mean that all restaurants, weddings, pubs and other places where people gather will have to close up by 10pm every day.

Only up to two persons will be allowed to be together. Good luck enforcing that!

India breached the grim milestone of 100,000 daily infections for the first time on Monday

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With just over 100 days to go to the Tokyo Olympics, Japanese health authorities are concerned that variants of the coronavirus are driving a nascent fourth wave.

The variants appear to be more infectious and may be resistant to vaccines, which are still not widely available in Japan. Osaka is the worst-affected city. Infections there hit fresh records last week, prompting the regional government to start targeted lockdown measures for one month from Monday.

Proceeding with the Olympics does sound like a really bad idea.

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Italy France and Spain are seeing increases in infection rates. Brazil is still badly hit.

22 March 2021

Oops – sorry. Hello from Ubon Ratchthani – the city that gave Emirates the wonderful Bam Nakwan. One lost friend that I miss.

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BG have a problem.

The three teams promoted to League 2 are:

Number 1: Lamphun Warriors
Number 2: Muangkhan United (Kanchanaburi)
Number 3: Rajpracha FC

Rajpracha are, like BG and CMFC owned BG/Singha. BG will end up with two teams in either League 1 or League 2. This allowing one owner to own multiple clubs cannot be good for the integrity of Thai football.

14 March 2021

Guardian: A third wave of the Covid pandemic is now advancing swiftly across much of Europe. As a result, many nations – bogged down by sluggish vaccination campaigns – are witnessing sharp rises in infection rates and numbers of cases.

The infection rate in the EU is now at its highest level since the beginning of February, with the spread of new variants of the Covid-19 virus being blamed for much of the recent increase.

In Italy, authorities recorded more than 27,000 new cases and 380 deaths on Friday. From Monday most of Italy will be placed under lockdown and people will only be allowed to leave their homes for essential errands. Most shops will be closed, along with bars and restaurants.

In France, authorities have reported a similar grim situation, with health minister Olivier Véran describing the situation in the greater Paris region as tense and worrying. “Every 12 minutes night and day, a Parisian is admitted to an intensive care bed,” he revealed.

President Macron has imposed curfews and other social restrictions in several regions, and many doctors are now pressing him to introduce a national lockdown as a matter of urgency.

In Germany, 12,674 new Covid infections were reported on Saturday, a rise of 3,117 from the previous week, as the head of the country’s infectious disease agency acknowledged that the country was now in the grip of a third wave of Covid-19.

Similarly in Poland, 17,260 new daily coronavirus cases were reported on Wednesday, the highest daily figure since November. New pandemic restrictions are likely to be announced this week, government officials have indicated. Poland already has imposed tight restrictions on social gatherings, most schools are closed, and restaurants can only serve meals for delivery.

In addition, both Hungary and the Czech Republic have reported high infection rates and deaths from Covid and health officials have warned figures are likely to get worse in coming weeks.

Grim.

13 March 2021

24 hours of dealing with issues around our property – and I remain greatly impressed by how Tai deals with people – assertive but calm when she needs to be – and engaging and curious when she had people helping her to find solutions.

Rochalia management are abject and clueless.

12 March 2021

Covid-91 has far from gone away – despite the remarkable progress some countries have made with vaccinations:

Yesterday Brazil reported 2,233 Covid-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, the second consecutive day that fatalities have exceeded 2,000, the health ministry said on Thursday, and 75,412 new cases.

The South American country has now registered 11,277,717 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 272,889, according to ministry data, in the world’s third-biggest outbreak after the U.S. and India.

Joe Biden has signed into law a $1.9tn coronavirus relief package, cementing the first major legislative victory of his presidency. “This historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country,” Biden said about the American Rescue Plan.

That is US$1.9 trillion – yes twelve 0s.

There is also a surge in cases in Central Europe where Poland reported 21,045 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest tally since November. The country faces a surge in infections driven by a highly contagious variant of the virus first identified in Britain.

6 March 2021

How to stop protests in Thailand : The Chief of Defence Forces, General Chalermpol Srisawat, signed an order yesterday prohibiting people from holding rallies or public gatherings in Bangkok, Samut Prakarn, Samut Songkhram, Nonthaburi, Nakhon Pathum, and Pathum Thani provinces without approval from officials.

