Thailand Coronavirus Updates: COVID-19 Crisis Leaving Foreigners Out In The Cold, Extreme Xenophobic Behavior By Certain Locals
Updates: While Thailand management of the COVID-19 crisis can be considered as excellent by the intellectually challenged in the sense to date, the country has only 2518 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 disease and only a mere 35 dead so far as claimed by local authorities, foreigners are bearing the brunt of upfront racialism and discrimination.
To date daily cases are also ‘seemingly declining’ according to authorities while they also state that the country has more than enough medical equipment, drugs and test kits to deal with the situation. The mask issues has also been resolved with millions of mask available according to the authorities, along with local media showing news on TV of queues of locals waiting to purchase mask at various points around the country. (However no social distancing being enforced as seen on these TV segments!) One of the local media reported that the country now has 200,000 tablets (not doses as what we always thought) of favipiravir, the experimental drug to treat COVID-19 that does not have any proper studies to validate that it works so far. (we are not sure how many tablets are used in the course of the treatment for a single patient according to local guidelines)
There was a stage a few weeks ago where many of the ‘rich’ public hospitals in Bangkok were appealing for funds and Thais as usual without questioning were donating non-stop out of their good hearts. Even the poor were donating not realizing that maybe there could be a time that they might not be getting the best treatments at these very same hospitals as only the rich, influential and corrupted officials and their families would most probably be given priority.
While these hospitals amassed hundreds of millions of baht, the poorer upcountry rural hospitals and doctors got nothing. Some rural doctors are afraid to even ask for supplies or to ask for donations as they might be reprimanded by their superiors or the upper ups at the provincial offices or by authorities in Bangkok.
There was also the issue that many were complaining that medical products and equipment were being controlled, and even when well-wishers wanted to bring these in, they were exposed to difficult red tapes. (Do not understand why in such a health crisis, the authorities should have waived off all red tapes and procedures instead of enforcing all these rules despite the fact that some politicians had claimed that medical supplies could easily brought in.) Some shipping agents were complaining (we cannot confirm if this was true or not but someone should investigate) that customs officials were asking for varies kinds of tax duties on these goods including PPEs etc that were to be donated. Though there were formal procedures for getting in donated medical supplies cleared without any duties, the red tape normally involved could mean that it could take months while people died!
But having said that, from the so many media photo opportunities and coverages in social columns, it seems almost all the major Thai corporations handled all their annual CSR activities in one go and claimed their tax breaks in the last few weeks as there should be millions of PPEs in the country if all the reports are true.
Also authorities dismissed circulating rumors as fake news about people claiming that hospitals were overflowing and that there was not enough hospital
beds. The authorities said that none of the hospitals were over stretched and that there was more than enough beds to take care of all infected that were not much in the first place.
We were however confused as in ThaiRath, the leading Thai media portal, it said that there was about 31,984 individuals under observation. https://www.thairath.co.th/home
Meanwhile, it was also rumoured that the Thai-Indian community would be badly affected by the COVID-19 crisis in Thailand as most have underlying chronic health diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases coupled with the fact they have unhealthy lifestyles and diets and do not exercise much. They also tend to not spend much on necessary health supplements. Already one Thai-indian businessmen had died while there are quiet a number from the community already hospitalised.
The Thai authorities also announced today that all Thais, who are infected by the COVID-19 disease, would have all their medical bills, be it at private or public hospitals covered by the government.
However this does not extend to any foreigners. Foreigners in the last few weeks have been discriminated against in ways that were unthinkable.
Some foreigners were complaining that they were not allowed to buy masks at certain sales points as the staff there had said that these were only for Thais.
Then it was reported that there were local Thai facebook groups that were rallying support to get other locals to attacks foreigners who did not wear masks although it was never mentioned that some foreigners might have problems getting hold of supplies in the first case.
Then they were cases of foreigners being overcharged at private hospitals, being turned away at public hospitals, unable to buy supplies at pharmacies etc
Western foreigners reported of being pulled out of buses and cars at check points and being treated disrespectfully.
Yes there has been cases of the lower end tourists who were breaking rules in Phuket, Pattaya and Chiangmai by not adhering to the curfews and having group parties with whores and drugs. However these were only a minority and all foreigners should not be judged as irresponsible and the same.
Besides the Health Minister openly abusing Western Caucasian expats and calling them names and even in some of the daily media briefings , Caucasian foreigners are being singled out, none of the Western embassies have lodged any protest so far nor have they provide proper support for their citizens.
We at Thailand Medical News did mention that we are starting a paid group that have access to premium content and also services for expats in Thailand wishing to join. Membership fees starts at U$S650 and we are limiting membership to only 800 members. To date we have about 217 members and those interested have to send us an email and also mobile contact number to email@example.com . We only respond to those that have supplied both details. We will also be needing additional details later including address, age, underlying medical conditions and also which medical hospitals you have been going to and also which doctors etc. All members also have to sign a confidentiality form. Signed up members with be provided with a complimentary survivor’s kit.
For more on Thailand Coronavirus
Updates, keep logging on to Thailand Medical News