Advance Blog

May 4, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 4 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)
1,76372,7881,009/ 31142,474 (at 58.35%)43,9251,106,071 (+6,611) (= 1.671 % 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)
1,750 [1,519 (get tested in hospital) + 231 (active case finding)]13 (in SQ)30,011 [8,558 in field hospital]14,520 (+562)303 (+27)22,411392,546  (+5,099) (=0.593 % of the population)
  • Now, there are more emerging clusters in greater Bangkok:
    • The concerning cluster in the highly-populated Klong Toey district is on every bulletins. Bangkok Governor said after a meeting with the PM in the special CCSA meeting that the PM has expressed concerns and the BMA will set up two vaccination centers at Tesco Lotus Rama IV and Klong Toey Wittaya School aiming to inoculate 1,000 people a day. The BMA is going to conduct active case findings at 1,000 tests a day and by 19 May, the BMA plans to conduct one-fourth of the district population (20,000 out of 85,000 to 90,000).—Prachachat Turakij
    • Bangkok governor has pledged that the spread in Klong Toey could be in controlled within two weeks.—Krungthep Turakij
    • CCSA is also alarming the residents of Embassy’s neighboring Bon Kai district as there have been at least 60 confirmed cases to date. The CCSA is planning to conduct at least 4,000 active case findings in the area.—Prachachat Turakij
    • CCSA told in a press conference today that in the Pathumwan District, there are 10 confirmed cases in Soi Polo community and 8 cases in Pra Jen community.–CCSA
    • In the suburb Samut Prakan province, there are emerging clusters in factories. One factory is found to have 128 confirmed cases.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • The Justice Minister has returned from 14 days self-isolation as the Songkran event he held has made more than 50 people got infected with the virus. The minister showed his two negative test results.—Thai Rath, Prachachat Turakij
    • The Justice Minister unveiled that his aide, who was guilty of having someone else to sit in an exam for, has submitted a letter of resignation from all positions.—Thai Rath
  • As cleaners in the Government House have been tested positive for COVID-19, the cabinet will change the meeting venue from the main building to the annex.—Thai Rath

Analysis/ opinion

  • It is believed that Newin Chidchob is not the only key persons in Bhumjaithai Party to guide the direction of the second largest ruling party whether to remain in the coalition. It is reported that  the PM is pressuring Saksayam Chidchob (the Transport Minister, who got the virus from the alleged visit to nightclub) to resign in an attempt to boost the government popularity hard hit by the third wave resurrection. It is also reported that the extension of the sky train concessions is another conflict epicentre between the Chidchobs and the inner-circle of the PM. In Bhumjaithai Party, there are at least three more main figures: Public Health Minister Anutin, Tourism Minister Piphat and Deputy Transport Minister Virasak. According to the report, the three are not in deep conflict with the PM as the Chidchobs. The prospect of Bhumjaithai withdrawing from the coalition due to Saksayam case is not politically shrewd for the party as the party has lost allies with Pheu Thai Party.—Krungthep Turakij

Australia

  • The Embassy’s announcement on the Australian vaccine roll-out assistance to Thailand was picked up by media.– (Matichon, Post Today, Daily News, TNN, and Bangkok Post 4 May 2021)

Economic:

APEC

  • With Thailand set to host APEC meetings in 2022, Commerce Ministry’s Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) is assigned to oversee the trade agenda.  It will be organising 3 meetings including, 1) Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting (MRT); 2) Committee on Trade and Investment: (CTI); and 3) trade and investment working committee meeting.  For the MRT, Thailand aims to set the direction for the recovery of trade in Asia-Pacific in the midst of COVID-19 outbreak, support the WTO and establish trade and investment policies under new normal standards.  For the CTI meeting, it will focus on Rules of Origin guidelines, the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), the Market Access Group, the Group on Services.   Thailand is also working on the 2022 APEC themes, touching on topics ranging from trade and investment facilitation, digital trade (ASEAN Single Window & ASEAN Payment Connectivity), e-commerce, local product tourism, sustainable development, capacitating SMEs and BCG Economy.  Once finalized, the DTN will present the themes to Foreign Affairs Ministry, which is the main agency for APEC.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Thai Post

Others

  • Thailand’s trade with it 18 FTA partners in Q1 of 2021 expanded by 10 percent to total 81 billion USD – surpassing Thailand’s trade with the world economies, which grew by only 6 percent, according to Commerce Ministry.  Two-way trade has increased significantly, such as with China (+26 percent), Australia (+30 percent) India (17 percent).  Exports rose notably in sectors such as agricultural products (rubber, animal feed and frozen chicken, vegetable and fruits) and industrial products (automotive and electronic appliances).  Source:  Naew Na
  • The value of Thailand’s border and transit trade (transport of goods through more than 1 country) rose by +19.3 percent YoY to 384 billion Baht in Q1 of 2021, driven by trade with Malaysia and rising demand for Thai rubber for glove production.  Export from Thailand had increased by +20.5 percent YoY to tally 226 billion Baht and import by +17.7 percent to 158 billion Baht, resulting in a trade surplus of 68.4 billion Baht.  While Thailand’s border trade with Malaysia rose by +26.7 percent, trade with Myanmar fell by -7 percent.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • A virtual meeting between the Finance Ministers and central bank governors from ASEAN and ASEAN+3 (China, Japan and S. Korea) held yesterday established that world economies will see a rapid, albeit uneven recovery following global inoculation.  The forecasts, made by the Asian Development Bank, IMF and ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office, revealed that the Thai economy will grow by +2.3 and +4.8 percent in 2021 and 2022, respectively  The global economy is set to expand by +6 and +4 percent; and ASEAN+3 economies by +6.7 and +4.9 percent.  The meeting agreed on similar policy recommendations to help the region combat the pandemic, such as 1) administering the vaccines quickly 2) promoting digital transformation 3) supporting domestic resources 4) improving tax systems and 5) advancing green economy.  Sources:  Bangkok Post MCOT  Thai Post
  • The Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Bank) will offer loans with low interest and extended grace period to boost investments in Electric Vehicles, medical health and other S-Curve industries.  The scheme offers a maximum loan of 100 million Baht for each applicant with an annual interest rate of 2 percent for the first 2 years and concessional rates in subsequent years, to be shouldered by EXIM Bank or the government.  In exchange, applicants must increase their export proportion to at least 10 percent in the first 3 years of the loan, and to 30-50 percent from the 5th to 7th year.  Source:  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij
  • Thai Airways is in a dispute with its labour union over who should act as administrators and execute the company’s debt-rehabilitation program.  Changes to the candidate line-up must be made before the airline’s creditors meet on May 12 to decide on the rehabilitation plan. Only creditors eligible to vote on it are authorised to amend either the plan or its administrators.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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