Advance Blog

July 22, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 22 July 2020

News  

Updates related to COVID-19:

  • Today, Thailand reports sic newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,261 cases. Out of the total number, 3,105 have been discharged from hospital; 98 are being hospitalised (at 95.22%). The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed case Thai nationals returned from the Egypt (4), US (1) and Germany (1), and has been in state quarantine since. This is the 58th consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
  • CCSA spokesperson said that the test result of 7,207 cases with possible contact with the COVID-19 positive Egyptian soldier in Rayong and the Sudanese diplomat’s daughter in Bangkok are all negative.
  • Breaking: CCSA has announced that the centre will extend the emergency decree for one more month to be terminated at 31 August 2020. The proposition will need to be sealed off by a Cabinet resolution, scheduled to be given next Tuesday. The secretary-general of the National Security Council affirms in the press conference that the emergency decree will not be used to control the protests. He said that for protest cases filed earlier, it is up to the police’s consideration whether to apply the emergency decree.
  • Yesterday, the CCSA’s subcommittee on lockdown restriction has agreed to extend the state of emergency until the end of August. The PM defended the extension by saying that the decree has nothing to do with the rising anti-government.
  • Yesterday, the cabinet has approved an extension of the automatic visa amnesty for foreigners who remain in Thailand due to COVID-19 from 31 July to 26 September.—Khao Sod English
  • A medical science professor of Chulalongkorn University said on his personal FB Page that the travel bubble plan, which would allow small groups of foreign tourists to visit Thailand, should be shelved for at least another six months, because of the high-risk of COVID-19 infection. Associate Professor Dr. Thira said not a single country has escaped a second wave of infections after allowing foreign arrivals.—Thai PBS World

Politics

  • The issue of cabinet reshuffle is still on top news bulletin:
    • After the weekly cabinet meeting, the PM said he had finalized the portfolio lists and the lists are in vetting process. The PM said that with six cabinet members resigned, the announcement will be made as soon as possible.—All media outlet (Bangkok Post)
    • Yesterday, PPRP’s leader General Prawit said the PM has allocated 2-3 cabinet portfolios for the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP). The PPRP held its MPs’ meeting and submit their proposed list for cabinet line-up as followed:
      • Industry Minister Suriya as Energy Minister
      • PPRP’s secretary-general Anucha as Industry Minister
      • MP Suchart as Labour Minister
      • Government spokesperson Narumon as PM Office Minister
      • Deputy PM Prawit also as Interior Minister (the general declined, saying that he could not even manage to walk by himself)
    • The complications will be from the highly contested seat of Energy Minister when earlier reports said that the PM has eyed former deputy transport minister Pailin to look over the energy sector. The other contestation is in in Labour Minister as the former Democrat juggernaut and de facto leader of minute Action Coalition for Thailand Party.—Thai Post, Thai Rath
    • So far, the cabinet line-up is as followed:
Media/PositionDeputy PMEnergy MinisterFinance MinisterDeputy FMIndustry MinisterForeign MinisterDeputy DefenceDefence MinisterInterior MinisterDeputy InteriorLabour MinisterMinister of PMODigital Econ MinisterHigher Education MinisterDeputy Agriculture MinisterOther names (potentially joining supra-cabinet economic counsellor reports directly to the PM)
PPRP proposed lists Suriya Jungrungreangkit  Anucha Nakhasai   Prawit Wongsuwan Suchart ChomklinNarumon Pinyosinwat    
Bangkok PostPredee DaochaiPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai             
Krungthep TurakijThossaphorn SirisamphanPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai  Busaya Mathelin    Anek Laothamatas Takorn TantasitPailin Chuchottaworn  
Than Settakij         Thammanat Prompao Narumon Pinyosinwat  Suchart Chomklin 
Thai Rath  Pailin Chuchottaworn    Gen  Anupong PaochindaGen Prawit Wongsuwan Anek Laothamatas    Boontuck Wungcharoen; Piti Tantakasem; Supattanapong Bhanmeechao
MatichonPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai  Lecturer from Ramkhamhaeng Univ         Boontuck Wungcharoen; Kan Trakulhoon; Piti Tantakasem; Supattanapong Bhanmeechao;
Matichon TV Suriya JungrungreangkitPredee Daochai Anucha Nakhasai     Anek LaothamatasNarumon Pinyosinwat Suchart Chomklin  
Khao SodPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai    Gen  Anupong PaochindaGen Prawit Wongsuwan      Boontuck Wungcharoen; Piti Tantakasem;  Supattanapong Bhanmeechao
Daily News Pailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai        Chatumongol SonakulTakorn Tantasith  Boontuck Wungcharoen; Piti Tantakasem;  Supattanapong Bhanmeechao; Thossaphorn Sirisamphan
Siam Rath            Takorn Tantasith   
Channel 3Pailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai             
Thai Enquirer  Predee Daochai             
The Reporters Pailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai Suriya Jungrungreangkit     Anek LaothamatasAnucha Nakhasai Suchart Chomklin  
The Journalist ClubPrasarn TrairatvorakulPailin ChuchottawornPredee Daochai        Thossaphorn Sirisamphan    
Wassana Nanuam     Bansarn Bunnag          
Inside Thailand Pailin ChuchottawornPredee DaochaiAnucha Nakhasai  Gen Nattaphon NarkphanitGen  Anupong PaochindaGen Prawit WongsuwanSuchart Chomklin   Santi Promphat  
  • The flash mobs have been spread to all over the country, including in university as they resumed their study from this week onwards. After the cabinet meeting, the PM warned young protesters against violating the monarchy and urged them to bring their concerns to Parliament.—all media outlet

