With infection rates increasing sharply in Thailand, a very slow rollout of vaccines and no vaccine assistance from the Norwegian Government, 77-year-old Knut Hauslo now has to travel back to Norway with his wife to be vaccinated. To Dagbladet, he says the infection situation in the country is difficult and he calls it a bit insane that thousands of Scandinavians should fly up and down to get vaccinated.
Earlier this month Scandasia shared Dagbladet’s story of Knut Hauslo who is part of a group of elderly Norwegians permanently living in Thailand who hoped that the Norwegian Government would help them gain access to a vaccine. He is also secretary of The Scandinavian Society Siam, which has appealed to the Nordic Prime Ministers for vaccine assistance to the Nordic community in Thailand, but the appeal was rejected by all four countries of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and Finland. In the earlier interview with Dagbladet Knut Hauslo said that he had greatly appreciated if the Nordic Region could have helped, especially as he stated “we are all willing to pay for it”.
But lately, the infection rate in Thailand has grown to a level of concern with more than 14.000 new infection cases and over one hundred corona-related deaths every day so Knut Hauslo and his wife now see no other way than to travel to Norway for vaccination. There has been no development in their situation and Knut Hauslo and his wife also have no access to a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in Thailand, so they have to travel back to Norway in August to have the long-awaited covid-19 vaccine.
“I see it as a bit insane that thousands of Scandinavians should fly up and down to get vaccinated, also considering the CO₂ problem, ” he says to Dagbladet. Minister of Health Bent Høie however disagree and said earlier to Dagbladet, that if Norwegians abroad do not receive the vaccine where they are staying, they should travel home to Norway to be vaccinated. “That’s the way it has to be. We do not have the opportunity to vaccinate Norwegians abroad, beyond people who are in very socially critical functions,” he said.
Speaking on the situation currently in Thailand, Knut Hauslo says that nothing is happening. Pattaya where the couple lives were spiced with tourists before the pandemic but now the city has empty streets and beaches and public parks are closed. “There is a state of emergency here until the end of September, with a curfew from nine in the evening to four in the morning. People who have nothing to do outside are told to stay home. If you are going to walk, run or cycle a trip, you must use a mask, Knut Hauslo says.
He is nevertheless clear that he and his wife are better off than the Thais. “The tourism industry is struggling. Millions have lost their income and have no money for food. I see that there have been significantly more people living on the streets everywhere,” he says.