Advance Blog

March 30, 2020
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Headline summary as of 30th March 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • The Phuket Governor has ordered the closure of all entry and exit points in the province, except for air travel, effective from midnight on Monday until April 30 or further notice.–all media outlet
    • Officials in Thailand say a riot at a prison in a northeastern province of Buriram was set off when inmates plotting to escape spread false rumours that several prisoners were infected with the coronavirus. Authority said all the escapees were captured. It is unclear whether there are still any other inmates still at large.–all media outlet, including Reuters and AP
    • The number of new infections among health personnel in Thailand has risen sharply amid calls for better protection for doctors, nurses and other staff on the frontline of the battle against the coronavirus.
    • Yesterday, the COVID information centre has reported 143 new cases, total of 1,388 cases. The 7th reported death is one of the boxing gurus. 
    • Army chief Apirat has set up an investigating committee to probe the army involvement into a boxing match which was held despite the government warning not to hold any public gathering. The boxing stadium has been widely juxtaposed with a massive COVID-19 transmission from a single source (religious cult) in South Korea which many media dubbed as super-spreader. The head of the army welfare division, as the stadium manager, has been transferred to be the army ombudsman. The army welfare division head is currently hospitalized from contacting COVID-19.–All media outletKrungthep Turakij ran a short article, claiming that the boxing stadium has been a source of wealth for the Thai army: https://www.bangkokbiznews.com/news/detail/872956 
    • Air pollution across the upper North remains at critical levels with authorities monitoring almost 400 active hotspots in Chiang Mai alone on Sunday.–all media outlet

Politics

  • Last Tuesday, the cabinet has approved a resolution on the revised 2021 budget, On 17 March, the PM has ordered all ministries and agencies to revise the budget allocation to be focused on curbing COVID-19 and drought. The newly drafted budget showed that some ministries have amended their budget accordingly: Interior up by 4.9 %; Finance up by 8.1%; Education down by 1.8%; and Defence down by 0.1 %.–Issara  https://www.isranews.org/article/isranews-news/86960-gov-5-2.html 
  • Super Poll, whose director is in close affiliation with the ruling government, said that the study between 26-28 March has shown that the popularity of the government has increased from 9.6 (before the declaration of emergency decree) to 29.1 points; meanwhile, the popularity of the opposition has decreased from 47.7 to 26.1 points.–all media outlet 
  • With the serious scarcity of eggs in the market, the price has been spiked dramatically. Minister of Commerce has signed an order banning the export of eggs at this critical time. Meanwhile, the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party had earlier announced that they will sell eggs at a low price in front of the party headquarter to help the people. After facing criticism on where they have sought the eggs, the party later cancelled the selling.–All media outlet 

Business

  • The Ministry of Finance seeks to issue an emergency loan for 200 billion THB in an attempt to keep the economic pendulum going.–all media outlet
  • More than 17.2 million people have applied for the 5,000-baht financial aid granted by the government to ease the impact of the Covid-19. The government has rolled out a series of stimulus packages to ease the impact of Covid-19 on workers. Among them is a 50-billion-baht government fund that provides 5,000 baht per month for three months to three million virus-affected temporary employees and self-employed workers.–all media outlet

ASEN/World

  • Four Chinese nationals were arrested on Saturday trying to sneak across the border from Mae Sot district to Myanmar.–Bangkok

Australia

  • Hundreds of cruise ship passengers on The Artania were due to board flights for Germany via Phuket on Sunday, after spending days stranded at sea off the West Australian coast in a stand-off with authorities.–Bangkok Post, Channel New Asia Please note that as of 8.30 am 30 March there have been no Thai media reported about the transit in Phuket, only reported on the possible COVID-19 positive passengers on board.
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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