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As many of you are well aware, the new strain of coronavirus, Covid-19, is hitting countries across the globe. Despite widespread panic, and without trying to downplay it’s potential danger, covid-19 is not a death sentance. Most of the fatalities have been people with pre-existing health issues or have been elderly. As of the day of writing, there have been no confirmed cases in or around Buengkan. Our staff and volunteers have not reported nor experienced signs of illness in themselves or others. There have only been 51 cases reported in a country with a population of nearly 70 million people. Thailand is still a safe place to travel, but it IS important to exercise caution. Wash your hands often, avoid sick people, try not to touch your face, and avoid large crowds when possible. A couple of things to note about travel in Thailand during this time…

Masks
Many of us westerners are not used to seeing people wearing masks, and it can be a little bit unnerving to arrive and see a lot of people wearing them. Yes, it is in part due to fear of the virus, but people in Thailand (and in other Asian countries) wear masks for a variety of reasons; one big reason being to protect oneself from pollution and poor air quality. Do not let the presence of masks scare you too much, it’s more commonplace than you may think. 🙂

Food
At large events and ceremonies such as weddings or funerals, or even just when eating out with a large group of people, it is common to eat “family style”. There will be large plates of food in the middle of the table, and everyone takes a little bit from each plate for themselves. This is normally a fantastic way to share company and a meal together, but it does mean that utensils that individuals eat with will also be used to pick up food from the central plates. With an incubation period of up to 14 days, it may not be so obvious that someone is sick! Unless you know the group well or enjoy gambling, I would suggest (if possible) to steer clear of “family style” dining for the time being. This also applies to shabu, or korean style bbq.

Last but certainly not least: no matter where you are in the world, don’t let fear dictate how you treat others! A virus doesnt discriminate, and neither should you. Lots of love from the Mundo team here in Thailand; travel wisely, practice good hygiene (shouldn’t you always?), and treat each other with the respect and dignity we all deserve.

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