Advance Blog

March 7, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 7 March 2022

News

Newly confirmed cases Total Cases Death toll Hospitalised/ intensive care patients
21,162
Domestic +21,060 Abroad+102
30,026,695
(since 2020)
65 227,843 
Total vaccination 1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan – 4 March ) 2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -4 March) 3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan –4 March )
124,396,024 (+208,670) 53,867,360 (+87,203 yesterday)     77.4 % 49,840,169 (+28,665 yesterday)     71.7 % 20,942,183 (+137,820 yesterday)     30.1%

  Sources : Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and Department of Control 

Covid-19 situation/Change regulation

  • The Prime Minister,Prayut Chan-O-Cha emphasized that everyone needs to be vaccinated, adding the situation is still manageable as only 10 % of patient who got Omicron have been hospitalized in the hospital (the rest do home isolation) Thairath

Politics

                   General election

  • The Democrat Party expects a general election to take place in March next year and dismissed speculation of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha’s plans to dissolve the Lower House to escape a censure debate. v
  • In this connection, the Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, as the Democrat Party leader, said Democrat Party would hold an annual general meeting during March 19-20 to assess the situation after Parliament goes into recess and weigh in a possible date for the next general election.
  • He  said if the government completes its full term in office, the election date will likely be in March 2023.
  • When asked about speculation about a dissolution of the House before May 22, Jurin stressed that the government’s stability relies on 2 factors.  One is the relations between the coalition parties and the other is its missions in Parliament. However, he does  not seen any factors that will send Gen Prayut to dissolve the Lower House but urged the public to follow up on the political situation after the House of Representatives reconvenes in May.  Mathichon Channel 8

                   Local election

  • The election date for Bangkok governor and Pattaya city Mayor is expected to be on May 29 .Today, the Ministry of Interior looks set to propose to the Cabinet for consideration on the purposed  date. Once the Cabinet approves, the Secretariat of the Cabinet will notify the Election Commission so that the EC will hold a meeting to endorse the election date  ManagerOnline Thansettakij TheNation
  • Bangkok Deputy Governor Sakoltee Phattiyakul has resigned, effective today (Monday), to prepare to run in the forthcoming Bangkok gubernatorial election as an independent candidate, tentatively scheduled for May,29 ThaiPBSWorld

Les Majeste law

  • Former prime minister Anand Panyarachun has suggested that Section 112, lese majeste law, be amended to clearly specify who should hold the authority to press legal action against a suspected offender.
  • He pointed that the law has been used  unreasonable and examples of abuse of power                                                                                
  • it should be amended to clearly specify who should have the authority, be it the prime minister, interior minister or justice minister, to order an investigation into an alleged offence.
  • Interestingly, Anand said he personally has no problem with the current lese majeste law, but he will agree if certain parts of the law can be amended.
  • However, he said the royal institution should remain above “ordinary”  and is not a  good idea to  drag it into conflicts surrounding calls for the amendment of Section 112.
  • When talking about young people’s campaigning against 112, he hope they understand the view of older people too  Bangkokpost  Mathichon
  • A man was sentenced on on March,4  to 3 years in prison on a royal defamation charge for putting a sticker on a portrait of King Vajiralongkorn in front of the Supreme Court during a protest on 19 September 2020. Prachatai

International relations

  • Surakiart Sathirathai, Former Deputy PM and Foreign Minister who is now the president of the Council for Peace and Asian Reconciliation is urging the government to balance its relations with China and the United States for the good of the kingdom
  • He said  Thailand needs to have a good understanding of China’s strategies and policies, as well as those of the US .
  • He emphasized that this is the ‘ dual circulation ‘ strategy plays a significant role in strengthening the country “
  • Interestingly, He added  Thailand has to also develop strategic relationships with the European Union, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India to maintain a balance between China and the US, he said.,

Others news

  • Australian star Shane Warne — one of the greatest Test players of all time — has died  In Samui ,Thailand of a suspected heart attack aged just 52, sparking an outpouring of grief from fellow cricketers, celebrities and politicians.

