Advance Blog

July 14, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 14 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)
9,317 (129 from prisons)363,029 [last seven days: 61,677]3,201/ 828260,584 (+5,129)334,1669,888,124 (+289,175)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)
9,180 [7,159 (get tested in hospital) + 2,021 (active case finding)]8 (in SQ)99,511 [43,454 in field hospital]103,907 (+2,332)2,934 (+87) [last seven days: 547]13,230,681 (+322,488)19.5% of the population3,342,557 (+33,313)4.99% of the population

Politics

  • The first vaccine cocktail Thai health authority announced in inoculating Sinovac as the first dose and AstraZeneca as the second dose has tuned to be in disarray:
    • On Monday, the Deputy PM and Public Health Minister announced the use of such cocktail to improve protection against the Delta variant and build a high level of immunity against the disease.–Reuters
    • In the cabinet meeting yesterday, the PM has put the Public Health Ministry resolution on halt and ordered the ministry to reconsider citing WHO recommendation against mixing and matching the vaccines. The PM is reportedly said that this decision should be made by doctors. The Health Minister Anutin said that the decision was made by other doctors, in addition to the Ministry’s officials.–Matichon
    • Earlier on Tuesday, Krungthep Turakij reported that the PM did not have any prior knowledge of the vaccine swap scheme.—Krungthep Turakij
    • This morning, the government spokesperson said, however, that the PM did not put the vaccine swap scheme on halt, rather it was just a concern.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Last night, ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra grilled the government management of the pandemic on Club House:
    • Thaksin said that the Public Health resolution to the vaccine cocktail was a compromise and an attempt to ‘save face’ for those who has ordered this much Chinese Sinovac vaccines. The government critic recommended the dissolution of the CCSA and let the Public Health Ministry to take the lead. He also evaluated that the PM might decide to dissolve the Parliament by the end of this year and will hold the next election in February next year.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Amidst the call for the coalition parties to revoke their support from the government, the third ruling Democrat Party spokesperson announced that the party will stick to the other ruling parties. Yesterday, the deputy spokesperson of the second largest ruling Bhumjaithai Party also said that the party will not leave the coalition as the country is facing the pandemic crisis, leaving the coalition will create political vacuum which will jeopardise the country.—Krungthep Turakij
  • A vocal MP from Opposition Move Forward Party Sirikanya Tansakun as part of the Budget Committee questioned the budget allocation of the Foreign Ministry, particularly a big spending of Thai Embassies and Consulate-General in Germany, the Philippines and Spain. The MP questioned the necessity of setting up two Consulate-Generals in Frankfurt and Munich despite being close to each other, juxtaposing with vast country but only two posts in Australia (Canberra and Sydney).–Matichon
  • The student-led anti-government Free Youth Movement is calling for the protest against the government on the one year anniversary of their first protest on 18 July. The group called for three demands: the unconditional and immediate resignation of the PM, the transfer of royal and defence-related budget to help curb the pandemic and the change of the Sinovac to mRNA vaccines. Despite the pandemic, the group is calling for a protest on this Sunday 18 July from 2.00pm at the Democracy Monument.—Free Youth
  • Anon Nampa, a leader of the anti-government and monarchical-reformist Ratsadorn (Thai people) Movement, gave an interview with Prachatai saying that their third demand: reform the monarchy is the middle ground for everyone in the society and affirming their three demands. The human rights lawyer said that by successfully reforming the monarchy, the Republic elements in the society cannot grow. He raised up the British monarchy model which will be the equilibrium point whereby the society could reach a consensus on. The protest leader said that the Ratsadorn movement is aiming to achieve two ideals that are first, the consciousness that everyone is equal before the law and second, the Constitution which guarantees that principle.–Prachatai

Analysis/ opinion

  • Dr. Satithorn Thananithichote from King Prajadhipok’s Institute read into the recent online outcry against the PM management of the pandemic. The academia said that, despite the unified outcry against the government, the government will excel through this challenge as the unity amongst the conglomerate, armed forces, bureaucracies and judiciary remain strong. The political pundit said in principle, massive political change could only happen when there is conflict within the ruling elites and the departing fracture sided with the opposition. The prolong conflict in the Thai society has made the anti-government mass, so does the pro-government mass. The ruling elites, according to Dr. Satithorn, have been through these online outcries for several times in the last several years and have learned that by not reacting to the virtual criticisms, these waves of dissatisfactions will pass.–Ringsideการเมือง

