Advance Blog

July 21, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 21 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)
13,002 (1,049 from prisons)439,477 [last seven days: 72,763]3,786/ 879304,456 (+8,248)410,61411,292,579 (+225,061)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)
11,922 [9,012 (get tested in hospital) + 2,910(active case finding)]31 (in SQ)131,411 [57,243  in field hospital]120,613 (+2,921)3,610 (+108) [last seven days: 655]14,805,120 (+257,876)21.58% of the population3,512,541 (+32,815)5.21% of the population
  • In a bid to curb the pandemic, the CCSA has additionally recommended the provincial authorities to close down 10 more types of business in 13 provinces of the Dark Red Zone: stadiums, swimming pools, sports fields, exhibition centres or convention halls, public libraries or art centres, museums and historical sites, child care centres, barbers, beauty salons, public parks and botanical gardens.
  • The director of the National Vaccine Institute came out to apologise to the people for their mismanagement of the vaccine procurement, saying that the spread of the Defat variants is unexpected. The DG of the institute said that Thailand ‘is in the process of joining COVAX, but has not signed the agreement on procurement.’ The institute has begun to negotiate to join COVAX with the aim to get vaccines from the multilateral scheme in 2022. When there is an initial conclusion on this matter, the relevant task force will elaborate more in details.—The Standard
  • Yesterday, the US Embassy announced that their donation of 1.5 million doses of Pfizer vaccines will arrive in Thailand. The Embassy stressed that the safer Thailand is, the safer the region will be. The Director-General of the Disease Control Department expected that the mRNA doses will be in the kingdom in late July and could begin to administer in August for four main groups of people: frontline health workers, elders, people in risk area and foreigners, especially who are older than 60 years old.—Prachachat Turakij
  • Yesterday, the Public Health Ministry signed a contract procuring 20 million doses of Pfizer vaccines which will be sent to the Kingdom in the fourth quarter. The contract, however, did not indicate the exact prices nor schedules.—Thai Rath
  • The public opinion has turned gloomy as yesterday there were four homeless men found dead on Bangkok streets, suspected to be virus victims. The four men body were found left without any official attending for more than half day. They were on a street near Wat Bowonniwet Temple, on Ratchadamnoen Klang Avenue, next to Lotus Rama IV in Thong Lor district and the other on the sidewalk on Hathairat Road in Khlong Toei district.—Nation Thailand

Politics

  • The PM spoke in the weekly cabinet meeting warning the Democrat and Bhumjaithai Parties of deserting the coalition. It is reported that the PM replied media questions on coalition parties revoking there support that “This is not the time for political games. If you are going leave me, that’s up to you. I will continue working on my own. I will not desert you, but if you are going to leave me, that’s fine.”—all media outlet Krungthep Turakij
  • After influencers and people in entertainment complex started to publicly grill the government mismanagement of the pandemic, the Digital Economy Minister came out to warn actors and actresses of sharing fake information which is illegal. The Minister said the government has done better than other neighbouring countries and has called for the influencers to be more well-rounded.—Krungthep Turakij
  • After reports that one of the three figures of the inner circle of the government (PM, Deputy PM Prawit, and Interior Minister Anupong) has just got Covid and being hospitalised. The spokesperson of DPM Prawit said that the senior minister is well and healthy. The spokesperson said that the minister has got two doses of AstraZeneca.—Nation ThailandMatichon
  • Coup rumours within political and business circles have reached a crescendo this past week with many claiming that a putsch was imminent due to the worsening economic and Covid-19 situation. Despite denials from the sources in the Army, Opposition politicians have asked people to be vigilant on the possible putsch.—Thai Enquirer

Australia

  • The Thai cabinet has proposed the Operation Centre of the CCSA to look into lockdown case studies aboard, including Sydney lockdown. The cabinet ordered CCSA to see how the strict movement in and out of the city and Stay Home measures could be adapted for Thai context. The cabinet also raised the German model where authority allows people to leave for grocery with the mandatory Rapid Antigen Test before entering the market.—Naew Na

Economic:

