Advance Blog

July 13, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 12 July 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)
8,656 (73 from prisons)345,027 [last seven days: 55,794]2,895/747251,658 (+3,687)316,1649,301,407 (+87,809)14.05% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
 8,559 [6,044 (get tested in hospital) + 2,515 (active case finding)]24 (in SQ)90,578 [39,290  in field hospital]98,944 (+2,399)2,791 (+80) [last seven days: 515]12,569,213 (+100,0258)18.99% of the population3,267,806 (+12,216)4.93% of the population
  • More information in English on the restrictions in Greater Bangkok and four Southern provinces are in TAT and the official announcement is at BMA
  • Just this noon, the National Communicable Disease Committee has passed a resolution scrapping the two Sinovac inoculation schemes. The Committee has recommended the use of Sinovac as the first dose and after three to four weeks, AstraZeneca as the second doses. The Committee also passed a resolution to jab ‘booster dose’ for the frontline health workers who got two Sinovac doses with Astrazeneca or mRNA vaccines.—Khao Sod
  • This morning the PM virtually presided over the donation of Japanese government AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand with Japanese Ambassador and the Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin.—Krungthep Turakij
  • After conducting an active case finding, more than 40 percent of the new batch of the newly recruited airforce officials are contacted with Covid-19.—Prachachat Turakij
  • After a Mathematics professor posted on his YouTube saying that the government has charged tons of money on the Moderna (alternative) vaccine, the director-general of the Customs Department dismissed the report saying that the vaccine that will be imported to sell for ordinary citizen does not charge more than operational charges and VAT.—Thai Rath
  • Professor Emeritus Udom Kachintorn who is the advisor of the CCSA gave an interview on the most recent lockdown measures that the lockdown aims just to buy public health officials some times to treat the remaining patients. The CCSA advisor said that after the lockdown the Public Health will consider easing the measures, should there are less than 120,000 to 150,000 newly confirmed cases per week and less than 100 deaths per day.—The Standard

Politics

  • The Army is under heavy criticism as there have been a massive circulation of photos of Army personnel lining up at the airport and visit the US to get the American vaccines. 
    • The deputy government spokesperson said that the photos are real ones and that the personnels went to the US to join the training of Strategic Airborne Operation with the US Army.—Khao Sod
    • Deputy Army spokesperson also said that the operation is part of the bilateral Cobra Gold training.—Khao Sod
  • Following the PM pledge not to receive his salary for three months in a show of spirit to share the difficulty with the people, there are at least 20 more ministers follow suit.—Prachachat Turakij
  • Yesterday, the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party held a press conference grilling the government failure in handling the pandemic and has the resolution to file the censure debate motion. The party will consult with the MPs on Tuesday before submitting the motion in late July.—Prachachat Turakij A Pheu Thai MP said that the Opposition coordinator will discuss today on the nameless of the ministers that will be on grill.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Opposition Move Forward Party revealed with the public the contract that AstraZeneca is having Siam Bioscience which turned out that most of the contract requested are blocked out. The party has been reaching out for the contract, particularly on the price and the delivery terms since March 2021.—Matichon
  • It is not the best scenario for the government opposition as two figures have been tested positive for Covid-19:
    • Former Red Shirt leader and anti-government critic Nathawut Saikrea has tested positive, despite having the first jab of AstraZeneca last month.—Prachachat Turakij
    • A vocal MP from Move Forward Party is also tested positive.—Matichon
  • Deputy head of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) who also heads the committee of Constitutional Amendment said that the committee will discuss with the House Speaker on 12 July whether it is still allowed for the committee to meet and deliberate. The main ruling party representative dismissed the minute parties requests not to amend the electoral system by saying that everything needs to be done in accordance with the majority vote.—Matichon
    • The committee head Paiboon outlined the timeline of the Constitutional Amendment that it will take three weeks for the committee deliberation. The third reading will be voted in August to early September and ascends for the Royal approval. After the amendment motion is passed, the amendment of related laws will take four months beginning in the next Parliamentary session (November).—Prachachat Turakij
  • iLaw, the civil society working on rule of laws and human rights, has warned that the new restriction effective from today has barred people from sharing information which will stir unrest among the people, no matter if it’s true or false information and that the official can prosecute without warning. The PM order under the State of Emergency used to the distribution of fake information and that the official will give warning to the people before prosecution. The civil society also pointed out that the order also add the regulation against distributing information which will undermine state security.—iLaw 

Analysis/opinion

  • Local think tank TDRI evaluated the midterm performance of the government in curbing the pandemic and the distribution of the vaccine. The staunch supporter of the technocrat government has, however, said that the government has failed the people in pandemic control and vaccine administration, resulting in rendering the Kingdom sunken into public health and economic crises. The latest waves of the pandemic has made Thailand less competitive and harder to recover. The think tank called for responsibility and the need to establish an independent committee to probe the failure.—TDRI
  • Former chief of the National Security Council analysed that the PM has realised that his tenure is on counting down, but that he is waiting for a ‘signal’ that he could step down with an amnesty and protection before resigning from the position. Lt Gen Paradorn Pattanathabutr said that the so-called car mob is just an advance team before the 18 July which will witness the larger gathering.—Matichon

