Advance Blog

February 9, 2022
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 8 February 2022

News

Newly confirmed casesTotal CasesDeath tollHospitalised/ intensive care patients
10,398 Domestic + 10,300 Abroad+202 Prison+192,517,869 (since 2020)1794,243
Total vaccination1st dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -6 Feb)2nd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -6 Feb)3rd dose vaccine recipients (28 Jan -7 Feb)
117,479,975 (+385,190)52,528,595 (+21,782  yesterday)   75.5 %48,969,726 (+31,719 yesterday)   70.4 %15,981,654 (+331,689 yesterday)   23%

Source : the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)

Covid19 related news/change regulation

  • The Public Health Ministry will propose easier access to the country during the COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday 11 February. The possible regulation changes are as follows;
  • A change Covid-19 testing requirement for tourists
  • An increasing of entry channel numbers to the country, from air travel only to air travel plus some water and land channels through checkpoints Bangkokpost Thenation
  • Bangue vaccination center,Bangkok’s largest vaccination center has opened for the vaccine mobile registration to children aged from 9-11. The registered children will be vaccinated on 14 February onwards Amarin  Isaranews
  • After the Covid-19 new cases has surpassed to 10,000 these past few days, The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is speeding up the vaccination of vendors and workers in 488 fresh markets as the markets are  among the  clusters of infection  ThaiPBS
  • Thailand’s Office of the Insurance Commission (OIC) has issued new rules, which take effect on February 15th, limiting compensation claims by people infected with COVID-19. Patients who are symptomatic or who have mild symptoms being treated in hospital or in home isolation and are without doctor’s certificate stating the need for treatment in such facilities will not be covered by the medical care or compensation scheme. ThaiPBS

Politics

  • The cabinet has just removed the motion, proposed by Ministry of Interior to extend the concession to the BTS (sky train company) to own the BTS extended green line for 30 more years until at the price of 65 bath along the station after 7 ministers from Bhum Jai Thai party, the government coalition boycotted the meeting   Mathichon
  • Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam on Monday admitted that if the two organic laws on the general election fail to clear parliament, the situation would lead to House dissolution or the prime minister’s resignation.Last week,  two house meetings collapsed last week due to a lack of quorum. Bangkokpost
  • Labour Minister said that according to the discussion with Deputy PM, Palangpracharat parry [PPRP] expects to obtain 150 seats of 400 in the next general election that likely to organize next year Thairath

 Other news

  • Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia will make his first official visit to Thailand later this month, according to Thailand’s Foreign Ministry  TheNation

Economics

Akara Mine

  • The parliament’s Anti-Corruption Committee representatives examined the abandoned pits at Akara Mine in Phichit province to inspect for leakages.  The Committee also proposed that another round of blood test be conducted on the 5,800 people living in the vicinity to the mine.  However, the Committee will have to seek additional budget to finance the blood tests as local health authorities do not have sufficient funding.  Public Health authorities in Pichit province had previously conducted blood and urine tests 8 times before and after the closure of the mine from 2014-2021.  However, doubts were raised on the accuracy of the tests because they were conducted on a sample group of less than 1 percent of the total 5,800 villagers.  The Committee will also meet with DSI to discuss DSI’s investigations on Akara Resources regarding claims of forest encroachment and mining in unlicensed zones.  Meanwhile, Akara Resources said it had earlier established an environmental and health committee to investigate various allegations, but found no evidence that its mines caused the contamination.  Nonetheless, the company will comply with further investigations if required. ThaiPBS

Tourism

  • The government will open discussions to set up travel bubbles with China and Malaysia this month to attract more foreign visitors, following the resumption of the Test & Go scheme on 1 February. Under the new travel bubble arrangements, tourists won’t have to quarantine upon arrival, but their entry will be subject to special protocols which regulate the kind of visa they can use, where they can stay and which flights to take.  The Association of Thai Travel Agents (Atta) had forecasted that international arrivals may exceed 5 million in 2022 if travel bubbles with Asian countries are rolled out, given that the Test & Go scheme alone are not enough to attract tourists.Bangkok Post
  • In the first 5 days (1-5 February) since the Test & Go scheme was launched, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reported that over 100,000 tourists have applied for Thailand Pass, of which 86,500 were given approval.  The Thai Hotel Association (THA) projected that tourist arrival number in February will rebound to the same level as December 2021.  It asked the government for more assistance, such as the co-payment scheme for employee retention, debt holiday measures and the postponement of land tax for another 2 years. 
  • A survey conducted by THA and Bank of Thailand in January 2022 indicated that hotel occupancy rate nationwide averages at 32 percent; dipping from December’s 37 percent due to the Omicron outbreak and the temporary suspension of Test & Go scheme.  Some 73 percent of the hotels remain operational, close to December’s 74 percent, while 3 percent are set to re-open in 6 months.  Source:  Krungthep Turakij newspaper, 8 February 2022

Others

  • Thailand’s unemployment rate eased in Q4 of 2021, with 630,000 unemployed people or 1.6 percent of the 38.63-million workforce.  The rate was down from 2 percent in the Q1; 1.9 percent in the Q2; and 2.3 percent in Q3 of 2021.  The decline is attributable to the relaxing of COVID-19 containment measures late last year.  However, bachelor’s degree graduates accounted for the highest unemployment figure, constituting 3.6 percent of the total 630,000 unemployed people.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The government is looking for additional sources of funding to finance its energy subsidies through the Oil Fuel Fund Office, as its financial assistance is running low while global oil prices are approaching US$100 a barrel. Energy Ministry expects the subsidies to exceed 7 billion Baht per month as a USD1 increase in crude oil price will raise the retail oil price by 0.20 Baht per litre. They are struggling to control domestic oil prices and may need to reduce oil excise tax as a last resort.  Source:  Bangkok Post Krungthep Turakij
  • Bilateral trade between Thailand and Saudi Arabia is forecast to surge by 20% this year after the two countries recently agreed to restore full diplomatic relations for the first time in more than 3 decades.   Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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