Advance Blog

April 29, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 29 April 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)
1,87163,570786/ 23035,394 (at 55.68%)34,7071,059,721 (1.6% 0f the population)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
1,864 [1,830 (get tested in hospital) + 34 (active case finding)]7 (in SQ)27,988 [4,682 in field hospital]11,588 (+689)188 (+10)21,874284,925 (0.43% of the population)
  • This afternoon from 2.00pm, the PM will head the CCSA plenary meeting. It is expected there will be a tougher lockdown measure. But the fresh measures might target more specific districts than doing it on provincial level. —Matichon
  • After a spat occurred when public sector led by Thai Chamber of Commerce pressured the government to procure alternative vaccines other than the Sinovac and AstraZeneca, the relation ended up being back on a honeymoon track. The Chamber of Commerce issued a statement saying that the government is confident that it can procure enough alternative vaccines to vaccinate 50 million people and that there is no need for the private sector to procure vaccines for their employees.—Thai Chamber of Commerce
  • The head of Phuket Tourism Association, Bhumkit Raktaengam gave an exclusive interview with a media voicing his concerns that the Phuket sandbox plan to reopen the resort island from July might not be realised as planned. He said that the first batch of 200,000 SinoVac vaccines have arrived but he feared that the second batch which is expected in May might see a delay. The head of Phuket Tourism Association said the latest day to have 70 percent of the population vaccinate is 15 June, if by then the island is not at that stage, there will be no Phuket sandbox.—The Standard
  • The Sputnik importer informed the press that the company has submitted an application for Thai Food and Drug Administration for their approval to get the Russian vaccine in Thai market.—Matichon

Politics

  • Deputy PM Wissanu came out to say that the new order to revoke the previous order assigning ministers to oversight government policies which pissed the Democrat will be ready by today.—Krungthep Turakij
  • It is reported that a student-led protest leader Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak has defecated tissues and blood. It is assumed that after being on hunger strike since March 15 to call for bail for other protest leaders on allegation regarding the lese majeste law.—Prachachat Turakij
    • Later, the correction department issued a statement saying that the protest leader health condition is weak but stable. And they are ready to hospitalised the student protestor should there is a need.—Thai News Agency

Economic:

  • Following PM Prayut’s meeting with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking (JSCCIB) yesterday, the private sector announced it will support the government’s effort to vaccinate 70 percent of the population by year-end.  In the process, JSCCIB has established  4 working committees:

Team A: Distribution and Logistics – allocate additional spaces, for example from tis department stores or company headquarters as areas to administer vaccines to the people, as well as provide personnel and equipment support

Team B: Communications – promote COVID-19 vaccination to the public.

Team C: IT Operation – develop vaccination registration system and support the government’s Mor Prom Line Account

Team D: Extra Vaccine Procurement – cooperate with state agencies and private hospitals to procure alternative vaccines and offer them to private company employees

  • The private sector will also roll out a sandbox project to help SMEs that are members of the Retail Association of Thailand access funding from commercial banks through a digital system.  The goal is for 100,000 SMEs to access funding in 99 days.  If successful, the sandbox will be expanded to cover SMEs in other fields.
  • Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) for March 2021 surged to the highest level in 29 months with a 4.12 percent YoY increase to 107.73 points.  Capacity utilisation rate also rose to 69.59 percent from 65 percent in Feb.  This is attributable to the government’s stimulus packages and the industrial sector’s continuous productivity that was not interrupted by the lockdown.  The MPI was driven by the 7.5 percent, 19.1 percent and 26.9 percent YoY expansion in the production of automobile, steel and sugar, respectively.  This is in response to the increasing demands from global economies, where the export value of industrial products (excluding gold and special items) grew by 25.8 percent; the first double digit growth in 31 months.  For 2021, Industry Ministry expects Thailand’s MPI to be 2-3 percent and industry GDP at 2.5-3 percent.  Sources:  Post Today Bangkok Post
  • According to the Asian Development Outlook report published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Thailand’s GDP is projected to grow by 3 percent in 2021 and by 4.5 percent in 2022.  This year’s growth is hindered by the third wave of COVID-19 and the slowness in vaccine distribution.  Export is expected to expand by 5.6 percent in 2021 and by 12.5 percent in 2022.  ADB forecasts that Asia will see an average GDP growth of 5.3 percent, while adding that Asian economies are on diverging paths.  This is because their trajectories are shaped by the magnitude of domestic outbreaks, the pace of vaccine rollouts and how much they are benefiting from the global recovery.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post

The Thailand Privilege Card Co (TPC) is banking on the Phuket tourism sandbox model to bring new arrivals who are Thailand Elite Card members after the third COVID-19 outbreak delayed their travel plans to Thailand.   After Songkran, only 69 TPC members requested to visit Thailand, down from over 100 per week.  As of April 15, some 1,100 tourists had visited Thailand under the Thailand Elite Members Quarantine Programme . The third COVID-19 outbreak also held back the progress of the Elite Flexible One package, which aims to drive property sales by offering a 500,000-Baht membership for a 5-year multiple-entry visa to those who buy 10-million-Baht properties in Thailand.  SourceBangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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