AOB – 2021

29 December 2021

Migraine-like symptoms for most of the day.

Daily coronavirus infections in the United Arab Emirates, the Gulf region’s tourism and commercial hub, have risen above 2,000 for the first time since June, Reuters reports.

The average number of daily Covid cases in the US has hit a record high of 258,312 over the past seven days, according to a Reuters tally.

Thai health authorities warned on Wednesday that residents should brace themselves for a potential jump in coronavirus cases after classifying the country’s first cluster of the Omicron variant as a super-spreader incident.

The Omicron cluster identified in the northeastern province of Kalasin on Christmas eve has been linked to a couple who had travelled from Belgium and visited bars, concerts and markets, Reuters reports.

Pesky foreigners!

In France, 180,000 new Covid cases smashed the record for daily cases since the pandemic began.


It is far from over – but for now it is now killing us.

27 December 2021

Two comments that follow eachother on the Chiang Mai News in English facebook page:

“Jeff McNeill
Omicron is not here yet. When it arrives there will be many more cases. The only things we can do: vaccinate and boost, keep distance and mask protocols. Vaccinating the children (5-11 years) needs to start asap. The government is dragging its heels on this, likely because they don’t have enough Pfizer on hand to do the vaccinations. This will lead to schools shutting down (again).

Graham Hayward
Covid 19 has collapsed. Be careful all you want but it’s time in the next two months the world returns to normality. The question is if governments will give your rights back to you or are we going to be treated like children forever.?”

Far too many people with no medical background preaching an opinion and getting upset an anyone who does not agree with it.

Make up your own mind – do what you think is right for you and those that you care about – but there is no need to lecture the rest of us.

Tai was home for three days at Christmas. That was good – we fought a bit on Christmas Day – we usually do when we both are trying to do the catering.

After 16 years of cooking Christmas meals for a group of people I think that was my last. It was a nice dinner and a smaller group than in previous years.

But it is time someone either invited me for Christmas dinner – or for me to stop.

17 December 2021

The German health minister, Karl Lauterbach, said he expects the Omicron variant to lead to a “massive fifth wave” of the pandemic.

Lauterbach, a former epidemiology professor, said during a visit to the Lower Saxony region that Germany must prepare for a challenge “that we have never seen in this form before”, reports Reuters.

The lull before the storm.

15 December 2021

The Guardian’s summary of last nights Downing street press briefing: why is this relevant in Thailand:

The Omicron variant is coming.

Thailand is woefully underprepared for it.

Our Sinovac jabs offer no protection.

There is little urgency in a booster roll-out.

Opening up bars; christmas and new year parties; returning to office and factory work in enclosed environments. It is all a risk. The question is how big a risk.

Saving Thailand potentially is the fact that outside the parties and bars people are still remarkably sensible about mask wearing.

It may or not be less harmful than other variants – but the incredibly rapid spread of this variant could still see a large number hospitalised – even if it is a smaller percentage of the overall number infected.

So from the Guardian:

“Here are the main points from the press conference. It was dominated by Prof Chris Whitty, England’s chief medical officer, whose public health advice went way beyond what No 10 has been saying in recent days. Boris Johnson did not fully endorse his comments, but he made little effort to contradict his adviser either. It probably suits No 10 for people to hear warnings that cause them to reduce their social mixing over the coming weeks. Critics of the approach call it “lockdown by stealth”.

Whitty said that people would be getting infected with the Omicron variant of coronavirus in “very, very, very large numbers” quite soon. It was spreading at “an absolutely phenomenal pace”, he said. He said:
This is a really serious threat at the moment. How big a threat? There are several things we don’t know. But all the things that we do know are bad and the principal one being the speed at which this is moving, it is moving at an absolutely phenomenal pace.

Therefore between the time that it first starts to really take off in a way people will be able to see and the point when we get to very, very, very large numbers will be quite a short one, and that, I think, is part of the issue in trying to deal with this.

Referring to today’s figures showing recorded Covid cases at a record level (see 4.11pm), he said:

I’m afraid we have to be realistic that records will be broken a lot over the next few weeks as the rates continue to go up.

He said the UK has two epidemics running one on top of the other. He said:
What we’ve got is two epidemics on top of one another – an existing Delta epidemic, roughly flat, and a very rapidly growing Omicron epidemic on top of it.

