Dhe Grand Hotel Sonnenbichl in Garmisch-Partenkirchen advertises with a “unique view of the Zugspitze”. But the “Alpine panorama paired with cosiness” is only available to special guests in times of the pandemic. While German hotels had to close in the wake of the crisis, the Sonnenbichl has a special permit. Because not Hans and Franz live there these days, but the 67-year-old Thai king Maha Vajiralongkorn with his entourage. Since these guests were a “homogeneous” group of people, the exception had been made, said a representative of the district office.
The Thai king in Bavaria? In his home country, the news had spread mainly through social networks. It is known there that the monarch crowned last year spent a lot of time in Bavaria. As the Reuters news agency reported, an unusually large number of comments were now critical.
As the insult to the king can be punished with imprisonment of up to 15 years in Thailand, such statements are not without danger. The wave of comments apparently led the responsible minister to post a warning to citizens on Twitter not to violate the laws regulating Internet content. The warning came with a picture showing hands in handcuffs over a keyboard.
Attention to the king’s whereabouts comes at a time when the situation is also worsening in Thailand. The first corona case outside of China was reported in the tropical holiday destination in January. After that there was only a slight increase in infections. But now, according to Johns Hopkins University, Thailand has 934 documented cases of Covid-19. At least four people are said to have died from the consequences of the disease.
Shopping centers, restaurants and bars have been closed in Thailand since the weekend. Wearing a face mask is mandatory on public transport. An emergency ordinance will also apply from this Thursday. Then no foreigner may enter the country. Meetings are prohibited. People under the age of five and over 70 as well as with previous illnesses are encouraged to stay at home.
Hoarding food and medical items is also punishable. “Thailand is at a turning point in the outbreak. The situation could get much worse. It is important that we impose stricter rules, ”Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said in a television speech on Wednesday.
Appeal to German vacationers
The regulations mainly apply until April 30th. The imposition of the emergency is also a political step by which the Thai government is expanding its powers in the fight against the virus. In addition, further restrictions are expected in the coming days, such as when traveling domestically.
The tightened measures had already led to thousands of people fleeing from the capital Bangkok to their home villages. In addition, around 60,000 foreign workers had returned to their home countries, including mainly Laos, Cambodia and Burma.
Long queues had formed at the airports in the past few days. The changed situation is likely to have an impact on tourists who are stuck in the Southeast Asian country. The German ambassador in Bangkok, Georg Schmidt, called on all German tourists to get as close as possible to the international airports in Bangkok and Phuket. Since there are currently regular flights from Thailand to Europe, the country has not yet been included in the Federal Foreign Office’s return program. However, calls for help from stranded Germans whose flights have been canceled are piling up on Facebook and Twitter.
The Thai king has no such problems. The enthusiastic pilot often even controls his flights back home himself. Thai Airways has blocked most international routes – the one between Bangkok and Munich is still open.