Business:

Cabinet’s decisions, 21 July 2020

  • Workers affected by COVID-19 who have contributed to Section 33 of the Social Security Fund for less than 6 months are entitled to receive the remedial payment from the Labour Ministry.  The payment, worth 15,000 Baht covering a period of 3 months (June-August 2020), will be made to 59,776 workers.  Source:  Thai Khu Fah fb page, 21 July 2020
  • Approved 3 additional projects worth 4 billion Baht that have applied for the 400 billion Baht budget allocated for economic rehabilitation.  The projects aim to create employment and range from elderly care and provincial-level development to fire prevention projects.—Krungthep Turakij 
  • Improve the Rao Tiew Duay Kan (We Travel Together) domestic tourism stimulus campaign by increasing the value of daily subsidies for the purchase of services and goods from 600 Baht to 900 Baht, applicable only to weekday trips. 
  • Expand the registration criteria for accommodation operators in the Rao Tiew Duay Kan campaign to include unlicensed hotel operators hotels and small/boutique hotels that do not fit the hotel licence criteria.  Hotels that have hiked their room rates to take advantage of the government subsidy offered by the campaign will be blacklisted.—The Nation Thailand  

Tourism

  • Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) forecasts that more than 30 percent of tourism-related businesses have divested the market in the first half of the year.  Most are tour and bus operators, restaurants, souvenir shops and hotels catered to Chinese and other foreign group tours.  The Tourism Department said 1,111 tour operators from January to June gave up their licences, with license withdrawal in the second quarter making up 65.4 percent of all withdrawals in the first half.  An additional 30 percent of outbound operators will shut down if the travel bubble is not implemented this year.—Bangkok Post 
  • Phuket is drawing up short, medium and long-term campaigns to revive its economy, given that COVID-19 has devastated its tourism industry which sustains 80 percent of its economy.  In the short-term, it will boost tourism by targeting domestic travellers.  In the medium and long-terms, the province will diversify and develop non-tourism sectors such as education, health and wellness, seafood and gastronomy businesses.—Bangkok Post 
  • Phuket’s public health authority and Vachira Phuket Hospital are investing 2.97 billion Baht to turn the island into a world class medical and wellness tourist destination by 2022.  A medical complex is being developed on a 141-rai piece of land and will feature international wellness and dental centres offering souvenir shops and tour packages; premium long term care centres for the elderly, hospice home and rehabilitation centre, among others.  The project is expected to attract 1 million tourists whose spending will inject 50,000 million Baht into the local economy.–Prachachart 

Others

  • The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and a CP-led consortium contracted to build the high-speed railway linking three airports yesterday met Pattaya City executives to gather input for the final study into the project’s route and design, to be completed in October.—Bangkok Post 
  • Gold price ascended to a nearly 9-hear high, the highest since September 2011, as investors continued to seek refuge in safe haven asset.  This is attributable to the global economic slowdown and the volatility of the weakening dollar and strengthening Baht.—Bangkok Post
  • Two final candidates have been shortlisted to become the next Bank of Thailand governor, with one an insider and the other an external applicant.—Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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