Advance Blog

July 19, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 19 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)
11,784 (100 from prisons)415,170 [last seven days: 70,143]3,595/ 856289,651 (+5,741)386,30710,850,099 (+69,667)16.39% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
11,674 [8,997 (get tested in hospital) + 2,677 (active case finding)]10 (in SQ)122,097 [50,462 in field hospital]114,928 (+2,134)3,328 (+81) [last seven days: 631]14,298,596 (+74,834)21.58% of the population3,448,497 (+5,167)5.21% of the population

·         The Director-General of the Department of Disease Control said that if the pandemic situation is not getting better in the next two months, the Health Authority will look into the ultimate Wuhan lockdown model.—Siam Rath

  • The National Security Council Chief who also heads the Operation Centre of the CCSA said that the Operation Centre will consider whether to recalibrate or adjust the lockdown measures every week, primarily the CCSA will consider the measure every fortnight.—Krungthep Turakij

·         On Sunday, the Royal Gazette announced the government will be tightening COVID-19 measures from Tuesday. The number of dark red provinces has increased are now increased to 13 provinces (adding Chonburi, Chaseongsao and Ayutthaya).

  • The strict and highly controlled areas includes Bangkok, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Narathiwat, Pathum Thani, Pattani, Ayutthaya, Yala, Songkhla, Samut Prakan and Samut Sakhon.
  • Additional measures to be imposed on Tuesday are:

·         People living in dark red provinces (maximum and strictly controlled areas) are not allowed to go outdoors unless necessary.

·         Curfew hours are imposed from 9pm to 4am.

·         Restaurants, shopping malls remain closed while super markets, pharmacies and vaccination centres must be closed at 8pm.

·         Convenience must be closed from 8pm to 4am.

·         Provincial governors must close venues and ban activities that could pose risk of COVID-19 infection for 14 days.

·         Checkpoints will be set up to prevent people living in dark red provinces from inter-province travel.

·         The number of passengers on public transport is limited to 50 per cent capacity (only in dark red provinces).—National News Bureau of Thailand

·         The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) said domestic flights to and from Bangkok and other provinces classified by the Thai government as high risk from COVID-19 will be suspended starting July 21. Exceptions are being made for medical flights, emergency landing aircrafts and flights in connection with the government’s tourism reopening programs. Other domestic fights can only fly at 50% capacity.–Reuters

·         The Deputy PM and the Public Health Minister said on Sunday that he has instructed Dr. Nakorn Premsri, director of the National Vaccine Institute, to draft a ministerial announcement to set the appropriate proportion of AstraZeneca vaccine for export and for domestic use, which will be submitted to the CCSA for consideration. The Public Health Ministry wants to take delivery of ten million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine per month.–ThaiPBSWorld

·         Over the weekend, there was a leaked document indicating that Thailand only wanted 3 million doses per month from Siam BioScience, the local manufacturer of AstraZeneca, but later asked to raise it to 10 million doses.—Isra News

  • On Sunday, there was a circulation of the Ministry of Public Health saying that in June the Ministry has asked for 10 million doses of AZ, not three millions as earlier implicated.—Isra News

Politics

  • Yesterday, more than a thousand of protestors met with harsh resistance from the police after gathered at the Democracy Monument but did not make it to the Government House.
    • Police reportedly use tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse protesters. Police said eight police officers and at least one reporter were injured during the clashes. There was no report on the  protest injury, but police affirmed that they have arrested 13 protestors. —Reuters
    • Protestors did its symbolic activity—burning the replica of the PM—before adjourning at 6.30pm. The protestors will
    • The police said the use of rubber bullet was in accordance to the tactics as the protestors did not comply to the police order.–Matichon
    • Food delivery application-Food Panda was the new target of the cancel culture as protestors have call for a ban of the application after the Twitter account tweeted that they will fire their rider (food delivery employee) for participating in the yesterday’s protest. The Food Panda account tweeted that the company does not support violence and terrorism.—Khao Sod
  • Over the weekend, there was a circulation and movement calling for the scrap of Royal Thai Navy plan to procure two more submarines from China.
    • The freshly elected Palang Pracharat Party’s secretary-general declared that the main ruling party is against the procurement as the Kingdom is still in the middle of pandemic. The budget, according to Ca[tain Thammanat, should be used to for the maximum profit of the people.–Matichon
    • The PM and Defence Minister has ordered the Navy to withdraw or defer its procurement proposal from the 2022 budget plan. The Defence Ministry spokesperson said that the ministry would not like to have the procurement politicised as it will affect the confidence of the country and its international image. The Navy chief said that the Navy has been thinking about withdrawing the proposal and that the RTN will announce the withdrawal on 19 July with the House Budget Committee.—Thai Rath
  • Second-largest ruling Bhumjaithai Party Register made online comment that his party leader—Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin—has been sacrificed as scape goat for the vaccine failure, despite not being part of the committee since April 2021. The main figure of the party said that the vaccine procurement committee is led by Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn from Mahidol University and other private hospital owners but has no real power in arranging or procuring the vaccines.—Thai Rath
  • The spokesperson of the main Opposition Pheu Thai Party has called for the CCSA to reveal the names of the committee which decided not to join WHO’s COVAX facility.—Thai Rath  