He said he was fairly certain Omicron would lead to a large increase in the number of people going to hospital. He said:
I am afraid there will be an increasing number of Omicron patients going into the NHS, going into hospital, going into intensive cares, and exact ratios we don’t yet know but there will be substantial numbers. That will begin to become apparent, in my view, fairly soon after Christmas.

It’ll start before then but in terms of the big numbers, I think that’s a reasonably, I’m afraid, a reasonably nailed-on prospect.

But he did not put figures on how high hospital cases might rise, or how many people were likely to die, stressing that there was still not enough data available to predict exactly what the impact would be in the UK.

He said that the NHS would be hit by serious staff shortages after Christmas because of people contracting Omicron over the holidays. Talking about the health service in particular, he said:
We may end up with quite substantial gaps in rotas at short notice.

Given how much difficulty my health and social care colleagues have had over the last two years, saying that is pretty depressing, because they have really, really had to stand up and go back again and again.

The reality is this speed of onset is going to lead to lots of people getting ill simultaneously and we have to be realistic about that.

Whitty advised people to limit their socialising to people that “really matter”. Asked what people should do over Christmas, he said:
I really think people should be prioritising those things, and only those things, that really matter to them. Because otherwise the risk of someone getting infected at something that doesn’t really matter to them, and then not being able to do the things that do matter to them, obviously goes up …

The point I’m making is, don’t mix with people you don’t have to … [Focus on] things that really matter to you.

This was in stark contrast to the message No 10 has been giving out in recent days, when it has been saying it does not want people to cancel parties. Boris Johnson was less gung-ho than he has been before about carrying on as normal. He said people should be cautious. But he would not go as far was what Whitty said, in terms of urging people to restrict their contacts quite significantly, and he said “we’re not cancelling people’s parties”.

Whitty said there should be “really serious caution” over reports that a reduction in hospitalisations was being seen in cases of Omicron in South Africa. He explained:
The first caution on this is simply a numerical one – if the rate of hospitalisation were to halve but you’re doubling every two days, in two days you’re back to where you were before you actually had the hospitalisation.

If the peak of this is twice as great, then halving of the size of the hospitalisation rate, you still end up in the same place. And this peak is going very fast.

The second point I wanted to make, which I’m not sure it’s fully been absorbed by everybody, is that the amount of immunity in South Africa for this wave – because of a prior Delta wave and vaccination – is far higher than it was for their last wave. And therefore the fact that there is a lower hospitalisation rate is unsurprising.

14 December 2021

Jonathan Pie: speaking for most of the British population.

The UK today: Over the last seven days there have been 363,682 new coronavirus cases recorded in the UK. Cases have increased by 9.9% week-on-week.

There have been 834 deaths recorded in the last week. Deaths have decreased by 0.6% week-on-week.

Hospital admissions have increased by 5.1% week-on-week. At the latest count on the UK government’s own dashboard, there were 7,372 people in hospital in total, of whom 901 are in ventilation beds.

Having said all of that, yesterday the health secretary said it was estimated that there were 200,000 Omicron infections a day in the UK.

Yet there is still a debate over further Covid restrictions?

The UK is in an awful mess for many reasons – one of which is Covid – Sajid Javid, the health secretary, revealed there may now be as many 200,000 Omicron infections a day. He said around 20% of confirmed cases in England had been identified as the Omicron variant, and warned of “difficult weeks ahead”. In London, the centre of the Omicron outbreak, it accounted for over 44% of cases and was expected to become the dominant form within 48 hours

13 December 2021

I feel like I am in a rather dark place….but just have to drag myself out of it….

Part of the problem is that this feels like 2020 revisited – businesses are opening up; bars re-opening; domestic and even some foreign tourists are arriving.

But arriving at the same time is the latest variant of Covid. In the UK health officials believe that the number of new infections doubles very two or three days.

The UK is also saying that double vaccinations are not enough to prevent infection – so a rush of booster shots is now underway.

That sense of alarm does not yet exist in Thailand. Although earlier today the government has said that Thailand will halve to three months the time between administering a second Covid-19 vaccine shot and a booster.

