Australian Embassy Updates

Daily Updates on COVID-19

Headlines summary as of 14 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
22,130Domestic +22,103Abroad+273,136,649( since 2020)                                      69225,889
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 12 March )2nd dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 12 March)3rd dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 12 March )
125,589,061  (+218,260  )54,386,322(+87,257 yesterday) 78.2 %49,984,694(+19,565 yesterday) 71.9 %21,716,208(+ 117,509yesterday) 31.2%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Political news

  • Opposition organized the seminar yesterday entitled ‘the Opposition Leader Meets the People‘  that questioned PM Prayut’s 8-years tenure as allowed by the constitution at Amari Watergate hotel ;
  • Pheu Thai and opposition leader,Chonlanan Srikaew cited the PM tenure is due on August 8 this year and urge him to resign before August for his own dignity.
  • Move Forward Party also  address that PM Prayut’s prolonged stay will lead the opposition to seek an interpretation from the charter court.
  • In this event,  Pheu Thai Party also addressed  the party  is confident of having support of 30 MPs from small coalition parties. These parties including Setthakit Thai (Thai Economic) Party are the key of to decide the government’s fate in  next censure debate under Section 151 of the Constitution.
  • Pheu Thai party leader also hinted to the media that Paethongtan Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of an exile former PM Thaksin’s Shinawatra is possible to be one  of the party’s PM candidates, adding it depends on support from the general public ThaiPost
  • To appease the smaller parties, the PM  sets to hold a dinner party with key members of the smaller coalition parties at 18:00 hrs on March 17 at the Ratchapruek Club.This includes leaders from  Thai Forest Conservation Party,  Thai Rak Tham party and Thai Local Power Party.  Thai Rak Tham will discuss with the PM on the bill to improve pensions for the elderly, which requires the prime minister’s approval before it can go before parliament for deliberation. Bangkokpost
  • Bangkok governor, Aswin Kwanmuang, who turned up this position from the appointment of 2014 coup makers’ order ( NCPO) will compete in the Bangkok governor race that will be organized in mid of May  NationTV

Economic News

Akara Mine

  • On 11 March, villagers from Pichit, Phetchaboon and Phitsnulok provinces totalling 100 convened at the city hall in Phichit province.  They submitted a petition to support the reopening of Akara mine for the many economic benefits it generates for local communities.  They claimed that opposers of the mine’s reopening who came out to protest a few days earlier have done so with ulterior motives.  They pointed out that one of the protestors wanted to operate his own gold mine and is seeking a mining exploration license from the government, and as such did not want Akara mine to resume operation.  Sources: Post Today    TNN Thailand INN News Poojadkarn online
  • The Primary Industries and Mines Department (PIMD), Ministry of Industry has issued a press release in response to queries raised by a human rights group on Akara mines’ operation and its impacts on the environment, health, lives and occupations of local communities.  The group had previously handed a petition to the opposition party, seeking their assistance in calling for the government to revoke Akara mine’s mining licenses until a comprehensive EHIA is conducted and the studies concluded.  Sources:  Siam Rath Post Today

Others

  • In February, Ministry of Commerce (MoC) had granted 44 foreign investors who brought in some 5.781 billion Baht with licenses to operate businesses in Thailand under the Foreign Business Act.  Most were investments in the S-Curve industries, such as Broad Band System Products and Internet of Things.  Of the 44 investors, five are investors in the EEC zone, with investment value of 2.285 billion Baht, equivalent to 39 percent of total investment value.  This proves that EEC remains a popular investment destination for foreigners.  For the EEC, the top investors are from Japan and Singapore, mainly investing in maintenance and repair of machinery.  Sources:   Thansettakij    Prachachart Turakij  Naew Na
  • Customs Department is working with the Board of Investment on preferential tariff measures for the import of Electric Vehicle (EVs) components, which are expected to be finalised by the end of this year. 

This follows on from the BOI’s announcement on incentives promote investments in Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV).  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij Poojarkarn Online

  • A Japanese and a Chinese car manufacturer plan to invest in manufacturing battery-powered pickups in Thailand later this year, according to an anonymous Finance Ministry source.  The government’s recent announcement of tax incentives and subsidies to promote investments in EVs had garnered their interests.  The new excise tax structure for EVs is expected to be enforced within March.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Ministry of Commerce suggested that Thai exporters adopt BCG principle to their operations as the  WTO and super powers such as the US, EU and China are gearing up to implement environment-related trade barriers.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 14 March 2022
  • Betong airport in Yala province officially opens today, raising hope it will revitalise tourism and the economy in the country’s southernmost district.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 11 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
22,984Domestic +24,712Abroad+803,136,649( since 2020)                                      63222,998
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 10 March )2nd dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 10 March)3rd dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 10 March )
125,589,061  (+218,260  )54,187,319(+85,859 yesterday) 77.9 %49,936,840(+21,760 yesterday) 71.8 %21,464,902(+ 110,641 yesterday) 30.9%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid-19/ Change regulation

  • the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)  said Thailand could see up to 250 Covid-19 related deaths per day by May [worst case scenario] as current deaths surpasses the anticipated ‘worst case’ scenario, adding this includes people aged 60 and above, people with underlying disease, and pregnant women. Bangkokpost
  • Thailand’s Disease Control Department’s stressed today the need for people who are at high risk of serious complications to get vaccinated urgently, as the death toll from COVID-19 reached this year’s new high of 74 cases today, emphasizing that   a third shot for those who had their second shot three months ago is necessary to reduce the risk of developing severe symptoms or dying if infected.

