Advance Blog

August 24, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 24 August 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)
17,165  (192 from prisons); (excluding ATK 314)1,083,951 (last seven days: 135,509)5,229/ 1,095881,829 (+20,059)1,055,08820,830,673 (+400,645) BKK: 6,498,619 (+39,915)551,261 (+7,293) BKK: 142,030 (+2,481)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average tests in the last seven days
16,970 [15,226  (get tested in hospital) + 1,744 (active case finding)]3 (in SQ)192,334 [161,404 in field hospital]250,838 (+4,025)9,788 (+226) (last seven days: 1,815)27,612,445 (+573,446) BKK: 8,133,941 (+68,509)6,230,511 (+165,508) BKK: 1,493,292 (+26,113)50,718
  • Medical Science Department announced that they has discovered a new sub-Delta variant in Thailand, affirming that it is not a new variant. The Department said that 92.9% of the confirmed cases are that of Delta variant; meanwhile the Beta variant dominating the Malaysian-bordering area.—Khao Sod
  • In contrast to what the dean of prestigious medical faculty, Mahidol University who concurrently sits as an advisor to the government on COVID said that mid-September could be the best timing for the ease of lockdown, deputy government spokesperson said that should the pandemic situation keeps on as it is, there will surely be the ease of lockdown in early September.–Matichon
  • On Monday, the PM held a teleconference with AstraZeneca CEO who pledged that the company will surely deliver the rest of the 61 million ordered vaccines by the end of this year. The government spokesperson also said that the government is planning to secure 60 million more doses in 2022. The procurement agreement is expected to be concluded in September 2021. It was earlier reported that the vaccine producer will deliver 41.7 million doses to the Kingdom this year.—all media outlet and Krungthep Turakij Reuters
  • The Director-general of the Disease Control Department held a press conference after the National Communicable Disease Committee meeting announcing the committee resolutions as followed:
    • The resolution of Smart control and living with COVID 19: a paradigm shift from suppressing the newly confirmed cases to coexisting with the virus. This can be done through:
      • A comprehensive inoculation in risk groups, elders, underlying conditions and seeking new vaccines;
      • The step-up of disease prevention measures;
      • Proactive measures in active case findings and inoculations
    • The resolution of target quarantine or ‘Bubble and Seal’ in densely infected areas such as factories and premises.
    • The resolution to recognise tourists who got Russian Sputnik V vaccines as a requirement to enter Phuket Sandbox scheme.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has fully approve Pfizer vaccine to inoculate its 16 years old and older citizen.– FDA
    • The director-general of the Disease Control Department said that despite the approval, private hospitals cannot purchase the vaccine from the producers, but Pfizer must get approval from Thai FDA first.–Matichon
  • ABC Correspondent covered volunteers from ‘Saimai Will Survive Group’ in the outer rim of Bangkok who claimed that the apparent peak of the most recent surge is just the start and that the real war is about to happen. The article asked former Op-Ed editor for the Bangkok Post who said that volunteers have felt compelled to step up because they have lost confidence in Thai authorities. The author also reached out to the government spokesperson who said in a written statement that Thai government was “doing all it can [and] leaving no stones unturned” to manage the outbreak.–ABC

Politics

The Cabinet Decision

  • It is reported that the PM has reversed his earlier resolution in procuring only the WTO-approved Antigen test kits. As the ATK will be for home usages, it is no longer required to get the WTO-approved ones.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The cabinet has appointed Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana as the new government spokesperson effective from today. Mr Thanakorn was the former secretary to Mr Uttama when he served as the Finance Minister. Meanwhile, the former spokesperson Mr Anucha has been appointed as the vice secretariat of the Prime Minister—Naew Na, Thai Post
  • The cabinet also has appointed media-sensationalised Samut Prakan Governor as the new central Ang Thong Governor. The Governor has earlier submitted resignation letter citing his health concerns. The cabinet resolution has also revoked his resignation letter.—Krungthep Turakij

Constitutional amendment

  • On Tuesday morning, the Constitutional Amendment Committee has called for an urgent meeting to hammer out the issues that has been of contention, including the suspending clause which stated that the Election Commission has the authority in holding in election should the organic law cannot be finalised in the time of election. Main ruling PPRP deputy leader and head of the committee dismissed the report that the sudden shift is due to coalition Bhumjaithai Party threat to overthrow the proposal. —Krungthep Turakij
  • Bhunjaithai Party leader has announced that the party will abstain its vote on the second reading as the party deemed the amendment was not done for the benefits of the people.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The House is deliberating on the second reading of the Constitutional Amendment which seeks to return to proportional representation voting system which ruling PPRP and Opposition Pheu Thai agreed upon, but at the stake of smaller coalition Bhumjaithai and Opposition Move Forward Party.

