Advance Blog

May 12, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 12 May 2021


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)
1,98388,9071,226/ 40159,043 (at 66.41%)60,0441,372,013 (+6,021) (= 2.073 %  of the population)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,974 [1,328 (get tested in hospital) + 646 (active case finding)]9 (in SQ)29,435 [9,219  in field hospital]21,405 (+976)452 (+34) *new record25,629563,552 (+31,090) (=0.851 % of the population)


  • The PM recorded a video asking people cooperation in taking the jab of government-supplied vaccines. The PM said the more people got the vaccine, the faster Thai people could return to live a normal life.—Thai Rath
  • The PM posted on his FB Page that he will personally overlook the vaccine procurement process and will seek to procure 150 million doses, not earlier planned 100 million doses. The PM said that Thailand should be proud as the only country in Southeast Asia to produce AstraZeneca which will be supplied by Siam BioScience—Thai Rath
  • The government is taking misinformation on vaccine highly seriously as the Digital Economy Minister this morning pressed charges against an independent ThaiPBS anchor who misreported the side effects of the Chinese SinoVac vaccines. The minister said that despite public apology, the channel has been falsely reporting information on vaccines for three times in a month. He said this legal measure is a prevention of further wrongdoings.—Prachachat Turakij


  • When asked for comment about the Constitutional Court verdict steering clear off all past legal convictions of Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat, the PM said he will not answer political inquiries. The PM said he would like to focus on solving the pandemic problems.—Thai Rath
  • A big name legal pundit Vicha Mahakhun who headed probe committees for the PM in the past came out to criticise the Constitutional Court verdict. Vicha said that the verdict is against the preamble of the anti-corruption Constitution and against all international standards.—Thai Rath
  • The court granted bail requests of two prominent protest figures Parit ‘Penguin’ and Ammy with conditions, including not to touch upon the monarchy ever again. The two have been detained without trail on royal defamation charges. Panupong ‘Mike’, the other main figure, had his request decision deferred due to quarantine reasons.—Reuters, Prachachat Turakij
  • Parit posted this morning saying that despite the conditions of the bail, he will keep on pushing the three demands of the protestors, including the monarchical reforms. He stressed that accepting the conditions does not mean he will succumb or be a different person. After months of hunger strike, he will take this time to recover the body.—Prachachat Turakij
  • It is getting more obvious that Bangkok prisons are the new great pandemic clusters as activists who got detained without trail started to be tested positive.
  • Panusaya ‘Rung’ who just got bailed days ago was tested positive this morning. She posted on her social media stating her timeline. She also took the opportunity asking relevant authorities to take the issue of pandemic behind bars more seriously.—Prachachat Turakij, Reuters
  • The battle for Bangkok gubernatorial seat is on fire as the Facebook Page of former Police Chief Chakthip who has announced his intention to run for the Bangkok governor shared PR banners of the current Bangkok governor in action with the caption “If I am the governor, I will not do something like this”. The banners were the photos of the current governors in actions and his mottos to save Bangkokians.—Chakthip Campaign Page
  • It is reported that despite the earlier lack of interest of the current governor to run for the seat, he has made a new decision with a mild support from the PM during the third surge of the pandemic. Former Police Chief Chakthip, on the other hand, has been openly supported by Deputy PM Prawit. It was reported also that Chakthip made a phone call to the current governor asking him not to join the election and will, in turn, appoint the governor son as deputy governor.—Nation TV
  • The Defense Ministry spokesperson came out to dismiss the claim by former Red Shirt leader Jatuporn who is leading a protest to oust the PM that the Thai government has allowed a major power to set up a nuclear warhead on the Kingdom soils. The spokesperson said the current government sticks to the neutrality policy disallowing any foreign power to set up military presence in the Kingdom.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Democrat Leader said the surge of pandemic should not prevent the coalition to push for the Constitutional Amendment. These things can be done at the same time, said Jurin.—Matichon

