Advance Blog

June 24, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 24 June 2020

News

  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today Thailand reports a newly confirmed cases, a total of 3,157 cases. Out of the total number, 3,026 have been discharged from hospital (or at 95.85%); 73 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The new cases arrived from the Philippines and has been in state quarantine. This is the 30th consecutive days that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
    • CCSA spokesperson discussed the 5th phase of restriction easing to include nightclubs, pubs, karaoke, massage parlours, internet cafes. The department stores will be allowed to operate without any restriction (currently until 9pm).
    • CCSA spokesperson briefly explained about the easing of restrictions for foreigners entering Thailand. The decision will be made on Monday. CCSA divides its measures for two schemes:
      • The first scheme is to allow five groups of foreigners who have registered to enter Thailand with compulsory state quarantine:
        • businesspersons/investors (700 registered)
        • skilled labours/specialists (15,400 registered)
        • foreigners who married to a Thai/ have a permanent residency in Thailand (2,000 registered)
        • International teachers, instructors and students (2,000 registered)
        • Medical & wellness tourists (around 30,000 registered)
        • CCSA spokesperson says easing the regulations for these five groups could be done from now on.
      • The second scheme is for two groups of foreigners entering Thailand with the exemption of state quarantine:
        • Businesspersons/ investors on short-duration stays and government guests (COVID-19 tests at pre-departure and upon arrival, including with medical team to accompany the travel). CCSA said they could start easing the regulations for this group from 1 July.
        • Tourists under travel bubble
          • Villa Quarantine could start as soon as 1 August
          • Relaxed state quarantine could start when the society shows confidence in the government measures (aka no objection from Thai people)
    • CCSA spokesperson said CCSA is discussing the idea of “local alternative state quarantine” in other major regional provinces. Now, there are alternative state quarantine
    • Yesterday, the dean of the prestigious Siriraj medical school warned that the second wave of the COVID-19 transmission in Thailand is feasible, though it has been 28 days without local transmission.
    • The PM said after the weekly cabinet meeting that it is necessary to extend the enforcement of emergency decree to take control of the pandemic situation. But he said he will soften the restrictions under the decree. The CCSA will decide this Friday what kind of businesses will be allowed to re-opened.
  • The cabinet has approved the holiday from 4-7 July. This is not a part of the three days postponed during Songkran festival.
  • Thailand’s Cabinet has approved draft laws on prevention of torture and forced disappearances, a measure that has long been sought by human rights activists.–AP
  • Thai schools are holding rehearsals to prepare students for classes in the coronavirus era, giving lessons in hygiene and social distancing to children ahead of next week’s return. Ministry of Education has arranged July, 1st as the day the rest of the educational institutions (international schools and tuition schools have been allowed to re-opened)–Reuters

Politics

  • Developments related to the 88th anniversary of the 1932 revolution which ended absolute monarchy in Thailand:
    • Yesterday, the police said they have discovered a huge cache of armoury in Mae Sot district, Tak province along Thai-Burmese border zone. The police suspects that the weapons might be used to instigate unrest in today’s protests.
    • This morning, a group of protestor started mobilise at 5am to replicate the announcement of the first order of the People’s Party. So far, there has been no objection by the police to hold events. There are more events to be held in Bangkok CBD and other provinces to commemorate the day.
    • Certain historical statues have been disappearing in Thailand, but they are not effigies of colonialists or slave owners torn down by protesters. Instead, Thailand’s vanishing monuments celebrated leaders of the 1932 revolution that ended absolute monarchy in Thailand, who were once officially honoured as national heroes and symbols of democracy.–Reuters
  • The PM introduced the idea of “Thai unity for the nation” รวมไทยสร้างชาติ to invite all related parties
  • The Election Commission (EC) moved to launch a probe into allegations of vote-buying in the by-election in Lampang’s constituency 4 after former election commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn’s claim that large amounts of cash were offered to voters in exchange for them to cast ballots for candidate of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP).—all media outlet
  • The Cabinet approved extra allowances for district heads and village heads for 7 months as rewards for their hard work to help the government fight the COVID-19 outbreak.—all media outlet

Business

  • The Cabinet has approved the framework on standards and conformity that aim to reduce non-tariff barriers on agri-products trading among ASEAN countries.  The Multilateral Arrangement for the Mutual Recognition of Agri-food Standards and Conformity Assessment will be discussed by the Asean Mutual Recognition Arrangement Task Force in June.  Source:  https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30390197
  • The Bank of Thailand is tweaking the approval processes to give SMEs easier access to its 500 billion Baht soft loan.  The loan adjustment is to be completed by this month.  So far, only 15,991 SMEs have applied for the BOT’s soft loans, worth 80.7 billion Baht.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1939996/central-bank-tweaks-b500bn-soft-loan-scheme-for-smes
  • Export-Import Bank of Thailand revealed that insurance claims soared 226 percent and foreign buyers’ delayed payment amount surged 195 percent in the first five months of 2020.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1940004/exim-reports-insurance-claims-spike
  • Thailand’s food export value is projected to dip by 3 percent in 2020 from an earlier target of 1.02-1.06 trillion Baht.  The lockdown and tourism ban have reduced demands for Thai food, while the industry is expected to see slow recovery.  Export value for the January-April period this year fell by 2.2 percent YoY to 368 billion Baht.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1940100/food-export-value-tipped-to-fall-3-on-virus-impact
  • Commerce Ministry’s Department of Intellectual Property said the CPTPP does not prohibit the use of Compulsory Licensing (CL) for drugs.  DIP added that the drug CL under CPTPP will comply with the WTO’s regulations focusing on the use for non-commercial purposes.  Source:  National News Bureau of Thailand fb page, 22 June 2020

EEC

  • The Board of Investment (BOI) and Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Office are rejigging promotional privileges for five new S-curve industries to make them more enticing for foreign investment.  The new five S-curve industries are robotics, aviation & logistics, digital, biofuels & biochemical and medical services.  Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1939348/boi-eec-to-hurry-new-s-curve-perks
  • The construction of a 2.37 billion Baht ‘smart park’ industrial zone in Rayong province is to begin in early 2021 and completed in 3 years.  The project is part of the EEC and was approved in January.  The smart park will adopt advanced industrial technology, communications, transport and energy systems.  Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30390089
  • The development of U-Tapao Airport and Eastern Aviation City is set to take off after U-Tapao International Aviation Co Ltd (BBS Group) signed a joint investment agreement with EEC Office on June 19.  The Covid-19 outbreak has had only a slight impact on the aviation city project.  Meanwhile, no bids have been made for the MRO centre yet.  Source: https://www.nationthailand.com/business/30390038

Others

  • The Defence Ministry has set sights on luring foreign investments into Thailand’s first defence 3,000 rai industrial estate in Bo Phloi district, Kanchanaburi province under the public-private partnership model.  It is part of the government’s move to position Thailand as a global arms trader; defence being the 11th target S-curve industry.  Kanchanaburi is also a Special Economic Zone.  Source:  https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/1939912/defence-tied-industrial-estate-on-tap

ASEAN/World

  • Singaporean PM announced a snap election to be held on July, 10th , citing the situation in Singapore is “relatively stable”. –all media outlet

Australia

  • ABC news published an article praising village health volunteer as the key to the successful story of Thailand in curbing COVID-19, despite being the first outside of China to detect a case of COVID-19 back in January. James Wise, the former Ambassador’s views was cited in the article.—ABC News
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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