Economic:

Cabinet’s decision, 13 July 2021

Latest Remedial Measures

  • Approved a 42-billion-Baht financial assistance package to help 9 groups of businesses registered with the Social Security system in 10 red zone provinces that are affected by the latest lockdown restrictions.  Of the 42 billion Baht, 30 billion Baht is from the government’s loan and 12 billion Baht will be drawn from the government’s budget.  The assistance will be enforced for 1 month but may be extended, depending on the situation.
  • 9 groups of eligible businesses are 1) construction 2) hotel and food services 3) arts, entertainment and recreation 4) other types of service businesses 5) auto retail and repair 6) cargo transport and depots 7) management and support activities 8) science and academic activities and 9) news and information and communication

Financial Assistance – Budget: 30 billion Baht

·         Employees registered with section 33 of the Social Security Act (SSA) will be paid 50 percent of their monthly income (with 7,500 Baht ceiling per person).  Thai employees will be paid an additional 2,500 Baht per person (with 10,000 Baht ceiling per person). If employees are not registered with Section 33 of the SSA, employers must enroll them to receive financial assistance. 

·         Section 33 employers will receive a maximum of 3,000 Baht for each employee that they employ, with the maximum of 200 employees

·         Self-insured people under Section 39 and Section 40 of the SSA will be paid 5,000 Baht per person.  Therefore, unregistered workers and freelancers must first enroll in the SSA’s section 40 to receive the payment. Employers with no employees must also register with SSA’s Section 40 within July to receive 5,000 Baht payment

·         Business operators using the government’s Thung Ngoen app as part of the Khon La Khrueng and Rao Chana stimulus schemes with employees must register with SSA’s Section 33 within July to receive financial assistance. 

·         Business operators using the Thung Ngoen app but has no employees must register with SSA’s Section 40 within July to receive financial assistance. 

Other aids – Budget 12 billion Baht

·         Discounts on electricity bills (July-August) and water bills (August-September)

·         Bank of Thailand and commercial banks are to relax debt-repayment regulations

·         Tuition fee and other related fees for the 2021 academic year will be reduced, with the Ministry of Education set to propose the solutions to the cabinet in 1 week.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij  Thai  Rath Bangkok Post

Others

  • The private sector said the government’s latest financial assistance package is insufficient to help businesses that are devastated by the pandemic in the last 1.5 years, while prompting the government to borrow beyond its 60 percent debt ceiling.  Thai Chamber of Commerce estimated that the government’s 42 billion Baht package can only partially compensate for the total losses in the business sector of 200 billion Baht.  Real estatecompany Sansiri blasted the government for not providing compensation for yjr construction workers who are not covered by the Social Security system but are forced to a lockdown within their camps.  Thai Hotel Association asked the government to provide more remedial measures for hotel operators who have the bear the costs of maintaining their properties and retaining employees.  National Shippers Association said the government needs to hasten the vaccine rollout to prevent further outbreaks, or else the lockdown would be useless. Source:  Thansettakij newspaper, 14 July 2021
  • Koh Samui’s Samui Plus reopening scheme is anticipated to see soft demand due to a surge in daily cases and delays in the Certificate of Entry registration process.  Tourism Association of Koh Samui does not expect an influx of visitors in the first 2 months of the island’s re-opening as it needs to build up awareness.  The Association envisages Samui Plus to be a test to prepare operators for when tourism rebounds.  The number of seat bookings on flights for July is 33, 20 in August, 10 in September and 17 in October.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Ying Aom Ying Dai government bonds worth 50 billion Baht were sold out quickly after their launch in early July.  The bonds will be used to finance state projects to ease the impact of the pandemic.  Ministry of Finance noted the government will not be issuing any additional savings bonds in FY2021 as all the bonds were issued as planned.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • Customs Department reiterated that imported vaccines and medical equipment are subjected to 7 percent value added tax but are exempted from import duty until March 2022.  Customs Department dismissed the rumour that it will be imposing over 100 percent duty on future imports of Moderna vaccines.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij  Thansettakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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