Cabinet’s Decisions, 20 July 2021

  • Reduced the budget for Ying Chai Ying Dai e-voucher cashback scheme from 28 billion Baht to 9.8 billion Baht due to low participation rate.   At the same time, the cabinet extended the validity of the scheme from Sept to the Nov, while also raising the maximum spending limit for cashback to 10,000 Baht per person.  The number of target user is also slahsed from 4 million to 1.4 million people.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Agreed to broaden relief assistance packages to cover 3 additional provinces (Chachoengsao, Chonburi and Ayutthaya) that became subjected to lockdown restrictions after they became categorized as dark red zones on Sunday.  Funding for the relief packages for the 3 provinces was raised to 13.5 billion Baht from 2.51 billion Baht.  The packages are the same as those rolled out in 10 previously-announced dark red zone provinces and will run for 1 month.  They are applicable to those registered  with the Social Security System in 9 business groups :

Total Budget:  to be finalised at next week’s cabinet meeting

·         Employees registered with section 33 of the Social Security Act (SSA) will be paid 50 percent of their monthly income (with 7,500 Baht ceiling per person).  Thai employees will be paid an additional 2,500 Baht per person (with 10,000 Baht ceiling per person).

·         Section 33 employers will receive a maximum of 3,000 Baht for each employee that they employ, with the maximum of 200 employees

·         Self-insured people under Section 39 and Section 40 of the SSA will be paid 5,000 Baht per person.  Therefore, unregistered workers and freelancers must first enroll in the SSA’s section 40 to receive the payment. Employers with no employees must also register with SSA’s Section 40 within July to receive 5,000 Baht payment

·         Business operators using the government’s Thung Ngoen app as part of the Khon La Khrueng and Rao Chana stimulus schemes with employees must register with SSA’s Section 33 within July to receive financial assistance. 

·         Business operators using the Thung Ngoen app but has no employees must register with SSA’s Section 40 within July to receive financial assistance.  Sources:  Thansettakij   Komchadluek   Thai Publica  Bangkok Post 

Others

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed its forecast for Thailand’s 2021 GDP growth at +2 percent instead of +3 percent as projected in April.  The third COVID-19 outbreak has depressed tourism, private consumption and investment, notably in machinery and equipment.  In 2022, Thailand’s GDP is expected to rebound to a +4.9 percent growth, up from its forecast of +4.5 percent.  Overall, ADB believes that the GDP of developing Asian economies will expand by 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent due to COVID-19 outbreaks across the region.  Source:  Matichon  efinance Thai  Reuters
  • Today PM Prayut will meet with 40 leading CEOs as well as executives of PTT and King Power group to discuss the impacts of the COVID-19 situation on Thai economy.   Previously, PM Prayut had convened meetings with 70 leading business operators on 3 September 2020 and 40 CEOs on 8 July this year to brainstorm on the government’s course of action as a lockdown was imminent.  Back then, the 40 CEOs advised PM Prayut to impose partial lockdowns in specific areas where the infection is widespread and to simultaneously speed up inoculation.  The CEOs advised against a full blanket lockdown because the government seemed unlikely to procure sufficient vaccine doses to bring down the number of COVID-19 cases.  In this case, a full lockdown would cause businesses to suffer unnecessarily as infection rate also does not go down.  Sources:  Bangkok Post  Prachachart Turakij
  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will submit to CESA the proposal to launch the Andaman Sandbox scheme that will reopen the provinces along the Andaman coastline (Phangnga and Krabi) on 1 August.  If approved, tourists who have spent 7 days in Phuket, followed by 7 days in Phangnga or Krabi, will be allowed visit attractions along designated routes in Koh Yao, Koh Panyee and Khao Lak.  Source:  Bangkok Post 
  • Thai gold prices hit a three-month high at 28,200 baht per one-baht weight on Tuesday, spurred by the depreciating baht which hit a 13-month low and the continued decline of Thai shares amid surging COVID infections.  The key factors in determining the local gold price are the US’s Federal Reserve and its decision to extend its monetary policy and the ensuing weakening of the Baht.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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