11 December 2021

Very interesting background on Central Group and its proposed purchase of Selfridges.

Sourced from the FT:

Central Group is in negotiations to buy the UK’s venerable Selfridges stores from the Canadian branch of the Weston family in a £4bn deal to be agreed before the year-end, according to people with knowledge of the transaction.

Picking up a top global brand would be a prize for Central, Thailand’s biggest department store operator, which is controlled by the billionaire Chirathivat family. The group operates one of Bangkok’s poshest food halls and during an acquisition push over the past decade has bought and transformed a number of luxury European department stores, including Germany’s KaDeWe, Italy’s Rinascente, Switzerland’s Globus and Denmark’s Illum.

Central is one of Thailand’s biggest conglomerates — groups often founded and owned by families of Chinese descent that parlayed international businesses from hardscrabble starts in Bangkok “shophouses”.

One of the primary attractions of Selfridges, according to people familiar with the company’s thinking, would be the property; the brand owns the freehold on many of its stores, including its Oxford Street flagship.

Central has a history of banking land in prime locations. It built Central Embassy on land it bought from Britain in what used to be the UK embassy’s front gardens. In 2017, after Britain decided to move the embassy to a high-rise, Central joined Hongkong Land in buying the rest of the compound, which included an elegant villa and a statue of Queen Victoria, for £420m, Thailand’s biggest-ever land deal. Central has made no announcement yet on its plans for this land.

The group was founded by Zheng Ni Tiang, grandfather of its current chair and chief executive Tos Chirathivat, who arrived in Thailand from China’s Hainan island in 1927. Tiang initially helped with his father-in-law’s rice business before setting up shop in Thonburi, across the Chao Phraya river from central Bangkok. The company was established in 1947 and began importing from 1950 under the name Central Trading.

After Tiang died intestate, the family introduced a family decision-making council that remains in place today. Central’s ownership and management are more widely shared among the family than for most other Thai conglomerates.

The group’s seven-member executive committee or “family board” is headed by Tos and composed entirely of Chirathivats. Central’s 11-member management team has four family members but also includes Vittorio Radice. The Italian businessman joined the Thai company when Central bought La Rinascente in 2011. Having overseen an overhaul of Selfridges in the 1990s, it is expected he will lead a fresh revamp if the deal proceeds.

Thailand’s politics have been notoriously volatile and its economic performance mediocre over the past decade, which analysts said accelerated the company’s expansion abroad.

Central tried and failed to enter the Chinese market, later refocusing on Vietnam, where it is now the top foreign retailer, and on Europe. In 2017 it formed an ecommerce partnership with Chinese online giant

Covid-19 and a hard lockdown this year have hammered the Thai economy and pushed the group’s recently floated Central Retail unit into a third-quarter loss of Bt2.22bn ($67m). As the pandemic accelerated ecommerce, Central has aimed to lure shoppers back to malls by bringing in more options to eat and drink, expanding seating areas, and offering what one analyst called “experiential retail”.

If the sale went through, analysts said, Selfridges would become Central’s best-known foreign franchise and be one of the highest-profile foreign acquisitions by a Thai company to date.

7 December 2021

Back from a visit to Udon Thani – that is a long drive.

The big news in Chiang Mai is that alcohol can now be sold in restaurants between 11am and 2pm and again between 5pm and 11pm. All restaurants must comply with ‘COVID – Free Setting’ health and safety regulations which require all customers to show proof of being double vaccinated, or ATK test results within the past 72 hours, or proof of having contracted Covid-19 in the past three months.

30 November 2021

Over a month without writing an update – and I used to write long columns every day.

Guess that reflects my overall sense of ennui. As there really is no news except more Covid – and another new variant.

It is depressing – and it just keeps on going.

Tai and I did get a weekend in Kanchanaburi – though no football due to a Covid outbreak in the CMFC team.

Kanchaburi is always interesting – the one place in Thailand where Thai, Western and Asian history all come together.

And a longer trip over Loy Krathong to Sukhothai and onto Bangkok to see Tai and go to Pattaya and Satthahip for a night – yes, dear reader – there was football.

I even played golf today for the first time in about six weeks – Gassan Legacy – a thoroughly enjoyable golf course on a picture perfect morning. My golf. Horrendous at first – with some improvement as we ploughed on.

