Advance Blog

June 24, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 24 June 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)
4,108 (229 from prisons)232,647 [last seven days: 24,896]1,564/ 445191,355203,7846,017,424 (+172,903)AZ: 147,064SN: 25,8399.09% of the population
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
3,865 [2,835 (get tested in hospital) + 1,030 (active case finding)]14 (in SQ)39,517 [26,197 in field hospital]63,835 (+1,359)1,775 (+31) [last seven days: 220]8,400,320(+251,985)12.69% of the population2,382,896 (+79,082)AZ: 1,865SN: 77,2173.60% of the population

•             Earlier this morning saw a tragic event when a man who was reportedly just relieved from conscription term raid into a field hospital in Bangkok suburb Pathum Thani and kill a Covid patient with a gun. The suspect who was wearing military uniform is still on the loose and the motive of the crime remains unknown. The police suspected that the shooter and the patient did not know each other.—All media outlet

*    Latest: the police has surrounded a house in Ranong province that the suspect is hiding and has asked the suspect to turn himself in.

*    It is reported that the same person shot dead a convenience store staff in Lad Prao district and proceed on to shooting a convenience store in Pathum Thani, before the hospital incident. The suspect used a white Isuzu car with plate 3ฒข6233 and is spotted in the Southern province of Chumpon.

*    Wassana Nanuam, the army reporter, reported citing deputy army spokesperson that the suspect is not the Army personnel.—Wassana Nanuam

•             CCSA announced that so far there have been 99 clusters on alert in 42 (out of 50) districts in Bangkok. 

•             A lot more doctors are voicing their concerns that the Covid treatment regime in the capital is on the verge of collapse as there have been more infections in the capital than the systems can accept.

*    This morning the Director-general of the Medical Services Department gave an interview saying that they are reducing the day of treatment from 14 to 10 days and will ask graduate medical students in Bangkok and nurses from all over the province to help sustain the system.—Inside Thailand

*    Dr Nithipat, chief of prestigious Siriraj Hospital’s Division of Respiratory Disease and Tuberculosis Department, warned that with the rate of current infection, it is very likely that the daily case could skyrocket to five digits. The doctor warned on his social media that “there are not that many options left” and called for at least seven days lockdown of the capital, the epicentre of the pandemic.—Khao Sod

*    Bangkok CBD Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital announced that their Covid testing centre will suspend service for three days (until 27 June) as there are no more slots for new patient.—Prachachat Turakij

*    A vocal pro-government Dr Yong Poovorawan at Chulalongkorn University hinted that in order to fully curb the infection in Thailand which now has more of the so-called ‘Indian variant’, the authority should expedite the second AZ jab or should seek to administer the third jab for people who got vaccine which would bring about lower rate of immunity.—Thai Rath

•             The head of the National Security Council who concurrently head a lock-down committee in CCSA said that the CCSA is considering on possibility of the seven day lockdown as proposed by some doctors, but concerned that the tough measure will affect ordinary people. General Nuthhaphol said that the CCSA will intensify the measures.—Krungthep Turakij

•             Princess Chulabhorn has given Chinese Sinopharm vaccines to related agencies to inoculate Thai citizen. The vaccine was brought in by Chulabhorn Royal Academy. The Chinese vaccine was brought in the Kingdom on 20 June.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

•             At the Parliament, there have been various developments:

•         On Coalition side:

*    It is a no-go for the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) constitutional refuge proposal to amend Section 144 and 185 as the government spokesperson said that the PM has voiced his disapproval of the amendment saying that the two sections underlined the very principle of the current anti-corruption Constitution.—Krungthep Turakij

*    Deputy PPRP leader MP Paiboon said that the party will not push for the revision, but ask for the Senator to pass their proposal in the first reading and promise to make minor change in the two sections.—Khao Sod

*    Pro-government Royalist Party Thai Bhakdhi leader gave an interview saying that the ruling PPRP proposal is not politically feasible and would undermine the anti-corruption principle of the Constitution.—Inside Thailand

*    For background, Section 185 prohibits MPs and senators from using their position or influence to interfere for their own interest or the interest of a political party either directly or indirectly while Section 144 forbids lawmakers from increasing the annual budget expenditure bill. All they are permitted to do is trim the budget amounts during the scrutiny stage.—Thai Enquirer

•         On Opposition side:

*    The Opposition whip from the main opposition Pheu Thai Party said that the Opposition will allow ‘free-vote’ for the Opposition MPs to vote based on their conscience.—Krungthep Turakij

•             On 24 June 2021, the 89th commemoration of the revolution which overthrew the absolute monarchy regime in Siam, is a day where there are a numbers of gathering against the government.

