Advance Blog

August 13, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 13 August 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)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
 23,418 (388 from prisons); from ATK (+1,523)863,189 (last seven days: 148,505)5,565/ 1,111644,103 (+20,083)810,90817,239,593 (+171,488) BKK: 5,774,671 (+61,996)414,066 (+19,993) BKK: 100,192 (+2,741)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average tests in the last seven days
23,030 [17,642 (get tested in hospital) + 5,379 (active case finding)]9 (in SQ)212,179 [150,880 in field hospital]203,849 (+5,140)7,126 (+184) (last seven days: 1,272)22,508,659 (+219,840) BKK: 7,120,582 (+71,521)4,855,000 (+28359) BKK: 1,245,719 (+6,784)51,911
  • A senior advisor to the Public Health Ministry exclusively told Thai Enquirer that Thailand’s Covid-19 infection numbers are likely much higher than those being reported by the government as there has not been enough tests because of full capacity.—Thai Enquirer
  • Dr. Manoon Leechawengwong, a specialist in respiratory diseases at Vichaiyut Hospital posted on his social media warning that the next 100 days is the decisive moment for the Kingdom in curbing the spread of the pandemic and is calling for the PM to exercise his powers Vaccine Security Act temporarily stop exporting AZ vaccines produced at Siam Bioscience. The medical expert estimated that as the Delta variants is spreading to every province, the real infections could be as high as 35 million cases and 30,000 more deaths.—Matichon
  • Here comes the other drama on the covid administration as the company which won the auction to supply the much-needed 8.5 million Antigen Test Kits (ATK) in Thailand and the kits are in question:
    • Vocal Rural Doctor Society has called for the GPO to get a higher-quality ATK as the kits from the winning company are that of Chinese-produced and got Class 1 Recall by the American FDA due to inaccurate results. The society underlined that the a high quality ATK is key to the curbing of the pandemic.—Thai Rath
    • The permanent-secretary of the Public Health Ministry held a press conference yesterday deferring the signing of contract with the company until there is more clarity in this complication.—ThaiPBS
    • Ostland Capital Company which won the bid for proposing the lowest price of the ATK have their company profit at 4,500 THB and the other years saw their company returns in red.—Krungthep Turakij
    •  Ostland Capital will hold a press conference at 3.00pm today.

Politics

  • Today, Sudarat Keyuraphan, the de facto leader of the freshly established Thai Sarng Thai Party, will bring 700,000 signatures to file a lawsuit against General Prayut and his administration for mismanagement and their inability to control the 3rd wave of Covid-19 outbreak at the Court of Justice. The party opened an online portal to collect the signatures earlier.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Opposition Move Forward Party is eyeing to file an urgent motion to the House Speaker to suspend the deliberation of the second reading of the Constitutional amendment motion. The party said that the deliberation was beyond the scope of the motion proposed by ruling Democrat Party and approved by the House. The party said that Opposition Pheu Thai is teaming up with the Democrat in changing the electoral systems.—Krungthep Turakij
  • There are two more protests scheduled until the end of the week:
    • Talu Fah Group which was dispersed by the Riot Police on 11 August will hold another gathering today from the Victory Monument and march to the PM Residence.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Political activist Sombut Bunngam-anong is calling for a “Car-Park” movement on Sunday starting from Ayuthaya Province down to Bangkok. He defended his activity as not pressuring the government enough by saying that his approach is to gain more supports from the general population which will lead, eventually, to the topple the PM.—Krungthep Turakij
    • There will be three Former Red Shirt leader and the leader of ‘Car Mob’ has voiced his concerns over the violent engagement of the protestors against the riot police as counter-productive and the violence will even legitimise the government crackdowns.—Krungthep Turakij
      • To mark Thai mother’s day, the mother of the detain student-led protest leaders held a sensational talk on Clubhouse pledging to support Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak cause regardless of his missions.—Matichon
      •  The leader of the Progressive Movement Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is scheduled to join the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc competition in France in late August.—Matichon
    •  It has been widespread reports within the more right-wing media that the opposition leader eyes to flee the Kingdom as the authority is going to prosecute him.—Thai Move Institute

ASEAN/World

  • Editor-in-chief of Nikkei wrote a long report on ‘Biden administration’s Asia Policy: Subtle threat to ASEAN: US indifference to Indonesia and Thailand’ claiming that the new administration leaving out regional powerhouses Indonesia and Thailand, countries that would have been prioritized in the past. The Biden administration has made it very clear that it will only engage with countries that are strategically significant to the US. Also, as Jakarta and Bangkok have been becoming noticeably pro-China as well as Cambodia over the past few years. The article concluded that the much-awaited return of the U.S. focus on Asia is ironically threatening ASEAN’s raison d’etre as it prefers engaging on bilateral than regional levels.—Asia Nikkei