Ok – you asked for it:

Covid – and there is not much good news in Europe – and rising concern elsewhere about the Omicron variant.

Greece has said it will fine people over the age of 60 who have not received a first Covid-19 shot €100 per month from 16 January, as the country grappled with a surge in coronavirus cases.

Germany’s constitutional court has ruled that sweeping restrictions to stem coronavirus infections such as curfews, school closures and contact restrictions were lawful, in a decision that could pave the way for further curbs.
Germany reported a further 45,753 new coronavirus cases and 388 deaths today.

The chief executive of the US drugmaker Moderna has predicted that existing vaccines will be less effective against Omicron than they have been against the Delta version, sending global stock markets sharply lower.

In England face coverings become compulsory on public transport and in shops from today. That brings it in line with the rest of the UK. But unlike Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, people in England do not have to wear masks in pubs and restaurants.

Hong Kong will ban non-resident arrivals from 13 more countries.

And Japan has close its borders to all non-residents effective today.

20 October 2021

Covid news – again!

Singapore recorded 18 new Covid deaths today – the highest daily death toll since the start of the pandemic – and 3,862 new cases.

Latvia has announced a month-long Covid-19 lockdown after an unprecedented surge in infections, becoming the first country in Europe to reimpose far-reaching restrictions amid a new wave of cases in countries across the continent.

The Economist this week note that all pandemics end eventually. Covid-19 has started down that path and will gradually become endemic. In that state, circulating and mutating from year to year, the coronavirus will remain a threat to the elderly and infirm. But having settled down, it is highly unlikely to kill on the monstrous scale of the past 20 months.

Though the destination is fixed, the route to endemicity is not and, in a leader, we argue that the difference between a well-planned journey and a chaotic one could be measured in millions of lives. The end of the pandemic is therefore a last chance for governments to show they have learned from the mistakes they made at its start.

Meanwhile, China has decided it does not want to live with the virus. Since the early days of the pandemic, that country’s aim has been to eliminate the coronavirus entirely from within the mainland’s borders. But even as the handful of other countries with “zero-covid” policies, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, move to relax them, China is holding out. How long China can maintain such a strict policy.

More than 2.1m people in Latin America and the Caribbean have died of covid-19; the death rate in the region is easily the highest in the world, according to The Economist’s excess-mortality tracker. The economic toll has also been crushing: output dropped by 7% in 2020, the steepest decline of any region. In our Americas section, we argue that Latin America’s economies now have an opportunity to grow but it would help if their governments overcame their protectionist instincts.

More broadly, the IMF warns that the global economic recovery will be grossly uneven—the economic prospects of most poor countries remain far worse than those of rich ones.

Professor Paul Moss, professor of haematology within the Institute of Immunology and Immunotherapy at the University of Birmingham, said on Sky News that the most recent Covid numbers in the UK were “a little disappointing”, and also had this to say about vaccines and immunity:

“It’s about a year now since we’ve had the vaccines. It is time to reappraise what they’ve achieved, and what they’ve achieved is phenomenal. As you know, over the last year the number of deaths they’ve saved – and hospitalisations – is remarkable.

What we’re seeing is that the antibody levels after the second vaccine are waning, There’s some evidence we’re seeing about a four-to-fivefold fall after the second vaccine over several months, and we are seeing slight increase in breakthrough infections. But what’s relatively reassuring is protection against very severe illness and death remains very high.”

He did raise this issue though too – that perhaps the best case scenario that scientists and politicians had hoped for with the vaccines has not materialised.

“I think what is interesting is none of these vaccines are providing what we thought would be neutralising immunity. And so we are seeing that we can get reinfected with this coronavirus and that is something that will have to live with society around the world.

I would say reinfection can occur, but it’s all about the severity, and the tendency with these coronavirus infections, when you get them a second or third time, they’re less severe because you’ve built up immunity, not just antibodies, but all the cellular immunity, which is remarkably effective against the different variants. So the message is do get your boosters. And you know I think that will provide very good protection against severe disease.”

