Advance Blog

May 7, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 7 May 2021

The Embassy is calling for donations of money and items to help support frontline workers at King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital, more information in the flyer attached.

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)
2,04478,8551,070/ 36749,172 (at 62.36%)49,9921,201,258 (+33,359) (= 1.814 %  of the population)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollAccumulated cases from active case finding2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb)
2,040 [1,820 (get tested in hospital) + 220 (active case finding)]4 (in SQ)29,320 [8,979 in field hospital]16,917 (+869)336 (+27)22,947450,524  (+16,410) (=0.681 % of the population)

•   The CCSA came out to confirm that foreigners are included in Thailand’s vaccination plan. CCSA spokesperson reiterated that foreigners are included in Thailand’s vaccination plan, clarifying recent reports that said Thais have priority in the first phase of inoculations. —National News Bureau of Thailand

•   In a bid to help curb the spread of the pandemic, the government is hosting a national Buddhist chanting ceremony on 11 May. The Prime Minister Office Minister said that the ceremony can help boost the morale of the people and will help bless the land.—Thai News Agency

•   Deputy PM and Public Health minister Anutin posted on his FB Page saying that after a meeting with Pfizer company, the American vaccine producer will sort out 20 million doses to the Kingdom starting from 3rd to 4th quarter this year.—Anutin Chavirakul

•   Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced that from 4 to 6 May, the BMA has inoculated 3,649 people in the highly-infectious district of Khlong Toey.—The Standard

Politics

•   The Constitutional Court verdict that the Australian judicial authority does not applicable on Thai sovereignty remains on top of the bulletin:

•   Deputy head of Palang Pracharat Party came out to say that the party will not set up a committee to probe the Deputy Agriculture Minister as the incident occurred before the minister joined PPRP.—Matichon

•   Opposition Move Forward Party is planning to file a case against the National Anti-Corruption Commission.—Thai Rath

•   A former Constitutional Court judge came out to endorse the court unanimous decision to keep Mr Thammanat in his representative and ministerial positions. The judge said the main problem of this case is not the legal but emotional one. He hinted that should the Opposition wish to proceed on with this, they should file the case using politician code of conduct related laws.—Krungthep Turakij

•   Yesterday, a main figure of the student-led protest Panusaya ‘Rung’ got her bail request granted by court on three conditions: not to dishonour the monarchy ever again, must not leave the Kingdom and must be present in every court hearings.—Prachachat Turakij

•   Despite earlier expectation, the court has deferred to consider whether to grant bails for Parit ‘Penguin’ and Ammy, two other protest leaders to be on 11 May, citing the two have not finished their 14 days quarantine scheme.—Krungthep Turakij

•   The issue of Thailand joining the multilateral trading scheme CPTPP is still on many people’s attention:

•   The government spokesperson dismissed the online conversations which said the cabinet had decided to join the CPTPP. The spokesperson said that the cabinet had the resolution to defer the decision by 50 days.—Thai Rath

•   The freshly established Thai Sarng Thai Party led by former Pheu Thai Chief Strategist Sudarat Keyuraphan issued a statement calling for the Parliament to join hands in opposing the government to join CPTPP as there are still unclear points and potential adverse effects on Thai local businesses.—Thai Rath

•   The Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Don said in a press conference that the understanding that Thailand had entered CPTPP is a fake information. The top diplomat said that the relevant offices will draft all the reservations and measures in need to compensate the adverse effects. The cabinet will decide on the conditions, then to negotiation before getting the Parliament approval.—Ministry of Foreign Affairs

•   The ruling Democrat Party is going to hold a meeting on 12 May to look into the Constitutional Amendment proposals, stressing on the needs for the PM to hold the status of the MP.—Krungthep Turakij

Analysis/ opinion

•   Army reporter Wassana Nanuam gave her analysis on the court verdict saying that the stake of getting the Minister out is too high for the PM and his inner circle. The reporter said that should there is too much opposition against him, Thammanat has already planned to have his wife take over his positions. The verdict paves ways for him to become the PPRP secretary-general and, thus, minister.—Ringside การเมือง

•   A media is naming Deputy PM and Energy Minister Suppattanapong as PM Prayut’ right hand’s man. The minister has been the key person in designing the government flagship economic stimulus packages. He is also leading government’s four government main projects in attracting foreign investment and also the Phuket Sandbox, the prototype project in reopening the Kingdom amid the pandemic. Under Supattanapong direction, he prefers to work with a big data technology company, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council and people from Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University.—Prachachat Turakij

Economic:

Tourism

Tourism and Sports Ministry (MoST) insists on kick-starting the Phuket Tourism Sandbox scheme on 1 July as planned.  MoST believes it is possible to bring the number of COVID-19 infection in Phuket down to zero prior to the reopening, while affirming that 70 percent of the Phuket residents (470,000 people) will also be vaccinated on time despite the island having fully inoculated only 100,000 people to date.  MoST is to push ahead with the opening of 10 areas under the sandbox scheme by Q4 of this year and also maintains its goal of attracting 3-4 million international tourist arrivals in 2021.  To this end, it is deliberating establishing the Tourism Fund, for which 300 Baht will be collected from foreign tourists from January 2022 onwards to assist tourism industry in coping with future emergencies.

MoST has postponed travel bubble negotiations with Singapore, Vietnam, Laos, Hong Kong and Malaysia until it can contain the pandemic outbreak.  The requirement is that Thailand brings down the number of daily infection to the hundreds by the end of May and below 200 by mid-June.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij, 7 May 2021

Others

Average fuel consumption contracted by -7.7 percent to 138.9 million litres per day in Q1 due to the resurgence of COVID-19, according to Ministry of Energy.  Jet fuel saw the most YoY decline by -74 percent, followed by a -31.2 percent contraction of compressed natural gas usage.  Source:  Bangkok Post

Consumer Confidence Index fell to a record low of 46 points in April -the lowest since the University of Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) launched the survey 22 years ago.  Similarly, people’s Happiness Index also plunged to the lowest in 16 years, to 30.6 points.  The declines reflect Thais’ concerns about the pandemic, political instability and slow vaccination rollout.  Consumer confidence is anticipated to be on the downward trend well into May.  If the outbreak stretches beyond June, the UTCC foresees an economic loss of 400-600 billion Baht, with annual GDP expansion reduced to 0-1.5 percent.  Sources:  Bangkok Post Thai Rath

Thai National Shippers’ Council (TNSC) raised its forecast for export growth this year to 6-7 percent from 3-4 percent due to the recovery of major trading partners and the rise of industrial product exports such as automobiles, electrical appliances and oil-related products.  Obstacles to export included shipping container shortage, traffic congestion at Laem Chabang sea port and labour shortage resulting from foreign workers being unable to return to Thailand due to border restrictions.  Source: Bangkok Post

Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) will discuss with the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking on supporting the government to administer 100 million vaccine doses to the population before the end of 2021.  FTI noted that vaccination is the key determinant of Thailand’s economic growth this year, more so than the government’s stimulus packages.  Sources: Bangkok Post Manager Online

The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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