Advance Blog

February 23, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 22 February 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
18,363( as update 12.30 pm) Domestic +18,236
Abroad+127
2,557,796                          35169,074  
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -21 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -21 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -21 Feb)
121,915,999 (+190,673)53,163,555 (+26,544  yesterday)   76.4 %49,496,871 (+13,130 yesterday)   71.1 %14,900,311 (+101,987 yesterday)   27.5%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid19 situation/ Change regulations

  • Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)  had raised the alert to Level 4  nationwide and containment measures stepped up in high-risk areas after the continuous increase of new infection cases and deaths.The measures are as follows;
    • People are encouraged to work from home
    • Avoid non-essential inter-provincial travel
    • Suspend overseas trips

A public exposure on former police officer, who is in exile in Australia  after investigation on human trafficking which  involved with high-profile public figures

  • Although a sharp surge of Omicron cases has raised fears over the imposition of another lockdow, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) stated that it plans to impose another lockdown  and cancel Test&Go and ask people not to be over panic with the rising of cases. However, CCSA will discuss tomorrow if  international travel measure  will be changed. ThaiPBS
  • Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, insists the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) scheme for treating Covid-19 sufferers  is still in place amidst the rumour it would be scrapped. Bangkokpost
  • Rangsiman Rome, Move Forward party MP  Referring  who exposed the scandalous human trafficking “Rohingya” in the general debate last week that he would push the case to be investigated via the parliamentary committee on judicial process and human rights. He also added using this  channel may not be enough to enable Pol Maj. Gen. Paween Phongsirin, who led the investigation in this case and currently seeks asylum in Australia, returns to Thailand .The only way to help him return to the country is having a fairy government. ThaiPBS
  • Paveen ,However, spoke  in the exclusive interview with the Reporter that he will not return to Thailand soon because he is not confident with the leader to guarantee his safety. He also emphasised that the documents he submitted to the court which led to  the arrest of key figures, who were also government officials on Rohingya  human trafficking were authentic TheReporter

Defense Minister spokesperson said the government is sincere to  tackle  Thailand’s human trafficking. It follows the international human rights standard and coordinate with related international agencies  this issue. TheReporter

 Other political news

  • Jurin Laksanawisit , Democrat party leader said that his party will vote to support the 2 election related law drafts ( 1.political parties  2. MP  election) as agreed with the government’s direction Thairath
  • The main opposition bloc, Pheu Thai Party, defended its purposed draft amendment to the Political Parties Act that it would intend to prevent the possibility of party dissolution

            By all means, the  two sections prohibit political parties from allowing non-party members from dominating, influencing or directing party affairs, to limit the freedom of party members. Bangkokpost

  • Move Forward  Party is planning to unveil the candidate for the Pattaya City mayor election. One of the two comes is a woman who is close associate of Progressive Movement leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit. Khaosod  Krungthepturakij
  • Constitutional amendment group, led by  Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, a former member of the Election Commission today submitted 70,000-signature petition to the parliament in order to  abolish article 272 that allows appointed senators in place. However,it will take  60 days for the parliament to review the petition numbers and 15 days for public review until it will be push for the parliamentary debate  ThaiPBS MCOT

Economic news

Akara Mine

  • Khao Nah Party Secretary Piyatbutr Saengkanokhun lashed out at PM Prayut for his unlawful use of Section 44 to shut down Akara Mine.  Should Thailand lose the TAFTA lawsuit, he suggested PM Prayut pay the fine from his own pocket rather than use taxpayer’s money to finance the PM’s foolish decision.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij

Others

  • Thailand’s GDP in Q4 2021 grew by +1.9 percent due to the lockdown easing and improving agriculture, tourism (430,000 arrivals), private consumption, government spending and export.  This led to the 2021 GDP to expand by +1.6 percent, surpassing NESDC’s and Bank of Thailand’s earlier forecast.  This is in part due to the efficiency of the government’s stimulus packages. For 2022, NESDC forecasted GDP to increase by +3.5 to +4.5 percent, with tourist number totalling 5.5 million if the Test & Go scheme remains in place.  NESDC advised the government to stimulate private investment; continue spurring government spending and investment; prepare for volatilities from the global economy; and focus on economic restructuring to enhance competitiveness.  Source: Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • NESDC is concerned about household debt (14.3 trillion Baht or 89.3 percent of GDP as of Q3 2021) especially given the contraction in GDP, which may hinder economic recovery.  Finance Ministry downplayed the issue by reiterating that household debt in 2021 expanded by an insignificant +4.2 percent compared to 2020, with NPL ratio remaining stable at 2.8 -2.9 percent of GDP.  Of the total household debt, some 65 percent is debt for loans related to work which also generates revenue for households.  NESDC will seek a meeting with Finance Ministry and Bank of Thailand to discuss this issue.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij Post Today Prachachart Turakij
  • The Stock Exchange of Thailand revealed that in the past 2 months, Thailand is the recipient of remarkable fund flow totalling 200 billion Baht, of which over 60 billion Baht went into its stock market and 140 billion Baht into its bond market.  Overall, foreigners have invested more than 700 million USD in Thai equity and 1.15 trillion Baht in Thai bonds; the highest value of foreign bond-holding in 3 years.  Foreign investors are attracted by Thai companies which have strong presence abroad; businesses’ diversification into new, innovative businesses in the S-Curve industries, Thailand’s geographic location in the CLMV and good economic recovery prospect.   
  • This massive fund flow has compensated for the whole of last year’s total outflow of 49 billion Baht.  This influx of fund flow has caused the Baht to appreciate to a 7-month high, making it the strongest currency in Asia to date.  Some 23 trillion Baht is expected to continue flowing into the Thai equity market for the rest of 2022.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post
  • The Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee has approved the setting up of a new company to expedite the development of U-tapao airport. The new company, the EEC Airport Asset Development, is 100 percent owned by the EEC project and will operate with a capital of 50 million Baht.  It will support the maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) scheme that was delayed by the pandemic and the bankruptcy of Thai Airways.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The EEC Office has also approved of incentives to convert the U-Tapao’s annexing Eastern Airport City project into a Special Economic Zone.  The EEC Office will also set up a special office to issue Long Term Resident visa for investors and workers in the Eastern Airport City.  The EECO is also revising the contracts for the high-speed rail linking the 3 airports to help the stakeholders from the private sector who are hard-hit by the pandemic.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 22 February 2022

About 200,000 people are expected to visit Thailand from Saudi Arabia ths year following the resumption of direct flights and mutual tourism promotion between both countries.  Source:  Bangkok Post newspaper, 22 February 2022

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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