Advance Blog

September 22, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 21 September 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)
10,919 (422 from prisons); (excluding ATK 6,593)1,500,105 (last seven days: 93,563)3,548/ 7591,352,838 (+11,694)1,471,24229,201,077 (+198,505) BKK: 7,877,488 (+8,498)621,953 (+491) BKK: 199,305 (+ 746)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average positive rate in the last seven days
10,490 [9,846 (get tested in hospital) + 644 (active case finding)]7 (in SQ)131,655 [89,747 in field hospital]348,823 (+2,561)15,612 (+143) (last seven days: 991)45,211,101 (+469,052) BKK: 11,369,299 (+32,300)15,388,071 (+270,056) BKK: 3,319,506 (+23,056)14.60%
  • The Bangkok Governor has outlined three conditions to reopen the capital to international tourists. He said that once the three conditions are realized, then he will discuss with the Public Health and Tourism Ministries on the reopening guidelines and will bring this up with the CCSA for approval.
    • 1. More than 70 percent of Bangkok residents must be fully vaccinated. It is expected to be on 22 October and it needs to wait for 7 to 14 days to let the vaccine to boost the immunity;
    • 2. The daily infection rate must be less than current rate (2,700 to 2,800);
    • 3. The hospitalised rate is less than the current situation.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The cabinet has approved the Communicable Disease Decree granting amnesty to medical health practitioners but not include the policy makers.—Prachachat Turakij

Politics

  • The Royal Gazette published the 2022 Budget Bill effective from 1 October 2021. The bill unanimously passed the Senate on 30 August after the House passed it on 21 August.–Krungthep Turakij
  • Political observers and media headlines are eyeing for the potential flexing of political muscle of the PM and Deputy PM Prawit as the two are visiting different sites to look after the floods in Petchaburi and Ayutthaya respectively on Wednesday 22 September. As the site visits are happening at the same time, it is anticipated whose site visit will have more MPs and local politicians attending.—Inside Thailand,  
    • Media is citing a source in the main ruling PPRP that two main figures in the party Suchart Chomklin-the Labour Minister and Thammanat Prompao-PPRP secretary-general are manoeuvring to have the MPs and local politicians to attend the site visit of the PM and the Deputy PM consecutively. It is also reported that local MPs are finding hard time, having to choose between the two juggernauts.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Meanwhile, the government spokesperson denied the reports on clashes between the two, saying it is a division of labour.—Prachachat Turakij
    • Vocal opposition Move Forward MP Rangsiman ‘Rome’ gave an interview saying that he believed the PM is trying to consolidate power and will drive Deputy PM Prawit out of the political stage. He is hoping the conflict will not affect the people much.–Matichon
    • Former Red Shirt leader analysed the clashes and said that there is a saying that the PM will take the PPRP Chief Strategist, but Deputy PM Prawit pre-empted by appointing General Wit. And the PM countered by taking more site-visit trips and make himself closer to the PPRP MPs.–Matichon
  • Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Pramudwinai gave an exclusive interview to Matichon recalling his memory as part of the envoy to establish Sino-Thai relations and former Thai Ambassador to China. In response to question on major power rivalry, the Thai top diplomat said as a small nation, Thailand needs to be friends with all major powers. He wishes to see the US and China to join hands tackling global issues. The veteran is calling for major power’s leaders to combine the soft and hard powers at play for co-existence.–Matichon

ASEAN/World

  • French Ambassador to Thailand has placed his Op-d saying he deeply regrets the AUKUS and Australian decision to scrap the submarine deal with France.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

CPTPP

  • Ministry of Commerce said Thailand needs to re-evaluate the impact of the CPTPP after China formally applied to join the trade bloc on Sept 16.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • The Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) supports Thailand to join the CPTPP to expand its export markets and boost the economy.  JSCCIB noted Vietnam has started to benefit from CPTPP membership, with its foreign direct investment continuing to increase over the past few years at a rate 3 times higher than that of Thailand.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Others

  • Following the Fiscal Discipline Committee meeting chaired by PM Prayut yesterday, Finance Minister Arkhom confirmed that Thailand will raise its public debt ceiling to 70 percent of GDP in a move to increase fiscal space should it become necessary for the government to borrow more to spur post-COVID-19 economic recovery.  The change will not take effect until it is published in the Royal Gazette, in which the timeframe is not specified.  The raised ceiling will allow the government to pursue next year’s 2.3 trillion Baht borrowing plan to fund budget deficit, COVID-19 relief spending and re-finance existing debt.  Since the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, Thailand’s public debt has never exceeded 60 percent of GDP.  Source:  Bangkok Post Bangkok Post Thai Rath
  • The World Bank has announced it will discontinue publishing its Ease of Doing Business report following allegations of irregularities discovered in its 2018 and 2020 reports.  Sources:  World Bank press release   Prachachart Turakij
  • PM Prayut chaired the third meeting of the National Committee on the Preparation of the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting and Related Meetings on 20 September.  Among the topics of discussion are the APEC logo competition and the communications strategy to publicise the importance of adherence to universal prevention measures to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.  The strategy targets 5 groups including the Thai private sector, SME/start up entrepreneurs, farmers, youth and vulnerable groups.  Source:  Public Relations Department News
  • Customs Department is preparing to lower duty on the import of alcoholic beverages and cigars by 50 percent for 5 years in line with the cabinet’s approval of the Long Term Resident visa package, which was conceived to attract foreigners to Thailand.  Customs Department expects that about 30 percent of the products are likely to be covered by the planned cuts and ministerial regulations will be announced after the changes are made.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Finance Ministry (MoF) is planning for additional fiscal injection into the economy in Q4 of 2021 from 3 sources: 1) the 500 billion Baht loan; 2) the 2022 fiscal budget, and 3) the state enterprises’ investment budget due to the prolonged outbreak.  If Thailand is able to achieve the reopening and vaccination targets, MoF expects the number of foreign tourist arrivals this year to reach 300,000; higher than the common forecast of 150,000.
  • In its latest revision, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB) forecasts that Thailand’s 2021 GDP will grow by only 0.7 percent and not 0.9 percent.  Thailand’s economy would return to the 2019 pre-pandemic level in the middle, rather than the beginning of 2023.  SCB has further downgraded its foreign tourist arrivals forecast this year from 300,000 to 170,000, but expects tourist arrival number to rise to 6.3 million in 2022.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Factory Sandbox scheme, a collaborative effort between Labour, Public health and Interior ministries has piloted its first phase in 4 provinces, namely Nonthaburi, Pathumthani, Samut Sakhon and Chonburi.  Participating in the scheme are 112 factories and 178,338 workers who are insured under Social Security System.  The scheme aims to protect the manufacturing sector.  Factory owners required to test their workers regularly and will have to cover the costs, while the government will provide COVID-19 vaccination.  The scheme’s second phase will cover Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao and Samut Prakan provinces, with a focus on automotive, electronic parts, food and medical equipment sectors.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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