- Japanese Ambassador Nashida Kazuya paid a courtesy call to PM Prayuth to introduce himself. He presented a Japanese team soccer uniform to the PM as a gift.—all newspapers outlet.
- Updates related to COVID-19:
- Thailand reported on Friday 15 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing the total number of cases since its outbreak in January to 2,854 cases and 50 deaths.
- National Security Council’s secretary general quoted a poll and said that he will propose the PM on Monday to extend the enforcement of Emergency Decree further from the former deadline at 30 April. The government main security apparatus said we could not lower the guard, since the situation is still uncertain.—all media outlet
- Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said he expects the
Cabinet to hold a meeting on April 28 to consider easing or extending lockdown
- The provinces of Buri Ram and Chonburi have announced that they will begin relaxing lock down restrictions on May, 1st.
- Thai AirAsia and Thai Lion Air will likely be the first to resume domestic flights, starting May 1. The routes will hinge on the decision of each province to ease its lockdown. But the seating will be strictly in accordance with the social distancing (e.g. not selling adjacent seats and not servicing foods or drinks when on board).—all media outlet
- Human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine in Thailand are expected to begin within the next four months, according to the Department of Disease Control (DDC).—Bangkok Post
- As Thailand has been hit by the spread of Covid-19, forcing people to spend more time at home, the amount of plastic waste generated has surged by 15%, despite past year’s increased awareness on single-use plastic.—Bangkok Post
- Department of Livestock Department said in a press conference suspecting the source of African Horse Sickness (AHS) which is breaking out in Thailand might be from zebra. The authority has asked the owners to look after their zebra. —Manager, Matichon
- Importers who wish to utilize tariff privilege under AANZFTA can now submit copies of AANZFTA Certificate of Origin (COO) to Customs Department. However, importers must still submit the original AANZFTA COO to Customs Department within 30 days after the goods are granted entry to Thailand. This arrangement is designed to help importers who have difficulty obtaining the original COO from the issuing country due to logistics lockdown following the pandemic outbreak. Effective from 16 April – 30 September, the arrangement is also applicable to Thailand’s other FTA partners such as China, Hong Kong, ASEAN, Japan, India, Chile and Peru. Source: http://www.customs.go.th/data_files/147ce264e06710547fedcecf4fcc1c37.pdf
Social Security Compensation
- More than 1.2 million have registered for compensation from the Social Security Office after they became jobless due to the forced closure of their workplaces following the pandemic outbreak. The Social Security Office has earmarked 160 billion Baht for this scheme. Source: www.nationthailand.com/news/30386624
- As part of the Phase II stimulus package, the Government Savings Bank has started offering the 50,000 Baht ‘Special Loan’ since 15 April. By 24 April, GSB Bank has stopped offering the loan due to the overwhelming number of applicants totalling 608,956 people, taking a 30.4 billion Baht worth of loan. This exceeds the government’s original budget of 20 billion Baht that is set aside for the special loan. GSB Bank will screen the applicants and start providing the loans to eligible candidates from 7 May onwards. Source: https://news.thaipbs.or.th/content/291597
- Should the 550-billion-Baht budget become inadequate to fund the 5,000-Baht cash handout scheme, MoF will reallocate the 400 billion Baht under the 1-trillion-Baht borrowing plan into the scheme. Originally, the 400-billion Baht is slated for economic and social rehabilitation projects aimed at strengthening the local economy.
- The Bank of Thailand-sponsored 500 billion baht in soft loans as part of Phase III stimulus plan will be ready on May 8. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1906365/extra-cash-available-to-fund-handouts
- Ministry of Agriculture’s assistance package for farmers may go before the cabinet’s consideration next week. Currently the Agriculture Ministry is updating its database to determine the most accurate number of farmer households. Source: https://www.nationtv.tv/main/content/378772592/?qj&fbclid=IwAR1Q79O26aybtcHBZAOjPfDkXYkfK2rMJFD_f0hDq6vJYl-yx0yv28BU6C4
- The Energy Ministry has approved of the plan to charge mid-sized and large businesses for electricity at cost instead of mandatory minimum pricing from April to June. This is another relief measure to help companies with their power bills. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1906330/at-cost-power-bills-get-ministry-nod
- Car production is anticipated to plunge by 37 percent to 1.33 million units in 2020 and could drop to 50 percent if the pandemic lasts until June. Car exports in the first quarter declined by 16.4 percent YoY. Domestic car sales also shrank for the 10th consecutive month in March, dropping 41.7% from a year earlier. The automotive and auto parts industries employ about 750,000 people in Thailand. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1906390/fti-sees-37-plunge-in-car-production
- Foreign tourist arrivals in Thailand dropped by 76.4 percent in March YoY, totalling 820,000. They spent an estimated 39.5 billion Baht, a 77.6 percent drop YoY. Chinese visitors declined by 94.2 percent from a year earlier. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1906000/march-foreign-tourist-arrivals-tumble-76-4-y-y
- Thai Food Processors Association predicted that Thailand’s food export to grow by 3-5 percent this year, with recovery expected in the third and fourth quarters. Shipments in Q1 dropped by 4.6 percent to 47.9 billion Baht. The Association also warned exporters to brace for changes in consumer’s preference for ready-to-eat meals in small portions rather than supplying to hotels and catering markets. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1906275/food-exporters-urged-to-think-smaller
- Thai Air Asia and Thai Lion Air will likely be the first to resume domestic flights starting on May 1. Thai Air Asia would resume domestic services on May 1, while Thai Lion Air will wait to see if the state of emergency would be extended beyond April 30. The airlines must comply with the stringent standards set by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand. Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1906150/two-airlines-to-resume-domestic-flights#cxrecs_
- Austrade joins hands with ‘Future Learn.com’, a social learning platform, to launch ‘Study with Australia’ campaign to provide free online courses.
- Ambassador’s Interview with Matichon Weekly has just been published in print. This week features Australian alumni, Colombo Plan, NCP and Anzac Day in Thailand (and this year’s cancellation).