Advance Blog

August 2, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 2 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)
17,970 (175 from prisons)633,284 (last seven days: 120,606)4,769/ 1,028419,241 (+13,919)604,42113,955,087 (+152,171)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
17,784 [13,567 (get tested in hospital) + 4,217 (active case finding)]11 (in SQ)208,875 [133,170 in field hospital]158,165 (+3,144)5,168 (+178) (last seven days: 1,022)17,866,526 (+180,552)3,911,439 (+28,381)
  • This morning, the PM presided over the handover of vaccines donated by foreign countries:
  • The US chargé d’affaires met with the PM and Public Health Minister handing over 1,503,450 doses of Pfizer vaccines to be used in the Kingdom. The vaccines arrived on 31 July.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The UK chargé d’affaires met with the PM and Public Health Minister handing over 415,040 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to the Kingdom and expected to arrive on 3 August.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Thai Rath has found a 30,000 doses discrepancy between the formerly announced 1.54 million doses of Pfizer vaccines received by the government and the CCSA announcement of 1,503,450 doses yesterday. The reporter reached out to the government spokesperson who then referred the reporter to the Director-general of the Disease Control Department. The DG was on the ride and was not convenient to take the call. The CCSA spokesperson and the permanent-secretary of the Public Health Ministry did not pick up the call.—Thai Rath
  • The fifth-one million dose-batch of Sinopharm has arrived the Kingdom. The Chulabhorn Royal Academy has so far ordered 10 million doses of the Chinese vaccines as ‘alternative vaccines’ to that of main Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.—The Nation Thailand
  • Yesterday, the PM presided over the CCSA meeting and has made the following resolutions which later last night have been gazetted—TAT News
  • The new classifications of the provinces in Thailand starting from August 3 to 18 August and subject to extension until 31 August considering the severity of the pandemic situation.
  • The new restriction allows the delivery service for restaurants within the department stores for dark red zones.
  • The classifications are as followed:
AreaProvinces
Strict and highly controlled- Dark Red (29 from 13)Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Chonburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Narathiwat, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Prachinburi, Pattani, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Phetchabun, Yala, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Lopburi, Songkhla, Singburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Saraburi, Suphanburi and Ang Thong.
Highly controlled-Red (37)Kalasin, Kamphaeng Phet, Khon Kaen, Chanthaburi, Chainat, Chaiyaphum, Chumphon, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Trang, Trat, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Nakhon Sawan, Buri Ram, Phatthalung, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Maha Sarakham, Yasothon, Ranong, Roi Et, Lampang, Lamphun, Loei, Si Sa Ket, Sakon Nakhon, Satun, Sa Kaew, Sukhothai, Surin, Nong Khai, Nong Bua Lamphu, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani and Amnat Charoen.
Controlled-Orange (11)Krabi, Nakhon Phanom, Nan, Bueng Kan, Phayao, Phang Nga, Phrae, Phuket, Mukdahan, Mae Hong Son and Surat Thani

Politics

  • The government latest front on fake news have seen several developments:
  • The PM as the head of the CCSA has rearranged the CCSA structure and appoint the secretary-general of the National Broadcasting Telecommunication Committee (NBTC) to head the Operation Centre on resolving emergency situation in relation to online communication. Earlier, the PM issued an order authorising the NBTC to close down any IP address which spread fake news, misinformation and information which stir fears, in relation to the pandemic.–Matichon
  • The civil court agreed to make an emergency inquiry as per requested by online news outlets against the PM order under the Emergency Decree to close down IP address in relation to misinformation. The online outlets, including The Reporters, Voice, The Standard, The Standard, and Prachatai, filed a case to the court asking for the removal of the term ‘information which stir fear’ for its obscurity. The outlets also point out that the order to close down IP address is beyond the authority allowed by the Emergency Decree.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Yesterday witnessed greater violence from both sides during the anti-government protest to the PM House in Northern Bangkok:
  • Apart from Bangkok, there were protestors in 24 provinces participating in the ‘car mob’.—Prachachat Turakij
  •  There was use of rubber bullets and tear gas later in the evening after the protest was nearly over as many protestors decided not to go back home after the protest leaders announced the end of the protest.
  • And the Free Youth Movement is calling for a revenge on their next gathering on 7 August.
  • The call for the PM is stepping up as some alumni of the Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University is sending an open letter to the PM daughter who also study in the same batch asking to pass the suffering of the people to her then to her father. The letter is calling for the PM to step down.–Matichon
  • A financial elite Banyong Pongpanich has called for the PM to resign saying that the opposition from the people is evident that the PM cannot keep on governing. The former Thai Airways Board is offering the PM three solutions for the PM to honourably step down: 1. To amend the constitution stripping the Senate power to vote for the PM within 2 weeks; 2. Dissolve the Parliament once no.1 is done or it is clear that it cannot be done and 3. Vow not to be the caretaker PM in the caretaker government. Banyong said that this is the only way for the PM to defend his dignity.—Siam Rath
  • Ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra gave an exclusive interview with Thai Rath on his ‘road map’ to return to the Kingdom. The former PM said that the current crisis is way beyond the capabilities of the military to handle and that there must be major reforms within economic and bureaucratic sectors. On questions related to returning to Thailand, the fugitive said he is ready to return to the Kingdom anytime now, even that would mean to serve his jail terms.—Thai Rath
  • Chinese state-controlled Xin Hua got an exclusive interview with the Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin on the Sino-Thai cooperation in fighting COVID-19. Thai top health official has expressed his gratitude to Beijing saying that “the Chinese government has always supported our country to the most extent, and we have received lots of contributions.” Considering Chinese Sinovac vaccines are the first to enter the Kingdom for its inoculation program, the Deputy PM said “I could say loudly that Thai people always feel the wonderful brotherhood between the Chinese and the Thais.” He pledged that Thailand will open its doors to fully-vaccinated international tourist within this year.–XinHua

