Advance Blog

January 11, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 11 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
7,133 (411 from aboard; 45 from prisons), excluding 1,545 ATKs2,284,609 (last seven days: 49,033)12 (last seven days: 100)61,974/ 492
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
106,758,696 (+ 283,574 )51,543,088 (+ 28,297)46,923,112 (+ 69,514)8,292,496 (+185,763)
  • The CCSA spokesperson said that they made predictions on the daily new COVID cases as high as 20,000 cases by the end of January and as many as 30,000 cases by the end of February. The CCSA affirmed that they have put measures, including home isolation and community isolation, in place to curb the spike.—Thai Rath
    • This is in line with the Public Health earlier prediction:
      • In the best-case scenario, the country would see about 10,000 new infections as early as late January; new infections would peak in late January or early February. At best, the outbreak would be brought under control in one or two months.
      • In the worst-case scenario, in which no added precautions are taken, or if the public refuses to comply with disease control measures, new infections could hit 30,000 daily. New infections would not peak until early March and it would then take a further 3-4 months for health authorities to control the situation.
  • The Public health Ministry said that despite high numbers of cases, Omicron strain is not as deadly as the Delta strain and they are preparing to make COVID-19 as ‘endemic’ within this year.—Thai Rath
  • In the midst of the heightened pork price due to the outbreak of African swine fever, authority denied the accusations that it has covered up the outbreak. Earlier, a consortium of deans from 14 veterinary institutions including Kasetsart University said they had sent a letter to Department of Livestock in early December informing of the disease discovery.–Reuters

Politics

  • The ruling Democrat Party is witnessing the other sign of weakening as its former Bangkok MP has left the party to join freshly established ‘Thai Sarng Thai’ Party. The former MP from Eastern Bangkok said that the area is under Sudarat, Thai Sarng Thai leader, sphere of influence and has been known Sudarat for quite some times.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The spokesperson of the Progressive Movement gave an interview defending the reports that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit got the privileges of getting the AZ vaccines at the peak of the 4th wave of pandemic in July 2021. The spokeswoman said that despite the opposition figure criticism against the complications against the production of AstraZeneca vaccines, Thanathorn did not go against the vaccine per se. The Movement also questions the political motivation of the authority to leak such information.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

RCEP

  • While RCEP offers numerous benefits for Thai exporters, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) also cautioned them to prepare for competition from Chinese products.  This is partly the result of the Laos-Chinese railway which had facilitated an influx of Chinese products to enter Thailand through e-commerce as well as through legal and illegal channels.  FTI urged Thai manufacturers to raise the standards of their products to build confidence for domestic consumers and to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness.
  • According to a study from Boston University’s Global Development Policy Centre, ASEAN’s trade deficit will increase following RCEP’s enforcement, with China, Japan and Korea being the 3 countries that will benefit from RCEP given that they have no prior FTAs.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • Ministry of Commerce advised Thai exporters to utilise the ASEAN-Korea FTA and RCEP in order to benefit from preferential tariff available 90.7 percent of Thai exports.  For South Korea, RCEP will come into effect on 1 February.  South Korea is an emerging market, in which Thai export to South Korea saw a 39 percent increase from January – November 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij

Others

  • Thailand eyes negotiating with the Lao and Chinese governments for logistic and freight transport cooperation through the Laos-China high-speed train, in the hope of boosting Thailand’s fresh fruit exports.  Currently, Thailand is allowed to transport into China only ore, rubber and cassava via the Chinese-Laos railway.  Commerce Minister Jurin said Thailand and China had drafted an MoU since late last year, wherein China will allow Thai fruits to be transported into China through 10 checkpoints.  Minister Jurin will negotiate with the Chinese Commercial Commissioner on this matter tomorrow.  The goal is to ensure the transport of Thai fruits in the coming harvesting season between March and May this year.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 11 January 2021 Bangkok Post
  • Industrial estates and factories have made contingency plans in preparation for the next outbreak of COVID-19 to ensure minimum disruption to manufacturing activities, such as Bubble and Seal and Factory Accommodation Isolation measures.  Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand remains confident that Thailand’s factories will be able contain the outbreak and affirmed that foreign investors remain unshaken by potential Omicron outbreak.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Intelligence Centre revealed that the number of tourist arrivals into Thailand from Nov – Dec 2021 through the Thailand Pass system totalled 268,973.  However, the suspension of the Test & Go and Thailand Pass Program has dampened Thailand’s recovery prospect, as the Omicron variant outbreak had resulted in a 67 percent hotel cancellation in December 2021.  Moreover, almost half of the hotels that remained open in December 2021 are seeing revenue that is less than 30 percent compared to pre-pandemic level.  By January 2022, hotel occupancy rate is set to decline to around 33 percent compared to 37 percent in December 2021.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Boston Consulting Group forecasted that the Thai hospitality business will see a gradual, U-shaped recovery lasting until 2024, starting with domestic leisure travel, while business travel will lag in recovery.  Yachting is one of very few travel segments that remain unfazed by the pandemic as tourists with high purchasing power have to assure their safety and opt for more private choices from luxury travel services.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Revenue Department expects to finalise the guideline for collecting capital gain tax on profits earned from cryptocurrency and digital asset trading within this month, with implementation slated for March 2022.  The Revenue Department plans to hold a public hearing to finalise the guideline on this tax collection.  Meanwhile, digital asset companies object to Revenue Dept’s plan to charge backdated tax of up to 2 years and urge the government to ensure that its regulation is modern enough to promote rather than hinder the rise of this industry.  Source:  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 11 January 2022
  • Commerce Ministry said it has not approved of the raising of chicken meat and egg prices as announced by the Layers Chickens Association.  The Egg Board had set the ex-farm price of eggs at 3.44 Baht a piece and will pursue legal actions against price gouging.  Regarding the inflation in pork prices, Commerce Minister Jurin dismissed the possibility of importing pork to alleviate the supply shortage problem, saying the move needs thorough consideration.  Source:  Thai PBS  Bangkok Post
  • Commerce Ministry is monitoring antigen test kit (ATK) prices to ensure they remain affordable amid the surge in Covid-19 infections.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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