Advance Blog

May 28, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 28 May 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)
3,759 (1,294 from prisons)144,9761,226/ 40597,872116,1132,319,304 (+104,583) (= 3.346 %  of the population)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,447 [1,374 (get tested in hospital) + 1,073 (active case finding)]18 (in SQ)46,150 [27,179 in field hospital]38,409 (+973)954 (+34)3,347,0501,027,746 (+33,585) (=1.502 % of the population)
  • The head of big Thai conglomerate Minor International submitted an open letter requesting assistance and support Tourism business from the PM calling for the government to allow Embassies in Thailand (namely, the US, Australian and other European nations) to vaccinate their citizen in Thailand as the Chinese embassy did for its citizen. The  assistance from the Embassies will make it easier for the Kingdom to realise herd immunity. The letter is also submitted to related agencies, including the Deputy PM Supphattanaphongse.—Manager Online
  • The gazette allowing Chulabhorn Royal Academy to import ‘alternative vaccine’ to support the national procurement scheme turned to be a drama:
    • The secretary-general of the academy said that it eyes to import Chinese Sinophram vaccines approved by the WHO to support the national vaccine pool. In his FB post, Dr. Nithi Mahanont said the Academy will import the vaccine and inoculate Thai people until the main vaccine (AstraZeneca produced locally) is ready to conduct mass dispatch.—Prachachat Turakij; Thai Enquirer
    • A company claimed to be a business partner with the Sinophram producer submitted a letter to Dr Nithi saying that the company has a slot of 20 million doses to supply the Kingdom within two weeks. The letter claimed that they are trying to reach to the PM for months but cannot get access to.—Post Today
    • Authorities, including the government spokesperson, said that the company does not have the ‘dossier’ to get hands on the Chinese vaccines. Thai FDA said that the local company is not the real holder and not eligible to get Sinophram.—Matichon; Krungthep Turakij
  • Thai FDA just approved the Chinese Sinophram vaccine for emergency use.—Thai Rath This morning the FB Page of the Russian Embassy in Thailand posted a photo of the Russian Ambassador met with Deputy PM and Health Minister Anutin to discuss on public health cooperation and the delivery of Russian vaccine «Sputnik V» to the local market.—Russian Embassy Thailand
  • Started with BBC Thai, other Thai media reported on the detection of so-called ‘Thai strain: C.36.3’ in 109 people in the UK from people travelling from Thailand:
  • Thai health authority said that the strain called Thailand ex Egypt was found in people travelling from Egypt, rather it should be called an Egyptian strain.—Khao Sod
  • CCSA told a press briefing that there is an emerging cluster in an Embassy in the Wattana District. CCSA is making sure it is now under control.

Politics

  • As the vaccine distribution turned political, the PM said in a press conference that he does not have any problem with other coalition parties, especially with the Bhumjaithai Party. He said the reports about the conflicts in the coalition aims to stir disputes.—Krungthep Turakij
  • After the Deputy PM and government legal pundit Wissanu said that should the loan decree does not pass the House approval, the PM must, by tradition, must dissolve the Parliament.—Thai Rath
  • The coalition Democrat spokesperson said that the party is ready for any upcoming election and that the party is going to file MP in all 350 constituencies.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Tourism

  • Italthai Group, the operator of hotel chains under Onyx Hospitality Group, expressed concerns on the reopening of Phuket and the entire country to international tourists on 1 July and 1 October, respectively.  Specifically, he questioned if Thailand would be able to inoculate its population quickly enough and if it is ready to handle another wave of outbreak brought in by tourists.  Moreover, Phuket’s high season is in October, when European tourists would flock the island.  In July, most tourists are from India and the Middle East, which have yet to emerge from the pandemic.  Hotels are currently relying on domestic tourists, which accounts for only 20 percent of their revenue.  Italthai anticipates international tourism will pick up in 2022 and 2023 and urge hotels to reconsider their branding and positioning since Thailand could resurge as the world’s no. 1 tourist destination in the post-pandemic period.  Sources:  Prachachat Turakij Bangkok Insight
  • Through the Pattaya, Move On project, Pattaya plans to welcome back foreign tourists who are fully inoculated without quarantine requirements In Q4 of this year.  However, tourists must remain in Bang Lamung and Sattahip districts for 7 days before travelling elsewhere.  Pattaya is therefore seeking more COVID-19 vaccine doses to cover at least 70 percent of its residents.  It will submit the details of its sealed routes and other guidelines to the Public Health Ministry and the CCSA next month.  Source:  Thai Government Public Relations Department

Others

  • Parliament approved an emergency decree to amend the Civil and Commercial Code to reduce the interest rate charged for loan defaults which has been used for almost a century. The amendment bill cuts the rate in contracts in the event no rate is specified to 3 percent, and the rate for defaults to 5 percent from 7.5 percent.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • At Prachachat Turakij newspaper’s seminar entitled ‘Thailand Survivor’, NESDC noted the Thai economy this year will be driven by export, public investment and domestic consumption.  With export continuing to pick up, NESDC Sec-Gen Danucha is most worried about domestic consumption.  Through the 500 billion Baht loan, NESDC and the JSCCIB will launch targeted financial assistance programs to struggling SMEs using the 300 billion Baht budget.  It will also introduce programs for businesses to retain employment, with funding allocated from the 170 billion Baht portion.  These are short-term measures designed to extend the lifeline of SMEs that have been embattled by COVID-19 in the past year.
  • In the long-run, Danucha said post-COVID-19 Thailand needed to restructure to reduce social and income disparity as well as enhance its competitiveness.  This could be done by ensuring SMEs, MSMEs and the manufacturing sector endorse digital trends, in addition to the implementation of BCG economic model.  Sources:  Khao Sod Bangkok Post 
  • Given its impacts of its political instability and COVID-19 outbreak, Myanmar could see its GDP contract by 11-20 percent this year, according the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC).  To this end, Thailand’s export to Myanmar is also forecasted to fall by 60-96.5 billion Baht, which is a historically low level and is equivalent to a 51.6 – 82.2 percent decline.  This could chip away Thailand’s export growth by 0.8-1.3 percent.  However, FDI is expected to divert Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Thailand.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij Thai Rath Bangkok Post 
  • Some 5 Japanese companies (Toyota Daihatsu Engineering & Manufacturing, Toyota Motor Thailand , Kansai Electric Power Corporation, Toyota Tsusho M&E (Thailand) and Osaka Gas (Thailand) ) are keen to invest in renewable energy businesses at Smart Park industrial estate in the EEC zone.  It is part of a collaboration between Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand to promote clean energy.  Both countries are to establish a Carbon Neutral Industrial Estate committee to study clean energy development this year.  Smart Park is the first project in the EEC that aims to develop a high-tech industrial hub.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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