Advance Blog

January 5, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 5 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
3,899 (68 from prisons)2,239,475 (last seven days: 22,188)19 (last seven days: 122)34,877/ 541
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
104,544,852(+ 20,281)51,312,938 (+2,826)46,180,074 (+7,411)7,051,840 (+10,044)
  • In the CCSA daily briefing, the spokesperson said that there will be three issues for the PM heading the CCSA meeting to make decisions on:
    • The readjustment of Covid-control areas which will determine the Covid-controlled measures and alcoholic beverages when dining in;
    • The consideration on reopening the entertainment complexes scheduled for 15 January;
    • The readjustment on visitors arrival schemes.
  • A senior source in the National Security Council said that in the meeting, the CCSA’s Operation Centre will propose to the CCSA on Friday to defer the Test&Go scheme for the time being as the omicron strain is shaking up the Kingdom. As for the reopening of entertainment complexes, there will not be fully reopened, according to the source.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin gave an interview grilling the semi-pub restaurants for their failure in abiding by the COVID prevention measures. The top health official said that a majority of emerging clusters are from this kind of businesses and called for the people’s cooperation in following the government measures.—Khao Sod
    • The Health Minister said that the ministry will propose deferring the reopening of entertainment complexes, including pubs and karaoke bars from the schedule 16 January 2022. The Minister addressed that this is, however, not his call but the CCSA’s.—Prachachat Turakij
    • The head of the Department of Disease Control said that there are COVID clusters in semi-pub restaurants in various tourist centres.—Thai Rath
  • The government spokesperson dismissed the reports that the cabinet has scrapped free COVID treatment, underlining that it was just a proposal. A department in Public Health ministry has proposed to maintain free Covid treatment to those fully-vaccinated patients in state hospitals, but the proposal did not get the cabinet approval. The spokesperson said that hospitals cannot charge COVID patients on any circumstance.–Matichon, Thai Rath
  • The Bangkok Governor has ordered the set up of 40 community isolation centres in Bangkok in a bid to help curb the spread of emerging Omicron strain. The centres can take up to 5,066 patients.—Siam Rath

Politics

  • There have been more people in politics got COVID:
    • The former leader of the now-defunct Future Forward Party posted on his social media that he is tested positive after travelling aboard. The opposition leader entered the Kingdom on 3 January and tested positive under the Test & Go scheme.—Prachachat Turakij
    • Treerat Sirichantaropas, director of communication section of the newly established Sarng Thai Party, is also tested positive in bangkok after entering the Kingdom via Phuket Sandbox scheme from Switzerland. The young politician said he has got four doses of vaccines.–Matichon
    • The government spokesperson dismissed the reports that the PM is tested positive for COVID and affirmed that the premiere is in good health and is ready to work for the people.–Matichon
  • The ousted and self-exiled former PM Thaksin Shinawatra bombarded the administration yet again with his usual Club House session and an interview
    • The opposition main figure said that he will peacefully return to the Kingdom from exile in 2022. He said he wishes to give Thailand a present by returning to serve the motherland and will only tell the plan to Peathongtarn Shinawatra who is highly expected to be Pheu Thai Party PM candidate. The former PM said that he wishes to play golf with PM Prayut while in Thailand.—Prachachat Turakij
    • Thaksin also gave an interview on other platform that there might be a different administration in the latter half of 2022 for two reasons: the PM inability to cope with economic crisis and the limit of eight-year term limits. The opposition figure said that the softest landing for the government is to dissolve the House and not to strive to return to power.—Thai Rath
  • Former Finance Minister and Palang Pracharat Party leader Uttama Sawanayon posted on his Facebook Page that he will launch a new political party within this month. The party will offer an alternative to conflicting politics and offer technocrat expertise in pivoting country out of political conflict.—Krungthep Turakij
  • In the weekly meeting, the cabinet has made resolutions for Thailand to host two international events:
    • The cabinet has agreed allocate budget to bid for Expo 2028 in Phuket. Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau has liaised with Thai Embassy in France to submit the letter of intent to the Bureau of International Expositions on 7 January 2022.—Prachachat Turakij
    • The cabinet has agreed in principle for Thailand to host 46th World Heritage Committee.—Prachachat Turakij