People who violate the order will face two years’ imprisonment, or fine up to Bt40,000, or both.Four pro-democracy groups and one pro-monarchy group have scheduled rallies in Bangkok on Saturday.

4 March 2021

8 hrs 30 minutes – to drive today from Nongbua Lamphu to home.

Driving north-south in Thailand is straightforward – the 2 takes you to the North East and the 32/1 takes you to the North West. But trying going across the country.

Two lane roads, side roads, tractors, trucks, dogs. Colourful but at times painfully slow.

564 kilometres.

I liked the look of Phu Ruea – some nice looking resorts – lots of colour – cool – it was just 24C as I passed through there at about 9.30am….and with a National Park just south of the Laos border. Worth a visit one day.

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We were thumped 4-1 by Nongbua last night. Just two of us made the trip from Chiang Mai.

But fans were allowed back in the stadiums – up to 25% of capacity – and masked.

But better that than watching on tv.

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I stopped in Chaiyaphum on the way up to Nongbua – the Taton National Park charges Baht 40 for Thais and Baht 200 for foreigners. A Thai driving license makes no difference. It is not residence that matters – it is place of birth.

Annoyed. Not so much that it is done. But that no one has the decency to explain why it is done or even to apologise and blame someone else. And with a year of no tourists entering Thailand just how many foreigners have actually visited their park.

22 February 2021

“There is no credible route to a zero COVID Britain”. Or anywhere else. The question is how do we live with it?

It will remain highly infectious. It will mutate. How we live and work will almost certainly change in order to try to minimise the infection rates/

SARS went away. Covid appears to have no such intention.

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Oh, the irony – this from Watford FC’s twitter feed:

“We are excited to be working with RecoverMe on increasing the awareness of gambling addiction and treatment available.

Download the @recovermeapp1 app and use it for FREE by using the code RECOVERME100 and take back control of your gambling habits today.”

Remember that this is a club sponsored by Sportsbet.io – a crypto-focused sportsbook & casino.

See this on my web site from 15 June 2019:

Why Watford’s new betting sponsorship is wrong

It feels a bit like having an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in a distillery. Just wrong.
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I may be quiet on Covid but it has far from gone away. The roll out of vaccines in certain well-off nations has been remarkable – other countries – the majority have not vaccinated a single person.

We are in danger of a world divided between the vaccinated and relatively safe and the non-vaccinated and at risk.

Just as an example – in Italy – the government on Monday extended a ban on non-essential travel between the country’s 20 regions until March 27 as it looks to slow the spread of highly contagious coronavirus variants.

18 February 2021

My new workout video 🙂

12 February 2021

This is a very clear change in policy from the Hong Kong government: “If you have both British and Chinese nationality you may be treated as a Chinese citizen by local authorities, even if you enter Hong Kong on your British passport,” the consulate warned. “If this is the case, the British consulate may not be able to offer you consular assistance.”

China does not recognise dual citizenship. Hong Kong has now fallen in line.

9 February 2021

Easter Island begins vaccinating residents against Covid-19 – Thailand – not yet!

Just saying.

6 February 2021

42 million people have watched this – that’s 42 million happy people. 6 minutes of Thailand’s best entertainment!

27 January 2021

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world on Tuesday passed 100 million since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The current total stands at 100,164,399.

Worldwide, at least 2,153,477 people have lost their lives to Covid-19.

The official number of cases registered since the pandemic first broke out in China, in late 2019, represents just a fraction of the real number of infections around the world, AFP reports.

Many countries were late to implement systematic testing, and some continue to test only the most seriously ill.

The poorest nations meanwhile only have the capacity for limited testing.

The United States, which passed 25 million confirmed cases last weekend, remains the country with the largest outbreak.

India is second with 10.7 million cases, and Brazil third with 8.9 million cases.

26 January 2021

The BBC’s Jonathan Head on Thailand’s youth rebellion and the monarchy

Thailand’s youth rebellion and the monarchy – BBC News

The video is age-restricted and only available on YouTube.

