Advance Blog

September 7, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 7 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)
13,821 (518 from prisons); (excluding ATK 1,112)1,308,343 (last seven days: 103,614)4,487/ 9851,149,595 (+17,284)1,279,48025,554,456 (+ 320,197) BKK: 7,214,303 (+18,573)605,490  (+ 1,467 ) BKK: 176,287 (+736)
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
13,297 [11,994  (get tested in hospital) + 1,303 (active case finding)]6 (in SQ)145,465 [103,094 in field hospital]305,380 (+3,997)13,042 (+187) (last seven days: 1,694)36,635,271 (+ 722,377) BKK:  9,787,096 (+ 69,099 )10,475,325  (+ 400,713) BKK: 2,396,506 (+49,790)48,646
  • The Best Cities for a Workation 2021 ranked by a British website. Bangkok secured the best city for ‘workation’ and Phuket came at number 10 amongst 150 cities worldwide. The ranking measures monthly rent, drinks prices after work, wi-fi speed and interesting activities.—Krungthep Turakij
  • Media sensation is now on the two famous monks who revolutionise the way they teach Buddhism spiced with gags and laughter. Their FB lives had the highest 200,000 views at its peak. The two monks have been talk-of-the-town. For supporter, the two monks are breathing life and vitality into dusty old religious teachings with the main audience of apparently atheist youngsters. But to more conservative critics, the two monks were seen as degrading the Buddhism. Social activist Srisuwan Janya was so outraged that he demanded the Sangha Supreme Council take action.–ThaiPBSWorld
  • The Digital Economy has admitted that 16 million patient records (patient registration numbers, full names, home addresses, phone numbers, their doctors’ names, names of the hospitals and medical records) from the Public Health Ministry have been hacked and an investigation is underway.–ThaiPBSWorld

Politics

  • The cabinet has approved the election of the sub-district representatives as proposed by the Interior Ministry. The Election Commission will decide the election date later.
    • It is reported that the authority will defer the BMA governor election to be as late as next March.—Inside Thailand
  • After the censure debate which shake the unity of the troika (the PM, Deputy PM Prawit and Interior Minister Anupong) the most, the Deputy PM and main-ruling PPRP leader gave a brief interview this morning dismissing the reports that he has an aspiration to be the PM and that the PPRP secretary-general Thammanat will not resign from position.–Matichon
  • The cabinet met physically for the first time in months and freshly after the censure debate. The gestures were monitored and interpreted:
    • Media saw that Interior Minister walked towards and shook hands with the Deputy Agriculture Minister. The latter was reportedly eyed to get the Interior Minister portfolio and had staged a ploy to vote against the PM in the censure debate in a bid to pressure the PM to reshuffle.–Matichon
    • The so-called ‘4Deputies’ group (Deputy Finance Minister Santi, Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat, Deputy Labour Minister Narumon and Deputy Transport Minister Athirat) seem to dissolve, as Santi was seen visiting the PM yesterday and did not meet with others in their group before the cabinet meeting as usual. The other three were seen visiting the Deputy PM and PPRP leader General Prawit before the cabinet meeting. The group apparently failed to execute the ploy to vote against the PM in the last censure debate.–Matichon
  • The third reading of the Constitutional Amendment to return to that of two-ballot system and the ratio of constituency vis-à-vis party-list MPs will be change from 350:150 to 400:100 will be on 10 September. To pass, it requires more than half of the votes in both chambers, plus one-third Senators approval and plus 20 percent of Opposition parties MPs. Parties are starting to make their stance more rigid. Here’s the summary of what the party leader said so far.