**   NOTE: the Ministry of Public Health have agreed to carry out a vaccination campaign, from March 21st to 31st, with the aim of getting at least 70% of the high-risk group vaccinated before the long Songkran holidays. ** ThaiPBS

  • The National Health Security Office (NHSO) and the Rajavithi hospital are speeding up the mailing out of anti-viral Favipiravir medicine to more than 3,500 COVID-19 patients in Bangkok and surrounding areas who are unable to access the home isolation program. the So far, NHSO  has increased the hotline lines  and have distributed more than 40,000 sets of Fah Talai Jone herbal tablets to more than 900 communities in Bangkok. ThaiPBS

Political news

Oil Price surge

  • Following the prolonged Russia invasion to Ukraine that led to oil price surge in Thailand,  Pheu Thai party urged  PM, Prayut should try to come up with the plans/ policy to encourage Thais to convert the use of renewable energy such as electricity vehicle instead of oil. The part also ak the PM to negotiate with other countries to buy cheaper  price of oil Mathichon

Bangkok governor election

  • Suthep Thaugsuban, chairman of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC),who led the 2014 prolonged political protest threw a support behind Sokonthee Phatthiyakul, who has recently resigned as Bangkok deputy governor to run for the governorship as an independent in the city race saying  that Sokonthee is a great choice for Bangkok residents. Posttoday
  • Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn,  Bangkok governor candidate from Move Forward party launched an “affordable housing” campaign   with a unit sized 35-70 square metres that could be rented out at a rate of 3,500 to 9,000 baht per month with a leasehold period of one generation (30 years). The party will launch its full package of their Bangkok governor policies on March 27  Thairath

Other news

  • Firebrand Activist Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, announced that he will petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in Nonthaburi today to look into whether the Pheu Thai party MPs who met Thaksin Shinnawatra, former PM who lives in exile , violated the political party-related laws including the code of conduct because Thaksin is a convict who was found guilty and sentenced to 12-years in prison in at least 6 corruption cases Krungthepturakij
  • Warong Detchvikrom, pro-royalist ‘ Thai Pakdee’ party warned former Thai PM, Thaksin Shinnawatra that if he [ Thaksin] nominated his youngest daughter , Pinthongtha Shinnawatra who is now the head of innovation of Pheu Thai party to be the PM candidacy could end up like his sister, former PM Yingluck who now currently living in exile   Mathichon

Economic news

  • The cabinet has approved of a 10-year tax exemption for Thai and foreign investments in start-ups in the 12 targeted industries through venture capital.  The move is anticipated to attract investments in start-ups worth 320 billion Baht, create 400,000 employments and generate economic value of 790 billion Baht by year 2026.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • As inflation soars in Q1 of 2022, Commerce Ministry has asked for the cooperation of manufacturers to fix the prices of their goods.  Experts commented that more measures are needed.  TDRI projected that oil price will begin to drop in the second half of the year while commodity prices will take some time to decline depending on the Russia-Ukraine crisis.  TDRI suggested the government roll out stimulus packages to help specific sectors that are affected by the inflation, such as truck drivers or low-income earners.  Siam Commercial Bank urged the government to introduce measures to boost consumers’ income, while forecasting that inflation this year will reach 3.5-3.6 percent; the highest in 11 years on the assumption that oil price will reach 110 USD per barrel.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Commerce Ministry is considering a request by Thai Animal Feed Manufacturer Association to relax the restrictions on the importation of ingredients for animal feed production.  The request was made in response to the soaring price of animal feed ingredients such as wheat and maize due to the Russian-Ukraine conflict.  Commerce Ministry’s Department of Internal Trade will submit its recommendations to Commerce Minister Jurin for final deliberation.  Source: Thai Rath
  • Manufacturers will struggle to maintain the prices of their goods for another 3-6 months amid the Russia-Ukraine war, but they insist the government continue to cap diesel prices at below 30 Baht a litre despite the Oil Fuel Fund running low, said Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). FTI also urged the government to look into the impact on fertiliser imports after Russia, the world’s biggest exporter, has banned sales of fertiliser overseas.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The government has instructed oil companies to extend the stockpiling of the country’s oil reserves from 60 to 70 days to offset any future oil crisis.  The government also contemplates rolling out assistance measures through government welfare card, subsidies for benzene fuel for motorcycle riders and discounts for LPG purchase in April.  Energy Ministry is particularly concerned that the prolonged Russia-Ukraine conflict could cause Oil Fuel Fund to see a 30 billion Baht deficit.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 11 March 2022, Bangkok Post
  • Board of Investment and the National Innovation Agency are organising the first ‘BCG Startup Investment Day’ through the BCG Economy concept.  The goal is to help BCG DeepTech Startups in 3 key areas namely FoodTech, AgTech and MedTech access funding from the government, private sector and investors as well as provide networking opportunities.  NIA has set sight on creating 65 BCG DeepTech Startups in 3 years.  BOI noted businesses in the BCG sphere are vital to driving the economy.  Last year, BOI received applications from BCG-related businesses of 152.4 billion Baht, up 123 percent YoY. The number of project applications was up 53 percent YoY to 746 projects in 2021.  Source:  Manager Online Bangkok Post
  • The FTI reported that the Thailand Industry Sentiment Index (TISI) has declined for the first time in 6 months, from 88 points in January to 86.7 points in February.  This is due to the Omicron outbreak and escalating fuel price that has pushed up manufacturing and logistic costs.  The TSI Index for the next 3 months is however expected to increase to 97.1 points as entrepreneurs view that manufacturing activities could still go despite the Omicron outbreak.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 11 March 2022
  • The National Digital ID (NDID) plans to expand digital identity verification and data-sharing services on its NDID platform to cover the corporate sector.  The company wants to expand services this year to the business and government sectors as the second phase of the NDID platform development.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 10 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
22,984Domestic +22,937Abroad+473,088,873( since 2020)                                      74221,585
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 8 March )2nd dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 8 March)3rd dose vaccine recipients(28 Jan – 8 March )
125,199,011 (+162,439)54,039,149(+55,280 yesterday) 77.7 %49,986,606(+18,227yesterday)71.7 %21,263,256(+88,932 yesterday)30.6%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid-19 and change regulation

