Advance Blog

August 5, 2020
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 5 August 2020


  • Updates related to COVID-19:
    • Today, Thailand reports seven newly confirmed case, a total of 3,328 cases. Out of the total number, 3,144 have been discharged from hospital (at 94.47%); 126 are being hospitalised. The death toll is at 58. The newly confirmed cases are Thai nationals returned from UAE, Egypt and the US and have been in state quarantine since. This is the 72nd consecutive day that there is no local transmission in Thailand.
    • Media reports that the Army has affirmed the public that the Army has arranged four additional personnel, including from Special Forces to make sure that the American and Japanese military currently at Alternate State Quarantine in downtown Bangkok will follow the public health regulations.—Thai Rath
    • An editorial questioning the necessity of allowing the US troops to hold a training operations. The article juxtaposed the Japanese Okinawa prefecture’s declaration of state of emergency with the outbreak likely to occur in Thailand.—Bangkok Post
  • After the weekly cabinet meeting, the Public Health Ministry has gained cabinet approval to allow health professionals, farmers and medical patients to grow, produce and export cannabis and its products. This is the latest development Thailand, since 2017 when Thailand became the first SEA nation to legalise marijuana for medical use and research, but merely the government has been allowed to cultivate. —AP, Reuters and all Thai media outlet


  • The PM has made a swift U-turn as he told the media in the media briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting that he and the government is open to the idea of constitutional amendments and that he is going to assign the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council to host a forum to listen to the needs of the student protestors.—all media outlet
    • The PM; however, has warned the students not to create chaos. The PM said “I beg people not to create chaos at this time. We are solving these problems together”.
    • Media reports that prior to the media briefing, the PM met with Deputy PM Wissanu and leaders of the coalition Democrat and Bhumjaithai parties to discuss the constitutional amendment by the Opposition.—Inside Thailand
  • The Digital Economy Minister posted on his Twitter account that the ministry is collecting evidence to seek the court order to capture the computer crime act violators. The Minister from the main coalition party stressed that foreign internet platforms that are operating in Thailand needs to abide by the Thai law. He also said that ‘good news’ is coming soon.—Siam Rath The DE Minister also said that the ministry is ready to press computer crime act charge against Facebook as the social media operator failed to block contents that the Ministry has requested with court orders.–Prachatai
  • This morning, Army Chief Apirat was at the Royal Military Academy and criticised those who is not patriotic. He said “COVID-19 can be cured, but the disease of hating the nation cannot be cured”. The Army Chief has long been vocal against those who is not loyal to the nation and the monarchy.—all media outlet


Cabinet’s Decisions, 5 August 2020

  • Finance Ministry received approval to borrow USD1.5 billion (48 billion Baht) from the Asian Development Bank as part of the government’s 1 trillion Baht loan scheme to stimulate the economy.  Interest is 0.50 percent a year, with repayments to be made in two tranches.  The first tranche is worth USD 500 million, with repayment term of 10 years or until year 2030.  The second tranche, worth USD1 billion, has a 5-year repayment term or until year 2025.  The borrowing must be disbursed by 30 June 2021. This would bring the proportion of overseas loans to public debt at 2.46 percent, which is still below the ceiling set by the government’s fiscal sustainability framework of 10 percent.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Approved of 884.62 million Baht to be spent on 157 economic recovery projects in 57 provinces to help farming businesses affected by the pandemic.  This is part of the 400 billion Baht budget earmarked for economic rehabilitation as part of Phase III stimulus package.  Source:  Nation TV Bangkok Post
  • Approved of Labour Ministry’s plan to allow more than half a million foreign workers from Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar with proper travel documents to continue their employment in Thailand until the end of March 2022.  Source: Bangkok Post

Thai Government website   The Nation


  • Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) plans to offer privileges comparable to those of the BOI directly to investors, backed by Section 59 of the EEC Act.  In short, EECO plans to offer an 8-year corporate income tax exemption and a 50 percent corporate income tax reduction for investments in targeted industries in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Innovation, Eastern Economic Corridor of Digital and the Eastern Airport City project at U-tapao.  The EECO will next focus on smart city development, with proposal to be submitted to the EEC Policy Committee chaired by PM Prayut this month.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Tourism and Sports Ministry propose to PM Prayut the idea of abolishing dual pricing at local attractions for expatriates in Thailand.  The Tourism Authority of Thailand is also working with private tour companies to create packages specifically for expats, given that this group could contribute up to 1 billion Baht in tourism revenue.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • Starting from 4 August, the Government Savings Bank is launching the second round of its 20-billion Baht emergency loan for employees with fixed income who are affected by the pandemic (0.35 percent interest).  The emergency loan was launched for the first time in April as part of the Phase II stimulus package and while many applied for the loan, some were disqualified since they did not have fixed income.  GSB bank proposes for the loans to be extended to freelancers or informal workers with no fixed income.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Krungthep Turakij
  • Thailand’s agricultural GDP has declined by 5.1 percent in the first half of 2020, embattled by the drought, climate fluctuation and the pandemic, according to the Office of Agricultural Economics (OAE).  OAE urges farmers to adapt to the new normal by capitalising on new opportunities offered by e-commerce.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • Charoen Pokphand Group, the company building a high-speed railway line linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports, has established a panel of experts to supervise the construction of the project to ensure economic, social and environmental sustainability.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • KKP Research by Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group asserted that continuous foreign net outflows from Thailand’s stock market are not caused by headwinds to the economic outlook, but rather the country’s lower competitiveness and structural economic problems.  This is reflected in the reduced FDI figures in Thailand and foreign investors being net sellers of local equities since 2013.  Source: Bangkok Post
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