Koh Samui, a Safe Place to Call Home
It may come as a surprise to many that Thailand had emerged as one of the most competent when a pandemic hits. Thailand declared the state of emergency on 25 March 2020 and later rolled out numerous strict measures including a curfew from 10:00 PM - 4:00 AM every day to limit time of activities, as well as a ban on sales of alcoholic beverages. Its tight control provide a satisfying results the new cases in Thailand is now stabilizing at single digit number to update (zero new case on 13 May 2020) a significant improvement from the 188 new cases on 22 March 2020, while Koh Samui is COVID-free for 38 days by now.
Thailand is among the countries most prepared to tackle a global pandemic according to the study from Global Health Security Index. It is ranked sixth in the world, above Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, and it comes out to top in Asia, above more industrialized countries such as South Korea. The study looks at six categories – prevention, detection, response, health system, commitment to improve, and vulnerability to biological threats – and assesses countries’ preparedness through 140 related questions. Thai Government has also extended a series of immigration law to cover the well-being of expats and tourists stranded in Thailand during the pandemic by easing the complicated process for visa renewal and allowing foreign nationals to stay in Thailand for the duration.
Many early cases of COVID-19 patients in Thailand were foreign nationals and soon we saw the heart-warming reports of them showing appreciation for the Thais professionalism, hospitality, and their dedication to treating the sick people. In one instance a French businessman was hospitalized in Samui after traveling from the Philippines contracting the virus along his journey was showing his. He received treatment from a hospital in Surat Thani and later his health improved after a 18 days care in the hands of Thai medical professionals. His strong praised for the affordability and effectiveness of Thai healthcare system is echoed by other foreign citizens who contracted the virus during the early outbreak.
In fact, Thailand has long been a destination for medical tourism, receiving patients from nearby countries less advanced in terms of medical facility such as Myanmar, Laos, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Vietnam and Bhutan. A large portion (around 58%) of Thailand’s medical tourists come from the Middle East countries including, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Iran, Jordan and Turkey. Thailand, known for its hospitality, medical expertise and affordability, makes it one of the top choices as a retired destinationin the world.
During the pandemic, Thai people’s generosity is especially evident. Donations and aides are coming in droves for the needy, and acts of kindness for the front line workers are made through donations from food, boba milk tea, to money and PPE. As for the less fortunate, many Thai restaurants have set up stalls in front of their now ‘dine-out only’ facilities to hand out free food for those who are struggling to feed their families. All of these actions and activities are further promoted with the help of Social Media, everyday more people step in to offer what they can to help those less unfortunate than themselves.
In an era of greater global integration, where we can now choose to live wherever we want to with little restrictions, healthcare system is one of the main factors to consider for the move. As people around the world are spending their time at home now more than ever, Thailand, this time has emerged as the top choice for a safe haven. With its beautiful people, natural resources, and superb healthcare system, ones cannot have a better place to call home than Thailand.
Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, Thailand
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