Strict curfews and alcohol bans: this Bolton mum says Thailand lockdown is safer than UK
LOCKDOWN restrictions in the UK may seem excessive at times, but one woman from Farnworth argues that much more could be done in the fight against coronavirus.
Maria McAfee, 52, has shared her experiences of lockdown in Thailand where she is currently volunteering. The country has enforced strict measures including a night-time curfew and a ban on alcohol sales to ensure its population stay safe.
There have been 2,988 cases of Covid-19 reported in the Southeast Asian country, with 54 deaths recorded since the outbreak began.
Thailand is twice the size of the UK and it has two million more people, yet the number of cases and deaths due to the virus are minimal compared to the UK.
Miss McAfee, who moved out to the island Koh Phangan in December after selling her house in Horwich, believes that the restrictions enforced over there have successfully controlled the spread of the virus.
The mother of four said: “They’re not letting people on the island unless they’re going into quarantine and they know where you’ve been. They check your temperature when you get off the boat.
“Everyone has to wear a mask and carry hand sanitiser, which you can get hold of easily. There’s been a ban on the sale of alcohol too since April 10.
“We have a curfew at 10pm at night, if you’re out after then you get arrested and sent to jail for two years or have to pay a massive fine, it’s really strict.
“It’s like a ghost town during the day. They’ve closed all the borders, I thought it was mad how flights were still travelling to the UK.
“But it’s obviously working here, we’ve had no coronavirus on the island apart from one case a month ago, and that person recovered. I think I am safer here than I am in England.”
Thailand has started easing some of the lockdown restrictions; the alcohol ban has now been lifted and public spaces such as restaurants are opening up.
However, hundreds of migrant workers in the country’s hospitality industry have been left stranded and hungry due to the country’s border closures.
Miss McAfee has been volunteering to help those in need. She said: “I’ve been distributing food out to them and showing them how to grow their own food. People are so hungry. But the community spirit is amazing, on my birthday in April I helped feed 430 people.
“It does get tough. I worry about my family back at home, but I think I am safer here.”
“Even if I wanted to get home I wouldn’t be able to.
“I think there are rescue flights back to the UK but there’s been no domestic flights here for weeks and I wouldn’t want to leave the island and risk being stranded in the mainland.
“I miss my family a lot, especially my children, but I know I am better off here.”