While Thailand enjoyed low number of cases since May of 2020, by late November and beginning December there were reports of new cases along the border between Thailand and Mynamar impacting provinces such as Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. As the government worked tireless to contain these cases, unexpectedly the number of cases went up to a thousand cases over night in late December 2020. There were 914 cases out of 2051 tested at shrimp market in Mahachai, Samut Sakon, 84 of 1099 were tested positive at Thai Union and 91 out of 653 cases at the Thai Seafood Market. Soon the pandemic spread to major cities in the countries. Saraburi reported 11 cases in early January. The Thai government responded immediately with strict measures. In following the news and reports closely, the university has been proactive at taking appropriate steps to ensure safety on our campus. A number of meetings were held to explore appropriate implementations. The administrators kept close contact with the District Public Health Office making sure that all regulations as stipulated by the Province of Saraburi and the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation are implemented on our campus. Steps are being taken to address those returning from restricted zones such as the six provinces (Samut Sakon, Chongburi, Chantaburi, Rayong, Samut Prakan and Nokhon Pratom) and those returning to our campus through the State Quarantine program. The security guards screen everyone coming into the university. University students, staff and faculty members are encouraged to install a tracking system on their smart phones to ensure that, in the event where cases occur, they can be informed and protected. The university went online at the beginning of the semester and will continue until further notice. We anticipate, per government announcement, resuming of face-to-face mode of instruction by the beginning of February. Regardless, there are glimpses of hope for the future. In February the government will roll out the first batch of vaccine for medical professionals and by June, more than 20 million doses of vaccine will be made available for higher risk population. The Thai government plans to secure vaccines for at least half the population within the country. The measures will help increase safety for the country along with other regulatory policies. We thank God that the government has been very proactive in dealing with cases and that He has kept us safe through 2020. We continue to pray for God’s guidance and protection.
Siroj Sorajjakool, PhD
President, Asia-Pacific International University
Muak Lek, Saraburi, Thailand