Advance Blog

September 22, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 22 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)
11,252 (28 from prisons); (excluding ATK 2,062)1,511,357 (last seven days: 91,107)3,464/ 7531,366,533 (+13,695)1,482,49429,501,110 (+300,033) BKK: 7,897,795 (+6,777)622,748 (+795) BKK: 200,997 (+ 515)
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
11,207 [9,816 (get tested in hospital) + 1,391 (active case finding)]17 (in SQ)129,071 [87,983 in field hospital]351,278 (+2,767)15,753 (+141) (last seven days: 988)46,023,016 (+811,915) BKK: 11,493,408 (+28,451)15,899,158 (+511,087) BKK: 3,394,616 (+21,159)14.61%
  • The reopening scheme in 5 touristic areas will likely be deferred to 1 November. The Tourism Authority of Thailand is set to propose the reopening scheme of tourist provinces to the Operation Centre of the CCSA today (22 September) and said that the reopening date could start on 1 November as Bangkok, Pattaya and Cha-am might not be able to secure 70 percent of vaccination rate. —Than Settakij
  • After the cabinet has approved draft decree to amend the Communicable Disease Act and added a section on the management of public health emergencies which in the future will not have to enact the Emergency Decree, the deputy government spokesperson said however that the government does not eye to dismantle the CCSA and has not thought of revoking the Emergency Decree.—Thai Rath
  • A public health official gave an interview on condition of anonymity clarifying the reason the Kingdom has been purchasing Sinovac vaccine despite its doubtful effectiveness in curbing the Delta variant that it had one major advantage over the other vaccines, it was available in large quantities. The official said when the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were not available and the AZ plants were not operational, Sinovac was the only option left.—Thai Enquirer
  • Their majesties the King and Queen will visit Siriraj Hospital on 24 September to commemorate Mahidol Memorial Day (the day Prince Mahidol Adulyadej-The King’s grandfather passed away).—Naew Na

Politics

  • A media cited a source in the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) said that the party secretary-general has secured 40 MPs to join the Deputy PM and PPRP leader to conduct the site visits in Ayutthaya; meanwhile, the Labour Minister Suchart Chomklin has secured 12 MPs to join the PM for a site visit in Petchburi. And the other development is on 23 September when the PPRP leader and the chief strategist will hold a meeting at the Parliament on the party stance on sub-district representative election.—Krungthep Turakij, Matichon
    • Suchart who is reportedly sided with the PM during the last censure debate shenanigan said that it was normal process
    • Deputy PM Prawit denied the reports that he is in conflict with the PM.—Thai Rath
  • The Deputy PM and government legal pundit Wissau said in the cabinet meeting yesterday that the government must resign should the freshly introduced Communicable Disease Decree does not have the Parliament approval in November when the Parliament session begins. The government legal pundit said that there is no clear timeline of when the decree will be on Royal Gazette as when it is on, there is no more necessity to enforce Emergency Decree.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The ruling Democrat Party spokesperson denied the reports that Democrat Party is discussing on the House Dissolution and that its ministers and MPs site visit do not mean they are gearing up for the upcoming election. The spokesperson said that the frequent visits are occurring because the House is not in session.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Cross Cultural Foundation has submitted an open letter to the PM opposing the transfer of a Malaysian transexual from Thai police to Malaysian authority as the person might face torture. Nur Sajat has been granted refugee status and is in the process to leave for Australia.—Khao Sod

Analysis/ opinion

  • Krungthep Turakij outlined 8 future important moments which could determine the future of the coalition:
    • 1. The Constitutional Amendment which is expected to be finalised in the next four months, if there is no obstacle;
    • 2. The rivalry between the PM and Deputy PM to dominate the PPRP which could result in cabinet reshuffle and change in coalition;
    • 3. The censure debate without a vote by the Opposition which could undermine the confidence in the government;
    • 4. The emergency approval of raising the debt ceiling to be that of 70% of GDP mean the PM might want to use the extra-money to gain support before making any political decision;
    • 5. The Opposition can file a vote of no confidence again in 2022 (Parliament session: 22 May to  18 September);
    • 6. The 2023 budget bill which if not pass, could force the PM to resign or dissolve the House;
    • 7. The protracted pandemic situation;
    • 8. Should the PM want to cling to power until the House term ends in 2023, there will be more and more tensions within and without the coalition.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Assistant Professor Dr.Viboonpong Poonprasit, specialist on American politics, gave a brief interview on the ThaiPBS that Washington is seeing Beijing as the main threat to its national interest, unlike the lesser threat from Russia from the European front. The expert said that from Washington perspective, the EU is not that trustworthy compared to the UK and Australia.–ThaiPBS

Economic:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Cabinet’s Decisions, 21 September 2021

  • Greenlighted the implementation of the third phase of the domestic tourism schemes Rao Tiew Duay Gun as well as the Tour Tiew Thai to run until 28 February 2022.  Registration platforms are being finalized for the tour companies that wish to participate in the Rao Tiew Duay Gun campaign.  Hotels wishing to register Rao Tiew Duay Gun campaign can do so from 24 September – 1 October, with the campaign officially kicking off in October.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Approved of allocating 27 billion Baht of budget to continue providing partial subsidies on electricity and water bills, traveling cost, purchases of consumer goods and 1,000 Baht welfare for the disabled from October 2021 to September 2022.  The budget also goes to renewing the state welfare card program to help low-income earners.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • Approved of reducing the contributions of employers and employees to Social Security Fund under Section 33 and Section 39 for 3 months, effective from 1 September – 30 November 2021.  Contributions from employers are reduced to 2.5 percent of the employees’ monthly salary, while contributions of the self- insured under Section 39 are slashed to 235 Baht from 432 Baht.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij

Others

  • Bank of Thailand expresses support for the government’s decision to raise public debt ceiling to 70 percent of GDP.  BOT notes that this will give the government the fiscal space to borrow more to stimulate the economy if needed, but does not translate into the government borrowing to reach the ceiling limit.  Moreover, with the government already planning to borrow 500 billion Baht to spur the economy throughout next year, Thailand’s debt ratio is already anticipated to breach 60 percent in 2022.  Source:  Thansettakij  Bangkok Post
  • The reopening plan for five provinces might be delayed by a month to Nov 1 as each province’s vaccination rate still falls short of 70 percent coverage, leading Chiang Mai to rely on the domestic market instead.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand has set an ambitious goal of jumping into the top 30 in the Global Innovation Index (GII) by 2030, while the country climbed one place to 43rd in the 2021 index recently released by the World Intellectual Property Organisation.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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