Advance Blog

July 22, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 22 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)
13,655 (545 from prisons)453,132 [last seven days: 80,917]3,856/ 889312,377 (+7,921)424,26911,538,866 (+246,287)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)
13,099 [9,254 (get tested in hospital) + 3,845 (active case finding)]11 (in SQ)137,058 [58,861 in field hospital]123,506 (+2,893)3,697(+87) [last seven days: 665]15,084,696 (+279,576)21.58% of the population3,545,830 (+33,289)5.21% of the population
  • The head of Thailand’s National Vaccine Institute apologized Wednesday for the country’s slow and inadequate rollout of coronavirus vaccines, promising it will join the U.N.-backed COVAX program to receive supplies from its pool of donated vaccines next year. He said Thailand is in the process of joining COVAX, a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the World Health Organization. Nakorn said he expects Thailand will be able to receive vaccines from COVAX by the first quarter of next year.—AP
  • The Director-general of the Disease Control Department has submitted a letter to request a purchase of 10.9 million doses of Sinovac vaccine to help curb the spread of the Delta variant.—Prachachat Turakij
  • The deputy spokesperson said that the government has approved the plan for field hospital at Suvarnnabhumi international airport, capable of taking care 4,500 patients. The plan will allow the use of the field hospital in August and that the Thai Aviation Authority is going to prepare a building in Don Meung Airport to become the other field hospital able to host 2,000 patients.—Thai Rath
  • The CCSA spokesperson made several points in the daily press summary:
    • In the future, foreigners with residency status in Thailand, including spouse can register to get vaccine at SCG headquarter in Bang Sue.
    • The PM who also heads the CCSA underlined that there must be no more image or footage of people die in their home while waiting for hospitalisation again.—Prachachat Turakij

Politics

  • After the PM spoke in the weekly cabinet meeting warning the Democrat and Bhumjaithai Parties of deserting the coalition, the two main coalition parties came out to affirm their commitment to the coalition:
    • Bhumjaithai leader and secretary-general said that Bhumjaithai has never thought of deserting the PM nor the coalition. The Deputy PM and Public Health Minister said that the party will stick to the coalition under the end of the Parliament tenure.—Prachachat Turakij
    • Democrat leader and Deputy PM also said that he felt sorry for the PM who has been working very hard during the pandemic. He said that despite the Democrat party did not have the direct responsibility in curbing the pandemic, the Democrat ministers have excelled in their tasks.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Royal Office website which opened for citizen to write their message to HM the King was hacked and replaced the royal portrait with that of manga character from Japanese series Black Butler. The link has now been suspended.—Catdumb
  • 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 he did not threaten the influencers, just asking for cooperation from stars not to distort information against the government.—Thai Rath
    • A vocal MP from Opposition Pheu Thai Party said that he will use his parliamentarian status to bail any influencers who got charges from ‘calling out’ against the government.—Matichon
    • A member of main ruling PPRP party said that has pressed charges against more than 20 influencers on charges related to Computer Crime Act with the Metropolitan Police. At noon on Thursday, PPRP Party issued a press release saying that the party does not involve with this legal action and does not involve with the member action against the influencer.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The secretary-general of PPRP Captain Thammanat said that the person who press charges ‘was’ the party member and that he is no longer part of the PPRP.—Matichon
  • This morning an 18-year-old Thai rapper ‘Milli’ reported to a police station for profanation charge against the Prime Minister. The singer pledged guilty and was charged with 2,000 THB fine. The lawyer to the PM press charges against the rapper for her tweets grilling the PM.—
    • Other singers and influencers posted in support of the rapper, saying this is unprecedented in any democratic country.—Matichon
  • Leader of the now defunct PDRC Suthep Thuagsuban made a rare communication in support of the government amid the high tide of pandemic. He shared a status by the Silapakorn University Rector saying that Thailand is the best country in the world and that there are many Thai citizens who would like to undermine the Kingdom. The University rector has called for anyone who hates the country to leave the Kingdom soon. Suthep said his view resonate with the status.—Prachachat Turakij
  • Ousted and self-exiled former PM Yingluck Shinawatra posted on her FB saying she feel sorry for the deceased and Gove moral support for the Thai people to excel through the pandemic.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