Meanwhile: Adam Finn, who is on the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation, has been on BBC Breakfast in the UK and said that there is no denying there has been a “real increase” in coronavirus cases. PA Media quotes him saying:

“It feels like everyone has gone back to normal habits. I suspect – but I don’t know – most people are not doing lateral flow tests and, as a result, we’re seeing more infections than ever throughout the whole pandemic.

These vaccines are extremely good at stopping you ending up in hospital but their ability to stop you getting the infection at all or passing it on are modest. It by no means solves the problem. If we want to see the figures go down we need to do more than that. It really is time people realise we can’t just go back to normal.”

He also questioned the public’s commitment to preventative measures like wearing masks, saying:

“My observation is that we look sideways at each other and copy behaviour, and it makes people stand out if they are wearing a mask. If I go into a supermarket now I’m one of a few wearing masks, most people go with the flow and we’re not being told not to.”

He said hospital admissions and deaths “will continue to where we can’t cope any more and we will be back to the bad old days of being asked to stay at home”.

Why is the UK relevant – because the rest of us will potentially go down the same rabbit hole.

Without a Covid-19 vaccination, reinfection could occur every 16 months as immunity erodes over time, UK studies suggest. In England, people are increasingly reporting catching Sars-CoV-2 for a second or even third time.


18 October 2021

Laughable interview on the Volt Bangkok page with the Chairman of Chiang Mai FC.

My comment will probably be deleted – so here it is:

Interview with Chairman of CMFC

“Complete nonsense of course.

No mention of the relationship with BG and that CMFC basically exists to give the younger BG players competitive experience.

No mention that the fans of CMFC have been treated appallingly for 2 years. He asks us to be patient. Laughable. Just a little honesty from the club would help.

There were 472 spectators at the Lamphun game. 75 from Lamphun; plus assorted WAGS, family and VIPs. Probably about 200 real fans. For a club that should be a major player in Thai football this was laughable. What is the Chairman doing to get fans supporting the club and watching matches?

Finally, how many times has the Chairman of CMFC been to watch the club play in the last 2 seasons – either at home or away?

He expects to finish in the top 6. We are 9th. We were thumped by Lamphun last weekend. We have only played one of the top four sides and that was a another drubbing at Sukhothai.

Such a poor interview – just words.”

The Tiger’s Heart is badly in need of CPR.

Jeju Air said it will operate a flight every Friday on the Incheon-Chiang Mai route starting on Nov. 5.

Looks like they will operate the first foreign flight into Chiang Mai for the last 18 months.

17 October 2021

The UK Covid numbers are alarming – though looking an the unmasked masses no one actually seems to care:

Britain reported 49,156 new Covid cases on Monday and 45 more deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.

The figures compared to 45,140 cases and 57 deaths reported a day earlier.

Epidemiologist and government adviser Professor Andrew Hayward said that waning immunity is “probably part of” the reason infections are currently high, adding there is “some evidence” protection against infection is beginning to wear off and “probably some evidence” protection against severe disease is waning to a lesser extent.

Rest of the world be warned….

Colin Powell will be remembered for his insistence that Iraq had WMD and leading the USA into the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.

But Powell was so much more than that – and these words from Barack Obama put Powell’s life and legacy into needed prespective.

Barack Obama:

“Years ago, when he was asked to reflect on his own life, General Colin Powell described himself as “first and foremost a problem-solver.” It was true, of course. But he was far more than that.

General Powell was an exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot. He was at the center of some of the most consequential events of our lifetimes – serving two decorated tours in Vietnam; guiding U.S. strategy in the Gulf War; serving as National Security Advisor, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State; offering counsel to four presidents; and helping shape American foreign policy for decades. Everyone who worked with General Powell appreciated his clarity of thought, insistence on seeing all sides, and ability to execute. And although he’d be the first to acknowledge that he didn’t get every call right, his actions reflected what he believed was best for America and the people he served.

Along the way, General Powell helped a generation of young people set their sights higher. He never denied the role that race played in his own life and in our society more broadly. But he also refused to accept that race would limit his dreams, and through his steady and principled leadership, helped pave the way for so many who would follow. It was the way Colin Powell saw the world – not as a starry-eyed idealist, but as someone with deep and abiding faith in this country and what it stands for – that made him such a central figure.