Protests

  • The police said that they are about to issue summon orders to parents of teen protestors for the charge of negligence or support teenagers to stir unrest in the Kingdom.—Krungthep Turakij
  • This morning, groups of good deed practitioners (Royalists) submitted their petition letters to 15 foreign missions, including the UN, US, EU Delegation, Australia, French, Japanese and others. The petition aimed to inform international actors that there are attempts to bring children to join the violent protests and that there have been violence used against the riot police.—Siam Rath

Make sure you do not wear a grey blazer with a camera on your neck

  • After former PDRC leader turned anti-establishment protestor Tanat ‘Nat’ wore grey blazer with a camera on his neck to join the protest on Sunday-a reminiscence of the late King outfits when travelling into the country, a number of figures in the entertainment complex posted the photo of the late King Bhumibol in a bid to counter the mockery.–Manager
  • Sondhiya Sawasadee who has played a big part in legal actions against the protestor and opposition has filed a request to the Metropolitan Police to investigate whether Tanat has done anything illegal. And Mr Sondhiya has claimed that the activist has political agenda wearing the outfits.–Matichon
  • Srisuwan Janya, Secretary-General of a political group called the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution has press charges against Tanat on several offences.–Manager

Economic

  • DPM and Commerce Minister Jurin is confident that Thailand’s export could achieve its 10-11 percent growth target this year, given that July’s export surge of 20.2 percent (valued at 22.7 billion USD) had exceeded its expectation by 4 times.  This is a fifth consecutive month of export expansion, owing to robust global economic recovery, the Baht’s depreciation, rising oil prices and export promotions by the Commerce Ministry and the private sector.  July’s import expanded by 45 percent (valued at 22.5 billion USD), resulting in a trade surplus of 183 million USD.   Exports with strong growth include agricultural items and food (fruits, vegetables, rubber, tapioca products, chilled, frozen and processed chicken), work from home items, industrial items (steel) and luxury items (cars and electronic parts).   In the first 7 months of 2021, Thailand’s export grew at 16.2 percent (valued at 154 billion USD) and import by 28.7 percent (valued at 152.3 billion USD), with a trade surplus of 2.6 billion USD.  Commerce Minister Jurin expects the lockdown measures to impact the manufacturing sector in August and September.  Sources:  Thansettakij Bangkok Post
  • Federation of Thai Industry (FTI) estimated that around 300,000 – 500,000 workers in more than 1,300 factories nationwide are infected COVID-19, mainly in labour-intensive industries that are crucial to export such as food, automobile parts, electronics, medical equipment and textile.  The manufacturing sector is also facing labour shortage as infected Thai and migrant workers have returned to their hometowns to receive treatment.  The Food Industrial Association added that over 400 of its member factories have seen their productivity decline by 30-50 percent, which is starting to affect their ability to fulfill export orders.  FTI therefore urged the government to quickly vaccinate factory workers and to launch the Custom Border Sandbox scheme.  The scheme will recruit only vaccinated migrant workers at the border where they will have to undergo a 14 day quarantine, after which their employers will take responsibility for transporting them to their factories.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) expects the number of borrowers applying for debt-relief measures from financial institutions to rise in Q3 this year, in line with higher COVID-19 infections.  In July, the number of such borrowers totalled 12.52 million accounts, of which 11.31 million are consumer loan accounts, 1.17 million are from SMEs and 30,000 are corporate loan accounts.  The is a significant increase from 5 million accounts in June. Source:  Bangkok Post
  • BOT reported that the Thai banking system remained resilient with high levels of capital fund, loan loss provision and liquidity to cushion economic impacts from COVID-19.  Given the BOT’s debt relief measures and relaxation of NPL classification, the commercial banking sector kept the overall NPL ratio steady at 3.09 percent (valued at 545.5 billion Baht ) in Q2 compared with 3.10 percent in Q1.  The bank’s overall loan growth was 3.7 percent in Q2, down from 3.8 percent in Q1.
  • However, there is sign of increasing vulnerability, especially in consumer loan.  The Q2 consumer loans expanded at 5.7 percent, increasing from 5.3 percent in Q1.  The expansion is due to mortgage loan, which continued to grow and personal loan grew that is fuelled by an increase in welfare loans. Source:  Bank of Thailand Press Release
  • Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry (EconThai) forecasted that Thailand’s unemployment rate is likely to reach 2.5 percent in Q2, equivalent to 937,500 unemployed workers.  This is an increase from 1.96 percent in Q1, or 758,000 workers. The total workforce is estimated at 37.5 million people this year, including 500,000 new graduates.  EconThai proposed the government introduce the co-payment subsidy scheme for 6 months, where the government contributes 7,500 Baht monthly for entrepreneurs who hire new graduates.  EconThai insists their unemployment project is different from those made by state agencies such as the Labour Ministry and NESDC, which are made based on the definition of ILO.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The extended lockdown measure had resulted in a roster of state agencies and private sector revising downward their GDP projection for 2021.  Kasikorn Research had slashed 2021 GDP forecast to a contraction of -0.5 percent; state planning agency NESDC to +0.7 to + 1.2 percent; CIMB Thai to +0.4 percent and Siam Commercial Bank to +0.9 percent.  More optimistic are World Bank that forecasted +2.2 percent; Asian Development Bank +2 percent and Krungsri Research to +1.2 percent.  Source:  TNN Thailand
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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