Advance Blog

January 6, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 6 January 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
5,775 (77 from prisons), excluding 1,079 ATK2,245,250 (last seven days: 24,926)11 (last seven days: 108)37,968/ 536
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
104,743,981 (+349,977)51,258,885 (+31,507)46,133,509 (+130,385)7,351,587 (+188,085)
  • “Know your duty” said HM the King to Thai children. HM the King has given his 2022 Children Day message reads “Everyone has their own duties. As for the children, it is to study, gain knowledge and do good deeds. Children must learn to be self-dependent and contribute to the happiness and prosperity of oneself and society in the future.”—all media outlet
  • This morning, the Public Health Ministry has escalated its alert to level 4 which indicated new restriction measures including the shutting down of at-risk venues, applying the work-from-home model, discouraging people from unnecessary traveling between provinces and limitations on gatherings. The head of the Department of Disease Control stressed, however, that there will be no more lockdown, just a limitation on some activities.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The Deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin has extended the deadline of those who has got Thailand Pass to be able to enter the Kingdom by 15 January (from the 10th). The top health official said that if there will be restriction affecting people’s daily life, it will be on banning alcoholic beverages when dinning in, but he neither confirm nor deny the possibility of a lockdown. Anutin said that the authority will stick to Home Isolation and Community Isolation as the primary sources of care facilities. The hospitals will be reserved for severe condition patients. The Health Minister also outlined additional sandbox schemes, including:
    • Phuket
    • Surat Thani (Samui, Pha-ngan and Tao islands)
    • Chonburi (Larn island)
    • Rayong (Samed island)
    • Trat (Chang and Kut island)
    • Phang nga (Yao Noi and Yao Yai island (excluding Khao Lak))
    • Krabi (PP island)—Prachachat Turakij
  • The CCSA has named the spread of emerging Omicron strain as the 5th wave of the pandemic in the Kingdom.–Matichon
    • The CCSA has indicated that visitors from Test & Go scheme contributed to the most Omicron strain in Thailand. As of 4 January, there have been 2,338 cases of Omicron in 55 provinces around Thailand.—Thai Rath

Politics

  • Despite much anticipation, the ruling Democrat Party did not file any candidate for the by-election of Bangkok District 9. Democrat Party cited the coalition protocol as Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) is the incumbent MP in the constituency.—Prachachat Turakij
    •  Democrat candidate in the constituency said that he has no problem with the party decision as the tenure of the Parliament is coming to an end and also cited coalition protocol.—Krungthep Turakij
  • After an Opposition Pheu Thai MP has accused the PM for bribing MPs 5 million THB each to get favour votes in the last censure debate, the working panel set up by House Speaker has dismissed the allegation citing insufficient evidences.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The former Energy Minister and PPRP secretary-general gave an interview saying that the establishing party is preparing to file its MP candidacy in accordance with the new electoral system (two-ballot system). When asked whether the new party will support PM Prayut, Sonthirat Sonthijirawong said that it is too early at this stage. The former technocrat said that it is too early to indicate who will be their new party’s PM candidate, but Somkid Jatusripitak, their counsellor, is a valuable asset Thailand has.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Due to the pandemic, the House Speaker has also suspended the House session on 12 to 14 January and will resume its deliberation on 19 to 20 January.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Krungthep Turakij pointed out that Washington is eyeing to revitalise U-Tapao airport as its pivoting base to contain China. The newspaper is pointing out to the greater approach of the Washington military in getting to the Thai military to sway Bangkok support in a bid to use the airport as its strategic location accessible to Pacific ocean and Andaman Sea.—Krungthep Turakij

Economic:

Ministry of Commerce together with Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative have agreed to implement the following measures to curb the rapid rise in pork prices caused by low supply of pigs:

Urgent measures

  • Ban the export of live pigs for 3 months from 6 January – 5 April 2022 to boost the domestic supply of pork.  Pig supply is expected to return to normalcy in 4 months. 
  • Animal fed assistance, especially for imported ingredients such as by exempting them from tax or fees.  Commerce Ministry will continue fixing pork price and has asked for the retailers and wholesalers to do the same.
  • The government is negotiating with large farms to distribute breeding pigs and piglets to small-scale farmers to incentivise them to resume raising pigs.

Short-term measures

  • Promote for maize to be grown domestically for use as animal feed to reduce reliance on imports.  The government is also promoting research and development in swine diseases.

Long-term measures

  • Agriculture Ministry will raise the standard of pig farming to meet international benchmark in a move to incentivise farmers to resume raising pigs.  Agriculture and Cooperative Bank has also set aside a budget of 30 billion Baht to extend low-interest loans to small-scale pig farmers.

Other Measures

  • Farmers who raise more than 500 pigs, traders who export more than 500 pigs and firms with a cold storage warehouse keeping more than 5 tonnes of pork must report their current stocks and prices to Commerce Ministry every 7 days starting from 10 January.
  • The government will introduce a ‘livestock sandbox’ to promote imports and exports of pork under a special control zone
  • Commerce Minister Jurin is also considering the possibility of importing pork at future meetings.  Sources:  Thai Government NewsKhao SodMCOTKrungthep  TurakijBangkok Post

Others

  • Commerce Ministry reported that headline inflation in December grew by +2.17 percent YoY, but declined by -0.38 percent compared to November. Core inflation in December increased by +0.29 percent YoY, driven by higher fuel price, seasoning & condiment and vegetable shortage.  Inflation in 2021 averages at +1.23 percent and core inflation +0.23 percent.  For 2022, inflation is projected to be within the range of +0.7 to +2.4 percent (+1.5 percent average) as domestic and global economies recover.  Commerce Ministry added that the outbreak of Omicron variant and the rise of pork prices do not yet have significant impacts on inflation.  Sources: Krungthep Turakij Bangkok Post Ministry of Commerce Press Release
  • A source from the Ministry of Finance revealed that all taxpayers who gained from cryptocurrencies, including investors and mining operators, will be subjected to 15 percent withholding tax in 2022, while digital asset exchanges are exempt from such duties.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Securities Exchange Commission is working with the Bank of Thailand, DSI and Anti-Money Laundering Agency to develop a plan to regulate digital assets and protect investors.  The aim is for digital asset regulations to be of the same standard as those in place for securities businesses.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 6 January 2021
  • Tourism operators face more cancellations as the prolonged suspension of Test & Go scheme is dampening enthusiasm for the remainder of the high season. Tourism operators noted that even if the Test & Go scheme resumes in February, foreigners are unlikely to return until March.  If more sandbox areas cannot be opened throughout the duration of the Test & Go suspension, operators may miss the high season and have to wait until the end of the year for tourism to pick up again.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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