Advance Blog

April 21, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 21 April 2021

News

Newly confirmed case(s)Total CasesProvinces with confirmed casesDischarged from hospitalFrom 1 April, totally confirmed cases (third wave)1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,45846,6437729,371 (at 62.97%)17,780604,647
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,454 [1,346 (get tested in hospital) + 108 (active case finding)] 4 (in SQ) 17,162 [3,365 in field hospital]4,330 (+365)110 (+2)20,814107,663
  • Dr Thiravat Hemachudha, head of the Emerging Diseases Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University came out to reveal that from 5-9 April, there have been at least six health workers got paralysed after taking Chinese Sinovac vaccines in the Eastern province of Rayong. All six people have been treated. Dr Thiravat suspected that this might happen in certain lots of vaccine, not all Sinovac vaccines. —all media outlet
  • Deputy Public Health Minister warned people not to spread the information as it is yet clear whether the vaccine caused the paralysis.–Manager
  • The Ministry of Public Health is going to hold a press conference this afternoon on the paralysis.—Nation TV
  • This morning the PM posted on his official FB Page saying that in a meeting with the vaccine procurement committee, the government will procure 35 million more doses from 2-3 brands. 10 out of 35 million will be procured by private sector led by Thai Chamber of Commerce which would lift a burden on the government budget.–Prachachat
  • Transport Minister, the first Thai minister to get COVID-19 has been discharged from hospital. He will be on self-quarantine at his hometown in the North-eastern province of Burirum.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • Coalition Democrat Party spokesperson said the party secretary-general has ordered the party to finish appointing party representative in all constituency to prepare for possible house dissolution. The spokesperson said the party is always ready for the election, should there is any political accident.–Prachachat
  • An executive member of the Progressive Movement (movement succeeding Future Forward Party) announced that the Progressive Movement has won 16 mayor seats and 136 seats of the municipal councils in the latest local election.–Matichon
    • On background note, the latest municipal election had 2,472 mayor seats and 31,194 municipal council members to compete on.—BBC Thai
  • Ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra came out to grill the PM and the government vaccine rollout campaign. The former PM suggested asking the private sector to use their personal ties with major vaccine producers to procure the much-needed vaccine.  He offered to talk with Russian President Putin to secure Sputnik vaccine.–Prachachat
  • A think tank King Prajadhipok’s Institute has issued the result of the latest poll regarding the constitutional amendment. The study found out that 77.5 percent of 22,830 samples would like to see the charter amended. Out of the pro-amendment, 39.1 percent thinks that the Constitutional Drafting Assembly (CDA) should take the lead, followed by the Parliament at 30.8 percent.–Matichon
  • Pokin Palakul, a main figure in the freshly established Sarng Thai Party, joined a meeting with Chen Zhou, Vice Minister of the International Department Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party regarding Xi Jinping speech at the Boao Forum for Asia. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation on maritime silk road via Thai canal project under the vision that the canal will be a peaceful channel for the East and the West. The meeting also mentioned that Chinese top notch law firm Yingke Law Firm is going to open its local office in Thailand to boost Sino-Thai relations.–Matichon

Economic:

Cabinet’s decisions, 20 April 2021

  • Extend the validity period of Rao Chana scheme from 31 May to 30 June to give people more time to spend the 7,000 Baht cash handout.   The scheme’s budget is also raised from 210 billion to 213 billion Baht. Its target group is expanded to 33.5 million from 31.1 million people by drawing upon registrants from the previous round who needed special assistance, such as those without smartphones.  Sources: Thai Khu Fah fb page, 20 April 2021  Bangkok Post
  • Allocate 68 million Baht for Commerce Ministry (MoC) to promote franchises as an option to boost employment and help SMEs.  MoC plans to organise Franchise Roadshows and Expos that will offer a business matching opportunity for 400 franchisors and connect potential franchisees with financial institutions.  The 8-month project is to generate employment 10,000 people.  Source:  Manager Online

Others

  • DPM Supattanapong convened a special meeting with his economic team and confirmed that Phuket will reopen on 1 July as originally planned due to high demands from long-haul markets.  He also noted that the government has sufficient budget to implement its roster of stimulus packages without the need to borrow more.  The packages should be finalized in May, such as Khon La Krueng subsidy and Rao Tiew Duay Gun domestic tourism programs, in addition to a new package that will incentivize people to spend their savings.  The DPM noted that economic growth will not be harshly impacted if the public cooperates in bringing the pandemic under control by the end of April.  Sources:  Khao Sod Manager Online Krungthep Turakij
  • As of 20 April, Finance Ministry (MoF) reported that 32.8 million people have received the Rao Chana 7,000 Baht cash handout, which will inject 200 billion Baht into the economy and benefit 1.3 million businesses.  Recipients of the handouts include low-income state welfare card holders, selected beneficiaries from the government’s previous stimulus schemes (Khon La Kreung and Rao Tiew Duay Gun) and people who need special assistance.  Source:  Ministry of Finance Press Release
  • Commerce Ministry (MoC) succeeded in exporting 240,637 tonnes of fruits worth 117 billion Baht from Jan – Feb 2021, which is a 109 percent increase from the previous year.  This is attributable to MoC’s proactive approach in broadening its export markets through online business matching and promotional events in South Korea, Japan and China.  It also stepped up on safety certification standards for exported Thai fruits.  Source: Thansettakij
  • A Pheu Thai party member has warned the Thai cabinet not to exploit the ongoing commotion caused by COVID-19 by secretly endorsing Thailand’s accession to CPTPP.  She suggested the government embark on an informal ‘Exploratory Discussion’ with CPTPP members before making a decision on accession, since Thailand had once used this approach with Australia and other countries.  She suggested the government should now focus on solving people’s plight arising from COVID-19 rather than to commit to a trade pact it is unequipped to join.  Source:  Matichon Weekly
  • CIMB Thai forecasts that the Thai economy in Q2 will enter a technical recession, given that it is likely to experience a second executive QoQ contraction.  The current pandemic outbreak could also dent Thailand’s GDP growth to be below CIMB’s original estimate of +2.6 percent, with the hardest hit sectors being logistics, tourism, restaurants and hotel businesses.  Some sectors are less affected, such as retail/e-commerce and export.  Whether economic growth could reach +2 percent this year depends on the government’s speed in containing the outbreak, the efficiency of the debt relief measures and stimulus packages.  Sources:  Thai Post TNN Thailand
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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