Advance Blog

September 17, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 17 September 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)
14,555 (790 from prisons); (excluding ATK 1,630)1,448,792 (last seven days: 95,839)3,851/ 7871,304,247 (+13,691)1,419,92928,436,015  (+ 350,813) BKK: 7,803,484 (+16,225)620,093 (+ 965) BKK: 193,973 (+ 1,456)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average positive rate in the last seven days
13,756 [12,600 (get tested in hospital) + 1,156 (active case finding)]9 (in SQ)129,421 [84,982 in field hospital]337,708(+2,911)15,124 (+171) (last seven days: 1,204)43,342,103  (+ 864,589) BKK: 11,149,030 (+ 78,949)14,285,995 (+ 512,811) BKK: 3,151,573 (+61,268)15.82%
  • The prospect of reopening Bangkok to tourists under Bangkok Sandbox is under questions:
  • The Tourism Authority of Thailand said that following the PM pledge to reopen the country to tourism within 120 days, there will be 25 provinces, including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Petchburi, and Bangkok to be on the scheme. The TAT will discuss with the economic wing of the CCSA to consider reducing the RT-PCR tests for vaccinated tourists to only one time. The reopening plan will need to be authorised only by the Governor.—Matichon
  • Against what the Tourism Minister said yesterday after having a discussion with the Bangkok Governor on ‘Bangkok Sandbox’, the Governor said however that he has not said a word about reopening Bangkok to vaccinated tourists in October. The Bangkok Governor said that there is no fixed date on reopening of the capital city and stressed that Bangkok residents must have more than 70 percent inoculation rate first, before holding a discussion on the Sandbox scheme.—ThaiPBS
  • The dean of prestigious Siriraj Medical School and advisor to the CCSA voiced his opinion against the Sandbox. Dr Prasith said that he call for the delay of reopening for one more month and has voiced grave concerns against the no-quarantine measures.—Channel 7
  • The Tourism Minister discussed with the Bangkok Governor and has agreed that reopening to fully vaccinated and COVID-negative visitors from abroad, scheduled for October 15. The Bangkok Governor has indicated that Bangkok wants their city population rate at 70 percent first.—ThaiPBS World
  • The Minister gave an interview this morning saying that he will consult with the CCSA and Public Health to ease alcoholic beverage when dine-in to attract more tourists.—Inside Thailand
  • The Public Health permanent-secretary has vowed to inoculate 1 million doses on 24 September, Mahidol Day-the day the grand father of the King passed away. The top doctor said that the effort will be conducted for the royal merit making.—Public Health Ministry

Politics

  • A senior source who has asked to remain anonymous said that from September 20 to 29, Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai is to visit Washington and will attend the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and ASEAN related meetings in New York. ASEAN has agreed to hold an informal ministerial meeting, on the side lines of the UNGA, which will also touch on the collective ASEAN efforts to combat the coronavirus, as well as the situation in Myanmar. —ThaiPBSWorld
  • Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the coup to oust former PM Thaksin while he was in UNGA meeting in New York. The ‘Car Mob’ led by former redshirt leaders Natthawut and Somsak is planning to kick off from 2.00pm at Asoke Intersection until the Democracy Monument.—all media outlet
  • Anwar Salaeh, the Democrat party’s MP from Pattani, who has been vocal against the PM despite being part of the coalition, has come out to warn the military not to undertake any kind of mischief as rumours are starting to fly once again that the military could undertake a coup amid all the chaos in the country.—Thai Rath
  • The freshly appointed main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party’s Chief Strategist gave an interview affirming that he is taking the position just to assist General Prawit, the PPRP leader and stressed that he has no intention of taking control over the party against the secretary-general. The new chief strategist is drafting a new strategy to make sure the MPs in the party are unified and ready for the next election.—Thai Rath
  • Analysis/ opinionInternational Strategy expert Professor Surachat Bumrungsuk from Chulalongkorn University said that AUKUS is the reaction from the fall of Kabul to Al Qaeda as China has made it very clear that it is willing to fill in once the American retreated when the Chinese Foreign Minister met with the Islamic leader before the fall. According to Surachat, Asia, including Southeast Asia will be the area of contests amongst major powers and the 21st century Cold War will have its epicentre in Asia. The international strategy expert warned the Thai government to remain independence in siding with either side and stressed that there is no ‘saint’ major power. He also said that to stand firm, Thailand must step up its international relevance as it seems the American Vice Presidential visits to Southeast Asia skipped the Kingdom.—BBC Thai

Economic

  • Ministry of Commerce had granted 24 foreigners permission to operate businesses in Thailand through the Foreign Business Act in August 2021, mostly from Singapore, the Netherlands and Poland.  They bring in a total of 908 million Baht and created 636 employment for Thais, as well as transferred knowledge in specialised fields such as battery foe Electric Vehicles and communications devices in drones.  From January – August 2021, the Foreign Business Board had granted 132 foreigners the permission to operate businesses in Thailand, bringing in investments worth 9.3 billion Baht.  Source: Naew Na

  • Ministry of Tourism speeds up coordination with various agencies to reopen Bangkok through the Bangkok Sandbox scheme on 15 October.  Modelled after the Phuket sandbox, tourists will not be subjected to quarantine requirements.  MoST will propose its plans to CESA on 24 September, which includes inoculating 70 percent of the Bangkok residents and 100 percent of those operating in the service sector, for example those in the restaurant and logistic sectors.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 17 September

  • Federation of Thai SME has voiced support of the government’s plan to reopen the tourism industry in October due to the need to restore the economy.  However, it also cautions against the adverse effects another outbreak could wreak on SMEs.  To this end, the Federation is asking the government to help SMEs by suspending their debt payment for 6 months and set up funds to help SMEs that cannot access soft loans.  Source:  Bangkok Post

  • Thai Hotels Association hopes the reopening of Bangkok in October and domestic stimulus campaigns will boost hotel occupancy rate from single digit to 15-20 percent during the high season in the last 3 months of 2021.  Hotel operators are calling the government to start domestic subsidy campaigns We Travel Together and Tour Teaw Thai to start earlier than 15 October.  Source:  Bangkok Post

  • NESDC advises the government to speed up the development of infrastructure for science, technology and digital as well as promote private investment in R&D next year to enhance Thailand’s competitiveness.  Source:  Bangkok Post

  • Finance Minister Arkhom instructed the Bank of Thailand and Fiscal Policy office to relax some of the criteria for state banks to lend to domestic airlines in a bid to improve liquidity in the aviation industry.  Finance Ministry has assigned the Export-Import Bank as the main bank to provide liquidity to the aviation industry.  Source:  Bangkok Post

  • The National Cyber Security Agency is gearing up to develop the cybersecurity skills of personnel working in 7 sectors of critical information infrastructure through intensive capacity building program.    The first phase fo the program targets 2,250 trainees and almost 1,000 specialists and executives in related courses by 2022.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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