Advance Blog

May 13, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 13 May 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)
4,887 (2,036+2,835 from prisons)93,7941,209/ 40660,615 (at 64.63%)64,9311,395,130(+22,753) (= 2.107 %  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)
2,020 [1,439 (get tested in hospital) + 597 (active case finding)]16 (in SQ)29,435 [9,219  in field hospital]22,474 (+1,069)518 (+32) *new record25,629645,233 (+81,529) (=0.975 % of the population)
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  • Today sees the highest record of the newly confirmed cases in the Kingdom as yesterday, the Correction Department announced yesterday that there have been almost 3,000 confirmed cases in the Central Women Correctional Institution and Bangkok Remand Prison from active case findings. The Justice Minister is set to hold a press conference from 2.00pm.—all media outlet
  • CCSA is flagging 12 major covid-19 clusters in Bangkok:
    • Khlong Toey Community; Bon Kai (Rama IV) Community, Morawan worker camp (On-nut), Samphaeng market, Baan Yuan community, Din Daeng flat, Saphan Khao market, Pratunam, Rama IX, Bobae market, Silom/ bang rad and Flower market.—Thai PR Department
  • A media reports on a vaccine distribution citing a senior administrator at the private-owned Camillian Hospital that private hospitals in Thailand are targeting July as the earliest date in which the Moderna vaccines might be made available in Thailand.—Thai Enquirer

Politics

  • The PM has assigned his attorney to press charge against an 80s famous singer Suthipongse ‘Heart’ Thatphithakkul on Royal Defamation and Computer Crime Act charges. The singer posted on social media about vaccine monopolisation for ‘the boss’. The attorney said the term could be understood by some as a criticism against the King.—Thai Rath
  • A senior MP from the ruling Democrat Party voiced his concerns on anonymity condition against the government border control measures. The MP gave an exclusive with a media that “I understand that we have to have a humanitarian heart but as the government of Thailand our people must come first”. The MP reportedly understands that coalition Bhumjaithai Party is with the Democrat on this.—Thai Enquirer
  • Yesterday, Panusaya ‘Rung’, a student-led protest main figure announced that she has been tested positive for COVID. This morning, the correction department came out to confirm that Panupong ‘Mike’ also got the virus. His lawyer is going to file the other bail requests for fear of the pandemic.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The lawyer to many of the student-led protest leaders just announced that he got covid.—Matichon
  • Opposition Move Forward Party is planning to propose a bill to allow citizen to press charges against legal officers, including judge, attorney-general and police on distorting the legal systems. The party is planning to propose the bill when the Parliament session resumes.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The Opposition is going to file a case against the PM to the Thai National Anti-Corruption Commission for the PM failure to curb the pandemic.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The head of the judiciary branch said in a seminar this morning that her direction on the judicial systems will be changed to that of ‘new tradition’ of service-minded and without discrimination.—Matichon
  • A major figure in the ruling Chatthai Pattana Party said that there has not been a consensus within the Constitutional Rejig proposal by three coalition parties, including the Bhumjaithai and Democrat. The party-listed MP said that the main disagreement lies within the electoral system.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

AANZFTA

  • The 12th AANZFTA Joint Commission 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.  The meeting also discussed the renewal of the 45-million AUD (1.96 billion Baht) financial support by Australia and New Zealand through an economic cooperation program slated to end late this year, as well as acknowledged Chile’s interest in joining AANZFTA   Sources:  Bangkok Post   Naew Na   Prachachat Turakij

Tourism

  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) expects 129,000 international tourists to visit Phuket in the first 3 months of its reopening through the Phuket Sandbox program.  With no quarantine required for inoculated tourists, a 7-day tour package will cost 150,000 – 200,000 Baht per person; 3 times higher than the pre-COVID-19 tourist spending.  TAT will submit to the CESA the Standard Operating Procedures of entry process for international arrivals and guidelines for the sealed routes within this month. 
  • TAT is also discussing with Thai Airways and Thai Smiles Airways to launch a 1,000-2,000 Baht domestic airfare subsidy scheme for tourists who are unable to fly direct to Phuket and have to transit via Suvarnabhumi Airport.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The reopening of Phuket on 1 July is highly anticipated as it is the first destination in Thailand to pioneer the sandbox reopening model.  One major risk is if the vaccines are diverted to other high-risk areas, leaving Phuket with insufficient doses to inoculate 70 percent of the population and achieve herd immunity on time.  Of late, Phuket has been revamping its image as a clean and safe destination, given that a number of European nations have expressed interest in the island.  For example, Germany is ready to fly in tourists through 2 chartered flights per week starting from 10 October.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij

Others

  • Creditors yesterday decided to postpone a vote on Thai Airways’ debt restructuring plan until next week, on 19 May.  The postponement came after 14 creditors called for the airline’s rehabilitation plan to be amended, such as its debt financing plan.  Another request was for Finance Ministry to guarantee loans for the airline, for which MoF must re-boost its shareholding back to above 50 percent.  This treaded on the controversial topic of whether or not the airline should reinstate its status as a state-own-enterprise.  Sources:  Bangkok Post   Krungthep Turakij
  • Krungthai Bank said Thailand’s main challenge is to develop a new growth engine that also complies with the Sustainable Development Goal, such as moving towards low-carbon society by reducing greenhouse gas emission.  This could be achieved through the Bio-Circular-Green economy (BCG) model, which Krungthai Bank forecasts can contribute 1 trillion Baht to Thailand’s GDP and create employment for 3.5 million people in the next 5 years.  The BCG economic model focuses on 4 local industries, ie: agriculture & food, healthcare & medical sector, energy & biomaterials and tourism & creative economy.  Source:  Bangkok Post Thansettakij
  • The cabinet on Tuesday approved a measure to allow SMEs to use their software or computer program-related expenses as a deductible on corporate income tax at the rate of 2 times the expense. The move aims to encourage SMEs to deploy digital technology to upgrade their operations.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) suggested earlier that the government may need to borrow an additional 1 trillion baht to mitigate the economic impacts of COVID-19.  The FTI continues to advocate for the government and commercial banks to help SMEs in the tourism, restaurant and manufacturing factors to better access loans.  It pointed out that the Bank of Thailand’s recently amended 250 billion Baht soft loan scheme remain inaccessible to SMEs.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • State agencies were told to halt development proposals that were to be funded by the 1-trillion-Baht emergency loan decree as the government is reserving funds to fight Covid-19 infections.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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