On a personal level, I was deeply appreciative that someone like General Powell, who had been associated with Republican administrations in the past, was willing to endorse me in 2008. But what impressed me even more was how he did it. At a time when conspiracy theories were swirling, with some questioning my faith, General Powell took the opportunity to get to the heart of the matter in a way only he could.

“The correct answer is, he is not a Muslim; he’s a Christian,” General Powell said. “But the really right answer is, ‘What if he is?’ Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

That’s who Colin Powell was. He understood what was best in this country, and tried to bring his own life, career, and public statements in line with that ideal. It’s why, for all the battles he fought and problems he solved, Michelle and I will always look to General Powell as an example of what America – and Americans – can and should be if we wish to remain the last, best hope of earth.
Our family sends our thoughts to Alma, their three children and grandchildren, and everyone mourning his loss today.”

Colin Powell, former US secretary of state, dies at 84 of Covid complications

12 October 2021

Letter to the Guardian: “A match should be arranged forthwith in Saudi Arabia between the national side and Newcastle United. The Toon Army will travel, of course, some sustained by their favourite tipple, and wearing shirts emblazoned with the logo of a gambling organisation. This will do instant wonders for intercultural appreciation, but I’m left musing on just how much experience the religious police have of stewarding English supporters on tour? Howay the lads!”

11 October 2021

Gee….I have not been writing much here. Sorry. Its all a bit like groundhog day.

But there was a bit of life today when Chiangmai United became the first T1 team to change their head coach this season, parting ways with Surapong Kongthep and appointing former Chiangrai boss Ailton Silva.

CMU lost 2-0 loss last night to Ratchaburi and announced the change before midnight.

Surapong Kongthep had only been in charge from the start of the current season, after replacing Dennis Amato has head coach.

Having previously coached in the lower divisions of Brazilian football, Ailton arrived in Chiang Rai as an assistant to Jose Alves Borges, who was appointed Chiangrai boss at the start of the 2019 season. Ailton steeped up after Borges’ sudden departure, and led the side to the 2019 title amid some controversy.

Ailton then resigned at the end of the campaign, citing personal reasons and a desire to return to Brazil. Now two years later he is coming back.

Though visas, travel restrictions and quarantine will likely delay his return.

21 September 2021

The US will lift Covid-19 travel restrictions to allow fully vaccinated passengers from the UK and most European Union (EU) countries to travel into the country from early November, the White House has announced.

The move signals the end of a travel ban imposed by Donald Trump more than 18 months ago in the early stages of the pandemic, and comes after intense lobbying from Brussels and London.

In addition to the UK and the 26 Schengen countries in Europe, the easing of restrictions will also apply to Ireland, China, Iran, Brazil, South Africa and India.

Not Thailand….or Hong Kong/China.

Back from a 5 day road trip to Khon Kaen – breaking the journey for overnights in Khao Kho and Phitsanulok.

A lot of driving.

Tai flew up from Bangkok on Sunday – watched the football – Khon Kaen FC 1 Chiang Mai FC 1. And generally had a nice time.

Tired now!

13 September 2021

I know little about tennis but the US Womens Open final was played between two teenagers – both born in Canada – one to Romanian and Chinese parents (who moved to the UK) and the other the daughter of Ecuadorian and Filipino parents.

Our home and native land at its very best.

11 September 2021

From twitter: “Brexit Britain looking more and more like 1970s Britain: higher taxes, bigger state, higher inflation, less choice, more bureaucracy, rampant cronyism.”

From Simon Nixon who is Chief Leader writer or The Times….one of the more pro Tory news outlets!

10 September 2021

The Fifth test between England and India was cancelled just two hours before the start of play today – after 63,000 supporters had bought tickets for the first three days.

The India players signed a letter at midnight on Thursday telling their board (the BCCI) that they would not be playing the fifth Test due to fears over Covid.

After a day of frantic calls and meetings between the players, the BCCI and the ECB, the match was cancelled at the 9am hour on Friday with thousands of fans already in Manchester and heading to the ground.

Dinesh Karthik, the Sky Sports commentator who is isolating ahead of the IPL (which will be held in the UAE), had this to say

“I spoke to a few of the guys. The general feeling is that, after the fourth Test, the players [said], ‘This is tiring. Almost all of the games have gone to the wire, they’re tired, and they were down to one physio, so they’ve done a lot of work with that man – and now he tests positive. Now that is the problem. If it was somebody else, who worked on logistics or something, they wouldn’t be this afraid. But because it’s the physio, that’s why they got the jitters.

