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Govt: turning away Chinese tourists is "too much"

Medical staff members wearing protective clothing to help stop the spread of the deadly virus which began in Wuhan, walk next to patients waiting for medical attention at the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital. (AFP photo)

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Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said authorities are still working out measures to prevent further spread of the coronavirus and said turning away travellers from China is possibly asking too much and too soon.

"China has imposed a lockdown. Hong Kong has suspended classes. Each country has its own conditions and plans to handle the situation. Thailand has done a really good job in handling a situation like this.

"Sometimes we take proactive measures and sometimes we are on the defence. We have to make sure our responses don't affect people's daily lives and economic systems," he said.

Mr Anutin said the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Thailand has reached eight while the accumulated number of cases under investigation stands at 84. Of the eight confirmed cases, seven are Chinese people and the other is a Thai national. Five have been discharged from hospitals. Of the 84 cases under investigation, 45 have been discharged and 39 remain in isolation at hospitals.

A number of suspected cases were reported in several provinces including Chiang Mai, Nakhon Sawan and Rayong on Sunday.

Earlier, the ministry asked Chi­nese students to delay their return to Thailand by at least two weeks as a precaution.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry will on Monday host a meeting to review a plan for Thais in China as the number of confirmed cases and deaths from the outbreak of the new coronavirus continues to rise.

One measure could involve evacuation of Thais from Wuhan. The death toll in China from the virus has risen to 56, while more cases have been found in many countries including Australia, France, Malaysia and Nepal.

Busadee Santipitaks, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said Thai officials in China are monitoring the situation closely and are in constant contact with Thai students and communities there. She said there are 54 Thai students and about 10 workers in the spa business in Wuhan and all are safe.

A Thai student in Wuhan wrote on Facebook the students barely have enough food and were worried about contracting the virus. She wanted the government to help evacuate them.

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accumulate : to get more and more of something over a period of time - เก็บสะสม, สะสม, สั่งสมมานาน

barely : only just; almost not - เกือบจะไม่

coronavirus (n): any of a group of viruses that cause a variety of diseases in humans and other animals -

defence : protecting somebody/something from damage, attack, etc. - การป้องกัน, การต้าน, การพิทักษ์

discharge : to allow someone officially to leave somewhere, especially a hospital or a court of law - ได้รับอนุญาตให้ออกจาก

evacuate : to leave a place because it is not safe - อพยพออกจากพื้นที่

evacuation : moving people from a place of danger to a safer place - การอพยพ

handle : to be able deal with a situation - ควบคุมได้, จัดการได้

impose : to force someone to accept something - กำหนด,บังคับ

isolation : the state of being separated form other people -

lockdown (noun): an official order to control the movement of people or vehicles because of a dangerous situation -

monitor : to regularly check someone/something - จับตาดู เฝ้าระมัดระวัง

precaution : an action taken to protect people or things against possible harm or trouble - การป้องกันไว้ก่อน

proactive : taking action and making changes before they need to be made, rather than waiting for problems to be developed - อย่างมั่นใจ. ซึ่งเข้าควบคุมสถานการณ์,

virus (noun): a living thing, too small to be seen without a microscope, that causes infectious disease in people, animals and plants - เชื้อไวรัส


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