Advance Blog

July 13, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 13 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)
8,685 (146 from prisons)353,712 [last seven days: 59,659]3,042/794255,455 (+3,797)316,1649,598,949 (+297,542)14.5% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
 8,527 [6,026 (get tested in hospital) + 2,501 (active case finding)]12 (in SQ)95,410 [41,79  in field hospital]101,575 (+2,631)2,847 (+56) [last seven days: 57]12,908,193 (+338,980)19.5% of the population3,309,244 (+41,438)4.99% of the population
  • The Public Health authority announcement of the ‘mix-and-match’ of Sinovac and AstraZeneca jabs consecutively has made international headlines as it is the first place in the world to announce so. Deputy PM and Public Health Minister said the cocktail aims “to improve protection against the Delta variant and build a high level of immunity against the disease”. There have been no studies specifically on mixing Sinovac and AstraZeneca released, but a growing number of countries are looking at mix-and-match of different vaccines or giving a third booster dose amid concerns new and more contagious variants may escape approved vaccines.–Reuters
    • However, the World Health Organization chief scientist advised against people mixing and matching COVID-19 vaccines from different manufacturers, calling it a “dangerous trend” since there was little data available about the health impact.–Reuters
  • After becoming a large cluster in the last few months, the Justice Ministry said that 94.2 percent of the infected inmates have recovered from the virus.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is about to fine and revoke VoiceTV from the satellite platform. The NBTC said the anti-government channel has covered on things which undermine the state security and that the channel has made six minutes advertisement more than the NBTC has allowed.—Khao Sod
  • It is expected that in today’s cabinet meeting, the Interior Minister will nominate the next Interior Ministry’s Permanent-secretary. There are reportedly three candidates: the DG of Department Of Provincial Administration, the DG of Department of Lands and the permanent-secretary of Natural Resources.—Krungthep Turakij
    • A media analysed (and later deleted the report) why the permanent-secretary of Natural Resources Ministry Mr Jatuporn will be nominated to be the next Interior Ministry’s prem-sec (unprecedented for the Interior Ministry to have ‘insider’ to get the top job). The media reported that Mr Jatuporn went to the same faculty with the current Interior Ministry perm-sec. More importantly, it is reported that Mr Jatuporn is supported by an energy conglomerate head who has been sponsoring the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) and Thai Economy Party which the current Interior perm-sec is expected to lead after his retirement in October. The media also reported that the Interior Ministry is looking after Provincial Electricity Authority-having Mr Jatuporn in the position means the conglomerate can take control of the lucrative PEA. The Interior Ministry is also capable of lining up provincial governors facilitating the campaigns in the next election.—TOP News
  • Opposition parties have agreed to file the censure debate against the government on the failure in curbing the pandemic. The Opposition will finalise the format of the censure motion at its next meeting on July 19 as the House session is on suspension due to COVID restriction.—Krungthep Turakij
  • After there have been calls for the coalition parties to revoke their support of the government, the third largest ruling Democrat Party spokesperson said that the party will not withdraw from the government.—Prachachat Turakij
  • Opposition Move Forward Party MPs held a virtual press conference accusing the two main parties-ruling Palang Pracharat Party and opposition Pheu Thai Party for manipulating the Constitutional Amendment motion for their own political gains. The Move Forward Party MPs said that the Parliament has passed only the Democrat Party motion which indicated the amendment of two Articles, but the deliberation in the committee involved proposals from the main PPRP and PT parties. The progressive MPs warned that the amendment proposals did not touch upon the core of the political conflicts.—Krungthep Turakij

Analysis/opinion

  • Krungthep Turakij viewed the PM move to ‘step back’ from being the main commander of the pandemic situation as a strategic retreat after seeing a greater resistance from many sectors. The media reported that the change of vaccines combination (Sinovac first then AZ second) is done by Public Health Ministry lead where the PM has no prior knowledge of it. The Ministry has reached the consensus that there is no way that the Kingdom will secure 63 million doses of AstraZeneca by the end of this year.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Tourism