“You also have to understand that straight after this they have the IPL, soon after that the World T20, and soon after that the India series. How many bubbles can they do? They assembled in India on May 16th, which is almost four months ago.”

These are all  valid points, most of which should have been addressed by the governing bodies months ago. The scheduling was a mess. India never wanted to play a fifth test and then head straight back to the IPL. Now they plan to leave the UK tomorrow – four days earlier than planned.

Tim Wigmore in the Daily Telegraph: The fifth Test would have been rearranged, not cancelled, were it not for the looming resumption of the Indian Premier League season, scheduled for next Sunday, a senior figure at an IPL franchise has told Telegraph Sport.

The cancellation of the final Test will cost English cricket in the region of £20 million.

The resumption of the IPL, on September 19 in the UAE, could also be under threat. “If players test positive in the next few days, then it most certainly is,” the IPL insider added.

27 August 2021

More awful news from Kabul – The number of Afghans killed in the Islamic State suicide bomb attack on Kabul airport rose to 79, with more than 120 wounded, some still in hospital. The bombing also killed 13 US.service members.

These were people trying to flee from Kabul on one of the few remaining exodus flights.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks. Amaq news agency said on its Telegram channel that an IS member called Abdul Rahman al-Logari carried out “the martyrdom operation near Kabul Airport”. The name suggests the killer was Afghan. The IS branch responsible for the attack is known as The Islamic State-Khorasan Province, after a name for the region from antiquity.

Joe Biden vowed revenge when he spoke briefly at the White House on Thursday afternoon. “We will not forget,” he said, as he vowed to “hunt down” the people behind the attacks. He held firm on the 31 August deadline and said that the US would get any Americans left in Afghanistan out of the country.

Mehdi Hasan, a host on the MSNBC cable news network, tweeted: “We invaded Afghanistan to fight a terrorist group, Al Qaeda, that attacked us. As we leave, we’re attacked by another terrorist group, ISIS, worse than Al Qaeda, & which didn’t exist when we invaded. I’ve said it before: all the war on terror gave us was more war & more terror.”

24 August 2021

Second vaccination done – Astra Zeneca.

Sadly my Sinovac/AZ mixture is basically not recognised by any nation outside Thailand.

The Taliban will accept no extensions to the evacuation deadline and want all foreign evacuations completed by 31 August, spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid has said.

The statement comes ahead of the G7 emergency meeting this afternoon, where one of the key topics under discussion will be whether the US will extend its deadline.

It comes after the Taliban warned continuing the airlift from Kabul beyond the end of the month was a “red line”.

Conflict ahead.

Economist: Once Chinese state media labelled the group a “poisonous tumour”, it was clear that its time was running out. ⁠

The dissolution of the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union is a landmark in the Chinese Communist Party’s relentless dismantling of civil society.⁠

Unions sympathetic to the Communist Party have done a poor job of fighting to improve workers’ rights in Hong Kong. Anti-government protests in 2019 brought hope of a fresh start, but the Communist Party is cracking down. ⁠

Activists think trade unions will increasingly resemble the hollow ones in mainland China, which exist primarily to help the party keep a lid on dissent.

21 August 2021

The Economist: China’s propaganda machine is enjoying the fall of Afghanistan, at least for now.⁠

China’s propaganda machine is enjoying the fall of Afghanistan, at least for now. Chinese diplomats and state media have missed no chance to contrast the chaotic retreat of America and its allies with their own country’s continued welcome.

For China, this is a chance to advance a model of foreign relations based on coldly weighed security and economic interests, rather than on lofty talk of building a better Afghanistan where girls may go to school. No bonds of affection or trust bind China and the Taliban. Instead, China has pursued a few narrowly defined goals during years of intensifying contacts with Taliban delegations.

China’s list is headed by its desire for a stable Afghanistan, especially near that country’s short, mountainous border with China. Above all, China has made clear that in return for the international recognition that the Taliban crave, and (probably rather limited) investments in roads, mines and other infrastructure, they must deny any haven to exiles from China’s north-western region of Xinjiang, especially Uyghurs.