Analysis/ opinion

  • Krungthep Turakij viewed if the PPRP secretary-general is kicked out of position for his fail ploy in the censure debate will mean the move by the PPRP to push for the two ballot system will potentially fail. It is reported the PPRP figure has joined hands with the government whip and a Deputy PPRP leader to amend the electoral system to be back to two ballot system (constituency and party-list) as they believe that the PPRP will get the most MPs from the new system. There are two competing possibilities. One, with the failed ploy to pressure the PM, Thammanat and his two-ballot proposal might be shot down due to political distrust. And secondly, the troika will push for the two-ballot system as it is the only electoral system which will end the growth and political future of the progressive Move Forward Party.—Krungthep Turakij

Australia

  • The Embassy post warning people of visa scams against the new planning Agricultural Visa Scheme has been featured in Thai media.—Daily News and Siam Rath

Economic

  • Inflation in August contracted for the first time in 5 months, dropping by 0.02 percent YoY and 0.18 percent MoM due to government subsidies on tuition fee and utility bill discounts.  Energy prices as well as prices of selected farm products such as pork, fresh vegetables and fresh fruit, were also lower compared to last year.  Thai Chamber of Commerce University attributed this to subdued domestic consumption resulting from the lockdown and curfew.  Commerce Ministry expects inflation in 2021 to average at 1.2 percent.  Source:  Khao Sod  Bangkok Post
  • The Eastern Economic Corridor Office (EECO) is pinning hope on the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) to replace tourism as Thailand’s economic growth driver.  For this, the EEC will need to boost Thailand’s GDP growth by 5 percent GDP and attract investment of 1.7 trillion Baht within year 2024.  Currently investment in the EEC averages at 300 billion Baht annually, with investment through Board of Investment in the first half of 2021 standing at 120 billion Baht.  Going forward, EEC will focus on drawing investments into sectors such as new generation automobile; 5G digital and electronics; medical & wellness and logistics.
  • At the end of this year, EECO plans to stage roadshows to draw investments into U-Tapao’s  Eastern Aviation City and the MRO facilities.  The Eastern Aviation City is envisaged as a smart city that will contribute 260 billion Baht to GDP upon completion.  Constructions are set to begin for the high-speed rail as well as expansions for U-Tapao airport, Map Ta Phut seaport and Laem Chabang seaport.  Other key projects include the Smart Park, which was conceived to support 4 new S-Curve industries namely aviation & logistics; medical industry; robotics and digital industries.  The Smart Park is forecasted to generate 1.4 billion Baht per year and contribute 53 billion Baht to GDP.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 7 September 2021  Thansettakij
  • Public Health Ministry eyes enhancing the medical facilities in the EEC to be on par with the facilities in Bangkok through PPP model, starting from next year.  Public Health Deputy Minister Sathit will also propose to the cabinet the idea of launching tourism sandbox in selected areas within the EEC zone.  Source:  Thansettakij
  • The Investor Confidence Index (ICI) for August, which makes forecasts on market conditions for the next 3 months, surged by 124.3 percent from July and has entered ‘bullish’ territory, according to The Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations (Fetco).  The rise is driven by investors’ trust in vaccine distribution that will curb the pandemic, followed by the prospect of an economic recovery and fund inflows.  FETCO expects Thailand’s GDP to grow by +0 to +0.5 percent this year and by +4 percent in 2022.  Moreover, the Thai Bond Market Association noted the Thai bond market has recorded a huge net inflow of 110 billion Baht so far this year.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Board of Investment (BOI) has approved incentives to support local vaccine development, encourage companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and also enhanced the scheme for Electric Vehicles (EV).  BOI further reported that investments in energy generation businesses in the first half of 2021 totalled 198 projects, constituting 25 percent of all BOI’s project applications.  Their investment value tallied 120 billion Baht, or 31 percent of all investment value through the BOI.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Post Today
  • Hua Hin’s reopening scheduled on 1 October aims to attract tourists arriving by commercial flights and private jets via Hua Hin airport.  The Hua Hin Recharge project covers an area of 86.3 square km between Hua Hin municipality and Nong Kae district.  It allows tourists to travel without quarantine once they receive negative test result upon arrival. The Recharge area can also receive tourists who spend the first 7 days of their trip in the Phuket Sandbox under the 7+7 extension scheme.  Furthermore, the Hong Kong-based aviation advisory company Phoenix Group recently signed an MoU with Hua Hin airport to develop the facility to accommodate more international direct flights.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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