  • CCSA spokesperson Thanakorn dismissed the fake news that surfaced on social media, which claimed that Phuket has closed its borders as the island is now infested with COVID-19.  Thanakorn insisted that the Phuket Sandbox scheme remains underway, with the island having welcomed 4,778 tourist arrivals since 1 July and bookings for Q3 amounting to 176,993 nights.  As of yesterday, Phuket reported that 6 of the total 3,917 tourists who arrived in Phuket from 1-10 July are infected with COVID-19.  Sources:  Thansettakij Thai Government News
  • Inoculated tourists can start booking their trip to Koh Samui, the second destination poised to reopen on 15 July under the Samui Plus sealed route program.  Registration for certificate of entry (COE) for Koh Samui was opened on Monday.  Source: Bangkok Post

Others

  • Commerce Ministry is set to organise a consultation session on 15 July with the public and private sectors to discuss the possibility of upgrading 3 FTAs, comprising the ASEAN-China FTA; ASEAN-Korea FTA and ASEAN-India FTA.  Source:  Khao Sod Thailand Plus TV
  • Yesterday PM Prayut and Interior Ministry representative chaired a virtual meeting to discuss Thailand’s APEC chairmanship in 2022.  The meeting was attended by members of the national committee which was appointed specifically to oversee APEC, with DPM and Foreign Affairs Minister Don serving as the chair of the APEC sub-committee.  Source:  Manager Online
  • According to Bloomberg, Thailand’s imposition of lockdown-like measures to contain the deadliest Covid outbreak risks fuelling the decade-high unemployment rate and household debt.  These measures posed further downside risks to the fragile economy and may delay recovery from its worst slump in more than two decades.  It may also derail PM Prayuth’s target of welcoming back vaccinated tourists by as early as mid-October. Economists noted that foreign investors will avoid investing in Thailand due to the worsening pandemic, with the nation’s currency and stocks both tumbling for 4 weeks in a row.  Source:  Bloomberg
  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) said existing assistance launched to relieve financial burdens of households are inadequate in the midst of the latest COVID-19 outbreak.  BOT had identified 2 priority areas that must be urgently tackled, namely 1) the debt serviceability of households which could deteriorate further, given that household debt had risen to 90.5 percent of GDP and 2) risks arising from prolonged low-interest rate environment, such as investors’ search-for-yield behaviour, to maintain the stability of the Thai financial system when the economy picks up.  Sources: Bank of Thailand press releaseThai Post
  • As the economy is rebounding slowly from the current COVID-19 outbreak, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) is likely to revise downward Thailand’s 2021 GDP growth from its original forecast of +1.8 percent.  The fresh lockdown and slow vaccination rollout mean Thailand may not be able to contain the outbreak by Q4 2021 or achieve herd immunity by early 2022.  Sources:  Poojadkarn online Thai Rath
  • Current financial assistance offered by the BOT are its amended soft loan scheme for SMEs, in which 66.89 billion Baht of loan was approved and offered to 21929 entrepreneurs.  Amended on 26 April, the approved soft loan is expected to reach 100 billion Baht in the first 6 months.  BOT’s asset warehousing scheme for business operators is, however, not seeing much participation yet is anticipated to see higher uptake soon following regulation changes.  To date, 2 business operators with total credit line of 900 million Baht have joined asset warehousing program.  Sources:  Bangkok Post 
  • The Federation of Thai Industry is closely monitoring currency movement as the Thai Baht depreciated to its weakest value in 14 months at 32.29 Baht to USD.  The depreciation is in response to the news that the US will raise its policy interest earlier than projected in 2022 and 2023.  Thai exporters is expected to benefit from the depreciation, such as automotive export, which is also unaffected by the latest lockdown measures.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Private hospitals are suggesting that the government increase coverage of medical expenses for Covid-19 inpatients in private hospitals to let more facilities in the capital help ease the public health burden.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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