Australia

  • Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs-International Studies Center held a webinar on Thai Public Diplomacy in the Digital Age. Teeranai Charuvastra, news chief at Khao Sod English and one of the panels, praised the Australian Embassy Thailand’s public diplomacy strategy. The news chief suggested the Thai MFA to engage more with the younger audience and experiment some more with memes and jokes. Teeranai mentioned the Ambassador tweet on the Thai slangs played well with the love of laugh among Thai audience.– International Studies Center

Economic:

APEC

  • With Thailand slated to take over APEC chairmanship from New Zealand starting from November 2021, PM Prayut chaired a second meeting of the National Committee on the Preparation of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and Related Meetings last week, on 12 July.  The meeting identified 3 priority areas for Thailand’s APEC chairmanship, comprising:
    • facilitating trade and investment
    • rebooting regional connectivity, particularly the travel and tourism industry
    • advancing sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth through Circular-Green (BCG) economy
  • Among the objectives is to build capacity in digital economy, sustainable transportation, renewable energy, low carbon emission, innovative waste management, and structural reform to promote inclusive economic participation and access to opportunities.  Source:  Thailand Public Relations Department news
  • PM Prayut attended the APEC Informal Leaders’ Retreat virtually on 16 July, for which he confirmed Thailand’s support on 4 priorities, including 1) equitable access and distribution of COVID-19 vaccine 2) managing risks in living with COVID-19 under new normal standards 3) measures to assist businesses, particularly the MSMEs and 4) striking a balance in moving forth the environment and economy, specifically through the BCG economic model.  Source:  Prachchart Turakij

Others

  • The National Vaccine Institution is drafting regulations to restrict the export of Astra Zeneca COVID-19 vaccine to ensure sufficient doses are available for domestic use.  The draft regulation will be presented to CCSA for final approval.  The Thai Public Health Ministry wants to secure 10 million doses of AZ vaccines per month.  Source:  ThaiPBS World  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand aims to conclude negotiations for the Thailand-Pakistan FTA (TPFTA) by the end of this year as it is anticipated to boost economic growth by 0.18 – 0.32 percent, according to a studies by Commerce Ministry.  The idea of the TPFTA was floated in 2013, with the first round of negotiations taking place in September 2015 in Bangkok.  To date, both countries have convened 9 rounds of talks and concluded 12 chapters from the total of 13 chapters.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Naew Na
  • Commerce Minister Jurin said the negotiation frameworks for the Thai-EU FTA and the ASEAN-Canada FTA are scheduled to be presented to the cabinet by late September and August this year, respectively.  The Thai government is focused on accelerating FTA negotiations in a bid to boost exports, which is the country’s sole engine to boost economic growth this year.  Source:  Thai Public Relations Department News Bangkok Post
  • The government expects the Samui Plus reopening model will generate for Koh Samui tourism revenue worth 180 million Baht through 1,000 foreign arrivals within the first month of its reopening from 15 July –  15 August.  The government confirms it will continue to pursue the reopening of various islands of Krabi and Phang Nga provinces in August, followed by the reopening of Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Buriram provinces in September where Thailand will host MoTo GP race.  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij Bangkok Post
  • Business leaders from various sectors are urging the government to launch additional relief measures as the COVID-19 restriction measures are extended to 3 more provinces until at least 2 August.  All are urging the government to speed up the vaccination rollout. Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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