By Barry Kenyon

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Gaybutton wrote:
Tue Dec 08, 2020 9:43 am
Will an effective vaccine solve the problem? We just have no way of knowing yet.
the critical distinction is between the vaccine being effective preventing disease v's preventing infection

if the vaccine effectively stops mild or severe disease symptoms then that is good for the vaccinated individual because they do not feel sick but it is bad for controlling virus spread in the community - the asymptomatic vaccinated individual still sheds the virus and can infect others

but if the vaccine effectively stops infection then that is good for the vaccinated individual because they do not feel sick and it is also good for controlling virus spread in the community - the vaccinated individual does not shed the virus and thus cannot infect others so transmission is halted

but as you say, for the current vaccines we do not know this fully yet - and it does make calculations of vaccination levels required to achieve heard immunity more interesting!
I’m nervous now when people cough near me, I would be much more comfortable if they would far cough.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by gera »

Thailand extends long stay visa for all countries.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... as-for-all

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Mid-December updates on Thai immigration entry requirements

By Barry Kenyon

December 15, 2020

Potential visitors to Thailand now have a dozen or so avenues to fit themselves into a category to apply for a certificate of entry from their local Thai embassy which in turn requires a stack of documentation including Covid-19 insurance and pre-departure health checks. Currently, all arrivals are subject to 15-days quarantine, although this has become a simpler procedure now that government-registered hotels can advertise on Agoda.

The Thai authorities initially allowed select groups of foreigners to return last July. The earliest categories were diplomats, permanent residents (with a police red book), students and work-related applicants. There was also a curious medical tourist clause which, however, required the applicant to prove he or she had an illness which could not be treated in the home country. Foreigners who had a Thai wife or family to support were added to the list in August, ostensibly for humanitarian reasons.

More categories were progressively added. It is now possible to apply to return for those holding the Elite visa or owning a property in their own name, although the detail can be complex and the website of the appropriate Thai embassy should always be consulted. It is clear that the Thai government is encouraging rich foreigners to get involved. The lure of being able to work without needing to apply separately for a work permit from the Ministry of Labour is also being actively promoted for the most serious investors.

Foreigners applying for any type of visa based on retirement, including “O”, “O/A” or “O/X”, can now request a certificate of entry from the appropriate embassy. But all three now appear to require a general health insurance policy of 400,000 baht (inpatient) and 40,000 baht (outpatient) in addition to a Covid-19 specific insurance to the value of US$100,000. It is easy to apply on-line for Covid-specific insurance for anyone up to the age of 99, with variable costs according to the country of origin and not the age of the applicant, but the general health insurance condition is a very different issue. That can prove difficult or impossible for those in their 70s and 80s with or without significant precondition illnesses.

The most recent relaxation of the regulations is for tourists. They can apply for a single-entry tourist visa (60+45 days) or a Special Tourist Visa (90+90+90 days). Apart from the time difference, a significant point is that the STV requires the double whammy insurance (general health cover as well as Covid) whereas the single-entry tourist visa needs only Covid protection. The latest opportunity is that the visa-exempt 30 days (+45 on request) for some countries, including the UK, US and most of Europe, has also been resurrected. But embassy permission is still required and Covid19 insurance and quarantine are still mandatory.

The worldwide arrival of vaccination programs are unlikely to affect Thai immigration rules in the near or medium-term future. The country is not scheduled to begin its program significantly before mid-year and it is currently unclear if available vaccines prevent the patient from spreading the virus to others in addition to offering personal protection. There are also ongoing global concerns about fake vaccination certificates.

These issues indicate that there can be no return to 2019 (when all you needed was a passport and an air ticket to satisfy immigration rules) any time soon. Moreover, the future trajectory of the pesky virus is still very much an unknown factor. The prime minister very recently warned that gatherings or meetings of more than five people could be banned if the situation in Thailand for community transmissions got any worse. Hold on to your hats, this could still be a bumpy ride.

https://www.pattayamail.com/coronavirus ... nts-337432

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

Thailand unique throughout Southeast Asia in its visa amnesty policy for stranded foreigners

By Barry Kenyon

December 17, 2020

Thai authorities have issued detailed and ongoing instructions, from March to October 2020, about the visa plight of foreigners unwilling or unable to quit the country. There could be 100,000 still here, now mostly enjoying 60 days extensions or volunteer visas at varying prices. But neighboring countries have stated very little since land borders were closed and the pandemic disrupted air travel comprehensively throughout the region.

Cambodia has had the clearest policy. The General Department of Immigration stated this month any foreigner who arrived after January 1 2020, and now has an expired visa, could continue to enjoy amnesty “until further notice” although General Keo Vanthorn added that he expected visitors to leave when they could. However, lingering foreigners could not work on expired visas and must register their details on the Foreigners Present in Cambodia app.

