Advance Blog

January 28, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 27 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
8,078 (225 from aboard; 37 from prisons), excluding 2,822 ATKs2,407,022 (last seven days: 53,960)22 (last seven days: 111)82,760/ 548
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
113,622,267 (+440,671)52,174,471 (+44,412)48,355,039 (+74,003)13,092,757 (+322,256)
  • HM the King has sent a letter of congratulations to Australian Governor-General David Hurley on the occasion of Australia Day 2022. The letter read:

“On the occasion of the Australia Day, please except, Your Excellency, my cordial congratulations and best wishes for your good health and happiness as well as for the continuing progress and prosperity of the Commonwealth of Australia and her people.

The enduring ties of friendship between Thailand and the Commonwealth of Australia have grown consistently throughout seven decades of our diplomatic relations. I have every confidence, reinforced by own experience and warm recollections, that we will continue working closely together to build on our close relationship, multi-faceted cooperation and partnership at all levels, for ever greater benefits of both our peoples.”

  • The PM has ordered the Navy and other agencies to contain an oil spill after an estimated 160,000 litres (35,195 gallons) leaked from an undersea pipeline about 20 km (12.4 miles) off its industrialised eastern seaboard. The head of Pollution Control Department warned fishermen to steer clear of the area but said the oil spill should be contained before it reaches the coast. Koh Samet, a resort island off Rayong province popular with foreign tourists, could be impacted by Friday.–Reuters and all media outlet
  • Thai narcotics board has removed cannabis from its drugs list, paving the way for households to grow the plant. Under the new rule, people can grow cannabis plants at home after notifying their local government, but the cannabis cannot be used for commercial purposes without further licenses. Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalise marijuana in 2018 for medical use and research.–Reuters
  • His Majesty the King has issued an order to rearrange the Royal Household Office’s structure to include a separate office for Her Majesty the Queen and the removal of the Office of Aide-de-Camp.—all media outlet

Politics

  • It is reported that the main-ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) has finalised its Bangkok Governor Candidate.
    • Sources in the PPRP hinted that the prospective candidate will be a female and will launch the candidate debut by late January or early February.—Krungthep Turakij
    • It is reported that Anusree Tubsuwan, party-listed MP from ruling Action Coalition for Thailand Party, is taking the lead in becoming the PPRP candidate. The MP from the royalist party served as secretary to former Democrat Party governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra.—Krungthep Turakij
      • The spokesperson of the ACT Party has notified its party MP in a Group Chat that MP Anusaree remains ACT party member. The spokesperson said that should there is further development, the party will notify the public as soon as possible.–Matichon
    • This morning Anusree came out to affirm that some senior members of the PPRP has reached out to offer her the candidacy position, but she is now dividing  whether to join PPRP campaign. The MP said that she used to work in the Bangkok Metropolitan Office and has background knowledge in the office.—Matichon Weekly
  • After the head of the opposition Pheu Thai Party made a remark that the PM and the ruling elite might seek to stage a coup as there is no way forward for the PM to proceed, the Natural Resources Minister and de facto head of ruling Chatthai Pattana Party Varavuth came out to state otherwise. The minister said that there is no sign of a coup and that the coalition remains united and the 12-seats party is proceeding in the same direction as of the government.—Krungthep Turakij
  • It is a matter of days before the by-election in Lak Si District in Bangkok. Thai Rath has pointed out that the district is distinguished in that it has big Army bases with high number of personnel in the constituency. The media regarded military personnel as a main determinant in the upcoming election, despite the Army chief policy for the security apparatus to remain neutral.—Thai Rath
  • The Election Commission (EC) has announced re-runs for the election of 11 tambon administrative organisation (TAO) chiefs and members in 9 provinces, including Suphan Buri, Chumphon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Songkhla, Phrae, Samut Songkhram, Trat, Sa Kaeo and Tak.–Matichon
  • Wednesday was the other day when the House cannot secure its quorum. The Deputy House speaker has called for the House to adjourn.–Matichon

Economic

Akara Mine

  • In order for Akara Mine to resume operations, DPM Wissanu said it must comply with 4 issues under the stricter requirements of the Minerals Act 2017, comprising the environment, land management, community health and permission to use the land.  DPM Wissanu declined to comment on the report that the Thai government has awarded 4 mining licenses to Kingsgate for 10 years in exchange for a withdrawal of the lawsuit to the TAFTA arbitrary tribunal.  The DPM added that Industry Ministry has the authority to renew the miing licenses, wherein the cabinet is kept informed every 3 months.  Sources:  Prachachart Turakij  Krungthep Turakij   Bangkok Post

Others

  • PM Prayut’s visit to Saudi Arabia and the restoration of full diplomatic relations between both countries in 30 years offers tremendous economic opportunities for Thailand.  The Thai Chamber of Commerce noted there are 4 benefits from this revived ties, namely Thailand’s export that is expected to grow to 2.2 percent from 0.6 percent; tourism which will see arrival number jump to 150,000 from 73,000 with revenue of 13.5 million Baht; Thai labourers to Saudi Arabia that is set to increase to 100,000 from 10,000 in the first 3 years and to 200,000 in 5 years, thereby earning an additional revenue of 4.5-9 billion Baht fior Thailand annually; and increased foreign direct investment.  Source:  Matichon Bangkok Post
  • Although the Test & Go scheme is poised to resume on 1 February, the systems supporting the scheme are not fully functional.  For instance, the Thailand Pass online system remains disconnected from Public Health Ministry’s Mor Phrom application.  Tourism Authority of Thailand vows to have all systems connected and aims to attract 200,000 foreign tourists monthly.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij

Inbound tourism to Phuket dropped further in 2021, following the collapse in 2020 after travel restrictions were imposed due to Covid-19.  A return to pre-pandemic tourism conditions and arrival numbers in Thailand and Phuket is doubtful in the near term. Luxury and upscale hotels on the island will probably see room occupancy rates of 20-30 percent this year, which would be an improvement from just 12 percent last year.  Source:  Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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