Another why are so many people quite so dumb moment as the Netherlands was shaken by third night of riots over Covid curfew. A leading Dutch criminologist, Henk Ferwerda, said the riots involved “virus deniers, political protesters and kids who just saw the chance to go completely wild – all three groups came together”

25 January 2021

The number of coronavirus cases in the United States crossed 25 million on Sunday, a Reuters tally showed, as states accelerate their vaccine distribution and more infectious strains are found globally.

20 January 2021

In the USA the latest figures from Johns Hopkins university show that about 401,128 people have now been killed by the virus in the US amid more than 24m cases – both numbers being by far the highest in the world.

Meanwhile the UK has reported the highest number of daily deaths since the pandemic started, as new data showed one in eight people are likely to have had the virus in England, PA Media reports.

Public Health England said a further 1,610 people have died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 – the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began.

The new record brings the UK total for those who have died after contracting coronavirus to 91,470.

However, the true number of those who have lost their lives to the virus has already reached the 108,000 mark, once cases where Covid-19 has been mentioned on the death certificate is taken into account.

And here in Thailand Thai prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned that his government would prosecute anyone who shares false information about coronavirus vaccines in social or mass media. It came after the government was accused of acting too slowly to inoculate the country’s population and criticised the country’s coronavirus vaccine strategy as being too reliant on a company owned by the Thai king.

14 January 2021

More than 100,000 people have died from coronavirus in Britain since the disease first appeared in the country almost a year ago, in what public health experts said was a sign of “phenomenal failure of policy and practice”.

A total of 1,564 people were reported to have died yesterday – a new record high, bringing the total to 101,160, according to analysis of figures from government and statistical agencies.

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An 11-day nationwide shutdown and round-the-clock curfew begins today in Lebanon, where residents must now request special permission to allowed to leave the house and even supermarkets are closed.

According to an Associated Press wire report, police were manning checkpoints around the country, checking drivers’ permits. The curfew is the strictest since the start of the pandemic. Even supermarkets were told to close their doors and open for delivery only.

Puts our Thailand concerns into perspective.

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The UAE reports 3,382 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours. The UAE had opened up its airport including quarantine free travel to the UK.

Residents might welcome their city’s popularity with British tourists in general, but some are unimpressed by the latest deluge.

“With all of them coming in, getting reservations at attractions and slots for residents has been so difficult,” said Rhea Matthew, a social care executive. She said the problem was a specifically British one and coincided with the rising case count in the UAE. “Our city became so full overnight. Things were good and then boom – tourists everywhere. Things are escalating here and it’s scary.”

The UAE government has cited “a significant acceleration in the number of imported cases”.

The UAE has been dumb for letting people in and the UK equally dumb for letting people out – most are clearly not there on essential travel.

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Japan is set to expand its state of emergency in greater Tokyo from Thursday to seven more regions including major cities Osaka and Kyoto and also to tighten border restrictions as cases surge.

10 January 2021

FA Cup 3rd round. Marine FC v Tottenham – separated in the English pyramid by 161 places.

Marine Association Football Club is an English football club based in Crosby, Merseyside. The club, which was founded in 1894, is a member of both the Liverpool County and Lancashire County Football Associations, and currently plays in the Northern Premier League Division One North West.

Today is the biggest day in their club’s history – and no one can be there to watch. That is sad.

9 January 2021

A Covid update:

Spain added 25,456 coronavirus cases to its tally on Friday in the biggest one-day jump since October

The UK reported a record 1,325 new deaths within 28 days of a positive test for coronavirus on Friday.

A further 68,053 additional cases were reported – this is the highest figure reported by the government in a single day since the beginning of the pandemic.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, declared the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK capital “out of control” in a broadcast interview on Friday afternoon.

“I’m afraid this virus is out of control,” Khan said, after declaring a major incident with the capital’s hospitals struggling to cope with coronavirus patients.

“The NHS in London is at risk of being overwhelmed … we could run out of beds.”

Khan told BBC News that as many as one in 20 people had the virus in some parts of the city. “The best way you can help the NHS is by staying at home,” he said.

