Advance Blog

June 29, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 29 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)
4,662 (10 from prisons)254,515 [last seven days: 29,150]1,846/ 527205,064225,6526,721,038 (+183,186) AZ: 148,192 SN: 25,623 SP: 9,371 10.15% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
4,624 [3,683 (get tested in hospital) + 941 (active case finding)]28 (in SQ)47,481 [26,749 in field hospital]70,993 (+1,692*new high)1,970 (+36) [last seven days: 277]9,416,972(+269,459) 14.22% of the population2,695,934 (+86,273) AZ: 1,357 SN: 84,909 SP: 7 4.07% of the population
  • The head of the National Security Council who concurrently heads the Operation Centre for the CCSA defended the timing of the order to close down construction sites and banning the dine-in services for Greater Bangkok provinces. He said the fact that the order was announced at 01.00am on 27 June Saturday showed how hard the CCSA and the government have been working to curb the spread. The NSC head said that the order to ban dine-in services are drawn upon advice and suggestions by senior medical lecturers at prestigious Mahidol and other medical schools.–Matichon
  • The Deputy head of Thai FDA issued an urgent warning order of two Sinovac lots as the liquid vaccines are found to be in gel form. The gel does not dissolve even after shaking the bottle. Thai FDA suspects this happen due to the temperature during storage and transportation and had ordered the medical practitioners not to administer the vaccine should the gel is detected.—all media outlet
  • Nida Poll asked Thai people on their confidence in the 120 Days PM pledge. 71.62 percent of the respondents are either totally disagree or disagree with the timeline to be realised. 69.19 percent of the respondents said that they will choose health safety over economic survival. The PM made pledge earlier in June that the Kingdom will open its door to international tourists in 120 days, provided that 70 percent of the population has received the first dose of the vaccine.—Nida Poll
  • In order to relieve the Bangkok hospitals loads in treating covid patients in the capital, the Ministry of Public Health has introduced ‘Home Isolation’ programme for people under 60 years old who test positive for the coronavirus but are asymptomatic.  More information in English can be found at National News Bureau of Thailand

Politics

  • Google took down two Google Maps documents on Monday that had listed the names and addresses of hundreds of Thai activists who were accused by royalists of opposing the monarchy. Thai royalist activist Songklod “Pukem” Chuenchoopol told Reuters that when each of his team sees something offensive posted on social media, we put it on the map for psychological warfare purposes.–Reuters
  • It is a perfect storm for the PM unpopularity as the timing and the means of communication of the latest lockdown measures angered many people, particularly the smaller restaurants.
    • The hashtags #PrayuthGetOut and #นะจ๊ะNaja (the colloquial the PM usually use to soften things up) reigned on Twitter Top trending over the weekend with contents involved harsh criticism against the PM of making jokes about ‘take home only’ policy for restaurant with the Take Me Home, Country Road song. —Matichon
    • Krungthep Turakij viewed the order to make all Covid-related matters to be under the PM’s ‘single command’ as the PM’s political suicide. Now there has been no minister from the coalition, not to mention the main ruling PPRP MPs come out to defend or protect the PM in his latest decisions which stir anger among the population.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The Minister of Interior has asked for understanding in the government communication saying that the pandemic situation is complex and difficult to solve.–Matichon
    • The Deputy PM Prawit has asked for understanding from the people saying the PM has been almost exhausted to death in dealing with the pandemic and has asked for people cooperation.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Main Opposition Pheu Thai Party MP held a press conference saying that there is a group of Senators going to file a case to the Constitutional Court to abolish the Charter Rejig proposal by the Democrat Party.—Prachachat Turakij
    • A vocal Senator Wanchai Sornsiri dismissed the Opposition MP’s allegation. He said the concern that to change the electoral system will go beyond the proposal scope will need to be dealt with in the second reading (Commission level).—Krungthep Turakij
  • The anticipated Bangkok governor candidate Chadchart Sittipunt did a teleconference to members of the Opposition Pheu Thai Party reaffirming his stance as independent candidate. The party has recruited all their Bangkok District Council candidates and will support Chatchat despite his position as independent. The former Transport Minister said should he got elected as the BMA governor, he will continue working with Pheu Thai Party.—Prachachat Turakij
  • A conservative anti-government ‘People of Thailand’ group filed a case with the Election Commission to dissolve the PPRP as the main ruling party nominated Captain Thammanat as its secretary-general. The group said the secretary-general’s jail term in Australia went against the political ethics.—National Thai Agency

