Advance Blog

May 31, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 31 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)
5,485 (1,953 from prisons)159,7921,233/ 390108,435130,9292,498,929 (+45,122) (= 3.775%  of the population)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
3,475 [1,205 (get tested in hospital) + 2,270 (active case finding)]57 (in SQ)50,416 [29,579 in field hospital]41,573 (+1,356)1,031 (+19)3,347,0501,110,953 (+16,430) (=1.678 % of the population)
  • The Bangkok Communicable Disease Committee eased the lockdown measure, allowing the museums, art galleries, tattoo shops, manicures, beauty clinics, health spa and parks effective from 1 June 2021.–Matichon
  • The PM affirmed today that there will be AstraZeneca vaccines into the Kingdom in June.—Krungthep Turakij

Politics

  • After the Chulabhorn Royal Academy allowed to import ‘alternative vaccines’, there have been many Provincial Administrative Organisations announced their needs to get the Sinophram to inoculate their local citizen. There have been conflictual information on whether the scheme could be realised:
    • On 30 May, Deputy PM and government legal pundit Wissanu said that the PAO must consult this with the Interior Ministry and it can be done without cabinet resolution.–Matichon
    • Interior Minister put a brake on the PAOs scheme saying that this matter should get the CCSA green light first as there was an suggestion by the Ombudsman that local authority cannot procure the vaccine directly from the vaccine producers.–Prachachat
    • Deputy Interior Minister gave an interview saying that the Ministry feared that there are discrepancies in budget among different PAOs. The Ministry feared that the richer PAOs will have more access to vaccines.—Inside Thailand
  • After Thanathorn, head of Progressive Movement came out to unveil in his FB Live, that Thai MFA had ordered Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva to negotiate for vaccines from COVAX facility. The Thai authority will return the vaccines, once the supply in the Kingdom is sufficient.–Matichon
    • Thai MFA spokesperson issued a statement  saying that the document was that of swap agreement.—NATION Thailand
  • The Parliament is debating on the budget bill and loan decree the Opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward Party vowed to disapproved the bill citing the allocation does not reflect the necessity during pandemic.—Thai Rath
  • Former Education Minister who was stripped of his ministerial position by a court Natthaphol Teepasuwan resigned from party-list Palang Pracharat Party. He cited that the legal case will take quite some times, so he decided to resign for the next in line could take his position.–Matichon

Analysis/ opinion

  • Three editors from the Nation Group analysed on the unbridgeable gap between the PM and ruling Bhumjaithai Party. It was reported that Deputy PM, Public Health Minister and BJT leader openly praised its MPs which heavily criticized the PM measures on dealing with the pandemic. Knowing the defiance from BJT leader, the inner-circle of the government the PM, Deputy PM Prawit and Interior Minister Anupong convened to sort the issue out, trying to compromise with Anutin. It was reported, however, that Anupong said ‘I could not do it’. Under the circumstances, there are five scenarios listed from least to most possible:
    • The PM and the government stay in power for two more years.
    • The PM reshuffles the cabinet within the coalition.
    • The PM kicks the BJT out and stay on as minority government, bringing in professionals to look after Public Health Ministry.
    • The PM resigns.
    • And House Dissolution.—Nation Weekend

Economic:

CPTPP

  • In an exclusive interview with Matichon newspaper, DPM Don affirmed that Thailand has not shut its doors on joining the negotiation for CPTPP accession.  He noted the government is working to address domestic concerns on CPTPP since the pandemic outbreak has accentuated the need for Thailand to join FTAs.  Moreover, participating in the negotiation is one of the many steps towards full CPTPP accession; a process which is anticipated to take years to complete.  Source: Matichon

Others

  • A gap in terms of contributions to Thailand’s GDP between tourism -dependent and agriculture-reliant provinces is likely to widen in the post-pandemic era, said Finance Ministry (MoF).  The tourism and manufacturing-reliant provinces totalled 15, including Bangkok, and account for 70 percent of the country’s GDP.  Meanwhile, the other 62 provinces are reliant on agriculture and contribute to 30 percent of the nation’s GDP.  MoF is concerned that once Thailand reopens, the 15 provinces will recover quicker than the rest of the provinces, despite being the hardest hit by the pandemic.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry (EconThai) is worried about the number of underemployed workers during first two COVID-19 outbreaks in Thailand, which grew from 2.3 million in Dec 2020 to 4.3 million in March 2021.  The figure has yet to take into account the third COVID-19 outbreak, which is expected to soar from April onwards and will significantly dampen domestic purchasing power.  Underemployment refers to workers who work between 0-20 hours.  EconThai noted that the pandemic has changed the Thai labour structure, with some 1 million workers returning to their home provinces to work as farmers.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • A survey conducted to assess Thais’ confidence in the economy in the next 6 months, the Thailand Regional Economic Sentiment Index for May has taken a dip, according to Finance Ministry.  The Index dropped in all regions except the Northeast and the East due to the third COVID-19 outbreak, following previous economic expansion activities in April.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Central Bankruptcy Court will rule on Thai Airways’s (THAI) deb-rehabilitation plan on June 15, after suspending the hearing on 28 May to allow for the assessment of complaints filed by creditors against the plan.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The CEO of Minor International (MINT), Bill Heinecke, wrote a letter to PM Prayut as well as addressed a number of other ministers to presenting 7 proposals for the government to restart the tourism industry.  Among the proposals is for the country to offer nationwide quarantine-free entry for vaccinated tourists who test negative for COVID-19; launch the Phuket tourism sandbox model on time and establish clear guidelines for vaccine passport scheme.  He also suggested a range of remedial measures for hospitality operators and employment retention scheme.  Sources:  Prachachat Turakij  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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