Advance Blog

April 30, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 30 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)
1,58365,153871/ 25036,254 (at 55.64%)34,7071,075,756 (1.625 % 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)
1,579 [1,366 (get tested in hospital) + 213 (active case finding)]4 (in SQ)28,696 [7,289 in field hospital]12,005 (+417)203 (+15)21,874335,858 (0.507 % of the population)

•      In the press briefing yesterday, the CCSA has issued tougher lockdown measures in a bid to curb the COVID-19. The order to escalate the pandemic control is on the Royal Gazette and has the preamble saying that as people has not been careful enough, the third wave hit.—all media outlet Royal Gazette

•      The details of the fresh restriction is in the graphic attached, as prepared by Thai Public Relations Department.

•      Until now, all 77 provinces in Thailand have issued an order for everyone to wear a face mask when one is in public areas. And there have been 15 provinces asking people not to leave their residence at night. (Not a curfew)—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

•      After a big virtual push calling for the bail of activists on hunger strike over royal insults, the criminal court denied the bail requests. The court denied seven protest leaders bail, two of whom have deteriorating health from more than a month of hunger strikes.—all media outlet and Reuters

•      Minister of Higher Education issued an order to Thammasat University Rector, asking the university to inquire professors who helped Thammasat student activists getting bail. The order cited a request from a right-wing organisation to scrutinise the professors.—Matichon

•      Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha reportedly rescind the order on the allocation of cabinet ministers from various coalition parties to supervise provinces.—Thai Rath

•      On 5 May, the Constitutional Court will read its verdict on Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat status as minister and MP as he was sentenced with jail term in Australia on drug smuggling. The minister said he does not concern with the verdict and will live everyday to the fullest.—Thai Rath

•      With the hints of House Dissolution getting more obvious, Interior Minister has issued an order to every governors to submit a request for a 45,000 million THB budget to revitalise the economy. This is seen as budget to help gain constituencies. Apart from the budget, there are more under the Interior Ministry authority which is believed to be as great as 120,000 million THB.—Prachachat

Economic:

  • Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) will pursue its plan to import vaccines for private companies, despite the government’s emphasis that it is able to procure sufficient doses of vaccines (100 million) by year-end to inoculate 70 percent of the population and achieve herd immunity.  Moreover, the Thai Chamber of Commerce admitted that the private sector’s vaccine procurement is likely to be delayed to Q4 of 2021 due to global supply constraints, which is the same as the government’s vaccine import timeframe. The government insists it is open to the private sector importing vaccines but must comply with the regulations established by the Public Health Ministry.  Source: Thai Rath Bangkok Post 

GDP Forecast

  • CIMB Bank has cut Thailand’s 2021 GDP projection to 2.2 from 2.6 percent in light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, but does not foresee a contraction because export is set to grow by +10 percent.  The economy will pick up in Q3 if vaccination is sped up and restrictions are eased, which will lead to a spike in domestic consumption.  If vaccination rollout is slow and infection number surges, the Thai economy could grow as little as 0.7 percent.  Sources:  Krungthep Turakij The Nation
  • Ministry of Finance (MoF) had revised Thailand’s GDP forecast for 2021 to a +2.3 percent growth instead of +2.8 percent and slashed foreign arrival figures by 70 percent to 2 million as well as tourism revenue by 49 percent to 170 billion Baht.  However, MoF anticipates export will expand by +11 percent due to recovering global economies.  Thailand’s own economic recovery is projected to start in Q3-Q4, coinciding with vaccination rollout.
  • To spur the economy, MoF is speeding up fiscal injection through the 1-trillion Baht loan, of which some 237 billion Baht remained unused.  As of 22 April, some 762 billion Baht was approved for spending, of which 649 billion Baht (85.4 percent) was already disbursed.  By the end of FY 2021, the government plans for 950 billion Baht to be disbursed.  The remaining 50 billion Baht will be disbursed by FY 2022. Furthermore, the government will finalise in May a roster of stimulus packages amounting to over 200 billion Baht and measures to reduce living costs worth some 100 billion Baht.  Source:  Daily News Naew Na Bangkok Post

Tourism

  • Tourism Council of Thailand insisted that alternative vaccine procurement by private hospitals is necessary for the launch of its sandbox programs in Phuket, Krabi, Phangnga, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai. 
  • Phuket Tourist Association urged the government to allow it to purchase its own COVID-19 vaccines to kickstart the Phuket Tourism Sandbox program.  The reopening plan is hindered by the government’s diversion of vaccines to other high risk areas.  Tour companies from Europe have expressed interest in rebooting its tourism with the island in October.  Likewise, Tourism Association of Koh Samui is committed to reopening the island through the Samui Sealed Route model from July 1.  Source:  Bangkok Post Bangkok Post

Aviation

  • The Civil Aviation Board is providing assistance to airlines through various measures, such as waiving airport fees until 31 March next year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thai AirAsia (TAA) identified the resumption of international flights as a key for airlines to make a profit, but this may not happen until 2 years as Thailand’s reopening scheme is being disrupted by the pandemic.  Additionally, Asia Aviation (AAV) which is TAA’s largest shareholder, will restructure after securing 3.15 billion Baht from a new investor after it was not granted a soft loan from the government.  AAV is also planning to launch an IPO for TAA as part of its restructuring.  Source:  Bangkok Post Bangkok Post

Others

  • The first of its kind, the Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have launched a linkage of Thailand’s PromptPay and Singapore’s PayNow retail payment systems. Customers of selected participating banks in Thailand and Singapore can now transfer up to 25,000 baht (800 USD) daily between the countries in real-time through mobile phone applications at a minimum fee.  Source:  Bangkok Post Thai Government News
  • A survey by the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) reveals that members want the government to achieve an Electric Vehicle (EV) production goal before year 2025, despite the state’s latest decisiob to speed up its EV domestic production plan by 5 years.  Under the new plan, Thailand will have to produce 1 million EVs by 2025 and have all EVs sold in Thailand manufactured locally by 2035.  The survey said the government should accelerate the EV production plan by adjusting tax structures.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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