Advance Blog

August 20, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 20 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)
19,851 (325 from prisons); (excluding ATK 1,772)1,009,710 (last seven days: 146,521)5,388/ 1,161795,805 (+20,478)980,84719,586,009 (+442,435) BKK: 6,253,345 (+64,699)527,457(+7,853) BKK: 135,885(+1,494)
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
19,516 [16,125 (get tested in hospital) + 3,391 (active case finding)]10 (in SQ)205,079 [159,056 in field hospital]234,600(+4,181)8,826 (+240) (last seven days: 1,700)25,818,666 (+651,606) BKK: 7,799,736 (+91,884)5,705,200 (+201,318) BKK: 1,410,506 (+25,691)47,829
  • The PM has signalled the easing of lockdown measures after 31 August. In his first public appearance after almost a month of WFH, the PM went to Chulalongkorn University Hospital to inspect the development of Thai-developed vaccines and said that there will be a consideration after the end of August to reopen the economy. The PM also called for cooperation in abiding by the health-related regulations.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin said after a National Vaccine Committee that 30 million doses of Pfizer vaccines will be delivered to the Kingdom by the end of September. The top health official said that the Department of Disease Control has initially procured 20 million doses, but the company can secure 10 more million doses, all of which have been approved by the cabinet.—Khao Sod
  • In a joint meeting between the Public Health and Foreign Ministries, as of 14 August, 356,337 foreigners or 7.27 percent of foreigners residing in Thailand have been vaccinated (107,106 have been fully vaccinated). The top ten foreign nationals who got the vaccines are from Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Laos, Japan, India, the Philippines, England, France and the US. The Health Minister said that the inoculation has now been expanded to foreign nationals in the country and will coordinate with the Consular Section, MFA to appoint the registered foreigners to get a jab in the provinces.—Matichon

Politics

  • Talu Fah Group has called for the other gathering this morning from the Victory Monument and will march to Swiss (11.00am), American (1.00pm) and Chinese (3.00pm) Embassies consecutively to hand over letter about the protests in Thailand.—Thai Rath
    • The group went to the European Embassy underlining that the authority has violated the Geneva Convention, the American Embassy to point out the mismanagement of the Pfizer donated vaccines and the Chinese Embassy for the continual exports of Sinovac vaccines.
    • Talu Fah Group said that they are disappointed with the greetings from the Chinese Embassy as the security guards there asked for ID card and had the head of security guard to receive their letter.—Matichon
  • The former anti-election PDRC leader Tanat ‘Nut’ who has turned ideologically to join the student-led protestors made his first virtual appearance on social media saying that his right eye has become completely blinded from the alleged riot control equipments. His real-estate tycoon family will proceed legal actions against any perpetrator and make sure that there will be no longer violent crackdown against the protestors again. Tanat said that ‘despite being blind, he has never seen things this clear’.—all media outlet
  • The other drama is emerging as there was a leak document indicating that the PM has ordered to reverse the Public Health Ministry resolution to sort out Chinese-produced Antigen Test Kit and to sort out WHO-endorsed ones, instead.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The government spokesperson did not reply on the authenticity of the PM order.—Inside Thailand
    • The Rural Doctor Society which usually stands against the Public Health Ministry said that some politicians are trying reverse the PM order and went as far as threaten to revoke its support from the coalition.—Than Settakij
  • The head of opposition Progressive Movement got a summon order on royal defamation charges. The lawyer to Thanathorn said that the order might be from his FB Live on vaccine administration involving the royally-owned Siam Bioscience Company.—Prachachat Turakij
    • The order came on the same day as Thanathorn was seen leaving the Kingdom to join the trailing competition in France. Thanathorn said that he is not going to ‘run away’ and that he would come back into the country to hear the charges.—Khao Sod
  • Car mob leader and former Red Shirt leader Nathhawut Srikruae announced that there will be the other iconic car mob agains the PM on Sunday 29 August. This time, the activity will be nationwide.—Thai Rath
  • Veteran politician Chaturon Chaisang under Pheu Thai party, announce he is setting up new political party but has delayed the announcement due to the current situation of Covid-19 outbreak.—Prachachat Turakij
  • An airforce personnel who posted on his social media account criticising the riot control measures which he deemed as too violent is facing a disciplinary punishment and a probe committee.—Prachachat Turakij
  • Ratchavithi Hospital announced that the 15-year-old youth who was shot in the protest earlier on has not recovered from coma condition.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The Correction Department unveiled the Covid condition of the student-led protestor Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak which is better than reported. The Department said that the inmate has a minor pulmonary infiltrate on his right lung and has got the Favipiravir medicine.—Matichon

