Advance Blog

June 21, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 21 June 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesPatients under severe conditions and those using ventilatorsDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
3,058 (459  from prisons)210,782 [Past seven days: 20,954]1,360/ 378176,410181,9195,252,531 (+137,776) AZ: 83,771 SN: 54,005 7.73% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,580 [2,044 (get tested in hospital) + 536 (active case finding)]19 (in SQ)32,795[25,102 in field hospital]57,688 (+867)1,577 (+22) [Past seven days: 175]7,219,668 (+215,885) 10.58% of the population1,967,137  (+78,109) AZ: 3,091 SN: 75,018 2.85% of the population
  • The CCSA has made a new ease-up of lockdown restrictions starting from this Monday. Important points are:
    • The division of areas into four zones: Highest and strict, Strict, Controlled and Surveillance areas.
    • In highest and strict controlled area, including Bangkok, the CCSA allowed the dine-in to be until 11pm and no event with more than 50 attendees.
    • In all areas, the alcoholic beverages are not allowed when dine-in.
    • Entertainment complexes (pubs, clubs, karaoke bars) are not allowed nationwide.
  1. In the vaccination schemes, the CCSA made the following resolutions:
    1. The CCSA aims to administer 10 millions doses of vaccines in July, at least half of it will be to Bangkok.
    2. Phuket will get at least 70 percent of their population inoculated in July.
    3. The vaccine procurement will be extended from 100 million in 2021 to 150 million doses in 2022. The government will procure 50 million more doses from SinoVac (28 millions) and other vaccines (22 millions)
  • It seems that each cabinet minister has their own way of counting days to reopen the Kingdom to international tourists:
    • In his national address on 16 June, the PM pledged to reopen the economy for tourist sector in 120 days from today or on 13 October 2021.
    • Deputy PM and Energy Minister Suphattanapongse said that the 120 days timeframe should not start from 16 June, but be counted from 1 July, the day the flagship Phuket Sandbox is scheduled to begin. The economic tzar of the government said that Phuket will be the first door to reopen the economy.—Manager Online
  • In contrast to earlier reports that the PM is scheduled to visit Phuket to make sure the Sandbox scheme is going as planned, this morning Deputy PM and Energy Minister Suphattanapongse said that the PM will go to Phuket on 1 July but will send a working team to speculate the progress on 25 June.—Prachachat Turakij

Politics

  • It is official now that Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat has been nominated as the Secretary-general of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP).
    • In the morning, Deputy PM and PPRP leader General Prawit resigned from the head of PPRP, simultaneously making all the party executives, including the competing secretary-general position, nullified. General Prawit is later nominated as the sole candidate for the party leader and endorsed.
    • Former Secretary-general Anucha withdrew his candidacy, despite having an MP nominating him to return to the position. Anucha who is concurrently the PM Office Minister, said he has been serving for a year, it is time for other younger candidates to take the position.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The new party executives consist of 26 members and four deputy leaders: Santi—the Deputy Finance Minister, Wirat—the government whip, Suriya—the Industry Minister and Paiboon—the party-list MP.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Deputy PPRP leader said even in the next election, they will ask the General Prayut to be on the party PM list, to quell off any allegation that the PM is clinging onto power.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic

  • TDRI proclaimed that PM Prayut’s plan to open Thailand in 120 days is an ‘aspirational goal’ made on the best-case scenario basis.  If achieved, the plan could generate 450 – 450 billion Baht for the economy.  However, TDRI forecasted that Thailand will not achieve herd immunity in 4 months because only 60 percent of the Thai population will be fully inoculated by then.  This could lead Thailand down the paths of England and Chile, which had to both to re-impose fresh lockdowns soon after opening up due to new outbreaks.  In the worst-case scenario, Thailand could see an infection of 7,000 cases per day, in part because it has yet to control the current outbreak.  Thailand might need to intermittently go into full lockdowns, which would drive away tourists and investors.TDRI asked the government to take into account these risks in its reopening plan.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • The private sector heralds PM Prayut’s plan to open up Thailand in 120 days.  The Federation of Thai Industries enthused the opening in October will be in time for peak tourism season in Nov and Dec, while Thai Chamber of Commerce noted the Phuket sandbox launch in July will build up the confidence of international communities in Thailand.  Hospitality company Minor International praised the PM for making a practical decision.  WHA Group asked the government to open up the country in 90 days as many foreign investors are keen to invest in industrial estates in Thailand.   Source:  Krungthep TurakijBangkok PostManager Online
  • Ministry of Finance said Thailand’s opening in 120 days will propel the Thai economy to grow by 2.3 percent this year.  If Thailand could fully reopen within this year, it could receive 2 million foreign tourists.  Research house Kiatnakin Phatra Research (KKP Research) cautioned against this optimism, emphasising that Thailand has been slow in its vaccination rollout and might fail to reopen in time.  To this end, KKP Research has slashed Thailand’s GDP growth this year to 1.5 percent from 2.2 percent.  Similarly, TMB-Thanachart Bank said Thailand should only open up in October if the government succeeds in vaccinating 50 percent of the population with the first vaccine dose by mid-October; equivalent to vaccinating 400,000 doses per day for the next 4 months.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The resort island of Krabi said the plan to reopen Thailand in 120 days is promising, but operators need practical details and clear directions to prepare their businesses in advance.  Hoteliers on the island are banking on the Phuket sandbox model to jumpstart international travels to Thailand in time for the high season.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • Commerce Ministry recently conducted an online brainstorming session with business entrepreneurs to evaluate if Thailand should pursue a bilateral FTA with Hong Kong.The session assessed if the FTA would offer added benefits should Hong Kong become an RCEP member in the future and if the benefits would exceed those offered by the existing ASEAN-Hong Kong FTA (AHKFTA). Results showed that the bilateral would not offer further benefits to Thailand in terms of market access.  In terms of trade in services, the FTA could attract Hong Kong investors to invest in real-estate, e-commerce, finance, insurance and logistics.  Instead, Thailand is urged to maximise the benefits of AHKFTA and use Hong Kong as a gateway to access China through the Greater Bay Area cooperation between China-Hong Kong-Macau.  The entrepreneurs also proposed that Thai and Hong Kong chambers of commerce establish a Joint Trade Committee to regularly upgrade the trade pact.  Source:  Thansettakij, Krungthep Turakij, Bangkok Post
  • Thailand rose 1 spot to 28th ranking in the 2021 World Competitiveness Ranking conducted by the Institute for Management Development, boosted by improvements in employment and public finances.  Issues of concerns include Thailand’s international trade that is part of the economic ranking, and which reported a drop from 5th in 2020 to 21st ranking this year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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