Myanmar has one of the strictest lockdown policies with a nightly curfew (midnight to 4.00 am) and a ban on entertainment venues and public gatherings. Foreigners with expired visas were informed in September that they would not be prosecuted if forced to remain and that announcement does not appear to have been updated. Commercial flights in and out of the country are banned and the only relief-flights are between Yangon and Incheon in South Korea. The latest information is that anyone arriving at Yangon airport to depart will find all the shops closed and the aircon turned off. This is not a fun country.

Laos is one of the few countries in the region to allow restaurants and karaokes to remain open, under strict conditions, and stranded foreigners are not asked to update their visas. However, they must inform their embassy before departure which in turn must inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for clearance. Flights from Vientiane are available only spasmodically with Bangkok, Seoul and Kuala Lumpur the permitted destinations. There is no curfew currently in operation.

Vietnam is allowing most visa overstayers to stay at least until December 31 2020, with a new announcement apparently pending. However, they must take some action by completing a temporary residence certificate and health status report. Anyone wishing to leave needs to inform the relevant embassy and will likely have to visit an immigration office in person. Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia to have a police unit dedicated to “stopping the organization and brokering of emigration” which is clause 349 of the penal code.

Malaysia and the Philippines have similar policies with travellers able to leave provided they inform their embassies and contact the appropriate immigration bureau. Mask wearing is compulsory in crowded places and on public transport. Manila immigration is due to update its policy before the end of the year. Both countries warn foreign nationals and their own citizens that if they leave, they might be refused readmittance as entry policies are subject to frequent changes.

It follows that Thailand has a far more detailed immigration policy dealing with coronavirus than any of its Asean partners. The same is true of foreigner entry rather than exit. Whilst the Bangkok authorities are straining every muscle to encourage tourists and non-tourists to return, with 14 days quarantine on arrival being the major constraint, all other regional countries are still banning tourism across the board and limiting foreigner entry to noticeably narrow groups. You probably don’t want to go to Myanmar for example. If you did, you would need to show the authorities “overwhelming” justification. Pass on that one.

https://www.pattayamail.com/news/thaila ... ers-337610

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by bluemoon »

? can Lao citizens travel back and forth into Thailand

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

bluemoon wrote:
Fri Dec 18, 2020 2:37 am
? can Lao citizens travel back and forth into Thailand
The short answer is no.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

Covid-19 is the fork in the road for Pattaya’s future

By Barry Kenyon

December 27, 2020

Lots of optimists still believe that once the pandemic is conquered – assuming that happens in our lifetimes – Pattaya will get back to operating its lively bars, sexy clubs and soapy massages. All for the benefit of we westerners. Yet there are three big reasons why that simply won’t happen.

Firstly, the traditional vacationers to Pattaya from Europe, Australia and the United States have been declining in numbers for many years. For example, according to government figures, the number of Brits arriving in the country has halved in the last 10 years. The reasons are likely complex, but surely include steeply rising prices here, alternatives to Pattaya nightlife in Eastern Europe and alienating/time-consuming bureaucracies such as the TM30 reporting system (now largely abandoned) which initially fined luckless holidaymakers if their Thai host did not report their arrival. The marketing damage, some say, was very extensive.

Covid-19 is adding another factor in the rise in airfares. According to Skytrax, Airbus’ airline-data base, the price of a long-haul economy-class ticket has risen 34 percent in the last 12 months. Most flights into Thailand are currently semi-commercial with passengers mostly Thais returning home and a smaller number of foreigners who have managed to secure a certificate of entry from their local Thai embassy. Some pundits point to the decline in international oil prices, but jet fuel amounts to only 20-25 percent of an airline’s operating expenses.

All flashing indicators post-coronavirus are that airlines will significantly cut back on available capacity by reducing the number of flights and routes to increase the load factor. This will increase revenue only by raising ticket prices, especially on long haul routes. In other words, the long-established decline in traditional tourists markets to Pattaya in particular is not going to reverse itself. Vacation trips to Thailand are also going to increase in price if travel insurance becomes compulsory and some version of a health passport is eventually required.

Secondly, the expat population of Pattaya is also changing fast. Thus, many fun-loving European retirees, married or not, are now in their 70s and older. As they die off, they are not being replaced by others of the same ilk, but by younger and richer expats who are being actively encouraged by the Thai government. There are now lawful ways to work in Thailand without a traditional work permit, whilst the government is attempting to lure foreign investors by promises of residency if they buy condominiums or sponsor big-time commercial enterprises. Of course, many of the new generation of expats (often with family members benefitting from preferential immigration requirements) are from China or Southeast Asia rather than from Leeds or Doncaster.

