Posted by exacto on 18/2/2020 at 13:03
As a follow up to Stuart's Coronavirus update in today's (#375 on February 18, 2020) Travelfish newsletter, I've spent the last week in Ranong and Chumphon Provinces in the middle part of the Thai peninsula. Mask use is fairly sparse in these places. For the most part, I'm only seeing people who work with the public full time are wearing them, like the train attendant on the diesel rail car trip today. They were definitely more common on the flight from Bangkok to Ranong (sorry, Stuart, I booked that non-refundable flight long before the outbreak), where nearly everyone wore one, including me, but mine only as a courtesy to the other passengers.
Other than that, it seems that fewer than 1 in 10 people are wearing masks in these locations. Ranong and Chumphon aren't exactly off the beaten path, but they are not overrun with tourists either. I compare this to Bangkok, where a huge percentage of people wore masks on the streets, and pretty much everyone but western tourists on places the Sky Train and subway.
I consulted with my GP (doctor) before I left home, and she didn't think wearing a mask was a necessary precaution, and emphasized good hygiene, eating right, and getting enough sleep, etc. as more important. However, if you want to wear a mask, either as a precaution, or as a courtesy to others, you may want to pick up a few before you arrive. The ubiquitous 7-11s here sell packs of two under the Dr. M & SK brand for 20 baht, but out of the dozen or so times I've asked, all but one had completely sold out. You'll likely do better finding masks for purchase at a pharmacy/chemist shop, which are just as common as 7-11s here, if not more. Ask for "thii bit jamuuk". Ta.
#1 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,811