China’s fear is that Uyghur militants, including some with combat experience in Syria or training in Iran, may hope to enter Xinjiang through Afghanistan.

Though China’s iron-fisted rule in Xinjiang—featuring the demolition of mosques and the detention of Muslims to “cure” them of excessive piety—offends all that the Taliban purport to believe, the group needs China’s backing. Its political leader, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, duly told China’s foreign minister on July 28th that the Taliban will never allow any force to use Afghan territory “to engage in acts detrimental to China”.

For China, this is a chance to advance a model of foreign relations based on coldly weighed security and economic interests….a post-American age, guided by cold realism.

18 August 2021

You can read about events in Afghanistan elsewhere on this site and in your usual news sources.

The US led withdrawal has been a disaster. Biden has defended the decision to leave Afghanistan. The problem is not with the decision – it is with the catastrophic implementation. The unseemly haste to leave; the dismal intelligence that allowed the Taliban to over run the country; and the fear you have left behind.

Biden has also blamed Afghan forces for not defending the country despite 20 years of training and billions of dollars in American aid.

Within a little more than a week, Taliban fighters overran more than a dozen provincial capitals and entered Kabul with no resistance, triggering the departure of Afghanistan’s president (now in Dubai) and the collapse of his government.

The pace of the military collapse has stunned many American officials which only show how poor their intelligence was.

The Taliban capitalized on the uncertainty caused by the February 2020 agreement reached in Doha, Qatar, between the militant group and the United States calling for a full American withdrawal from Afghanistan.

Afghan forces realized they would soon no longer be able to count on American air power and other crucial battlefield intelligence. The US was leaving; the government would fall and it was time to choose survival.

And now, chaos.

13 August 2021

Lamphun Warriors are in the news for all the wrong reasons.

In Chiang Mai fifth region police say that they raided three properties yesterday following tips of a large drug gang, confiscating over 100 million baht worth of land and valuables, including a sports car…a gold plated lamborghini.

Police say that one suspect escaped arrest while another who was arrested is the president of a Northern football team which was promoted to the second league…ie Lamphun Warriors. It is believed that the purchase of the football team was a money laundering investment, with players’ very expensive salaries  being part of the laundering of drug money. The suspects are accused of dealing in heroin, ketamine, yaba and ice. They are also accused of running numerous online gambling sites.

What this means for Lamphun Warriors is unknown – but the club will need a new owner with deep pockets for their expensive marquee signings.

12 August 2021

In Thailand the Ministry of Public Health says the average number of RT-PCR tests for the past 7 days was 52,404 tests per day. Today there were 22,782 positive cases which is 43% of the daily testing average. The number of people being tested is on a decline. (Source: @Ch3ThailandNews)

In the last week the Chinese city of Wuhan carried out Covid tests on 11.3 million people following positive tests on less than ten residents.

In Thailand we are in this for the long haul because we are not testing enough. We are testing just enough to ensure that the hospitals and field hospitals are not over run.

10 August 2021

“While Chinese diplomats may be masters of put-on personae, nobody doubts the reality that Beijing’s posture is growing more aggressive. As Doshi writes, it has opened internment camps in Xinjiang, violated its international commitment to Hong Kong’s autonomy, fought Indian troops on the border, installed missiles on South China Sea islands, threatened economic punishment against Australia and several other states and kidnapped European citizens from third countries.”

Taming the wolf warrior — China’s rising aggression

5 August 2021

Thailand passed 20,000 official daily Covid cases yesterday. As depressing as it feels inevitable.

First jab done – that feels like there may be some light at the end of the tunnel.

2 August 2021

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,227,765 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019.

27 July 2021

kaewmala @Thai_Talk on twitter:
It makes me so angry that Thailand has come to this point despite a fairly solid public health system, despite capable medical personnel, despite so many talents in our country. Because of a bunch of greedy, incompetent old men who don’t give a fuck about anyone but themselves!

With some foresight, better planning and management we would not see this picture. Too few vaccine options, too late supply, not enough active testing, too limited and too expensive tests. Too few testing and vaccination sites. Crap registration systems. People are desperate.


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.

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 owned 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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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 – 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.