PHUKET, 15 June 2015 - Phuket International Airport has conducted an intensive screening and confirmed no findings of the MERS-CoV infection.

Phuket International Airport and the Health Control office have carried out intensive inspections in passengers that have used targeted airlines' services to identify any infection of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV), as part of the prevention measures against the spread of MERS-CoV.

Passengers from targeted airlines must pass through the Infrared Thermo Scan devices located at jet-bridges and escalators connecting to the international passengers' arrival hall.

No patients have been detected since the beginning of the health inspection operations from 1 May 2015.

The airlines that have been put on inspection watch are Korean Air, Asiana Airlines, Emirates Airlines, Etihad Airways, and Qatar Airways.

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 - The National Reform Council (NRC) says it can and will vote down the new constitution if the new charter does not sufficiently incorporate proposals from the reform body.

NRC member Wanchai Sonsiri confirmed that members have full autonomy over their vote on the new constitution. He said various committees have done their part in delivering amendment proposals to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) and hopes the charter drafters will heed their suggestions.

He indicated that the NRC would be dissolved after the vote, regardless of the verdict. On the other hand, the current CDC will be dissolved in the event that the constitution is rejected and a new CDC established in its place to restart the drafting process.

PHUKET, 15 June 2015 - The Tourism Associations of Phuket Province and Surat Thani’s Samui Island, will join the “Amazing Road Show to Kazakhstan 2015” organized by the Tourism Authority of Thailand in the Kazakh cities of Almaty and Astana from 15 to 20 June in order to open new tourist markets.

Vice President of the Phuket Tourism Association Bhuritt Maswongssa said that tens of thousands of Kazakhs travelled to Phuket each year. Most of them come to the island in the high season, by charter flights as no direct flight is available at present.

If an official effort to open direct flights between the two countries is successful, it will definitely raise the number of tourist arrivals from Kazakhstan, Mr. Bhuritt said, adding that a direct flight would also promote a year-round tourism as it will motivate more Kazakhs to visit Thailand in the low season.

According to Mr. Bhuritt, representatives of the Phuket Tourism Association will meet with CEOs of Air Astana, the national airline of Kazakhstan, on 17 June to discuss a possibility of opening a Phuket-Astana direct flight.

On 19 June, Thai delegates are scheduled to pay a courtesy call on Kazakh Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism in order to exchange views and information about their tourism industry and future cooperation.

CHUMPHON, 15 June 2015 - The Chumphon Technical College has expanded the "Fix It Center" program for its communities.

College Director Amnuay Nuanchan, as well as the Tha Sae district chief, executive committees, teachers, students and locals, have shown high interest in joining the program.

The program follows government policy to fix and maintain equipment for public use and for vocational job creation. It also aims to improve machine quality inspections at the community level.

The program can be divided into four objectives. These consist of Fixing, by setting up a center to repair machinery used in business and household appliances; Teaching, by establishing vocational training courses in mechanic professions; Creating, by innovating technology to boost product value and quality guarantee standards; and Encouraging basic sanitary and safety practices in both the work environment and consumers.

Activities in the program include donating repair tools to the center; establishing electrical appliance and agricultural equipment repair centers; automobile and motorcycle fixing centers; bakery and food demonstrations; and key chain-making demonstrations.

Mr. Amnuay explained that the program hopes to see locals apply knowledge gained from the program and the philosophy of Sufficiency Economy towards becoming self-sufficient, helping their neighbors, and building a stronger community. The program also provides first-hand experience for technical students.

The Fix It Center is providing services at the Tha Sae district office every weekend throughout the month of June.

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 - The Ministry of Public Health is urging families to destroy mosquito breeding grounds every 7 days in an attempt to keep dengue fever at bay during the rainy season. 

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 - A sustainable development strategy for the five southernmost border provinces of Thailand is pushed forward by a new tool dubbed “Cultural Capital” with the hope of create long-lasting peace in the region, says Permanent-Secretary of Culture Ministry Apinan Poshynanda.