Economic:

  • The private sector speculates that the government may extend the lockdown to the end of September, which will bring economic loss to over 1 trillion Baht and will usher the Thai economy into a technical recession. 
  • To this end, the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) submitted a letter to request a meeting with PM Prayut, demanding that the government provide assistance in 3 areas comprising 1) liberalising COVID-19 vaccine import by allowing the private sector to procure alternative vaccines, specifically to inoculate factory workers to help export achieve a 15 percent growth this year; 2) government control the retail price of antigen test kits at 100 Baht as a way to support the expenses for the private sector to test their workers; and 3) allow the private sector to produce favirapir medicine.
  • Thai Chamber of Commerce suggests the government inject 5 billion Baht in Q4 2021 and another 5 billion Baht in Q1 of 2021 to retain employment, stimulate the economy, subsidise some costs for SMEs and boost consumers’ purchasing power.
  • SME Federation noted that around 2.7 million MSMEs that employ 5 million people and 80000 social enterprises are struggling to survive this latest wave of outbreak.  The Federation asked the government to increase social security compensation and improve access to soft loan.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij  Thansettakij newspaper, 11 August 2021
  • Revenue from tourism had dropped to below 10 percent of pre-pandemic level, reported the Tourism and Sports Ministry (MOST).  In Q2 2021, domestic tourism saw a QoQ decline of 56.8 percent (YoY decline is 13.2 percent ) to 7.43 million trips.  Some 24.6 million domestic trips were made in the first half 2021, falling short of meeting the annual target of 90 million trips, while hotel occupancy also dropped to 12.2 percent, a decrease of 17.2 percent YoY.  Currently, 50 percent of the hotels are earning less than 10 percent of their normal revenues, according to Thai Hotel Association.  For August, hotel occupancy rate nationwide is expected to average at 8 percent.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects the 7+7 sandbox island extension scheme that will allow Phuket Sandbox travellers to visit to Krabi, Phang Nga and Samui to be enforced on 22 August.  The plan will be submitted to CCSA for approval.  

  • The 7+7 extension scheme would require sandbox travellers to remain in Phuket for the first 7 days.  From day 8-14, they will be allowed to travel to 3 provinces without the need to quarantine, namely Krabi province’s Ngai, Riley and PP islands; Phang-Nga province’s Khao Lak, Yao Noi and Yao Yai islands; and 3) Surat Thani province’s Samui, Tao and Pha-Ngan islands.  Travellers will be required to specify the routes they wish to take when applying for a Certificate of Entry to Phuket Sandbox scheme.

TAT revealed that Cathay Pacific had started direct flights between Hong Kong and Phuket.  TAT will also launch a marketing campaign with Qatar Airways and SecretEScape luxury digital platform to sell the sandbox package to UK travellers between August- September; a move that is expected to bring in 100 million Baht of revenue since the average spending per person is 75,000 Baht.  Source:  Thansettakij newspaper, 12 August 2021

  • TDRI proposed that the government allocate 150 billion Baht of its loan on retaining employment for the 13 million people who work for 3.1 million SMEs for 3 months.  The measures include a monthly payment of 3,000 Baht per employee per month, on the condition that 1) employers must not lay off more than 10 percent of their employees; and 2) employers AMUST upskill their employees with digital skill with the government subsidising 1,000 Baht for each employee.  TDRI also suggested that the government procure 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for rollout in 2022 by using the 500 billion Baht loan.  TDRI does not expect tourism to see 39 million arrivals until 2024 and in the meantime urges the government to lift the public debt ceiling beyond 60 percent.  Source:    Krungthep Turakij, 13 August 2021
  • Thai rice exports are projected to continue to increase for the rest of this year, helped by the fact that the price of Thai rice had dropped and a weak Baht, which depreciated 10.4 percent against USD so far this year.  The Thai Rice Exporters Association expects rice export to average 600,000 -700,000 tonnes monthly and forecasts that the target of 6 million tonnes of export this year will be met.  This follows on from the lackluster export figures that tallied only 2.8 million tonnes in the first seven months of 2021. This is below the export target average of 500,000 tonnes a month, or 3.5 million tonnes during that period.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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