Advance Blog

May 3, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 3 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)
2,04171,025981/ 27840,984 (at 57.70%)42,1621,099,460 (1.661 % 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)
2,040 [1,943 (get tested in hospital) + 97 (active case finding)]1 (in SQ)29,765 [8,292 in field hospital]13,958 (+675)276 (+31)22,411387,447 (0.585 % of the population)
  • Over the weekend, Bangkok is witnessing a new emerging cluster in the highly-populated district of Klong Toei as there have been 304 people tested positive and the active case findings saw 7 percent of positive cases.  Apart from the active case finding, there have been a large numbers of people who got tests at the Chulalongkorn University with COVID-related severe pneumonia from Klong Toei district.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announced its counter-measure to help curb the emerging cluster by aiming to conduct the active case finding to be as high as 1,000 case a day in Klong Toei and will request additional vaccines to vaccinate the population in the district, in the same model with former cluster in Thong Lor and Bang Kae.—Krungthep Turakij
  • It is expected that the PM will hold a meeting to consider Thai Restaurant Association’s proposals to allow restaurants in the highly controlled and strict areas to resume its dine-in services until 9.00 pm with no alcohol served.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • Yesterday, a student-led protest group ReDem gathered a caravan from Victory Monument to the Criminal Court. The protestors used eggs and tomatoes to throw at the front gate of the court and adjourned at around 7.00pm. There were some protestors left and clashed with the riot police. There were reports of firing crackers and fireworks aimed at the police and police used rubber bullet against the protestors.—all media outlet
    • The police is aiming to press charges on violating the emergency decree and sedition against the protestors.—Thai Rath
    • The Court has issued a statement saying that the protestors used violence with an attempt to intervene the court decision and undermining the independence of the judiciary. The court has asked relevant officials to strictly prosecute the violators.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The other sign of defiant from the ruling Democrat Party is getting more obvious as Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit gave an interview with a media. When asked whether there is a ploy by the Democrat and ruling Bhumjaithai parties to topple main ruling Palang Pracharat Party in the budget bill voting, he said this is a matter of the party’s leader and secretary-general. Every parties main executives have been talking, but will the talks have been to the point of toppling the PPRP is unknown to him.—Thai Rath
  • After being exposed to have a ghost writer to sit in an exam on his behalf,  the assistant to the Justice Minister has found to be guilty and is being punished by banning from taking any political position in the party or the government.—Thai Rath
  • On 5 May, the Constitutional Court is going to read a verdict whether the Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat could still hold onto his ministerial and representative positions as he had the record of being jailed in Australia for the alleged drug smuggling.—all media outlet

Analysis/ opinion

  • A media which is in sour relationship with the Transport Minister reported that it is time for Mr Newin Chidchob, brother to the Transport Minister and one of the main real figure of Bhumjaithai Party to step out to protect his brother as it is reported that the PM has signaled the Transport Minister who is widely believed to be part of the third wave of pandemic to resign. It is also reported that despite a constant denial from the minister, aides to the PM has a video clip of the Minister really enjoyed himself in a nightclub which is the epicenter of the pandemic.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Restaurants

  • The Restaurant Business Association expects over 200,000 workers to lose their jobs after the government imposed a ban on dine-in at restaurants in 6 high-risk provinces in response to COVID-19 outbreak.  Since the previous outbreaks, some 2 percent of the restaurants nationwide have closed permanently, with the current outbreak set to add another 1-1.5 percentage to the closure rate.  Concurrently, the Chiang Mai Restaurant and Entertainment Venue Association asked the government to consider lifting the ban on restaurant dine-in due to its repercussions on 80,000 workers.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • PM Prayut is convening a meeting with his economic team today to discuss economic relief packages to assist individuals and businesses affected by COVID-19.  He will take into consideration the proposals that the ban on dine-in restaurant be lifted.  Remedial measures for restauranteurs will also be lifted as most are unable to access the government’s existing financial assistance programs.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij
  • Kasikorn Research Center projected that the value of restaurant businesses this year will range from 382-394 billion Baht, which is a 5.6-2.6 percent contraction from the previous year and also the second year of consecutive contraction. The prolonged effects from COVID-19 is hitting restaurant operators that are SMEs the hardest and has caused debts in this segment to soar higher.  Source:  Khao Sod

Others

  • Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to postpone the third phase of the ‘Rao Tiew Duay Kan’ (We Travel Together) domestic travel subsidy program, with a new date to be decided by 14 May in consultation with the Tourism Authority of Thailand.  The move is in compliance with measures announced by the CSSA to contain the spread of the virus.  Sources:  The Nation National News Bureau of Thailand facebook page, 3 May 2021
  • TDRI expects the current outbreak of COVID-19 to last from 4 – 6 months.  In addition to administering target-specific cash-handout, the government should provide more support to local SMEs to curb rising unemployment.  The Federation of Thai Industries enthused that the government must first stop the spread of COVID-19 and quickly vaccinate the population.  It also anticipated that the government may need to borrow more to combat the pandemic, given that the current allocation of 240 billion Baht for economic rehabilitation is most likely not enough.  Thai Air Asia added that existing financial aids are not sufficiently assisting SMEs and that the debt moratorium scheme should waive the monthly interest.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Bank of Thailand (BOT) is likely to slash its 2021 GDP forecast following the latest COVID-19 outbreak.  BOT has rolled out measures to supplement the government’s aid packages on 26 April, such as the revised soft loan scheme and asset warehousing debt restructuring program.  BOT voiced concerns on the fragile labour market, with the number of unemployment compensation applications rising to 92,279 in March compared to February’s figure of 90904.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Prachachat Turakij
  • PM Prayut has instructed the NESDC and Finance Ministry to speed up assessing the impact of COVD-19 on all sectors before formulating relief packages.  Government spokesperson Traisuree noted that the government’s past relief packages to combat previous waves of COVID-19 outbreaks had been efficient in easing the economic impacts on the people.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Thai Chamber of Commerce said some 2,000 companies are interested in buying COVID-19 vaccines from the government to inoculate over 900,000 employees.  Many companies from the private sector had earlier planned to import vaccines but backed off after some manufacturers said they were only dealing with governments.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand is speeding up geographical indication (GI) registration for a number of agricultural products in, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia to bolster Thai exports during the pandemic this year.  The products range from rice to an assortment of fruits.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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