According to him, the so-called cultural capital is precisely what is needed to solve the problems in the region and effectively respond to the arrival of ASEAN Community Integration.

“Understanding, Reaching Out, and Development” strategy has been implemented in the region by the Army and Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) Region 4 commander, in parallel with His Majesty the King's sufficiency Economy Policy.

The Culture Ministry believes such a sustainable thinking will turn the provinces into the multicultural hub of ASEAN, where people can jointly contribute to the development of their regions and boost confidence of neighboring countries toward Thailand, said Mr.Apinan.

In the short-term period, the cultural capital has been developed progressively under the cooperation of the Army and Isoc. Numerous activities have been held around Pattani Bay for the purpose.

UBON RATCHATHANI, 15 June 2015 - Public Health Minister Dr. Ratchata Ratchatanawin has instructed public health officials at the Thai-Laotian border to conduct rigorous health checks to prevent the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in Thailand.

According to Dr. Ratchata, the health officials at Chong Mek border crossing in Ubon Ratchathani province are expected to be extremely thorough when asking anyone entering Thai territory from Laos whether they exhibit flu-like symptoms.

Both the Public Health Minister and his deputy Dr. Somsak Chunharas visited the regional health control unit at Chong Mek to observe checkpoint operations. The minister said thermal scanners have been implemented at various points of entry to detect infected passengers.

If anyone is found to have come down with similar symptoms, they would be taken to the hospital immediately. Medical staff will strictly adhere to safety protocol to prevent an outbreak within the hospital.

Dr. Ratchata said the health control unit at Chong Mek is fully equipped to conduct preliminary health screenings over the Thai-Laotian border.

Any individuals entering Thailand will be asked to disclose their travel history, particularly if they were previously in South Korea, by showing their passports. More than 1,000 Thais and tourists cross Chong Mek daily.

BANGKOK, 15 June 2015 - The Royal Irrigation Department (RID) has disclosed that the water levels in 4 major dams remain critical. The amount of water released will be lowered by half to assure sufficient supply of water for domestic consumption.

RID Deputy Director General Suthep Noipiroj said the water levels in Bhumipol, Sirikit, Kwae Noi, Bamrungdan and Pasakcholasit dams are critically low, declining by 30 million cubic meters altogether since yesterday.

The rapid decline has prompted the RID to decide to cut the amount of water released into the rivers from 60 million cubic meters daily to 30 million cubic meters today. According to Mr. Suthep, there would be enough water for consumption for 40 more days following the move.

However, more rain is expected at the end of July, said Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chawait Chukhajorn. He also urged farmers in Chaitnat and Ayutthaya to put off their crop growing until there is enough rain to sustain farming activities.

BUENG KAN, 15 June 2015, Bueng Kan province held a major blood drive in Seka District Hospital, on Sunday the 14th marking World Blood Donor Day 2015.

The event replenished stores for cases of emergency and commemorated Dr. Karl Landsteiner, the Austrian biologist and physician who pioneered blood transfusions.

The provincial Red Cross office organized the blood drive in response to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement’s policy to express gratitude to blood donors. The organization is currently promoting its campaign to encourage people to donate blood every three months.

The fair is the 12th of its kind in Thailand. Organizers said 60 percent of donors give blood once a year and only 7 percent of blood donors donate four times per year.

The Red Cross has encouraged blood donations every three months, claiming that giving blood promotes better health for donors and ensures a sufficient supply of blood for patients.

PETCHABURI, 15 June 2015, The Petchaburi Provincial Administration office held an annual seminar on Sundy the 14th educating its officials.

Organizers explained that the event is in accordance with the 2007 law, which states that each province must be able to draft its own budget without help from the central government.

The law was implemented in 2009. Budget and operation plans are crucial tools for local administrations to govern their provinces and connect with communities.

During the event, several senior civil servants took the stage to give lectures on their experiences to attendees.