Advance Blog

August 18, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 18 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)
20,515 (248 from prisons); (excluding ATK 7,210)968,957 (last seven days: 151,968)5,458/ 1,155753,119 (+22,682)940,09418,726,405 (+355,408) BKK: 6,082,706 (+39,149)510,668(+9,191) BKK: 130,734(+3,841)
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
20,250 [16,520 (get tested in hospital) + 3,730 (active case finding)]17 (in SQ)207,553 [156,002 in field hospital]226,027 (+4,154)8,285 (+312) (last seven days: 1,490)24,618,749 (+518,118) BKK:7,563,907 (+70,189)5,381,676 (+153,519) BKK: 1,350,467 (+27,199)50,151
  • During the CCSA plenary meeting on Monday, the CCSA has a resolution to make contract procuring vaccines through COVAX Facility up to 20 percent of the population (26 million doses) in 2022. The CCSA has assigned the National Vaccine Institute and the Disease Control Department to lead the negotiation and draft the contract. The CCSA has ordered agencies to make comprehensive pros and cons analysis of procuring vaccines through COVAX Facility. The results of the negotiation will be presented in the CCSA to consider.—Parchachat Turakij  
  • A senior public health official told Thai Enquirer on condition of anonymity that officials inside the Ministry of Public Health are petitioning the Prayut Chan-ocha administration and the Minister of Public Health to invest in second-generation vaccines for 2022. The senior official said that even the Chulalongkorn-developed vaccines could not be much help in the new variants in 2022. The government must invest in the second generations vaccines, not more Sinovac vaccines.—Thai Enquirer
  • The PM has ordered Public Health Minister to make sure that by the end of 2021, over 70 percent of the population must be inoculated and has underlined that there must be no more case of non-medical workers who got the third booster dose of Pfizer vaccines.—Thai Rath
  • The PM posted on his FB defending the necessity of extending the lockdown until the end of August. The PM said that should the lockdown is fully effective, the peak of the pandemic will in early September and could consider easing lockdown measures in some activities.—Khao Sod

Politics

  • Talu Fah Group has called for the other gathering this afternoon at the Democracy Monument. The organiser called for the non-violent actions after they were dispersed from their activity in Ratchaprasong intersection and National Police Headquarter.—Matichon  Krungthep Turakij
  • After a harsh backlash from the public against the amnesty bill for frontline health workers and especially policy makers on the vaccine management, the cabinet has casted its magic by ‘pushing for the amnesty act via amending the current Communicable Disease Act’. The Act will  add in the clause of pandemic administration in the health emergency situation. The cabinet has assigned the Council of the State to amend the Act accordingly before getting back to the cabinet for approval. The government spokesperson defended that by amending the law, there will be no need for the use of Emergency Decree in the future.—all media outlet
  • The PM has underlined in the cabinet meeting that the riot police must strictly follow the international standard in controlling and dispersing the protestors.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The Metropolitan Police Chief affirmed that the sighting of SWAT unit in the violent protest site of Din Daeng was legit and said that the special force was in the area due to personnel shortage and will look after only special incidents.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The protestor who has been in coma has turned out to be only 15 years old, not 20 years old as earlier implicated. The mother of the minor said he is hoping for a miracle for her only son to recover.—Khao Sod
  • This Friday, the Administrative Court will make a verdict on whether the PM is guilty of being negligence on the partial relocation of former Tourist Police Chief Surachet ‘Joke’ Hakphan.—Krungthep Turakij

Analysis/ opinion

  • The cabinet approval of appointing Boonchob Suttamanuswong as the secretary-general of the Labour Ministry from the general-inspector of the Natural Resources Ministry is seen as part of the ‘political deal’ of Pheu Thai-PPRP collaboration. Boonchob has been very close to Yongyuth Tiyapairat, former House speaker during the Pheu Thai-related administration who is reportedly behind opposition Pheu Chat Party. The appointment of Boonchob who has been working with the Opposition from an insignificant position to the head of Ministry under the PPRP is highly speculated as part of the much-anticipated Pheu Thai-PPRP grand coalition. The Labour Minister gave an interview, hinting that ‘anything is possible in Thai politics’.—Inside Thailand