Economic:

Cabinet’s decisions, 4 January 2022

  • Approved of FY 2023 budget worth 3.185 trillion Baht (2.74 percent higher than FY2022) with a deficit of 695 billion Baht.  Regular budget comprises 75 percent of total budget; investment budget 21.8 percent and budget to repay principal debt 3.14 percent.  Net state revenue is 2.49 trillion Baht; a 3.8 percent increase and budget deficit is 5 billion Baht; 0.7 percent lower than the previous FY.  PM Prayut further instructed Finance Ministry and NESDC to speed up on finalising measures to increase state revenue collection such as the Long Term Resident Visa package, investment incentives for the EEC, S-Curve industries and BCG Model.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Matichon newspaper, 5 January 2022
  • Approved of expanding the soft loan scheme offered by the state-run Government Savings Bank (GSB) to help SMEs and businesses in the tourism supply chain until 30 September 2022, as well as the loan scheme for farmers, salary earners and freelancers through GSB and Famers and Cooperative Bank until 30 September.  Finance Minister Arkhom also announced that 2022 will be dedicated to tackling household debt and instructed relevant agencies to work on thsee issue.  Among them is the Bank of Thailand’s measures on debt restructuring and debt clinic to tackle the rising credit card and personal loan debts.  Sources:  Post Today  Krungthep Turakij  Bangkok Post

Others

  • The Electric Vehicle (EV) package was not submitted for the cabinet’s consideration at its first meeting in 2022 held yesterday (4 January 2022).  Ministry of Finance revealed that it had finalised the tax incentives for EVs, but is waiting for other incentives to be approved by the EV Board before submitting the complete package to the cabinet.  Finance Ministry also said it has prepared up to 40 billion Baht for the package.  Source:  Thansettakij newspaper, 6-8 January 2022
  • PM Prayut had instructed Commerce Ministry and Agriculture Ministry to curb the rising price of pork to help the farmers and consumers.  Having risen for almost 2 weeks, pork prices yesterday stood between 210 – 230 Baht per kg, up from 150 Baht per kg.  The higher prices of animal feed and drugs, which were needed to combat the previous outbreaks of swine diseases, had forced pig farmers to call it quits.  The National Pig Farmers Association estimated that the number of pig farmers have dwindled to 80,000 from 200,000, and the number of pigs down to 14-15 million from 18-19 million as demands are rising due to the resumption of tourism.  Rising fuel price and shortage of breeder pigs could also push up pork prices to 300 Baht per kg during Chinese New Year (February) and Songkran (April).  Commerce Ministry is offering discounted pork to reduce people’s cost of living and take legal action against vendors found to be price gouging.
  • To date, food vendors and restaurants nationwide have no choice but to raise the price of dishes with pork.  Operators fear the price of seafood and chicken could rise accordingly.  The National Pig Farmers Association urged the government to address the issue of farmers debt, while Pheu Thai MP for Phayao Wisuth Chainaroon called on the government to pay 150 percent compensation to swine farmers affected by the outbreak of African Swine Fever.  Sources:  Post Today Bangkok Post Khao Sod Matichon newspaper, 5 January 2022
  • Academics from Chulalongkorn University suggested Thailand uses its APEC chairmanship position this year to draw more FDI into the country and cement Thailand’s position as an investment hub.  To succeed, the government must overcome internal and external challenges.  They advised Thailand to be impartial in the US-China conflict, even if China has a much more tangible relationship with Thailand.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Ministry of Industry expects Manufacturing Production Index to grow by 4-5 percent in 2022, given the reopening of the country, lockdown easing and the rollout of the government’s stimulus packages.  Meanwhile, Industrial GDP is estimated to grow by 2.5-3.5 percent in 2022, largely driven by export.  However, growth could be dampened by Omicron variant outbreak, labour shortage and fuel price.  Source:Naew Na Bangkok Post

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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