  • National Communicable Disease Committee has approved a 4-month plan to adjust the Covid-19 from the epidemic into endemic disease from the 1st of July onwards

                            Phase 1 (March 12-early April) is called Combatting. Must exert pressure on the number not higher than this. is a battle phase to reduce the outbreak reduce the severity Various measures will be taken, the quarantine action is reduced.

                            Phase 2 (April-May) is called Plateau, which means keeping the infection level from rising. into a plane until it decreases

                           Phase 3 (late May-30 June) is called Declining, reducing the number of infected people to 1,000-2,000 people.

                            Phase 4 (July 1, 2022 onward) s, known as Post pandemic, is out of the epidemic into endemic disease.   ThaiPBS

Shane Warne

  • The body of Shane Warne left Thailand early on Thursday, flying back to Australia where the cricket superstar will receive a state funeral.  Bangkokpost

Political news

  • The parliamentary panel vetting 2 organic laws related to the new election system had its 1 st meeting at Parliament yesterday amid reports that the panel was split over calculation of party-list seats and the mixed-member proportional (MMP) System for electing members of parliament.

·         It is said that all panel members were present except Palang Pracharat Party list MP and deputy leader Paiboon Nititawan who missed out on the chairmanship post.

·          Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha, who chairs the vetting committee, dismissed rumoured disagreement over the issue of calculation of party list MPs and the MMP system. He said the rumour is groundless, comparing the 2 system as 2 separate rivers that separate the 400 elected by constituencies and 100 coming from party lists.

·          Sathit said Sections 83, 86 and 91 clearly state the intention of the MMP system.

·          The panel is expected to complete deliberation of draft amendments on the 2 organic laws on the election of MPs and the political parties in April. Prachachart  Thaipost Khaosod

  • The Election Commission (EC) is expected to meet on March 14 to decide on the date for the election of Bangkok governor and the Pattaya City Mayor following the Cabinet’s approval on the election timeline. The election date is expected to be on May 22 with candidate registration during April 7-11.
  • Move Forward will field candidates for the election of Bangkok district councillors across 50 district and  will  debut its campaign policy for Bangkok governor candidate and candidates for district councils on March 27 at the Future Forward’s headquarters. Mathichon Krungthepturakij
  • The opposition parties plan to hold a seminar on the issue of “Time’s up for the Prime Minister before the country’s time is up”, which  will be held on March 13 at Amari Watergate Bangkok Hotel. It will focus on the controversy over Gen Prayut’s 8-year tenure in the office , which Section 158 of the charter bars any individual from assuming premiership in excess 8 years and will have a session to gather public opinion .   In addition,  the opposition plans to debate on Gen Prayut’s maximum 8-year tenure which will end on August 23

Khaosod

  • The Election Commission (EC) has decided to file a criminal suit against Sira Jenjaka, a former Palang Pracharath Party MP for Bangkok, in connection with a previous conviction of fraud   [%20%20]Bangkokpost

Economic News

Akara Mine

  • The Civic Group for Reform of Resources and Gold represented by 30 activists submitted a petition to the House committee on law, justice and human rights.  They demanded an explanation of the government’s decision to extend Akara Resources’ gold mining licenses for 10 years.  The group urged the committee to suspend the renewal of licences and demanded that Akara pays compensation to Thailand for their many unlawful activities.  They Group also visited the Justice Ministry, calling out for an investigation on the irregularities surrounding DSI’s investigations of Akara Resources misdoings.  Sources:  The Nation TV Bangkok Post

                          The group also travelled to Industry Ministry to seek clarifications on a number of issues, such as

o    Minister Suriya’s claim at the parliamentary debate that Akara Resources is a Thai company.  If this were true, Akara would be ineligible to sue the Thai government through the TAFTA tribunal mechanism

o    Whether or not Akara had submitted applications for more mining license renewals, and whether or not the applications were lodged for the 61 plots of land that appeared on Kingsgate’s video clip which was disseminated worldwide

o    Why the government would extend gold mining license to Akara when the company is still being investigated on several charges, among them forest encroachment, toxic leakage and illegal road construction outside the mining zones.  Source: Siam Rath