Thirdly, it is now official Pattaya policy at city hall to reduce the reliance on tourism by 60 percent by 2025, an aspiration heartily endorsed by government spokespersons. Pattaya’s proximity to the much underrated Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) means that she is favoured by investors with already more than 1.5 trillion baht going into airport improvements, new auto-routes, deep sea ports and hi-speed trains. Not to mention a Pattaya-city tram service and a much bigger cruise terminal. Meanwhile, the government is pumping 775 million baht into Pattaya infrastructure improvements at Koh Larn and Naklua town. They do not remotely resemble the deserted Walking Street or the customer-desperate Sexy Soi Six.

There is no question that post pandemic Pattaya (or neo-Pattaya as the local authorities now prefer) will be a powerful vacation and business resort interwoven with the ever-expanding EEC. Europeans, Australians and Americans will increasingly be marginalized – over the years – as Pattaya assumes a new Asian identity. Of course, the human commodity of sex will continue to be bought and sold. But it will become a seller’s market with far fewer seedy outlets desperate for customers. If horizontal leisure pursuits are your thing, expect to pay a lot more. In due course that is.

https://www.pattayamail.com/uncategoriz ... ure-338620

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

Barry Kenyon wrote:
Sun Dec 27, 2020 2:47 pm
it is now official Pattaya policy at city hall to reduce the reliance on tourism by 60 percent by 2025, an aspiration heartily endorsed by government spokespersons.
Once again it's "Let's try to change the Pattaya paradigm." In my opinion that aspiration is nothing more than a knee-jerk reaction, so typical of Thailand's powers-that-be, to the current Covid crisis.

A bomb was not dropped on Pattaya. A volcano didn't erupt. Another tsunami didn't happen. I see no reason why there can't be a return of tourism and a city operating the way it used to be if that is the way the Thai locals wish to make their living. I wish the powers-that-be would stop trying to meddle and just let Pattaya be Pattaya. I believe all this "help" they're trying to provide will do infinitely more harm than good.

You want to preserve Pattaya as a tourist mecca? Start by dispensing with so many absurd rules and regulations. The beach rules. The guesthouses that can't accept guests unless they stay a minimum of a full month. Entertainment venues that have to close at specified hours so that all of us adults can be treated as if we are little children. Prostitution illegality that nobody pays any attention to anyway. You know - little things like that . . .

Powers-that-be, I certainly agree with improving the infrastructure, building the tram, controlling the floods, dealing with the air and water pollution, etc. Other than things like that, how about ceasing trying to control how adults want to entertain themselves and how other adults want to provide that entertainment. Stop acting as if sex is something bad and ought to be prohibited. This is Pattaya. It's not Rebecca's Sunnybrook Farm. In other words, just butt out.

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

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Pattaya visitors and locals wonder if “the last supper” threatens restaurants again

By Barry Kenyon

January 2, 2021

The news that the government’s top health committee, Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), is recommending that Bangkok and high-risk coronavirus provinces should ban in-dining in restaurants and cafes has sent a shudder through the Pattaya community. An edict from the Chonburi governor’s office – his jurisdiction covers Pattaya – on December 30 did indeed prohibit in-dining but was reversed on New Year’s Eve to the delight of restaurant owners and customers.

But the CCSA is to meet the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration within the next 48 hours to “request” that restaurants in the capital be restricted to providing take-away meals in order to reduce the potential worsening of the Covid-19 crisis. The BMA has said that they want further discussions because of the potential impact on unemployment. The prime minister has stated that each province must decide for itself the measures necessary to combat the pesky virus. He has ruled out a nationally-imposed lockdown.

The downside is that Chonburi, on the most recent figures available, had the second biggest number of daily infections after Samut Sakhon. The Chonburi governor, in his New Year’s Eve edict, said he was restoring in-dining because the province was showing good progress in combatting outbreaks which were thought to be centred on markets and casinos. Virus testing in vulnerable communities, including guest workers from neighboring countries, has been stepped up.

The question of in-dining in relation to fighting the disease has been controversial in many countries. In Hong Kong, business owners pointed out there was no evidence that open air dining was a significant threat. In New York, activists maintained that the huge impact on worker unemployment meant that the proposed solution was worse than the stated problem. However, those arguments were not successful in preventing the imposition of take-out meals only in both jurisdictions.

The stakes are particularly high in Pattaya because of the high number of workers in the meals industry. One idea currently being put forward locally is that restaurants should limit numbers to two people at a table and be forced to operate at half capacity. At the moment, restaurants are instructed only to take temperatures, offer sanitizer, observe undefined social distancing and record customers’ names and phone numbers.