Bangkokpost  BBC

  • Harvard University expressed concern over the removal of head of Chulalongkorn University’s Student Council and prominent student leader, Netiwit Chotiphatphaisal. The statement posted on Netiwit’s facebook post said it supporting student rights and freedom of expression and asked Chula university, to negotiate with Netiwit to  avoid future conflict. You can read the statement in the attachment.
  • Two far-right hosts recently drafted into Channel 5 have claimed that people were faking casualties in Ukraine. A simple Google search shows that their footage of dead bodies was taken from a climate change protest in Austria on 4 Feb. At the latest development, the parliamentary committee plans to have a meeting with the channel 5 executives to discuss this matter Prachatai

Economics:

  • Some 63 percent of hotels recorded losses as average occupancy lingered below 30 percent despite the renewed ‘Test & Go’ scheme since 1 February, according to the hotel business operator sentiment index for February.  Almost half of 127 hoteliers who took the survey conducted by the Thai Hotels Association and the Bank of Thailand from 11-23 February said international guests made up less than 10 percent of their bookings.  The low number of tourists is mainly attributable to complicated travel rules, particularly for RT-PCR testing and Thailand Pass registration.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • In February, Thailand received 203,970 foreign tourists, with Russians topping the list and contributing 17,599 tourists.  However, Russian tourists slipped to the 6th ranking from 1-3 March, contributing 886 from the total of 24,968 travellers who visited Thailand during this period.  The top 6 countries sending tourists to Thailand in February were: Russia (17,599), Germany (13,964), France (11,278), UK (11,231), Singapore (8,839) and US (6,919). The rankings from 1-3 March are: Germany (1,876), UK (1,678), Singapore (1,450), US (1,180), Australia (1,004) and Russia (886).  Source:  Standard Chartered, 7 March 2022
  • Prior to the pandemic, Russia was among the biggest revenue contributors to Thai tourism, generating some 103 billion Baht from 1.48 million visitors.  Revenue from the Russian and Chinese markets combined account for nearly one-third of the total tally in 2019.  The indirect impact from the conflict, including soaring oil prices and limited airspace causing airplanes to reroute and add more hours and cost to flights, could hinder the recovery of Thai tourism.  The Phuket Tourist Association noted it is diversifying its target markets and plans to organise roadshows in Australia’s cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne from May 2-6, as well as Saudi Arabia and Israel. Federation of Thai Industries warned that although the war has yet to affect global supply chains, some industries, notably steel, chipset and animal feed, may soon feel the pinch.   Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Russia-Ukraine conflict and the ensuing sanctions by Western nations had inevitably affected the price of raw materials crucial to the production of animal feed, according to the Association of Thai Animal Feed Manufacturer.  Ukraine had suspended its export of wheat, which had pushed up the prices of wheat worldwide.  Thai animal feed manufacturers had resorted to pre-ordering wheat from other countries such as Australia, Argentina, Brazil, USA and Canada at an exorbitant price.  As such, 52 Thai animal feed manufacturers are reducing their production and using their existing stock of wheat, which will be exhausted in 1 month.  If the wheat shortage continues, it could affect the 1.7-trillion-Baht Thai animal farming value chain.  It urged Ministry of Commerce to raise the price ceiling of animal feed as manufacturers are shouldering the increasing costs.
  • The Thai Egg Association asked Commerce Ministry to cease fixing the price of chicken meat and eggs.  This is because the price of animal feed ingredients had surged by 50-60 percent, with costs of rearing chicken rising by 36-38 Baht per kg, while the price of farmgate price of chicken is fixed at 33.50 Baht per kgใ
  • Fertiliser price had gone up as Thailand imports ingredients from Russia and Belarus totalling 650,000 -700,000 tonnes annually.  Since Commerce Ministry has also capped the price of fertiliser, the Fertiliser Trader Association of Thailand will ask Commerce Ministry to raise the price ceiling.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • Thai rice prices are expected to increase by 5 percent in Q2, pushed up by the war in Ukraine’s effect on surging global commodity prices.  Source:  Bangkok Post

ASEAN members are working on facilitating increased trade, removing trade barriers and reducing transaction costs to cope with Covid-19, according the Thai Commerce Ministry after attending the 22nd ASEAN Trade Facilitation Joint Consultative Committee (ATF-JCC).  Thailand has requested additional details from ASEAN members on trade facilitation for Thai exporters, such as permission to sell medicines in Vietnam and import horticultural crops, medicines, tyres and air-conditioners from Malaysia and Indonesia.  Source:  The Nation

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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