Australia

  • Australian PM made a phone call to PM Prayut discussing a wide-ranging issues, including the agreed prospective vaccine assistance from Australia, Myanmar situation, Thai students in Australia and so on.—Royal Thai Government The media headlines from major media outlets in chronological order have been:
  • The PM called to Australian PM seeking vaccine assistance for Thailand.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Thai PM thanks the 2.8 million dollar donation supporting Thai public health.—Nation TV, Spring News
    • Thai PM talked with Australian PM asking for Thai students to return to study in Australia.—Daily News
    • Australian PM is ready to support Thailand on vaccines.—Siam Rath
    • Australian PM is ready to support Thailand on vaccines and agreed on the humanitarian cooperation on Myanmar.—The Standard
    • The PM made a call to Australian PM requesting vaccine assistance.—PPTV
    • The PM called to Australian PM escalating Strategic Partnership and seeking assistance to Thailand.—Thai Rath

·                     The Labour Minister said that the Deputy PM Prawit has ordered the ministry to seek more international jobs for Thai labours, including in Australia. The Ministry is seeking to supply emerging markets with the tendency to hire Thai labours; namely Australia in agricultural sector.—Royal Thai Government

Economic:

  • The cabinet had approved of the APEC Ministers’ draft declaration on food security in the lead up to year 2030, which will be endorsed at the APEC Minsters’ Food Security virtual meeting on 19 August.  The cabinet noted that the measures will benefit Thailand’s food security and is in line with the BCG economic model.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said that Thailand will be able to attract 1 million foreign tourists this year, rather than 1.2 million as originally anticipated, following the implementation of the 7+7 Phuket Sandbox extension scheme since 16 August.  TAT is also banking on some 500,000 – 700,000 Russian tourists to visit Phuket since CCSA had endorsed Sputnik V vaccine travelers to the sandbox scheme.  By October, Surat Thani and Phuket airports are expected to receive Russians flying in via chartered flights. 
  • TAT is planning to invite various ambassadors based in Thailand to visit Phuket to gain first-hand exposure to the sandbox scheme, which in line with PM Prayut’s plan to reopen parts of Thailand in 120 days.   If successful, the sandbox scheme will be adapted to other islands in the Eastern region. 
  • TAT expects tourism will begin to pick up in Q4 2021 until Q1 of 2022, despite the fact that Thailand welcomed only 70,000 foreign tourists from January – August this year.  Of this figure, the Phuket Sandbox scheme welcomed 21,160 tourists from 1 July-16 August. TAT will also continue pursuing travel bubble discussions with Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij   Bangkok Post
  • The private sector is not surprised that the government had extended the lockdown until the end of August, given that COVID-19 infection remains high.  The Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) is calling for the government to provide more assistance measures to help affected businesses, procure more antigen test kits and expedite vaccination rollout.  TCC estimates that Thailand will suffer losses worth 800 billion – 1 trillion Baht from January and August, and if the government extends the restrictions until September, the accumulated losses are likely to exceed 1 trillion Baht.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 18 August 2021,  Bangkok Post
  • Finance Ministry (MoF) will link 6 delivery service platforms such as Line Man, Food Panda and Grab Food with the government’s 2 stimulus programs, Khon La Krueng and Ying Chai Ying Dai, starting from October.  The move will reduce face to face interactions as well as boost spending through the co-payment subsidy scheme Khon La Krueng and the tax rebate scheme Ying Chai Ying Dai.  Since the launch of its third phase in July 2021, Khon La Krueng had benefitted 26.7 million people with spending of 57 billion Baht, of which 29.2 billion Baht is payment contribution from consumers and the remainder is from government subsidy.  There are 467,000 participants in the Ying Chai Ying Dai scheme which generated spending of 1.25 billion Baht.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij
  • Commerce Ministry revealed that the export of Thai fruits to China in the first half of 2021 expanded by +64.9 percent YoY, totaling 14.5 billion Baht in value.  Fruits that reported high export growth are pineapple (+90.94 percent, Durian (+83.56 percent) and Longan (+70.7 percent).   Commerce Ministry reiterated the need for exporters to maintain good hygiene practice to maintain Thailand’s image, while Thai Trade Commissioners in China will continue to proactively organise marketing campaigns through Thai Fruit Golden Months with major retail outlets.   Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • National oil and gas conglomerate PTT Group will maintain its new business outreach, including Electric Vehicles (EVs), over the next 5 years.  PTT expects to produce the first EV in 2023, wherein EV production is among the new businesses under PTT’s “Future Energy and Beyond” scheme.  PTT is set to make a final decision on the establishment of an EV production facility in the EEC area worth USD 1-2 billion.  PTT had earlier signed an MoU with Foxconn, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giant, to produce EVs and their components for the Thai market.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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