But many medical gurus say that all the rules are difficult to enforce in practice. Although customers in Pattaya are supposed to drink alcohol only whilst eating, there were many examples last spring – during a similar crackdown – of miscreants ordering a small sandwich whilst slowly consuming umpteen bottles of beer or bottles of wine with friends. Moreover, some establishments were found to be selling snacks to justify alcohol sales even though they lacked the required food and hygiene certificates. The Ministry of Health complained that it lacked the number of inspectors to check all the defaulters. Some restaurants and customers have not registered for the recommended Thaichana tracing app and are reliant on individuals’ honesty in writing down their names and phone numbers on a hand-written list.

It is known that the Chonburi leaders are painfully aware of the problems associated with mass unemployment as the city has already become a tourist ghost town owing to the collapse of mass international tourism throughout 2020. The problem, of course, is that Covid-19 is no respecter of special pleading or human misery. The provincial governor now carries a grave responsibility. Literally.

https://www.pattayamail.com/news/pattay ... ain-339170

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Re: By Barry Kenyon

Post by Gaybutton »

The list of venue types ordered closed and restriction requirements have been posted on this board and in the English language news media enough times that if you involve yourself in any violations, there is not much of an excuse if stopped by the police.

In other words, stay away from any questionable activities. If someone tells you it is ok to go anywhere or do anything questionable, make very certain you are not violating the rules - and be very careful about who is telling you. Be careful who you trust.

Miller: "You don't trust anyone, do you?"
Stavros: "That is why I have lived so long."

- David Niven (Miller), Anthony Quinn (Stavros), 'The Guns of Navarone'
_______________________________________________________________

Police blotter: Pattaya expats at increased risk of arrest during pandemic

By Barry Kenyon

January 10, 2021

Pattaya’s beleaguered expat population should take extra care not to break the national and provincial rules on alcohol, drugs, gambling and partying. Acting chief of Chonburi police, Pol Major General Thiti Saengsawang, warned that crackdowns would continue because of the health dangers posed by coronavirus in the province. He recently organized the raid on a Jomtien condominium, hiding a nefarious gambling den in two adjoining flats, in which 16 non-Thais were arrested.

Other recent arrests involving foreigners have included alleged miscreants at a crowded Pattaya birthday party – social mixing is currently outlawed – together with incidents involving booze and prohibited substances at beach areas and in pubs. Total numbers of arrested foreigners are not released officially, but press reports and social media blogs suggest about 100 since Christmas 2020 in the Greater Pattaya area. However, crimes involving Europeans, Americans and Australians are more likely to attract attention in the English-language media than those concerning guest workers from Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.

Witnesses say many of the farang involved are scarcely hardened felons but have been misled by their peers or by Thai acquaintances. “They are usually retirees or vacationers who have not yet returned to their home country,” said Khun Anan, a lawyer called to the scene of a recent mass arrest. “Because Pattaya is boring right now with entertainment places shuttered, some farang are easily seduced by claims from friends that a certain hotel pool is a private area, exempt from anti-booze regulations, or that gambling is OK provided playing cards rather than dice are used.” Or the other way round. Fake news of course.

Often, arrested foreigners plead with police to let them go as there has been a misunderstanding. In a recent case involving a local pub illegally serving booze, an Englishman told a startled police captain he had turned up only when assured by friends that police had already been paid off. A Frenchman claimed that he was innocently looking for his long-lost brother and was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yet another said that his Thai girlfriend had assured him that the alcohol restrictions had been cancelled that evening on national TV. 100 percent OK. But she turned out to be the daughter of the owner of the raided bar.

The maximum penalties in the proclamations look very harsh – sums of 200,000 baht and/or two years in jail appear frequently in press reports. In reality, there is little sign that the penalties are being so rigorously enforced – unless the individual is the owner of the enterprise, or work permits are involved, or when drugs for possession or trafficking are found. That’s a different story. But simply being present at a booze party might result in a fine of 50,000 baht following a night in the police cells and a bail period lasting several weeks. You might have a lawyer to pay as well.

Very minor infractions, such as sitting in a close group on the beach or being without a mask outdoors, are usually handled by a warning rather than an arrest for first-time lapses. However, the most recent provincial edict specifies a fine of up to 20,000 for non-mask wearers in public. The lucky ones might even escape with an oral warning.

Most observers say these penalties together with all the accompanying dislocation of private life are sufficient to prevent reoccurrence. A bail broker at Pattaya court told Pattaya Mail that jail and deportation are seldom inflicted on farang for small breaches of the regulations because of the dangers inherent in herding extra people into overcrowded prisons, whether serving their sentences or awaiting deportation procedures which can be lengthy. Nonetheless, better be safe than sorry. Be sure your sins will find out you out. Even in Sin City.

https://www.pattayamail.com/news/police ... mic-340029

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