  • PM Prayut convened a virtual meeting with the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) and 40 CEOs yesterday to discuss plans to boost the economy.  The CEOs reiterated the need for the government to speed up vaccination rollout, provide more generous relief measures for the affected and invest in digital infrastructure.  Specifically, TCC made 4 proposals, such as for the government address the migrant labour shortage, revive the Shop Dee Mee Kheun tax rebate program to stimulate domestic spending and aggressively lure foreign investments.  TCC also proposed that a joint committee between the public and private sector be established to kick off activities that enhance digital transformation, ie: smart agriculture.  Sources:  Bangkok Post, Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 22 July 2021
  • The Airlines Association of Thailand (AAT) launched a petition for the government to urgently help the aviation sector, which will collapse if the ban on domestic flights is prolonged to 3 months.  The AAT noted over 20,000 employees will lose their jobs as the 7 airlines are facing serious liquidity issues, having grounded 170 aircrafts and suffering over 15 billion Baht of loss in the last 17 months.  Most importantly, it requested a loan worth 5 billion Baht from the government to help retain employment, in addition to collateral-free loan with low interest.  AAT had originally requested for a 24 billion Baht soft loan from the government, but it was not granted.  AAT expects international flights to resume by 40-50 percent in Q1 of 2022.  Source:  Bangkok PostKrungthep Turakij
  • The Bank of Thailand had discussed with relevant authorities to seek ways to lower household debt, starting from co-operatives and student loans and potentially to cover farmer loans next year.  This is in response to Thailand’s escalating household debts, which amounted to 90.5 percent of GDP in Q1 2021 and is expected to worsen due to the current lockdown measures  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Ministry of Industry announced that Thailand is poised to become the leader in robotic and automation technology in 2026.  With the pandemic outbreak, Thailand is emphasising robotics, automation and system integration (SI) development in a move to produce technologies of its own.  Thailand is currently in a middle-term development plan from 2018 to 2021, and in 2020, it has spent 116 billion Baht on robotic system.  The BOI is also offering tax incentives to promote investment in technology upgrades.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Naew Na
  • Commerce Ministry aims to rev up export promotion for products related to global megatrends, particularly in the BCG economy category to would raise income for farmers, manufacturers and entrepreneurs.   Popular BCG products include future food that are in high demands in Australia, US, China and Japan.  Other potential products are lifestyle items developed from agricultural waste or high-quality industrial waste; processed agricultural products and non-food products with environmentally-friendly packaging.  Sources:  Bangkok Post
  • The Eastern Economic Corridor Office said the government’s flagship EEC project alone is not enough to upgrade Thailand to become a developed country.  It is unlikely to attract sufficient investment or boost the country’s GDP by 4-5 percent yearly as planned after Covid-19.  Additional special development zones are needed, such as the Southern Economic Corridor, the Northeastern Economic Corridor and Northern Economic Corridor. Private investment in EEC this year and for 2022 are forecast at 300 billion Baht a year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Krungsri Research has downgraded Thailand’s GDP growth by 0.8 percent, from +2 percent to +1.2 percent for 2021.  The impact of the current and worst COVID-19 outbreak will outweigh the windfall from rising export and the government’s additional relief measures, which Krungsri expects will total 100 billion Baht this year.  Given the daily infection cases that has reached 10,000 since early July, the worst-case-scenario in Krungsri’s previous forecast has become the baseline scenario for its current forecast.  The recent lockdown is anticipated to be only 70 percent as effective compared to April 2020.  For this reason, the number of new daily cases are forecasted to peak at 15,000 in August, before dropping in September and down to below 1,000 in November.  In the worst-case-scenario, the lockdown may be prolonged if the vaccines do not work against new virus variants and the current lockdown proves ineffective.  Sources:  Krungsri Research Press Release[Krungthep%20Turakij]Krungthep TurakijThansettakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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