Analysis/ opinion

  • It may seem as a triumph for the student-led protestors as there are more main figures being released on bails. But, a media is looking at this with a different lens saying that the bails will push much pressure on the protestors. The court and judicial system has been heavily criticised for detaining the protest leaders, mostly teenagers without any trial. The release on bails with condition not to stare unrest and not to touch upon the monarchy is read as a compromising signal. The conditions the court given is playing in the authority hands as the protest leaders have garnered more popularity due to their fierce comment on the monarchical reforms. Stripping their strengths, the protest leaders will face pressure from protestors; meanwhile, pushing forward the monarchical reforms will see their bails revoke almost immediately. The media said it is interesting to see what the protest leaders next move will be under this pressing dilemma.—Krungthep Turakij


Cabinet’s Decisions, 11 May 2021

  • Extend 2 relief schemes worth 78 billion Baht for COVID-19, which is allocated from the 85 billion Baht budget earmarked for economic and social rehabilitation programs under the 1 trillion Baht loan.  State agencies are to suspend economic and social rehabilitation proposals in order to divert the fund to finance the 2 relief schemes.

·         67 billion Baht is allocated to extending the ‘Rao Chana’ cash-handout scheme.  The scheme will give 2,000 Baht to the afflicted state welfare card holders, vulnerable groups and users of e-wallet app within a period of 2 weeks (1,000 Baht weekly), from 20 – 28 May.

·         11.7 billion Baht is allocated to extending the social security compensation scheme ‘Section 33 Rao Rak Kan’ for 2 weeks.  Those insured under Section 33 of the Social Security Act would receive 2,000 Baht (1,000 Baht weekly) from May 24 – May 31. 

  • The handout from both schemes could be spent until the end of June and both schemes are poised to benefit 41.5 million people.
  • The government’s co-payment subsidy scheme Khon La Khrueng and the newly-conceived rebate scheme, Ying Chai Ying Dai, will be submitted for the cabinet’s consideration later.  Sources:  Thai Government News Prachachat Turakij Thai PBS  Thai Rath


  • Of the 1 trillion Baht loan allocated for combating COVID-19, some 240 billion Baht will be spent on rolling out a new set stimulus packages that were approved by the cabinet last week.  The Ministry of Finance intends to finance some of the 240 billion Baht by borrowing from domestic sources, since it is mandated to fully disburse the 1 trillion Baht loan by the end of FY21 (Sept 2021).  Last week, the cabinet had also approved for Finance Ministry to borrow 703.84 billion Baht (allocated from the 1 trillion Baht loan), for which loans were already made for 660 billion Baht (92 percent).  Source:  Siam Rath Prachachart Turakij, 12 May 2021
  • The 12th AANZFTA Joint Committee Meeting took place virtually in April, with participating countries agreeing to upgrade the trade pact 10 years after it came into effect.  The Thai Ministry of Commerce aims to complete these negotiations in 2022 in a move that will strengthen post-COVID-19 trade and investment ties across the regions.  Source:  Poojadkarn Online
  • The Thai Chamber of Commerce Confidence Index plummeted to a 39 month low in April to 27.6 due to the third outbreak of COVID-19 and the subsequent restrictions imposed on business operations.  The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) expects business sentiment to drop further in May, particularly in the tourism sector in which the index has hit the lowest, at 17.4 points.  Most business owners surveyed are especially concerned about rising unemployment and mass layoffs.  Sources:  Matichon Weekly Bangkok Post
  • The Labour Ministry confirms that the law allows employees of event-organizing firms forced to suspend their operations due to COVID-19 to claim unemployment compensation worth 50-62 percent of their salaries from the social security fund.  The Labour Ministry’s response came after the Event Management Association disclosed that their employees are not entitled to social security’s unemployment benefits, despite the business having been severely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Today, some 13,000 creditors are voting on whether to accept or reject the debt rehabilitation plan prepared by Thai Airways.  If they vote for Thai Airways to go under, the airline will be declared bankrupted and creditors will get 12.9 percent of what the airlines owe them.  If the rehabilitation plan is adopted, the airline will be given time to implement its plan to restructure 410 billion Baht worth of debts. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Arkhom is thought to support Thai Airway’s reinstatement as a state enterprise, but the State Enterprise Policy Office has indicated the airline will not be recapitalised by the ministry.  Source:  Bangkok Post The Nation
The Australian Embassy Bangkok

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