Analysis/opinion

  • Sudarat Keyuraphan, the President of the freshly established Sarng Thai Party, gave an interview to Nation TV analysing the power game of the PM. The former chief strategist of the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party said the PM will not dissolve the House before October 2022 whilst the Kingdom remains struggling to cope with the pandemic and economic downturns.  Sudarat said she does not see much significance in the PM earlier signal that the government will stay on power for one more year, considering the PM nature of being so fluctuated and always changed his pledges. She said that the nomination of Captain Thammanat as the party secretary-general is to keep election in check should there is any accident.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Krungthep Turakij regarded the relatively ‘inaction’ by the government spokesperson as his attempt to save his political career from being fallen with the PM popularity. It is reported that there were times when media reached out to the government spokesperson to clarify on controversial issues, but the spokesman did not reply.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

CPTPP

  • On 24 June, Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA)’s International Economic Policy Committee was scheduled to present to the cabinet the result of its studies regarding Thailand’s negotiation for CPTPP accession.  However, an anonymous source from the Committee said it is not known when the cabinet will consider the issue as there is a long backlog of other urgent issues.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • In the week leading up to 24 June, the MFA’s International Economic Policy Committee organised a focus group for the media and academics on CPTPP accession.   The roster of spokespeople, from representatives of the MFA, Agriculture and Commerce Ministries to Chulalongkorn University, expressed support for Thailand to join the trade pact or else lose its competitiveness in the global trade and investment arena.   MFA insists the government is devising remedial measures, such as the FTA fund, to ensure fair compensation for the afflicted.  Source:  Matichon
  • The Consumer Council of Thailand submitted a letter to the cabinet on 27 June, proposing that Thailand defer joining CPTPP.  The letter listed the 10 disadvantages of Thailand acceding to CPTPP, particularly the irrevocable impacts on agricultural and pharmaceutical sectors.  Source:  Isra News
  • In this opinion piece, veteran journalist Kavi said that the government should stop procrastinating and make a decision whether or not Thailand should join CPTPP.  He criticised the numerous governments in power for lacking the courage to make a decision on CPTPP due to the high stakes involved.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Relief Package

After convening an urgent meeting with his economic team, PM Prayut and NESDC announced the launch of the 7.5-billion-Baht relief package to ease the impacts caused by the latest semi-lockdown restrictions in Bangkok and 5 surrounding provinces.  Of this figure, 4 billion Baht will be allocated from the 1 trillion Baht loan and 3.5 billion Baht from the Social Security System.  The package will be presented to the cabinet for approval today.  In summary:

·         Employees registered with the social security system will be paid 50 percent of the wage, with the ceiling of 7,500 Baht.  Employees with Thai nationality will receive an additional 2,000 Baht from the government.  Employers will receive 3,000 Baht per employee under their employment.

·         Unregistered employers and employees are urged to register with Social Security System to be entitled to its compensations.  Newly-registered employees will receive of 2,000 Baht per head and employers 3,000 Baht per employee under their employment. 

·         Restaurant operators who are unable to register with Social Security because they have no employees are entitled to receive 3,000 Baht, but are required register through the Theung Ngern application under the Khon La Kreung government co-payment scheme. 

·         The Thai Contractors Association has asked to buy meal boxes from food shops that are members of the Thai Restaurant Association for delivery to the 100,000 construction workers who are locked in their camps.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post

Others

  • The government’s Kon La Krueng co-payment scheme and the Ying Chai Ying Dai e-voucher cashback rebate scheme will be implemented on Thursday 1 July as planned.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand projected it may not be until Q1 of 2023 that the Thai economy rebound to pre-COVID level.  This is attributable to the series of COVID-19 outbreaks that have devastated tourism and related businesses across its value chain, in combination with the vaccination rollout that began in earnest just in June.  Overall, the Thai economy remains sound to withstand global volatility, given its high foreign reserve and low external debt level.  Source:  Naew Na
  • Restaurants and eateries bemoaned the government’s sudden ban on dine-in at restaurants, which was announced at 1 am on Saturday night before coming into force on Monday morning.  Restaurants said they should have been informed 5 days in advance to give them time to manage their stock.  Thai Restaurant Association noted eateries now face insurmountable hardship and said the government’s assistance is not sufficient for the several billions Baht of losses they will be facing in the next month.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • The government’s move to suspend activities at construction sites and to lock down workers’ camps for 30 days is anticipated to cost 100 billion Baht (0.66 percent of GDP) on the construction sector, which contributes to 8 percent of GDP annually.  It is also expected to incur 30-40 billion Baht of loss in housing transfers, chipping away at the property market has a multiplier effect of 2.8 – 3 times of the economy.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai stock market has rebounded this morning following a sharp plunge in the past 8 days, with the SET Index rising 10 points to hover at 1590 points.  The market has adjusted better to the government’s semi-lockdown measures, with the exception of sectors such as construction and restaurants that remain hard hit.  The Baht continues to depreciate to the lowest level in 1 month, at 32 Baht/USD.  Meanwhile, export stocks in the SET are anticipated to gain, such as electronics, food and agriculture.  Source:  TNN Wealth fb page, 29 June 2021
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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