On November 6th, La Monde, one of the most popular French newspapers posted an international news article with a headline declaring “Thailand rapidly mobilised to contain Covid from the beginning to control the outbreak.”
The article discusses the efficiency of the COVID crisis management in many countries. In relation to Thailand the article comments that the Thai success has been “due to the speed of the Thai authorities to start checking the health of passengers at airports before China reported the outbreak to the World Health Organization. Thailand is much stricter than France.”
The article says that Thailand shut down the country and declared a public health emergency in March 2020, when four (only) Thai people had died. The Thais were uniting to wear masks. In the same period France has 674 deaths, but the French are not concerned with hygiene, and Thai culture has helped reduce the epidemic.
Thais greet each other by paying homage to and respecting distance, not holding hands, hugging or kissing on the cheeks like the French, and most importantly, Thai health workers actively monitor patients and close people. And there is a network of over one million village volunteers (MCH) actively supporting the work of the Ministry of Public Health. Until the World Health Organization gave the title that “Anonymous hero”.
French people may wonder why Thai people who are usually not careful with frequent traffic accidents because they don’t wear a helmet or drive drunk; but when faced with the COVID there was a change in behaviour?
Dr. Supaporn Watcharaphatsadee, Deputy Head of the Emerging Disease Health Sciences Center, is quoted as saying, “Usually, we Thai people may not be very organised. But when we see the impact this disease has on public health systems and hospitals of a well-developed country like France, we immediately realised that we should not take risks and be as careful as possible ”
(Le Monde is the number one newspaper in France. It has the highest number of readership in the country, approximately 2.42 million, and has over 415,117 offline and online members).