*    Student-led protest gathered at the Democracy Monument at dawn juxtaposing the revolution back in 1932. The protest leaders read the ‘People Party Decoration’ underlining that the country belonged to the people, not to the royalty.—Thai Rath

*    A group led by former PDRC leader Nitithorn Lamlua is going to gather around the government house and is eyeing to submit a petition to dissolve PPRP party.—Nation TV

*    A group led by former Red-Shirt protest leader said that PM Prayut tenure in the position is going to finished within three months and vow to gather around the Government House at 7.00pm.—Thai Rath

•             The Thai joint armed force meeting approved the Thai-American joint military training Cobra Gold is proceeding in July and August with lesser participants to abide by the pandemic prevention measures.—Matichon

Economic:

  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) maintained a policy rate of 0.50 percent at the Monetary Policy Committee meeting yesterday as it continues to adopt an accommodative monetary policy.  Sources: Bank of Thailand press release
  • BOT also lowered Thailand’s 2021 GDP forecast to +1.8 percent from +3 percent if the third COVID-19 outbreak is contained in Q3 2021 and herd immunity attained by early 2022.  Export is expected to surge by +17.1 percent but weighing down on recovery is the foreign tourist arrivafigure that is estimated at 700,000, down from 3 million.  The pandemic will have a prolonged effect on the labour market, leading to a slow and uneven W-shape economic recovery.  The next 4-5 months is pivotal as it is a race between vaccine rollout and virus mutation.  During this time, the government must implement stimulus measures to rev up the economy, while financial institutions must step up in extending loans to the afflicted.  BOT revised down its GDP projection for 2022 to +3.9 percent from +4.7 percent. Sources: Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post  
  • Fitch Ratings (Thailand) had revised down Thailand’s 2021 GDP to +1.8 percent and in 2022 by +4.2 percent.  This is largely because the government did not impose a strict lockdown to contain the third COVID-19 outbreak, which is causing a fall in economic activities.  Fitch maintains Thailand’s credit rating at BBB+/stable, supported by Thailand’s robust external and public finances.  Sources:  Khao Sod  Bangkok Post
  • At the seminar Empowering Thailand 2021, the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) heralded PM Prayut’s plan to reopen Thailand in 120 days or mid-October.  TCC anticipates foreign arrivals to spend about 50-100 billion Baht from Oct-Dec, which will hike up GDP by +0.3 percent, making it possible for Thailand’s 2021 GDP to grow from +0.8 to +2.3 percent.  TCC advises the government to start building confidence of all sectors in the reopening plan.  TCC also called for the government to accelerate the rollout of assistance measures to hotels in the period leading up to the reopening.  Source:  Matichon  
  • At the same seminar, Transport Minister Saksayam said the government is speeding up plans on the southern land bridge megaproject as part of the plan to make Thailand a logistics hub in ASEAN.  The land bridge is poised to connect the Gulf of Thailand with the Andaman Sea while bypassing the Strait of Malacca.  Transport Ministry expects to finalise the whole picture of the project next year.  The project is drawing interest from foreign investors and investment could benefit the Eastern Economic Corridor provinces.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • PM Prayut met with the Federation of Thai Industries, Thai Chamber of Commerce, Thai Bankers’ Association and the Federation of Thai SMEs yesterday.  They asked the PM to assist struggling SMEs, proposing that banks introduce new loan approval based on SMEs’ opportunity at making profit.  Qualifications of the loan applicants are to be considered based on their collaterals without checking their credit with the National Credit Bureau.  They also asked the government establish a new fund to assist SMEs, particularly those with NPLs.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Krungthep Turakij
  • Thailand’s international arrivals to are estimated to remain the same as last year, at 6-7 million provided that the Phuket sandbox launch is successful and Thailand could reopen in October, noted the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).  Recovery to 2019 levels might not happen until 2023 with 41.7 million international arrivals under the best-case scenario.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Of the 550,000 restaurants operating in Thailand, some 50,000 have shut down temporarily and permanently, with another 50,000 poised to close if they cannot access the state’s financial assistance within July, according to the Thai Restaurant Association (TRA).  TRA’s latest survey on the Bank of Thailand’s asset warehousing scheme revealed that 90 of its member hotels are keen to join, but only 62 are eligible.  Of this figure, BOT had given approval to 4 hotels, approvals are still pending for 22 hotels and no decisions were made on 34 hotels.
  • Thai Hotel Association’s survey conducted on 217 hotels in May revealed that only 38 percent remain in operation, 41 percent have partially closed and 20 percent have shut down permanently.  Some 63 percent of the hotels that remain in operation said their income had not recovered to even 10 percent of pre-COVID level.  In June, more hotels are anticipated to close down and some may re-open in Q4.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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