Analysis/ opinion

  • The set-up of new party by Chaturon Chaisang has been seen as a facade with former Red Shirt leader Natthawut Saikrua and veteran politician Pongsak Ruktapongpisal as the funding source. The new party is reportedly name ‘New Direction Party’ will be a new home for the now defunct Thai Raksachart Party members and former Red Shirt leaders who have been marginalised by the current Pheu Thai management targeting the new voters which is overlapping with the Move Forward Party.—Krungthep Turakij

Australia

  • The Embassy’s DAP project providing grants to local civil society in a bid to support vulnerable communities has been shared by the official CCSA Page and in Prachachat Turakij

Economic

  • The Thai Bankers Association said that some 1.89 million bank accounts with a total value of 2 trillion Baht have entered debt restructuring programs through 15 banks (as of May 2021).  These could potentially become NPLs if the lockdown is prolonged and Thailand encounters a second year of economic recession.
  • Of particular concern are the SME clients, which comprise one quarter of total loan portfolio.  Their debt serviceability is affected by the current economic conditions.  And if unemployment rate continues to rise, this may affect debtors in the non-residential loan portfolio, which makes up 18 percent of total loan portfolio. 
  • A number of banks are bracing for potential NPL cliff by launching Additional Tier 1 Bonds (perpetual bonds) to build up their capital cushion.  Banks foresee that the debt restructuring programs will chip away at their revenue in Q3 and Q4 2021. Thai Bankers Association is in talks with the Bank of Thailand to prepare measures for this ticking time bomb issue.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • The government has launched the ‘Factory Sandbox’ program in a bid to limit the pandemic’s disruptions to the export sector.  The program covers factories with at least 500 workers across 4 manufacturing sectors: cars, electronics, food and medical equipment.  To date, the sandbox is being piloted on 387 factories in 4 provinces: Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon and Chonburi.  Participating factories must test their workers periodically and must have their own hospitel and field hospitals; must vaccinate their workers and issue Blue Certificated to assure investors; and must have in place bubble and seal measures.  The private sector suggests the government help small-scale factories and SMEs by subsidising some costs, such as the test kits.  Large-scale factories may not need much help as they have been implementing similarly strict regimen prior to the launch of the sandbox program.   Sources:  Bangkok Post Prachachart Turakij
  • Finance Minister Arkhom says there is no need for the government to make additional borrowing to combat the pandemic because the existing 500-billion-Baht loan is sufficient.  His response came after the Bank of Thailand suggested the government borrow another 1 trillion Baht to stimulate the economy.  Finance Ministry will also maintain the rate of VAT collection at 7 percent for another year in light of the pandemic.  Source:  Thai Rath  Bangkok Post
  • Domestic flights catered to Phuket Sandbox travellers will be allowed at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports starting from September, according to Transport Ministry.  Passengers arriving from Phuket are required to complete the 14-day sandbox program if they want to travel to Bangkok or other provinces. Foreign visitors who are unable to complete the programme but want to return home are also allowed to fly but they cannot leave the airport. Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand plans to test its Retail Central Bank Digital Currency (Retail CBDC) in Q2 of 2022.  The test was designed based on BOT’s studies and survey on Retail CBDC implementation with all stakeholders, including consumers, financial institutions, merchants, the government sector and others.   Source: Bangkok Post
  • The government hopes the new aviation fuel service systems at U-Tapao airport and the Eastern Aviation City project will help revive Thailand’s economy.  The government on Thursday leased state property to Global Aero Associates Co (GAA) to operate, manage and provide aviation fuel service systems at U-Tapao airport. GAA plans to increase the capacity of U-Tapao’s aviation fuel service system to support the airport’s commercial operations date of 2024.  Meanwhile, construction of the Eastern Aviation City at U-tapao airport is expected to start next year.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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