Indonesia reported on Friday a record daily number of new Covid-19 cases for the third successive day with 10,617 infections, bringing the total to over 800,000.

And just think on this last number – more than 4,000 people died in the US on Thursday, Johns Hopkins University data shows – a world record daily toll, and the first time it has passed 4,000.

In 24 hours, 4,085 Americans died, according to the data, while nearly 275,000 cases were confirmed.

8 January 2021

Rats deserting a sinking ship:

The list of resignations from the Trump administration after Wednesday’s riots and five deaths

Betsy DeVos – Education Secretary

Elaine Chao – Transportation S

Mick Mulvaney – Special U.S. envoy to Northern Ireland

Matthew Pottinger – Deputy national security adviser.

Sarah Matthews – White House deputy press secretary.

Tyler Goodspeed, acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

Stephanie Grisham, chief of staff for First Lady Melania Trump.

Anna Cristina “Rickie” Niceta, White House social secretary.

Elinore F. McCance-Katz, the assistant secretary of the Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.

Anthony Ruggiero, the senior director for counterproliferation and biodefense at the National Security Council.

John Costello, assistant secretary for intelligence and security at the Commerce Department.

Ryan Tully, senior director for European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council.

6 January 2021

One in 50 people in private households in England – more than 1.1 million – are estimated to have had the coronavirus in the week ending 2 January.

The Office for National Statistics figures were released on Tuesday, as the number of new cases of people in the UK testing positive for Covid-19 topped 60,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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China has blocked the arrival of a team from the World Health Organization investigating the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, claiming that their visas had not yet been approved even as some members of the group were on their way.

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The mass arrest of over 50 politicians and activists in Hong Kong has rightly brought increasing international criticism mounted.

Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong has told the EU not to go ahead with an economic deal with China.

Lord Patten told the EU it would forfeit its right to be treated as a serious global economic and political power if it went ahead with the draft investment deal.

The draft has yet to be ratified by the European parliament, and Germany, the lead advocate of the deal, will come under intense pressure to justify the closer economic ties.

Patten, in remarks designed to resonate in Germany, said: “It is worth remembering, for all European politicians wherever they come from, that the Jewish community around the world has been outspoken about Xinjiang and in particular has drawn attention to the similarities between what is happening in that region today and the Holocaust in the 1940s.”

He added: “If this deal goes ahead it will make a mockery of Europe’s ambitions to be taken seriously as a global political and economic player. It spits in the face of human rights and shows a delusional view of the Chinese Communist party’s trustworthiness on the international stage.

“It is surely inconceivable that the European parliament can support the miserable draft deal that the European commission wants to sign with Beijing…

“…We should not be seeking to contain China but to constrain the Chinese Communist party.”

The EU called for the release of the arrested opposition figures on Wednesday and said it was considering further sanctions.

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Meanwhile the UK announced 62,322 more cases.

2 January 2021

I was comparing note with Dennis Cookson over in the UK last night. I mentioned that everywhere I go I am temperature tested; it is a regime that in Thailand lost its way a little in the last few months of 2020 but has not been reinforced with serious intent. Not just the temperature check but also registration of personal details or opening the online location app.

Malls, stores, cafes, football stadiums, airports and airlines, office buildings. Temperature checking is required.

In the UK Dennis mentioned that no one does this.

He did ask what would happen if someone registered over the 37.5 target. They would be refused entry. But probably not shipped off for a Covid test.

But people can just ignore the testers and walk around them. No they cannot. And that is not the impression that anyone should get of what is happening here. Stores now close/barricade most of their access points except for the entry with the temperature check.

And people really do not mind. Like mask-wearing it is not seen as an infringement of personal liberties here. It is seen as a small effort to look after eachother. The same on flights and on public transport. Everyone wears a mask.

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57,725 infections in the last 24 hours in the UK. #Covid19

Highest ever daily number. 10 months since the infection arrived in the UK. Madness.

1 January 2021

And so the new year starts by feeling far too much like the old one.

Bangkok is not in lockdown – but many places are closed – including all entertainment venues. The Buriram governor is predictably the first to issue quarantine instructions for anyone coming to visit from Bangkok, and a number of other provinces.