Advance Blog

February 25, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 24 February 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
23,557 Domestic +23,329 Abroad+2282,590,589                          38180,993    
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)
122,473,371 (+287,889)53,282,587 (+61,074  yesterday)  76.6 %49,582,584 (+13,130 yesterday) 71.3 %19,607,800 (+183,689 yesterday) 28.2%

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

Covid19 situation/ Change regulations

  • As update on the new  entry ease requirement for vaccinated inbound visitor next month , please see the point summary
    • Starting from March 1, vaccinated visitors would not need to undergo the 2 nd RT-PCR test, which is previously required on the 5 th day of their arrival.
    • Instead, they can do a self-administered antigen test (ATK), exempting the requirement for a hotel booking for the test, according to the CCSA.
    • Travelers will be able to register with the new Test and Go entry rules at the beginning of next month.
    • The mandatory insurance coverage for Covid will also be lowered from US$50,000 to $20,000.
    • The Thailand Pass entry system that all air passengers have to register with will remain despite calls from the private sector for it to be scrapped  Mathichon 
  • The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) said more than 101 billion baht of the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (Ucep) scheme has been spent treating Covid-19 sufferers, mostly with mild symptoms, over the past two years. Bangkokpost
  • In addition, CCSA\ also said that Thailand still doing better than region as More than 82 per cent of people who died from Covid-19 this year were people age 60 and above. The number of fatalities that were unvaccinated was 58.2 %  Thaienquirer

Political news

Electoral laws

  • The Election Commission (EC) published its draft amendments to 2 organic laws on the election of MPs and the political parties on its website www.ect.go.th and the Office of the Council of the State website to gather feedback from the public during January 19- February 3, 2022. However, no state agencies or individuals have joined the EC’s comment forum.
  • Today is the 1st day the joint sitting of MPs and senators is set to deliberate 10 proposed amendments to 2 organic laws, the elections of MPs Act and the Political Parties Act in the 1st reading.
  • The main opposition Pheu Thai Party has prepared a line-up of 20 MPs to debate on the 2 laws, according to Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, Suthin Khlangsaeng.
  •  When asked about government MPs and senators’ plan to vote down the amendment draft proposed by Pheu Thai, Suthin said he had no knowledge of that matter but said Pheu Thai will vote to pass all the 10 proposed amendments to the 2 organic law and his party will debate on each of these amendments again in the 2 nd reading.
  • Suthin said his party stressed on the task of restoring a single-ballot election system across the country. This point does not contradict Section 90 of the Constitution.
  •  As for the calculation method of party-list MPs, Pheu Thai supports the use of the 1997 constitution as the main model. v The joint sitting of the Lower House and senators are expected to vote for the 10 amendment bills tomorrow evening.      BBC Thairath

Other news

The opposition ,Move ForwardParty announced plans to take legal action against 5 ministers under the Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s cabinet over 4 hot issues.

  • The 5 ministers are: 1.  Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, 2. Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob,3 Natural Resources and Environment Minister Warawut Silpa-archa, 4. Minister Chalermchai Sri-on 5. Deputy Agriculture and Cooperatives Praphat Phothasuthon

 The 4 issues are:

1) The trafficking of Rohingya

2) The alleged cover-up of an African swine fever (ASF) outbreak in the country

3) Alleged corruption related walk-in vaccination service at Bang Sue Grand Station.

4) An oil spill from a pipeline owned by Star Petroleum Refining Public Co Ltd (SPRC).   Thairath Posttoday

Human rights

  • Activist Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak is  being release for 3 months to study after The Bangkok South Criminal Court reversed an earlier decision to grant him a bail. However Arnon Nampa is still imprisoned  Manageronline

Economic news

  • Tourism Authority of Thailand expects that the easing of the Test & Go COVID-19 testing requirements could help Thailand achieve its goal of attracting 10 million arrivals.  TAT is also planning to establish a travel bubble with India, with the goal of submitting it for the cabinet’s consideration in early March.  Already, Koh Samui has set sight on luring Indian tourists.  Hotel operators admitted they are not banking on Chinese tourists who they believe will not return anytime soon.  Source:  Matichon newspaper, 24 February 2022. Bangkok POst
  • Economists warned that the tensions between Russia and UK could affect Thailand’s economy until Q2 of this year, with impacts on inflation, exports and tourism.  Inflation would be the biggest threat given that Russia is the world’s largest oil and natural gas exporter, while the slowdown in European and Russian economies would affect Thailand’s export and tourist arrival number.  Source:  The Nation
  • At the seminar “2022 Next Economic Chapter: New Challenges and Opportunities”, DPM Supattanapong is confident the economy will grow by 4 percent this year following a better-than-expected 1.6 percent GDP expansion in 2021.  This year, the government has procured sufficient vaccine booster doses; prepared a suite of stimulus packages; has inflation curbed by capping oil price and is monitoring commodity inventory levels; and will devote this year to tackling household debt as announced earlier by PM Prayut.  The government’s long term plans this year includes promoting 5 new high-potential industries such as Electric Vehicles (EVs) & smart electronics, tourism, pharmaceutical, digital and clean energy.  For example, EV will give rise to smart electronics, for which Thai industries are keen to move upstream and manufacture its own chips.  Thailand will complement digital technologies (5G infrastructure) with the use of soft power (ie: movies, music, e-sports).  Source:  Matichon newspaper, 24 February 2022. Manager Online  Bangkok Post
  • Now in its 2nd phase of development, the EEC is identified as the government’s new growth engine, with 2.2 billion Baht of investment expected in the next 5 years.  The EEC Office projected it will take 12-15 months for the Thai economy to recover and 20 months for it to return to normalcy.  The EECO noted that a special economic zone such as the EEC could generate massive income for the country and transform Thailand into a developed nation by fostering a GDP growth of 5 percent annually for 7 years.  As such, it is important to infuse the EEC with digital technologies to make it become a high-tech industrial hub and home to major infrastructure projects.  Source:  Manager Online
  • Digital Economy and Society Ministry (DESM) revealed that the government aims to push digital tech-driven businesses to contribute to 30 percent of GDP by 2027, up from the current 17 percent. To drive the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic, DESM boosting the capacity of digital infrastructure, including cloud-based data centres; push digital-driven business; and working to thwart online fraud, threats and cybercrimes. Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai Bankers Association is endorsing mega-trends to spur the Thai economy past COVID-19 as well as to prepare it for digital economy.  The TBA has launched a roadmap for the next 3 years that focuses on sustainable growth in 4 themes: enhance the country’s competitiveness; become a leading financial service provider in the region; prioritize environment and sustainability; and prioritize HR.  Source:  Neaw Na newspaper, 24 February 2022
  • The Energy Policy and Plan Agency has conducted a feasibility study to support its goal of developing 567 Electric Vehicle charging stations and procuring 13,251 fast-charge EV chargers nationwide by year 2030 in accordance with the government’s promotion of EVs.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij

Thailand vows to move ahead with plans to tackle intellectual property (IP) infringements even as the US recently announced it will exclude Thailand from its Notorious Markets List both for physical and online markets.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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