The first quarter of 2020 will be remembered for the global onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is a highly contagious virus that causes severe acute respiratory infection and can lead to death. As such, countries worldwide are restricting travel, services, and recommending self-quarantine to limit further spread of the virus.
AIT’s COVID-19 Task Force closely monitored the global situation as well as developments from within Thailand since the onset of the virus outbreak. On Wednesday March 18, 2020, AIT announced a temporary campus-wide work-from-home order and a transition towards online learning until March 31. A majority of AIT students returned to their home countries, with approximately 600 remaining on campus. As of March 30, 2020, AIT extended the work-from-home order through April 30 due to the increasingly severe global pandemic. GIC has thus been following AIT’s work-from-home order, convening business as usual by conducting online meetings.
As of May 14, 2020 there are 4,347,015 cases of COVID-19 confirmed worldwide, with more than 297,000 deaths attributed to the virus. The United States leads as the country with the highest number of confirmed cases at 1,390,416 (530,006). Comparatively, Thailand ranks 68th worldwide with 3,017 confirmed cases. It should be noted that the number of cases is dynamic, with an increasing number of infected and deaths every day.
Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland, USA) has an excellent web portal which displays up-to-date figures on COVID-19 confirmed cases, recoveries, and deaths. Data can be accessed through an interactive map with information available from Admin 0 through Admin 2 levels. The COVID-19 web portal can be found using the following link: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/map.html
A majority of the cases in Thailand have been attributed to public social gatherings and international travelers who embarked from East Asian countries with large amounts of infected individuals. In response, the Thai government announced nationwide shopping mall closures on Sunday March 22, 2020. Other venues receiving closure orders included cinemas, spas, amusement parks, restaurants (except takeout), educational institutions, sporting
venues, beauty salons, and cock fighting events. Travel to Thailand has also been restricted for at-risk countries to restrict virus spread in Thailand. This policy resulted in rescinding visa exemptions for Italy, South Korea, and Hong Kong, as well as temporarily removing visa-on- arrival privileges for 18 countries, including China.
WHO has a number of recommendations to reduce spread of the COVID-19 virus. As you may already know, these recommendations include: frequent handwashing, maintaining a social distance of at least 1 meter, avoiding having hands make contact with facial mucus membranes, and practicing respiratory hygiene. Finally, be proactive about seeking medical assistance if you experience fever, coughing, or difficulty breathing.
The GIC team extends its best wishes to all the friends of the Center across the globe. We sincerely hope that you and your loved ones remain safe and healthy throughout this pandemic.