Advance Blog

January 19, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 19 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
7,122 (172from aboard; 15 from prisons), excluding 1,999 ATKs2,344,933 (last seven days: 52,640)12 (last seven days: 99)81,602/ 511
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
110,310,481 (+481,828)51,879,455 (+45,031)47,733,153 (+96,086)10,697,873 (+340,711)
  • The head of Operation Centre of the CCSA gave an interview ahead of the CCSA meeting on 20 January that the authority is eyeing to resume the Test & Go scheme with tougher tracking measures. The National Security Council secretary-general said that he will propose the readjustment of COVID-controlled areas to loosen the restrictions and will introduce additional measures, including, the compulsory RT-PCR test on Day 5 since arrival,  to make sure that the Test & Go scheme is COVID-free for the rest of the population.–Matichon
    • The government spokesperson said that the PM is pleased with the lesser COVID cases  and will expedite the ease of restrictions.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin said that if the Omicron transmission in Thailand is manageable, the Test & Go could resume in February. The top health official said the authority is eyeing to expand the sandboxes scheme to every region nationwide, including Samut Prakan, Chonburi, Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai. The Health Minister said that the ease of restriction on entertainment complex (pubs, clubs and karaoke bars) are not to be considered in this CCSA meeting.—Prachachat Turakij

Politics

  • The losses at two by-elections in the Southern Thailand have crumbling the main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP).
    • Media reported on a screen capture of group chat amongst the government whip, indicating that the Labor Minister, who has been blaming the PPRP secretary-general for leading their party to the failure in the election, is calling to conduct a poll asking what led to the failure of the PPRP. The Labor Minister suggested two choices to the question: a. as the PPRP has Thammanat as its secretary-general; or b. Thammanat is a figure that the public cannot stand. The Labor Minister later confirmed that the chat was accurate and conveyed that the poll was aimed at steering the main ruling party into the right direction.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The government whip from the PPRP dismissed the leaked conversation as something not a big deal. The government whip said that it is natural for a big political party to have people working in different styles, but affirming that the party remains united.–Matichon
    • Krungthep Turakij analysed that Thammanat strategy to distance the party from the Prime Minister was counter-productive as seen in the two by-elections. The losses did not only affect the political capital of the PPRP secretary-general but the party leader too.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The PM has asked coalition parties to stop the spats  from the aftermaths of the by-elections. It is reported that the PM spoke during the weekly cabinet meeting asking for the unity within the coalition parties and continue working collaboratively. This remark happened after the PPRP and Democrat Parties competed over two by-elections in the South.—Thai Rath
  • The freshly appointed Pheu Thai Party leader has sworn in as the leader of the Opposition. The party leader said that the main opposition party will file a general debate motion against the government between 21 to 24 January and expect the censure debate to be occurring by mid-February.—Thai Rath
  • The government spokesperson cited Super Poll which indicated that more than 80% of the Thai population is still supporting the PM. The poll also indicated that almost 70% of the respondents said there is no other candidate worthy of the premiership than General Prayut Chan-o-cha.—Thai Rath
  • Ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra revealed that he contacted the Omicron strain, despite having four-shots of vaccines.—Prachachat Turakij

Economic:

Cabinet’s decisions, 18 January 2022

Long Term Resident Visa

Approved of 2 draft announcements from Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labour to implement the Long Term Resident (LTR) visa package in a bid to attract investments into Thailand and boost the economy.  LTR visa targets 4 groups of affluent personnel namely: 1) Wealthy global citizen; 2) Wealthy pensioner; 3)Professionals who want to work from Thailand; and 4) Highly Skilled Professionals.  Details of the 2 draft announcements are as follows:

·      Applicants must apply for the visa through the Board of Investment in accordance with their set requirements.  The visa is also applicable to the applicant’s spouse and children (maximum 4 people).

·      The LTR visa must be renewed every 5 years for a maximum period of 10 years, with 10,000 Baht annual fee per applicant.  

·      The applicant and spouse/children must report their place of residence to the government every year

·      Once granted the LTR visa, the applicant can apply for work permit

·      The applicant and spouse/children who are granted the LTR visa can apply for other types of visas in accordance with the criteria set by Immigration Bureau.  The LTR visa can be revoked if the foreigner and their children/spouse do not comply with the LTR visa requirements.

Sources: Thai Government News   Krungthep Turakij  Thai PBS World  Bangkok Post

·      Approved of allocating 1.48 billion Baht from the Central Fund to reduce people’s cost of living.  The fund will be used to support Ministry of Commerce’s project to sell essential goods at a low price for 90 days through 50 mobile cars and 3,000 participating retail outlets nationwide.  The program is part of the government’s effort to curb the rising inflation.  Manufacturers of carbonated drinks have agreed not to raise the price of their goods in compliance with the government’s request.  Source:  Naew Na newspaper, 19 January 2022  Bangkok Post  ThaiPBS World

Others

  • Tourism and Sports Ministry plans to push for the resumption of the quarantine-free Test & Go scheme in February, which will be discussed at the CCSA’s meeting tomorrow (20 January).  Should Test & Go resumes in February, Tourism Authority of Thailand expects 7-8 million tourist arrivals to the country this year, partly because it is not known when Chinese tourists would be allowed to resume outbound travels.  Domestic tourists are forecasted at 160 million people, which if combined with international tourists, would bring total tourism revenue to 1.3 trillion Baht for 2022.  Revenue could reach 1.8 trillion Baht in the best case scenario, where local and international tourists tally 15 million people.  Source:  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 19 January 2022
  • Commerce Ministry plans to organise 152 export promotional activities and accelerate signing mini free trade agreements (mini-FTAs) with trading partners to stimulate export growth of 3-4 percent this year.  MoC eyes signing mini-FTA with India’s Telangana state in Q1 of this year.  Other potential partners are China’s Gansu province, Shanghai and Shenzhen; South Korea’s Busan, Nigeria’s Abuja and  South Africa’s Johannesburg.  Source:  Bangkok Post INN News  Krungthep Turakij
  • Gulf Energy Development (Gulf), a major energy and telecom firm, announced on Jan 17 its subsidiary Gulf Innova signed an MoU with Binance Group, the world’s largest cryptocurrency trading platform, to establish a digital exchange and other related business in Southeast Asia and Thailand.  Binance’s entry into the Thai digital asset industry should increase competition, decrease trading fees and encourage productivity and improvements in service quality.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Thai-Chinese joint venture SAIC Motor-CP, the manufacturer and distributor of MG cars, plans to spend 2.5 billion Baht developing a factory to produce batteries for battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and start making BEVs domestically next year.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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