ASEAN/World

  • Matichon gets an exclusive interview with the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Don Paramutwinai on Thai foreign policy in dealing with the pandemic The DPM said that the government has been implementing a comprehensive policy in curbing the spread which has been successful thus far. The top diplomat said the ministry has been using diplomacy to leverage the vaccine procurement, including the push for vaccine swap with Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada and the US back in April. It is expected that some countries will have enough vaccines to swap with Thailand from September 2021 onwards. The long-serving diplomat underlined that only the ‘real’ understanding in the situation and the stable national unity can help support Thai people to excel this pandemic.—Matichon

Australia

  • The Asia Foundation with the Embassy has been launching Thailandlearning.org, an online learning platform with resources in many discipline. The platform has been helping students and teachers in Thailand particularly during the pandemic.—Khao SodNaew NaThai RathSiam Rath

Economic:

Mini FTA

  • Thailand signed an MoU today to establish its first mini-FTA with the city of Kofu in central Japan.  The online signing ceremony was presided over by Thai Commerce Minister and the Kofu city governor to facilitate knowledge exchange in jewellery design and technologies as well as to expand bilateral cooperation in marketing activities.  Thai DPM and Commerce Minister Jurin said he will proceed with plans to establish further mini-FTAs with China’s Hainan province, India’s Telangana state and South Korea’s Gyeonggi province by August this year.  Thailand was scheduled to sign a mini-FTA with India’s Telangana state in January this year, but it was postponed and is still awaiting the cabinet’s consideration.  Source: Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post  Thansettakij 

Others

  • Anusorn Thammajai, the former Dean of Rangsit University’s Economic Faculty estimated that the current lockdown enforced since 12 July will incur less economic loss than last year’s.  Economic loss for the current lockdown is estimated at 3.5-4.5 million Baht per day at the minimum and around 49 – 63 billion Baht in two weeks.  He suggests the government launches remedial measures that specifically target those who have yet to recover from previous outbreaks, such as daily labourers and SMEs to retain employment.  However, the remedial measures would be useless if the government does not procure mRNA vaccines to inoculate the medical workers within the next 2 weeks and Pfizer for children and youths to curb the outbreak.   He said countries that are reporting high rates of COVID-9 infection are those whose population is inoculated with Chinese vaccines wherein the efficacy is lower.  Source:  Thansettakij  Post Today
  • In the best case scenario, COVID-19 infection in Thailand could fall below 100 cases per day at the start of October 2021 if the outbreak could be controlled as effectively as last year, according to Krungsri Research.  In the base-case scenario, the infection would continue spreading fast similarly to the past 2 months, for which infection number will peak at the end of July and will decrease to below 100 in mid-October.  In the prolonged-case scenario, Thailand could face the same situation as Brazil and Italy where it faces recurring waves of infection as the lockdown is lifted too soon.  In this case, infection rate will remain high past October.  As for the Thai economy, Krungsri Research noted that the drop in consumption will continue to weigh down on the economy despite the rise of export in May.  Source:  Siam Rath
  • TDRI published a research paper that evaluated the efficiency of PM Prayut’s regime in managing the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.  The paper hails the government’s outstanding achievement in containing the outbreak last year, but slams the regime this year for making a series of wrong moves in controlling the outbreak and in vaccine management.  This inevitably steered the country into a public health and economic crisis, resulting in the country missing any chance for recovery.  TDRI suggests that an independent committee be appointed to investigate the government’s misdoings and prevent the same mishap from recurring.  Source:  Post Today
  • Thais’ investment in foreign stocks rose exponentially as they rush to buy high-growth stocks in global markets after recently being allowed to do so through local brokers.  Revenues from global stock trading through local brokers for the first half of 2021 grew more than 200 percent YoY, according to Securities and Stock Exchange of Thailand.  European, US and Chinese stock markets are expected to continue growing this year as their economies recover, while emerging markets including Thailand will still suffer setbacks from the pandemic.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) is to build a new industrial estate called APEX Industrial Park in the EEC’s Chachoengsao province, to be completed in 2 years.  This new industrial estate is a joint venture between the IEAT and Apex Industrial Park to serve targeted industries such as metal, machinery, logistics equipment, electronics and agricultural products and high-tech products.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • An online seminar held by the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand focused on the lack of transparency and fair competition in the bidding process for the two double-track-railway projects worth 128 billion Baht.  The projects comprised the 323-km northern section from Nakhon Ratchasima Prae’s Den Chai district to Chaing Rai’s Chiang Kong province and the 355 km northeastern section between Khon Kaen’s Ban Phai and Nakhon Phanom.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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