Advance Blog

August 3, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 3 August 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)
18,901 (743 from prisons)652,185 (last seven days: 125,357)4,893/ 1,046437,831 (+18,590)623,32214,207,477 (+252,390) BKK: 4,006,267 (+46,097)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
18,151 [15,176 (get tested in hospital) + 2,975 (active case finding)]7 (in SQ)209,039 [136,311 in field hospital]161,731 (+3,566)5,315 (+147) (last seven days: 1,051)18,198,825 (+332,299) BKK: 6,201,357 (+58,443)3,991,348 (+79,909) BKK: 1,097,545 (+12,346)
  • The CCSA deputy spokesperson affirmed that the number of US-donated Pfizer vaccines are not missing as earlier reported. The spokeswoman also said that Thai MFA has indicated that since May, more than 200,000 doses have been administered to foreigners in the Kingdom. Earlier there was a discrepancy between the reports of the Public Health agencies and some pointed out 36,000 doses missing.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • Today marks one year anniversary of the historic ‘Harry Potter’ speech when anti-government and monarchical reform leader Anon Nampa explicitly touched upon the needs to reform monarchy. The taboo-breaking speech called for the open discussion of ‘He Who Must Not Be Named’-a reference to Voldemort in the film-role in politics.
  • A year since the speech in front of the Democracy Monument, he and the other 102 people have been charged with Article 112-royal defamation law.–Reuters
  • Anon Nampa is scheduled to deliver a speech at a gathering in front of the Bangkok Arts and Cultural Centre in Bangkok CBD tonight. The human rights lawyer is released on bail–Matichon
  • The unity within the coalition remains strong and salient as leaders of three coalition parties: Bhumjaithai, Democrat and Chatthai Pattana Parties were reportedly talking cordially at the Government House when the three ministers and the PM greeted with the Swiss Vice President and Foreign Minister.–Matichon
  • Deputy spokesperson of the Bhumjaithai Party affirmed that the second largest ruling party will not withdraw their support from the coalition, despite there have been many calls for the party to resign. The party said they will not leave other parties and the people amidst this crisis.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The spokesperson of the Metropolitan Police said that the viral image of a riot control police aiming the gun at the head of a fleeing protestor on Sunday was a ‘normal procedure’ and in accordance to international standard.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Opposition Parties are set to file the censure debate motion to the House Speaker on 16 August. The advisor to the Opposition leader said that the PM will be the main figure of the debate and that the Opposition parties will conclude the name list of other ministers who will be grilled on 10 August.—Thai Rath
  • Former Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua interviewed outlining his ‘roadmap to oust the PM’ that the first step is for the PM to resign and to nominate the new PM from the party-listed candidates. The Senators are allowed to join the vote to nominate the PM only when the Lower House cannot finalise the vote. The new government amends the constitution and dissolve the House once finished. Nattawut said that he is planning for a step up in protesting against the government.—Voice TV
  • An MP and leader of Thai Civilised Party has called for other 11 minute parties to withdraw their supports from the coalition party in the upcoming censure debate.—Krungthep Turakij

Analysis/opinion

  • Krungthep Turakij read the presence of former Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua with several political ramifications. The sudden appearance of Nattawut to lead a ‘car-mob’ against the PM a day after the birthday anniversary of former PM Thaksin has been seen as the other attempt by Thaksin to oust PM Prayut out of office. The media is speculating whether the former Red Shirt leader will set up a new political movement, the same way that Jatuporn-the other Red Shirt leader-has done. Either way, the former Red Shirt leaders have ‘moved on’ from the movement and left it a history.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Economic Impact of COVID-19

  • Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC) expects the expansion of lockdown measures to 29 provinces will lead to an economic loss of 300-400 billion Baht monthly, up from its previous forecast of 200 – 300 billion Baht.  TCC expects the situation to be prolonged well into the next few months and urges government to curb the infection before new clusters start to diminish Thailand’s manufacturing capabilities.  Since the current lockdown measures are not as strict as last year’s, TCC suggests the government must also implement other measures – otherwise Thailand could end up like Malaysia where the lockdown is inefficient.  TCC asked the government to promote investments in local production of rapid-antigen test kits, pharmaceutical products and vaccines.  The government should also support the private sector in launching hotel company isolation, hospitels and hotel isolation sites.  Source: Prachachart TurakijKrungthep Turakij 
  • The Federation of Thai Industries conducted a poll on 166 CEOs across 45 industries in July.  Results showed that 45.2 percent of the industries saw their production capacity drop by less than 30 percent because the workers are infected.  Most factories are able to maintain their employment, with 31 percent having had to reduce 10-20 percent of their staff.  As the infection is starting to affect manufacturing sector, FTI urges the government to expedite vaccination for workers insured with Section 33 of Social Security Act.  If daily infection rate does not fall below 5,000 by September, impacts on businesses will be severe. To prevent labour shortage, the CEOs proposed allowing vaccinated migrant workers to enter under strict MOU terms.  Sources:  Prachachat TurakijBangkok Post 

Tourism

  • The Tourism and Sports Ministry (MoST) forecasted that the number of foreign arrivals this year could total 500,000 – 700,000 if the pandemic is not curbed by Q4, which means the various provinces cannot reopen in October.  To this end, MoST is working with Interior Ministry to introduce the ‘blue zones’, which are areas that report low COVID-19 cases such as Nan, Phayao and Bueng Kan provinces as alternative destinations for tourists.  The details will be finalised at the next CCSA meeting. 
  • The number of international arrivals to Thailand in the first half of 2021 had dropped to 40,447 from 6.7 million during the same period in 2020.  The number of trips made by local tourists had declined by 15.3 percent to 224.6 million trips, while their spending plunged by 38.5 percent to total 128 billion Baht.
  • Some 14,055 foreigners arrived in Phuket in the first month of the sandbox scheme, starting from 1 July.  However, bookings in Phuket had slowed down since Thailand’s daily infection rate topped 10,000 for over 10 days, with visitor number envisaged to pick up in Q4.  Therefore the number of foreigners visitors to the Phuket sandbox is expected to total 15,000 in August, not 40,000 as anticipated.  Phuket aims identify the blue zones within the island in the next 2 weeks, after the outbreak subsides.  Source:  Krungthep TurakijBangkok Post

Others

  • In addition to the ASEAN-China-FTA (ACFTA), Thailand will benefit further from RCEP as it will eliminate tariffs on 33 items imported from China within 10-20 years, according to Ministry of Commerce (MoC).  Through ACFTA and RCEP, tariffs will be eliminated for 90.5 percent of Chinese imports.  MoC further noted that the market access ratio under ACFTA is higher than most FTAs that Thailand signed; the only exception being AANZFTA.  Source:  Daily News
  • Commerce Ministry insists supplies of consumer products are food are sufficient and asked consumers not to panic-buy.  The Thai Retailers and Wholesalers Association recommended the government not to tighten restrictions, but to allow more businesses to reopen under stricter precautionary measures.  Repeated lockdowns could put people’s living standards in a permanent decline.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai stock recorded massive outflows as foreign investors offloaded 32 billion Baht worth of Thai shares in 45 days, while Thai investors’ trading value dropped to 60-80 billion Baht per day amid soaring infections and growing economic uncertainty.  The pandemic is anticipated to make a significant dent on economic growth and the profit of listed companies in the second half of this year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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