Economic:

  • Covid-19 outbreaks have hit 518 factories in 49 provinces and infected 36,861 workers since April 1.  Factories have had to implement Bubble and Seal regimen for workers as well as slow down their production or postponed the delivery of their goods in the last 2 months.  The Shipping Council of Thailand said the impacts will be most evident in Q3 on 4 groups of exports, namely chicken, automotive and parts, electronics and garment, which will be aggravated by the slow vaccination rollout among factory workers.  Economists enthused that the manufacturing sector needs protection from COVID-19 as it is Thailand’s sole economic driver, with Kasikornbank and Krungsri Bank both forecasting that the infection will peak in August.  CIMB Bank identified August as the turning point.  If the outbreak cannot be curbed within the month, it could lower Thailand’s economic growth to be below 1 percent and export to be below 10 percent.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 2 August 2021
  • Bank of Thailand expressed concerns about the impact of COVID-19 outbreak on the domestic manufacturing sector since it may disrupt the supply chains and activities of factories, thereby inevitably affecting export.  Other issues include shipping container and semi-conductor shortages, which have compelled some operators to consider relocating their manufacturing facilities to other trading partners of Thailand.  Sources:  Post Today  Thansettakij
  • Thai National Shippers Council (TNSC) and Federation of Thai Industries do not expect the shipping container shortage and the ensuing steep freight costs to have much impact on Thai export on the short run.  TNSC reasoned that most Thai exporters are selling products with prices at the port in mind and do not bear the brunt of freight costs.  Rather, it is importers who are mostly being held responsible for the freight and transport costs.  The depreciating Baht would also cushion the impact for Thai exporters.  More worrisome is the domestic COVID-19 outbreak, which is spreading among factories and could lead to setbacks in export capacity. Source:  Bangkok Post
  • In June 2021, the Thai economy continued to be affected by the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak, said the Bank of Thailand (BOT). Private consumption and tourism sector remained weak, however, public spending supported the economy, as did merchandise export, which in turn bolstered manufacturing production and private investment.  Source:  Bank of Thailand Press Release
  • Thailand’s Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) in June rose for the fourth consecutive month by +17.58 percent YoY; buoyed by higher production of automotive, electronic parts and steel.  According to the Industry Ministry, COVID-19 outbreak has little impacts on factories, with most having to only temporarily suspended their production line.   The reading, coming off a low base last year, fell short of May’s 25.73 percent increase.  To this end, Industry Ministry has revised MPI 2021 forecast to expand by 4-5 percent from 2-3 percent, while industrial GDP is set to grow by 3-4 percent from 2.5-3.5 percent as the economies of Thailand’s trading partners improve.  Sources:  Matichon Bangkok Post
  • Commerce Ministry credited the surge in Thailand’s export in the first 6 months of 2021 totalling 441 billion Baht to its suite of activities that helped to boost the confidence of other countries in Thai exports.  For instance, since September 2020, the government has issued COVID-19 Prevention Best Practice certificate to 237 factories that manufacture canned, chilled and frozen seafood for export.  The Commerce Ministry offices worldwide are also proactive in boosting exports at their respective countries. Source:  Prachachart Turakij  Ban Muang
  • The 1-month closure of construction worker camps to curb the spread of Covid-19 has dampened domestic demand for cement and building materials by 20 percent, said Siam Cement Group (SCG).  SCG also added that its cement, building materials and packaging businesses overseas were similarly affected by lockdown measures.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Restaurant chains are renting cloud kitchens to cope with the shortfall in production capacity because authorities have closed department stores and community malls as part of the measures to curb COVID-19 outbreak. Temporary cloud kitchens are meant to serve delivery demand, which has become the sole sales channel for these eateries.  In fact, many of them do not want to go back to operating at locations inside shopping malls and are looking to focus on deliveries.  They anticipate that the restaurant landscape is going to completely change because the pandemic is likely to be prolonged for another 1-2 years.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Pattaya considers delay its reopening date beyond September, given that Thailand may not be able to control the COVID-19 infections and provide sufficient vaccinations until Q4.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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