- Updates related to COVID-19:
- PM Prayut FB Page published pictures of the PM went to the renowned Siriraj Hospital to observe the AI machines provided by Chinese Huawei, which could identify the likeliness of infecting COVID-19.
- Yesterday, Thailand reported 30 new coronavirus cases and 2 deaths, of the new cases, 19 patients were linked to previous cases, and three had no links to old cases.—All media outlet
- The governor of Phuket has suddenly been transferred to Phetchaburi in a move believed to be linked to the high coronavirus infection rate on the island. The order was announced yesterday and will be effective after royal endorsement.—all media outlet
- About 50 people in Phuket province on Wednesday forced the closure of a hotel used as a Covid-19 quarantine facility in Muang district’s Rawai village, despite an appeal for understanding by a local health official. The protesters, who mostly live in Ban Bang Khon Thi village, gathered in Muang district about 10am yesterday, vowing to prevent the hotel from being used as a makeshift quarantine facility.
- The PM said that the decision on whether to extend the emergency decree will be made in the last week of April.—all media outlet
- The PM has asked, during the weekly cabinet meeting, the coalition party not to politicized the COVID-19 for political gains.—all media outlet
- Cabinet’s decisions 15 April 2020:
- Employees who are unable to work because they are under 14-day self-quarantine or are not paid because the employers’ businesses are closed due to Force Majeure will receive 62 percent of daily wage for 90 days from the Social Security Office. Laid-off employees will receive 70 percent of the daily wage for 200 days; and those who quit on their own will receive 45 percent of their daily wage for 90 days. A ministerial regulation will be issued within this week.Sources: http://www.nationthailand.com/news/30386100?fbclid=IwAR0l_oaSWryN1B0Fs0jTfslMA3lD1cgodpMKSSUa_auU-0Sj-JGI33d4-6A, https://www.mol.go.th/news/ก-แรงงาน-แถลงการขยายความครอบคลุมผู้ประกันตนรับสิทธิว่างงานเนื่องจากเหตุสุดวิสัย/
- A new committee is established to supervise and evaluate the government’s existing relief measures for Covid19. Chaired by Ministry of Finance’s Permanent Secretary Prasong Poontaneat, the committee also features 11 members from various ministries and representatives from the Royal Thai Police.
- The current central budget worth 50-billion Baht is sufficient to sustain only one month of the 5,000 Baht cash-handout, according to PM Prayut. Payments for April and May would be financed through borrowing to be enacted through a decree.
- This would be supplemented by the 10 percent budget appropriation from various ministries, to be disbursed in June. The amount appropriated will be no more than 100 billion Baht. Sources: https://www.thaigov.go.th/news/contents/details/29164, https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1900595/relief-cash-only-covers-a-month
- Of the budget financed through borrowing, parts of it will be allocated to the cash-handout and to farmer assistance programs. Another portion, around 45 billion Baht, would be allocated to public healthcare service, including for the development of Covid19 vaccine. If successful, the vaccine would be offered at 500 Baht per shot and would be made available to all Thais, according to Finance Ministry’s Permanent Secretary Prasong Poontaneat. Source: https://www.thansettakij.com/content/politics/430015
- Other News
- All state agencies are required to revise their 2021 fiscal budget. Investment budget would be cut by 50 percent and regular budget by 25 percent and must be submitted to the Budget Bureau on April 22. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1900680/cabinet-approves-freeing-up-funds-from-fiscal-2021
- Ministry of Finance’s Permanent Secretary Prasong Poontaneat clarified that the information of the 5,000 Baht cash-handout applicants is cross-checked with the Ministry of Agriculture’s database. It is possible that the farmers recorded in the Agriculture Ministry’s database register their entire household members as farmers, when in truth not all household members are farmers or they might have changed occupation. This explains why some of the 5,000 Baht cash handout applications are rejected – because their names appear in the Ministry of Agriculture’s database as ‘farmers’. In these cases, the Permanent Secretary urge the applicants to make an online appeal on 20 April, as well as to submit evidence such as documents and licenses.
- Thailand’s net gold exports of 18,052 kg in February and 17,638 kg in March outpaced the total volume in 2019 of 13,528kg. The volume could increase further in March and April as gold prices hit a seven-year peak, driven by the pandemic outbreak. https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1900990/mad-dash-to-cash-in-on-gold-spike
- The cabinet has agreed to endorse the ASEAN Special Meeting Declaration that underscores the region’s strength of cooperation and capabilities to deliver health protection in a collective battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Thai media started to report on Forbes’s article “What Do Countries With The Best Coronavirus Reponses Have In Common? Women Leaders”. Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen was enlisted as one amongst the leader.—Post Today, Siam Rath, Khao Sod (These reports coincided with the ‘milk tea alliance’ online spat between mainland Chinese netizens and Thai-Taiwanese-Hong Kong Twitter users).
- The Twitter #ชาน้มข้นกว่าเลือด “milk tea is thicker than blood” was on the top trending on Thai Twitter with more than 1.5M tweets. The hashtag refers to Thailand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and, to a certain extent Malaysia, where its population love milk tea, and the hashtag criticised Chinese authority claims that ‘we’ are siblings. –Thai PBS , Matichon Weekly
- Academia from Political Science and Economics gave a comment about what the connotation of this spat means for Thailand.—BBC Thai
- The Chinese embassy waded into the affair late on Tuesday with a Facebook post criticising those who attacked China. Beijing’s “One China” principle towards Hong Kong and Taiwan was “irrefutable” and “the recent online noises only reflect bias and ignorance,” the embassy wrote. That triggered 17,000 replies, mostly from angry Thais.–Reuters