Others news

  • The National Energy Policy Committee (NEPC) decided to remove the 40-billion-Baht cap on loans to support the Oil Fund in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  The move will give the fund more room to borrow and cap the soaring oil price.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • In the worst-case scenario wherein the Russia-Ukraine conflict is prolonged for the entire year, the Thai economy would suffer a loss of 244.70 billion Baht, according to the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce.  This would bring down the Thai GDP growth from 3.5-4.5 percent to 2-3 percent, while inflation could surge to 5 percent due to the soaring oil price, meaning Thailand would enter technical stagflation within this year.  Consumer confidence index for February also dropped for the second consecutive month and the lowest in 5 months since October 2021, following the onset of Omicron outbreak, Russia-Ukraine conflict and rising oil price.  Source:  Post Today   Prachachart Turakij Bangkok Post
  • Thai Chamber of Commerce also voiced its concern on the possibility of Thailand facng a stagflation despite suffering only indirect impacts from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.  It asked the public and private sectors to brace for shortages of wheat, rare earth and fertilisier supplies, which would push up their market prices.  The rise in oil price would also hike up manufacturing and logistics costs, therefore the government should focus on protecting the export industry and maintaining a weak Baht.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) does not expect the Russia – Ukraine conflict to affect investments in the EEC as it plans to forge ahead with 5G and Electric Vehicle (EV) projects.  The EECO remains confident it can achieve investment target of 400 billion Baht for this year and 2.2 trillion Baht in 5 years.  The EECO will also team up with the navy to organise the Thailand International Air Show at U-Tapao airport in 2025 to coincide with the airport’s official opening.  The event will showcase Thailand’s potential to become an MRO  hub and will also feature a business matching event to attract investments into the Eastern Aviation City.   Source:  Manager Online
  • PM Prayut ordered responsible agencies to speed up main infrastructure development projects in the EEC as planned.  These comprise 655 billion Baht high-speed railway links between the 3 airports; the develpment of U-tapao airport; and Map Ta Phut Industrial Port Phase 3 and Laem Chabang Port Phase 3.  Contracts have been signed for these projects since pre-COVID time.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Gold price today had dropped after it reached new heights yesterday as the Russia-Ukraine conflict unfolded.  Yesterday, people queued up in Chinatown to sell their gold for cash as the buying price of gold bullion increased to 31,850 Bath and sold at 31,950 Baht yesterday.  Today, it dropped to 31,800 Baht and 30,900 Baht respectively.  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij   Thai PBS World

Headlines summary as of 3 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
22,073 Domestic +21,981 Abroad+923,088,873 ( since 2020)                                69221,585
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 8 March )2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 8 March)3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 8 March )
125,199,011 (+162,439)54,039,149 (+55,280 yesterday)     77.7 %49,986,606 (+18,227yesterday)     71.7 %21,263,256 (+88,932 yesterday)     30.6%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid-19 situation and change regulation

  • Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) Plus scheme  will be kicked off this March 16 after the cabinet approved yesterday. The program  will make the patients can seek treatment at any medical institution for three days, after which they will be sent to a hospital that is registered with their state welfare and/or health insurance scheme  Thairath
  • Songkran celebrations will go ahead next month after a two-year hiatus due to Covid according to the government spokesperson. However, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)  will discuss the measure on Covid-19 prevention for a week-long holiday  this coming March 18. The areas to discuss, includeing group gathering, event organization and  water splashing water practice  Krungthepturakij  Prachachart  Bangkokpost
  • A specialist in pulmonary disease at Thailand’s Vichaiyut Hospital, Dr. Manoon Leechawengwongs, has reiterated his recommendation that those infected with COVID-19, who have no or mild symptoms, isolate at home.He  explained that the Omicron variant has a short incubation period. In this regard, he advised the patients to take medication to address their symptoms, without the need to take Favipiravir, and that there is no need to be admitted to a hospital. ThaiPBS  ManagerOnline
  • The Director-General of the Medical Sciences Department Dr. Supakit Sirilak said the BA.2 sub variant of the COVID-19 Omicron variant is spreading rapidly across Thailand and is replacing the BA.1 as the dominant sub variant. Medicine which is effective against the Delta variant and BA.1 is not as effective against the BA.2. In addition, Omicron variant now represents 99.6% of all COVID-19 cases in Thailand and is now spreading in every province, adding that of 1,898 cases tested last week. ThaiPBS

Russia-Ukraine conflict

  • Ukraine Embassy to Thailand today posted the details of Thai volunteers who wants to join the military service  Dear citizens of Ukraine who are in the Kingdom of Thailand:

“ In connection with the numerous requests for assistance in the extension of the stay in the Kingdom of Thailand due to the temporary closure of Ukraine’s airspace, we inform about the following:

1) citizens who arrived in Thailand under visa-free mode for 30 days tourist (passport stamp) and citizens who received tourist visa in Thai consulate abroad, for now, until at least 25 March 2022 may This is the opportunity to personally contact the relevant Department of Immigration Bureau of Thailand and extend his stay in this country for 60 days (continued t. Contact. “covid is a stamp”). In this case, no letters of support from the Embassy of the Thai Immigration Bureau are NOT required!

