Advance Blog

September 6, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 6 September 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)3rd dose vaccine recipients (from 16 July)
13,988 (256 from prisons); (excluding ATK 2,404)1,294,522 (last seven days: 104,459)4,601/ 1,0131,132,858 (+17,284)1,265,65925,234,259 (+129,317) BKK: 7,173,646 (+5,341)604,023 (+660) BKK: 175,341 (+617)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)Average tests in the last seven days
13,527 [11,561  (get tested in hospital) + 1966 (active case finding)]17 (in SQ)148,622 [103,668 in field hospital]301,383 (+3,610)13,042 (+187) (last seven days: 1,643)35,912,894 (+325,218) BKK: 9,659,713 (+22,187)10,074,612 (+195,241) BKK: 2,310,726 (+16,229)47,245
  • The PM is calling for a CCSA plenary meeting on 10 September. It is expected that the main agenda will be to revoke the Emergency Decree issued since the very beginning of the pandemic and effectively dissolve the CCSA taskforce under the decree. The authority will impose the updated version of the Communicable Disease Act.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has eased the lockdown restriction on the time limitation of salon services, now clients can use the service for no more than two hours (formerly an hour). The full English translation of the BMA order can be found here.
  • On Friday, the Chinese Embassy Bangkok Facebook Page posted a statement rebutting the accusations of some people that COVID-Sinovac vaccine is low quality and ineffective. The statement by the spokesperson of the Embassy read ‘Every dose of vaccine sent by China represents the goodwill and friendship that China has maintained with Thailand for a long time’ and added the warning that the accusation against the Chinese vaccine ‘completely ignores scientific evidence and is harming China’s goodwill for Thailand. The embassy would like to urge such people and parties to stop this dreadful action.’—all media outlet and Nation Thailand
    • In tune with the dragon, on Saturday the Thai Foreign Minister also expressed concern that politicising the Chinese vaccine efficacy could undermine the Sino-Thai relations. The veteran diplomat turned minister said the criticism by the House of Representatives panellists of the vaccine only aimed to seek political benefits without concern for facts. The MFA spokesperson quoted the minister saying that the criticism against the largest vaccine supply the country have is not only distorting facts, but it also affects the relationship between the two countries.—all media outlet and Nation Thailand
    • There is a reaction by a media in Thailand against the FB Post.—Thai Enquirer
  • The secretary-general of the Royal Chulabhorn Academy has announced that on Sunday, there were two million doses of Sinopharm vaccines arriving the Kingdom. So far, there have been 510,479 doses of Sinopharm vaccines administered.—Khao Sod
  • The Phuket Governor has ordered a lockdown and travel restriction on a community in Phuket effective from 5 to 18 September due to the surge in the pandemic. The Phuket provincial doctor said that the tendency of pandemic is not steady and that there are an average of 250 cases daily.—Khao Sod

Politics

  • The PM and other 5 ministers survived the vote of no confidence. The result of the vote has been
MinisterForAgainstAbstain/ no voteResult
Prime Minister264 (second to least votes for)208 (got most votes against)3Passed
Deputy PM and Health Minister26919611Passed
Labour Minister236 (least votes for)20111Passed
Transport Minister26919511Passed
Agriculture Minister2701999Passed
Digital Economy Minister2672029Passed
  • The PM said that he did not concern that he got most vote against him, he said that he has a very big heart and that he has a good morale and will keep on working.—Thai Rath
  • After the vote of no confidence, opposition parties are stepping up its measures on their ‘snake’ MPs which voted in favour of the government:
    • The secretary-general of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party said that he is going to expel seven MPs who voted in favour of the government. Sources in the party said that there are at least three MPs who will be expelled.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The leader of the Move Forward Party announced that  they will not expel the MPs but will hang the MPs within the party and will not give them what they need.—Thai News Agency
  • There are more reports on the prospects of the Bangkok Governor’s election:
    • The Election Commissioner said that they agreed with the Interior Ministry’s proposition on the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and Pattaya City’s local election and that the EC is ready to hold the election.—Krungthep Turakij
    • The leader of Democrat leader said that the party which has a long-standing political stronghold in the Kingdom capital said that the party has already had its candidate. The party leader said that the party focuses their attention in Bangkok, even after they lost popularity in the recent general election.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Nida Poll has made its latest survey on who is the most ideal candidate for the Bangkok Governor. The survey has shown that the popularity of the former Transport Minister Chatchat Sitthiphan remain at the top at 27.71 percent and has seen a gradual increase. Second to that is the undecided group at 24.60 percent. The rising candidate of former Police Chief Chakthip Chaijinda remain at top three and has seen a gradual increase in his popularity. The current Bangkok governor are at fourth, but has seen his popularity slightly decreased. Any candidacy from Move Forward or Progressive Movement secured the fifth place and has seen their popularity increasing to be at more than 5 percent.—Nida Poll
  • The deputy PPRP leader and head of the Constitutional Amendment Committee said that there will be a joint Parliamentary session to vote on the third reading of the Constitutional Amendment. There must be at least more than half of the votes to make the motion passed.—Krungthep Turakij
  • On the weekend, the anarchic-prone ReDem Group which has called for a march from the Ploen Chit Intersection to the King Rama VI statue met with harsh blockade by the authority. Facing with the hard rains, the group could not make it to their destination and just hung up a banner calling for the monarchical reforms.—Krungthep Turakij
  • The world renowned Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul who just won a prize at Cannes voiced his political opinion with Financial Times. He said that “Thai people have to self-censor all the time, not only through art but through living, to survive,” and that “The system teaches you not to be direct, to manoeuvre in an indirect way.” The director signed off the interview by juxtaposing the current regime as a dying animal that “when it’s going to die, will create havoc around it and will cause a lot of destruction.”—Financial Times

