Advance Blog

May 18, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 18 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)
2,473 (1,793 + 680 from prisons)113,555  n/a  69,918 (at 61.57%)82,219  1,521,034 (+38,332) (= 2.298 % of the population)  
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath toll 2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,770 [1,423 (get tested in hospital) + 347 (active case finding)]23 (in SQ)42,988 [n/a]28,658 (+873)649 (+35)819,961 (+38,355) (=1.238 % of the population)
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration spokesperson outlined 28 clusters in 19 districts of Bangkok. In the emerging cluster of construction camps in Northern bangkok, the active case finding log 987 confirmed cases out of 1,413 tests conducted.—BMA spokesperson
  • The infection in the prisons is yet under controlled:
    • The Justice Ministry is seeking to get vaccines from the Public Health Ministry to inoculate every convicts. The minister said that this is the only and most effective way to contain the pandemic.—Thai Rath
    • The Justice Minister said should the pandemic is yet under controlled, the ministry will consider in early June whether to halt the jail term for 50,000 convicts in a bid to curb the pandemic.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • The 2022 budget is out and see a cut in the overall spending on different sectors. It has drawn criticisms from the opposition.
    • The Defence Ministry spokesperson dismissed the criticism from the opposition parties which pointed out that the Defence budget was the least cut despite being in the pandemic. The spokesperson said that the Defence Ministry has different missions than the Public Health, thus more budget.—Thai Rath
    • It is addressed by a media that all ministries under ruling Bhumjaithai Party have seen a cut in the budget bill.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Digital Economy Minister is seeking to prosecute an online page which juxtaposed the government field hospital and field hospitals built by an online influencer. The minister warned online users not to stir misunderstandings.—Thai Rath
  • Today, South Korea-based May 18 Memorial Foundation is going to virtually hand over Gwang Ju Prize for Human Rights to detained human rights lawyer Anon Nampa. Anon has been working for human rights issues in Thailand since 2008.–Matichon

Australia

  • All Thai media outlets cited the 9News report on Australian authority intercepted a Thai national cargo ship at Port Botany in Sydney, Australia. The Australian authority found out that there are illicit drugs hid in electric BBQ and water heater. The case is under investigation.—9News
  • Last night, security officials in the Southern province of Nakhon Sri Thammarat apprehended Mr Cook Samuel James Norton, a 47-year-old Australian, for his involcement with drugs and transnational mafias in Phuket. Mr Cook Samuel has overstayed his visa in the Kingdom.—Manager online

Economic:

APEC

  • Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said after a video conference with New Zealand’s Minister of Trade and Export Growth, Damien O’Connor, that Thailand supports New Zealand’s proposal to issue 3 key statements for the APEC meetings this year.  The first statement will be issued by the APEC Trade Ministers to promote trade under WTO’s multilateral trading system and will also provide support to Thailand’s BCG economy.  The second statement is a pledge to not restrict COVID-19 vaccine export among APEC members, while the third statement supports the movement of essential goods and cooperation in logistics.  Thailand will has confirmed its attendance of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting, to be held by New Zealand from 4- 5 June.  Thailand has also formally agreed to host APEC meetings next year, taking over from New Zealand’s chairmanship this year.  Sources:  Thansettakij  Bangkok Post

Tourism

  • Compulsory Covid-19 testing for visitors travelling to Phuket is set to remain in place to ensure high level of safety in preparation of the island’s reopening under the sandbox model.  Currently Phuket requires visitors to present a COVID-19 test certificate of no older than 72 hours and a vaccine certificate or a letter stating their reason for visiting the province.  The Thai Hotels Association opined that the measures are too strict and are also restricting the transportation of goods into the island.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • A National Tourism Policy Committee meeting decided that major tourism provinces such as Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Buri Ram and Bangkok should pilot tourism reopening plans to inoculated overseas visitors from Oct 1.  A project, called Hua Hin Recharge project, will be proposed to CCSA in order achieve mass vaccination in Hua Hin, wherein vaccine allocation to the seaside resort town could begin as early as June 1.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The Revenue Department expects its collection of corporate income tax (CIT) in FY 2021 will not meet the target because profits of listed companies last year are poised to fall by 40 percent YoY.  The department had set a target of 2.085 trillion Baht for all tax revenue this year.  However, revenue collected for the first half of FY2021 (Oct 2020-March 2021) has already fallen 9.4 percent below target (valued at 735 billion Baht).  CIT from listed companies accounts for 30 percent of the total CIT revenue collected by the department.  Total revenue collection from Thailand’s 3 tax collection departments (Revenue, Customs and Excise), plus revenue from SOEs and state agencies in the first 6 months of FY 2021 10.7 percent below the target, valued at 1.018 trillion Baht. Sources:  Bangkok Post  Krungthep Turakij
  • Thailand’s economy in Q1 of 2021 shrank by -2.6 percent as the pandemic takes its toll on tourism, despite it being an improvement from the -4.2 percent contraction in Q4 2020.  Overall, NESDC expects the Thai economy this year to grow by1.5-2.5 percent due to the effects of the third wave of COVID-19 outbreak.    Growth drivers for 2021 include goods export, private consumption expenditure, private investment and public investment, which are projected to increase by 10.3 percent, 1.6 percent, 4.3 percent, and 9.3 percent, respectively.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) is concerned about the prospect of rising NPLs among tourism-related businesses such as aviation, transportation and restaurants in Q2 of this year.  Although the commercial banking sector’s NPL ratio (stage 3 loans) for Q1 of 2021 has declined to 3.10 percent QoQ, this is mainly because of BOT’s debt restructuring measures.  The BOT anticipated that its debt relief measures for consumer loans introduced last week, its asset warehousing program for commercial loan restructuring; and its amended-soft loan scheme will further contain the debt level of the overall banking sector.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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