2) Citizens who have expired/expired long-term visa of any type (Non-B, ED, O, O-A, etc) should apply to the Immigration Bureau of Thailand with the original letter of the Embassy or Honorary Consulate of Ukraine in Pattaya.

For further consultation, please contact the “hot” line of the Embassy +66970107760.    “

  • To   support about 7,000 stranded Russian and Ukrainian tourists amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in suspension of Russian credit card payments and flight cancellations, The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will discuss four proposals with the cabinet as follows ;
  • Those aids include a waiver of visa extension fees up to 1,900-baht, accommodations, seeking alternative payment channels, and solving problems on travel insurance.
  • The majority of Russian and Ukrainian tourists are currently in Phuket, followed by Koh Samui, Krabi, and Pattaya, according to TAT.
  • Tourism and Sports Minister Pipat Ratchakitprakarn said that the government has yet to estimate the budget for these assistance measures, adding that he will also discuss arranging repatriation flights for tourists who wish to return to their home countries.  Thaienquirer

Political news

Bangkok and Pattaya elections

  • The Cabinet yesterday approved the elections of Bangkok governor, Bangkok city councillors, Pattaya city Mayor and Pattaya city councillors, 60 days from now which expects to be on May 29, 2022. Details of the respective elections will be clarified by the Election Commission. Krungthepturakij

Government’s dinner meeting

  • The PM yesterday had a dinner party with the coalition parties’ leaders to bring the members of the coalition closer ahead of the planned no-confidence debate in May of this year. He said it was a great opportunity boosting relations of the coalition parties, saw Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, as the Palang Pracharat Party leader, Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-acha, as Chart Thai Pattana Party leader, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, as the Bhumjai Thai Party leader, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, as the Democrat Party leader, Deputy Interior Minister Niphon Boonyamanee, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, also also the Bhumjai Thai secretary-general, and Interior Minister Gen Anupong Paojinda attended.
  • Jurin Laksanawisit, Democrat Party leader said the  dinner party with other ministers last night did not discuss about cabinet resolution but only on Russia-Ukraine conflict. He also affirmed that the coalition parties still united and are ready for the centure motion in Mid-May Thairath

Economic news

Cabinet’s decisions ( 8 March 2022)

  • Approved cutting excise tax on diesel and bunker oil used to generate electricity to zero to lower electricity bills for 6 months, until 15 September.
  • Approved loans of 25 billion Baht for Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to improve its liquidity from 2022-2024.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Approved 2 royal decrees that enables 1) Finance Ministry to waive the 7 percent VAT on cryptocurrency transactions from 1 April 2022 – 31 December 2023 and 2) Bank of Thailand (BOT) to waive VAT on the transfer of digital currency issued as part of BOT’s trial Retail Central Bank Digital Currency from 1 April 2022 – 31 December 2023. 
  • Approved Finance Ministry’s regulations that allow traders of digital assets to pay tax based on their net profit – (allowing them to deduct the losses before paying tax based on net profit).  This is a shift from the current regulation that subject all profits earned from digital trading to 15 percent withholding tax per transaction.  Source:  Bangkok Post Prachachart Turakij
  • PM Prayut instructed all agencies to propose their plans in tackling the soaring energy price since global oil price has surpassed USD120 per barrel due to the Russian-Ukraine crisis.  The National Energy Policy Committee will convene today to discuss measures to address the issue, as well as ways to maintain the cap on diesel prices at below 30 Baht per litre.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The PM also ordered government agencies to reduce energy consumption by 20 percent and oil by 10 percent such as by working from home and taking public transportation.  He also encouraged the public to take similar measures.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij  

Others

  • The value of Thai export soared by over 200 percent in the 2 months since the world’s biggest trade pact, RCEP, came into effect.  In January, export through RCEP certificate of origin (COO) totalled 277.84 million Baht and in February it surged by over 200 percent to 887.67 million Baht, bringing total export value to 1.165 billion Baht.  Most Thai exports using RCEP privileges went to Japan, followed by China and South Korea. Vegetables and fruits were the biggest category of Thai exports.  Although Thai exporters already enjoyed tax privileges under other FTAs, they chose to utilise the RCEP privileges because it is easier for them to apply for the COOs.  Source:  The Nation  The Journalist Club 
  • Commerce Ministry reiterated that it will continue fixing the prices of 18 categories of domestic goods, called price-controlled items, in the face of spiralling inflation exacerbated by the Russian-Ukraine crisis.  MoC does not allow manufacturers to raise prices of their items and will make considerations on a case-by-case basis if requests were made.  The Thai Chinese Chamber of Commerce warned that manufacturers will inevitably raise the prices of their goods in 1-2 months as they can no longer shoulder the burgeoning costs. Source:  Thai Public Relations Department News  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry expects the Thai GDP may grow slightly less than the 3.5 – 4.5 percent projection this year due to the impact of the Russian-Ukraine crisis that will dampen tourism, trade and domestic spending.  Tourist arrivals to Thailand could also miss MoF’s projection of 7 million this year.  The MoF, the Bank of Thailand and NESDC will soon convene to reassess the impacts of the conflict on Thailand’s economy.  Sources:  Thansettakij Channel News Asia 