Analysis/ opinion

  • Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee, a political scholar at Chulalogkorn University, said that the voting patterns in the latest censure debate has posed a big question on the future of the unified PPRP. The electoral pundit said that the PM must reshuffle the cabinet to settle the conflict. She expects no Dissolution and Resignation in the near future, as the government will wait for the pandemic situation to ease. The only reason that the PM will resign is the ruling-elite intra-conflicts against the PM. Siripan said that the government is in a political dilemma vis-à-vis the pandemic. The government will lose popularity, should the pandemic persists, but will witness more intense protest should the pandemic situation gets better.—The Reporters
  • Meanwhile, Pitch Pongsawat from Chulalongkorn University viewed that the PM will keep Thammanat at bay by keeping him in position and will not reshuffle the cabinet. The political scientist believed that the optimal option for the PM is keep Thammanat on the same side. The pundit has pointed out on the possibility of Thammanat left PPRP to join the second largest ruling Bhumjaithai Party which will be the worst nightmare for the PM.—Voice TV
  • The three executive editors of three outlets in the Nation Group have viewed the failed coup attempt by the PPRP secretary-general Thammanat as a jeopardy for the Thammanat-allied Deputy Labour Minister Narumon and Deputy Transport Minister Athirat. The editors believed that the three deputies ministers will soon be kicked out from the cabinet and will give out vacant portfolios to the MPs who are loyal to the PM. The three political commentators said that the PM will surely put himself more into the PPRP party in any capacity.—Krungthep Turakij
  • A vocal figure and former Democrat MP Thepthai Senapong outlined six potential ‘aftershocks’ from the great political earthquake in the censure debate:
    • 1. There will be a revenge against the clique which tried to oust the PM before the vote.
    • 2. There will be a cabinet reshuffle taking some portfolios to pamper MPs from minute parties which have been continually supporting the coalition.
    • 3. There will be a move to re-balance the management within the PPRP to consolidate the political power into the PM hands.
    • 4. There will be a move by opposition Pheu Thai and Move Forward Party to win over popularity.
    • 5. There will be more intense protests after the Parliament could not successfully oust the government.
    • And 6. There will be a House Dissolution after the Constitutional Amendment is finished.–Matichon

Australia

  • The Embassy Aid to the Bangkok Community Help civil society to help the vulnerable communities in Bangkok has been featured in the Washington Post

Economic:

Tourism

  • Tourism and Sports Ministry vows to open the whole country without quarantine by January next year, with the key determinant being nationwide herd immunity.  Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) Chon Buri (Pattaya) and will Phetchaburi re-open as planned on Oct 1.  Bangkok was scheduled to reopen in October as part of the second phase, however, this has been delayed to November as most residents will not receive their second vaccine dose until the end of October.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The private sector in Phuket is petitioning for the government to fully reopen the island by Dec 1 through the campaign Phuket Freedom Day, saying that the move could attract 3.5 million tourists in 3 months (from Dec 2021 to Jan 2022) while bringing in 210 billion Baht.   Businesses in Phuket noted they won’t be able to survive with the island only partially reopened under Phuket Sandbox, given that the  scheme attracted only 26,400 foreign tourists and generated 1.6 billion Baht in the 2 months since July. Source:  Bangkok Post  Thai PBS
  • The Phuket Governor insists on pushing ahead with the Sandbox program despite the rate of daily COVID-19 infection, mostly from domestic transmission, breaching the crisis level of 200 cases per day.  Over 80 percent of hospital beds are occupied and there is fear that the local public health system may be facing overcapacity.  With the Delta variant spreading fast on the island, Phuket is calling for quick rollout of booster shots for its residents.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij  Prachachat Turakij
  • The Samui Plus program has brought in almost 40 million Baht in revenue since its launch in mid-July.  The program, which encompasses Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, had welcomed 918 visitors including 347 who arrived via the Phuket Sandbox.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Thailand Hotel Association disclosed that a total of 17 hotels in Bangkok, Phuket, Samui and other provinces will be selling their properties in deals worth a combined 10-12 billion Baht within this year.   The buyers are mostly Chinese investors who recognise the potential of the hospitality sector in Asia Pacific in rebounding from COVID-19 quickly.  Hotels of all sizes from 27 million to 10 billion Baht continue to have liquidity issues since the pandemic has been raging for 1.5 years.  Not all hotels could obtain Bank of Thailand’s soft loans or join the asset warehousing programs as banks remain selective.  Phuket has put up the most number of hotels for sale, followed by Samui, Chiang Mai and Pattaya.  Despite the sandbox program, revenue is insufficient and hotels in Phuket are struggling to service their debts.  Some 20 small and medium-size hotels in Chiang Mai are also selling their properties, as are 3-star hotels in Pattaya that have no cash flow to sustain them until the tourism sector recovers in 3 years.  Source:  Prachachat Turakij

Others

  • The Office of Trade Competition Commission (OTCC) has sounded the alarm on escalating risks of trade competition, especially for SMEs that are reeling from Covid-19.  SMEs are likely to see tougher competition brought about by the proliferation of e-platforms and high tech firms, as well as a rise in M&As by big players.  Thailand has an estimated 3 million SMEs and startups, with tourism SMEs making up half of the total.  SMEs contributed 35 percent of GDP in 2019 and 2020.  Source: Bangkok Post
  • The government must revamp investment privileges to support the development of 3 new economic corridors to attract more investment and rehabilitate the economy from COVID-19 within the next 5-6 years, said NESDC.  These are the Northern Economic Corridor, the Northeastern Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor which are similar to Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). They are to be promoted in the 13th National Economic and Social Development plan that spans 2023-27.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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