The quarantine-free “vaccinated travel lane” (VTL) entry is planned for air travels between Thailand and Malaysia, with at least 10 daily return flights starting from mid-March.  The VTL scheme, currently under discussion, was agreed to at talks during the Malaysian Prime Minister’s official visit on Feb 25.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 3 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
18,943 Domestic +21,060 Abroad+1023,066,800 ( since 2020)                      69224,328
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 7 March )2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 7 March)3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 7 March )
125,036,572 (+120,488)53,867,360 (+35,115 yesterday)     77.6 %49,878,379 (+13,535 yesterday)     71.7 %21,174,324 (+71,838 yesterday)     30.4%

        Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid-19 and change regulation

  • Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha ,summoned Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang to inquire about public complaints that they are unable to seek Covid-19 treatment in the capital  TheNation 
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, said that Covid-19 in Thailand continues downward trend as l recovery numbers are more than infection case .Further, he added the cabinet today sets to approve the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) Plus scheme , in which Patients can seek treatment at any medical institution for three days under the UCEP scheme, after which they will be sent to a hospital that is registered with their state welfare and/or health insurance scheme. Mathichon

Politics

Censure Motion

  • The Opposition bloc expects to file a censure motion against the government right away after the Parliament reopens for a new session on May 22.
  • The move is to prevent Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha from dissolving the Parliament, according to opposition leader Dr Chonlanan Srikaew,  who is Pheu Thai party leader.
  • So far, he instructed all opposition parties to compile information in preparation for the censure motion to be submitted to parliament in May. He expects them to come up with issues and questions and discuss them during meetings of the Opposition which will be held every 2 weeks.
  • Additionally, The opposition will determine the timeline for the planned censure debate based on factors like the deliberation of 2 organic laws on the election of MPs and the political parties as well as the budget bill for the 2023 fiscal year – tentatively scheduled for its 1st reading in the House during June 1-2
  • Meanwhile,  Phumtham Wechayachai, an adviser to the leader of Pheu Thai Party,  , the government has no legitimacy to stay in office to lay out the 2023 budget bill. v Phumtham said he is hoping that the Opposition will bring a censure motion before August when Gen Prayut meets the 8-year tenure cap outlined in the 2017 charter.

Khaosod Thaipost Mathichon

Bangkok and Pattaya elections

  • After nearly 9 years after the local election took place ,the Cabinet sets to approve the planned elections for the Bangkok and Pattaya city’s Governors.  
  • April 11-15  –  The  candidates submit their names for the elections
  • May 29 – Bangkok Governor Elections
  • May 30 – Results to be announced
  • July 28 – Official results announcement  
  •  NationTV
  • The leader of the coalition Palang Pracharat party (PPRP) is also set to announce its stance on who it will support for the Bangkok governor as the party like Phue Thai party has decided not to send a candidate to contest the Bangkok governor elections after the party purposed Sokonthee Phatthiyakulm deputy Bangkok governor who announced yesterday he would join the candidacy with ‘ liberal ‘ stance Thairath

Government’s dinner meeting

  • Several local news outlets state that Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has invited key leaders of the coalition parties for a dinner meeting at the Ratchapruek Club, Bangkok at 18.00 hrs today. The list are as follows;
  • Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, as the Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) leade
  • Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, as the Bhumjai Thai Party leader
  • Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, Bhumjai Thai’s secretary-general
  • Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa, as the Chart Thai Pattana Party leader
  • Deputy Agriculture Minister Prapat Pothasuthon, as Chart Thai Pattana secretary-general
  • Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, as the Democrat Party leader

NOTES : Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on, as the Democrat Party’s secretary-general, will not attend the event as he is engaged in other mission   Mathichon

Other news

  • Tourism Minister said that there are around 7,000 Ukrainian and Russians pending in Thailand as they can’t proceed their finance after the credit cards are suspended due to Russia-Ukraine conflict Mathichon

Economic news:

  • Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) said Thailand is facing a shortage of some 700,000 labourers.  It urges the government to quickly sign MoUs to import labourers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.  It advised authorities to establish a program for migrant workers similar to tourism’s ‘Test & Go’ scheme r to reduce or remove quarantine requirements.  Source:  Thai Public Relations Department news
  • Starting from April, the prices of instant noodles will be increasing by 15-18 Baht per box due to the inflation that has pushed up their production cost.   Manufacturers are asking Commerce Ministry to lift the price ceiling since instant noodles are MoC’s price-controlled items.  Retail prices of milk and condensed milk will also go up by 2 Baht per can as the price of the tinplate used to produce cans rise.  Prices are expected to go up for more commodities, partly as a result of Commerce Ministry’s anti-dumping measures on BOPP film, which is used in the manufacturing of packages for 100 household items such as instant noodles, candies, drinks and medications.  Source:  Thai Rath
  • Commerce Ministry is urging Thai government agencies and entrepreneurs alike to prepare for the launch of China’s Hainan Free Trade Port in year 2025.  The Hainan Free Trade Port will establish its own set of rules and regulations that will present new opportunities for Thai exports as well as tourism.  Source:  Manager Online
  • Commerce Ministry has officially jumpstarted its APEC chairmanship with the 1st APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, held from 14-25 February 2022.  Among the key discussions include market access, service, trade and investment; WTO trade facilitation and elimination of tariffs for IT and sustainable items; WTO reforms; promoting BCG policies and brainstorming for the implementation of FTAAP.  Source:  Department of Trade Negotiations
  • Investor confidence in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) over the next 3 months rose on expectations of further foreign fund inflows, despite concerns about the Ukraine crisis that caused share index to temporarily plunge and US monetary tightening, according to a survey conducted by the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organizations (FETCO).  Foreign investors’ confidence jumped by 186 percent to the “bullish zone,” also buoyed by Thailand’s economic recovery and reopening. Source:  Bangkok Post
  • FETCO anticipates that foreign fund flow will continue its influx into SET throughout 2022.  This is because the Thai capital market is perceived as a safe haven amidst the Russian-Ukraine crisis, given Thailand’s low reliance on Russia for trade and tourism.  Foreign investors have bought about a net 84 billion Baht of Thai shares from January-February 2022, which is considered massive.  From 1-7 March, the fund flow already tallied about 4 billion Baht, surpassing FETCO’s forecast.  Source: Krungthep Turakij
  • Ministry of Industry is currently conducting an analysis to develop Thailand into a Biorefinery hub in a move to add value to Thailand’s agricultural sector, which is also in line with the government’s BCG economy.  The analysis reveals that Thailand has high potential in developing amino acid derived from sugarcane and tapioca into food supplement as well as bio-lubricant derived from palm oil.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • Domestic oil prices have increased by around 4 Baht per litre on Russia-Ukraine conflict, putting a greater burden on the state Oil Fuel Fund, which caps diesel prices at below 30 Baht per litre.  Local oil trader Susco said the government has 2 choices; either borrow more money to continue price subsidies or allow retail oil prices to slightly increase, putting them more in line with global prices.  The latter would help reduce the government’s financial burden and help local oil retailers better cope with the ongoing price spike, in which global oil price could soar to USD150 per barrel.  The Federation of Thai Industries earlier suggested the government seek an additional loan of 1 trillion Baht to support the Oil Fuel Fund and its packages.  Source: Bangkok Post

NESDC said the government should pay more attention to metaverse development as a technology to rehabilitate the Thai economy.  It suggested the government to support Thais and businesses to have metaverse access because of the high cost of access equipment.  Moreover, Thais need to be upskilled with digital skills.  The number of IT professionals in Thailand is still limited and therefore unable to meet the growing demands of this field.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Headlines summary as of 7 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed cases Total Cases Death toll Hospitalised/ intensive care patients
21,162
Domestic +21,060 Abroad+102
30,026,695
(since 2020)
65 227,843 
Total vaccination 1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 4 March ) 2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -4 March) 3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan –4 March )
124,396,024 (+208,670) 53,867,360 (+87,203 yesterday)     77.4 % 49,840,169 (+28,665 yesterday)     71.7 % 20,942,183 (+137,820 yesterday)     30.1%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid-19 situation/Change regulation

  • The Prime Minister,Prayut Chan-O-Cha emphasized that everyone needs to be vaccinated, adding the situation is still manageable as only 10 % of patient who got Omicron have been hospitalized in the hospital (the rest do home isolation) Thairath

Politics

                   General election

  • The Democrat Party expects a general election to take place in March next year and dismissed speculation of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s plans to dissolve the Lower House to escape a censure debate. v
  • In this connection, the Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, as the Democrat Party leader, said Democrat Party would hold an annual general meeting during March 19-20 to assess the situation after Parliament goes into recess and weigh in a possible date for the next general election.
  • He  said if the government completes its full term in office, the election date will likely be in March 2023.
  • When asked about speculation about a dissolution of the House before May 22, Jurin stressed that the government’s stability relies on 2 factors.  One is the relations between the coalition parties and the other is its missions in Parliament. However, he does  not seen any factors that will send Gen Prayut to dissolve the Lower House but urged the public to follow up on the political situation after the House of Representatives reconvenes in May.  Mathichon Channel 8

                   Local election

  • The election date for Bangkok governor and Pattaya city Mayor is expected to be on May 29 .Today, the Ministry of Interior looks set to propose to the Cabinet for consideration on the purposed  date. Once the Cabinet approves, the Secretariat of the Cabinet will notify the Election Commission so that the EC will hold a meeting to endorse the election date  ManagerOnline Thansettakij TheNation
  • Bangkok Deputy Governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul has resigned, effective today (Monday), to prepare to run in the forthcoming Bangkok gubernatorial election as an independent candidate, tentatively scheduled for May,29 ThaiPBSWorld

Les Majeste law

  • Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun has suggested that Section 112, lese majeste law, be amended to clearly specify who should hold the authority to press legal action against a suspected offender.
  • He pointed that the law has been used  unreasonable and examples of abuse of power                                                                                
  • it should be amended to clearly specify who should have the authority, be it the prime minister, interior minister or justice minister, to order an investigation into an alleged offence.
  • Interestingly, Anand said he personally has no problem with the current lese majeste law, but he will agree if certain parts of the law can be amended.
  • However, he said the royal institution should remain above “ordinary”  and is not a  good idea to  drag it into conflicts surrounding calls for the amendment of Section 112.
  • When talking about young people’s campaigning against 112, he hope they understand the view of older people too  Bangkokpost  Mathichon
  • A man was sentenced on on March,4  to 3 years in prison on a royal defamation charge for putting a sticker on a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn in front of the Supreme Court during a protest on 19 September 2020. Prachatai

International relations

  • Surakiart Sathirathai, Former Deputy PM and Foreign Minister who is now the president of the Council for Peace and Asian Reconciliation is urging the government to balance its relations with China and the United States for the good of the kingdom
  • He said  Thailand needs to have a good understanding of China’s strategies and policies, as well as those of the US .
  • He emphasized that this is the ‘ dual circulation ‘ strategy plays a significant role in strengthening the country “
  • Interestingly, He added  Thailand has to also develop strategic relationships with the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India to maintain a balance between China and the US, he said.,

Others news

  • Australian star Shane Warne — one of the greatest Test players of all time — has died  In Samui ,Thailand of a suspected heart attack aged just 52, sparking an outpouring of grief from fellow cricketers, celebrities and politicians.

Bangkokpost  BBC

  • Harvard University expressed concern over the removal of head of Chulalongkorn University’s Student Council and prominent student leader, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal. The statement posted on Netiwit’s facebook post said it supporting student rights and freedom of expression and asked Chula university, to negotiate with Netiwit to  avoid future conflict. You can read the statement in the attachment.
  • Two far-right hosts recently drafted into Channel 5 have claimed that people were faking casualties in Ukraine. A simple Google search shows that their footage of dead bodies was taken from a climate change protest in Austria on 4 Feb. At the latest development, the parliamentary committee plans to have a meeting with the channel 5 executives to discuss this matter Prachatai

Economics:

  • Some 63 percent of hotels recorded losses as average occupancy lingered below 30 percent despite the renewed ‘Test & Go’ scheme since 1 February, according to the hotel business operator sentiment index for February.  Almost half of 127 hoteliers who took the survey conducted by the Thai Hotels Association and the Bank of Thailand from 11-23 February said international guests made up less than 10 percent of their bookings.  The low number of tourists is mainly attributable to complicated travel rules, particularly for RT-PCR testing and Thailand Pass registration.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • In February, Thailand received 203,970 foreign tourists, with Russians topping the list and contributing 17,599 tourists.  However, Russian tourists slipped to the 6th ranking from 1-3 March, contributing 886 from the total of 24,968 travellers who visited Thailand during this period.  The top 6 countries sending tourists to Thailand in February were: Russia (17,599), Germany (13,964), France (11,278), UK (11,231), Singapore (8,839) and US (6,919). The rankings from 1-3 March are: Germany (1,876), UK (1,678), Singapore (1,450), US (1,180), Australia (1,004) and Russia (886).  Source:  Standard Chartered, 7 March 2022
  • Prior to the pandemic, Russia was among the biggest revenue contributors to Thai tourism, generating some 103 billion Baht from 1.48 million visitors.  Revenue from the Russian and Chinese markets combined account for nearly one-third of the total tally in 2019.  The indirect impact from the conflict, including soaring oil prices and limited airspace causing airplanes to reroute and add more hours and cost to flights, could hinder the recovery of Thai tourism.  The Phuket Tourist Association noted it is diversifying its target markets and plans to organise roadshows in Australia’s cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne from May 2-6, as well as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Federation of Thai Industries warned that although the war has yet to affect global supply chains, some industries, notably steel, chipset and animal feed, may soon feel the pinch.   Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict and the ensuing sanctions by Western nations had inevitably affected the price of raw materials crucial to the production of animal feed, according to the Association of Thai Animal Feed Manufacturer.  Ukraine had suspended its export of wheat, which had pushed up the prices of wheat worldwide.  Thai animal feed manufacturers had resorted to pre-ordering wheat from other countries such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, USA and Canada at an exorbitant price.  As such, 52 Thai animal feed manufacturers are reducing their production and using their existing stock of wheat, which will be exhausted in 1 month.  If the wheat shortage continues, it could affect the 1.7-trillion-Baht Thai animal farming value chain.  It urged Ministry of Commerce to raise the price ceiling of animal feed as manufacturers are shouldering the increasing costs.
  • The Thai Egg Association asked Commerce Ministry to cease fixing the price of chicken meat and eggs.  This is because the price of animal feed ingredients had surged by 50-60 percent, with costs of rearing chicken rising by 36-38 Baht per kg, while the price of farmgate price of chicken is fixed at 33.50 Baht per kgใ
  • Fertiliser price had gone up as Thailand imports ingredients from Russia and Belarus totalling 650,000 -700,000 tonnes annually.  Since Commerce Ministry has also capped the price of fertiliser, the Fertiliser Trader Association of Thailand will ask Commerce Ministry to raise the price ceiling.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • Thai rice prices are expected to increase by 5 percent in Q2, pushed up by the war in Ukraine’s effect on surging global commodity prices.  Source:  Bangkok Post

ASEAN members are working on facilitating increased trade, removing trade barriers and reducing transaction costs to cope with Covid-19, according the Thai Commerce Ministry after attending the 22nd ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee (ATF-JCC).  Thailand has requested additional details from ASEAN members on trade facilitation for Thai exporters, such as permission to sell medicines in Vietnam and import horticultural crops, medicines, tyres and air-conditioners from Malaysia and Indonesia.  Source:  The Nation

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