Advance Blog

September 8, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 8 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)
14,176 (506 from prisons); (excluding ATK 2,372)1,322,519 (last seven days: 102,988)4,387/ 9601,166,364 (+16,769)1,293,65625,954,106 (+ 399,650) BKK: 7,240,270 (+13,278)607,177 (+ 1,687) BKK: 177,707 (+1,051)
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
14,160 [11,940  (get tested in hospital) + 1,714 (active case finding)]16 (in SQ)142,644 [ 100,610 in field hospital]309,071 (+3,691)13,511 (+228) (last seven days: 1,670)37,461,284 (+ 826,013) BKK:  9,872,041 (+ 59,238)10,900,001 (+ 424,676) BKK: 2,454,064 (+44,909)46,036
  • The cabinet has approved around 4 billion THB to sort out 12 million more doses of Sinovac vaccines to supply the Thai-invented cocktail of Sinovac-Astrazeneca mixture. Thai Health authority has affirmed that the cocktail is highly effective against the delta variant.—Khao Sod

Politics

  • Key figures in the main ruling PPRP have voiced their opinion in support of the former Police Chief Chakthip as the preferred candidate for the Bangkok Governor election. Deputy PPRP leader Paiboon said that the former Police Chief is a suitable candidate.–Matichon Wirat, the Government whip, said that despite the party is not going to file the party candidate, but he personally support Chakthip.—Inside Thailand
  • On the month-long protracted confrontational Din Daeng intersection, yesterday saw an escalation of violence from the authority:
    • Deputy chief of Metropolitan Police calls “Talugas” protesters dangerous troublemakers and a danger to the public and has strictly enforce the law against the group.–ThaiPBSWorld
    • After there has been a widespread video of police using a truck hitting protestors at the intersection. Free Youth Movement, a protest group, said that the hit has made the protestor in critical condition and has called the government a murderer state. Later, the Metropolitan Police issued a press release dismissing the accusation saying that the protestor has just broken the clavicle.–Matichon
    • Piyarat Chongthep, the leader of protestor guard WeVo group has argued that as authority has begun to use the term ‘troublemakers’ and reclaim of area is troubling. The protest leader is saying that the language of the police is legitmising state violence.—Piyarat Chongthep
  • Former Red Shirt leader Natthawut Saikrea who is leading a car mob group calling for the PM resignation posted on his Facebook that he has heard from his friend that the police will soon issue an arrest order.–Matichon He has cancelled today’s gathering for fear that the arrest might escalate the protest to turn violent.—Thai Rath
    • The group which has vowed to occupy the CBD Asoke intersection every day until the PM resigned are planning to step up their communication and protest strategies as they have seen lesser participants on weekdays. The main figure of the group is planning to hold a major protest on 19 September, the 15th anniversary of the coup against former PM Thaksin.—Krungthep Turakij
  • A high school student-led protest group ‘Bad Students’ has called for a campaign ‘skip online learning’ to reject the online teaching being applied in most schools across Thailand during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign which has turned viral on Twitter is calling for students to skip online classes, from today until Friday, in protest against the online teaching method which, it claims, is ineffective and discouraging.–ThaiPBSWorld
  • 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.
  • The Chinese Embassy Bangkok has posted on their Facebook on the virtual meeting between the Chinese ambassador-designate and former PM Abhisit Vejjajiva. The Chinese envoy thanked the former PM for his continual contribution to the Sino-Thai relations. Meanwhile, the former Democrat leader who vowed against PM Prayut in the last election expressed his gratitude towards China on their help in supplying the Covid vaccine in the time of the Kingdom needs.—Chinese Embassy Bangkok

Analysis/ opinion

  • Two editors from Than Settakij and Krungthep Turakij have made their analyses on what will happen after the censure debate that has caused the PM and PPRP secretary-general to be in deep conflict.
    • The two editors argued that it is very likely that there will be a cabinet reshuffle. One possibility is that the Deputy PM and PPRP leader General Prawit will also take the Interior Minister portfolio. The Interior Minister who has been criticised from the PPRP MPs as not accommodating to the MPs’ needs will ascend to Deputy PM position. With this equation, there will be more ministers than the Constitution allows, the Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Don might be out of position as the veteran diplomat has been making clear that he wants to be out of cabinet due to health issues—Nation TV
    • The two editors also analysed separately that the optimal choice for the fallen from grace Thammanat might be to return to his political stronghold in the Northern province of Phayao and to build up new political alliance from scratch. Thammanat current position has less to least say in the government.—Than Settakij
  • Olan Thinbangteow, lecturer at the Faculty of Political Science and Law at Burapha University analysed that no matter how much the PM piss PPRP secretary-general Thammanat, the PM has to make Thammanat his necessary political ally due to the MPs under his control. The political pundit argued that the power behind the PM and Thammanat is that of the same group and does not want to see the conflict between the two went beyond control. The focus will on how the PM could steer the administration through the intra and extra cracks of the coalition.–Matichon

Economic

Cabinet’s Decisions, 7 September 2021

  • Approved an additional 16.96 billion Baht of cash handout for workers and businesses insured under Section 33 of the Social Security Act in dark-red provinces that are affected by the lockdown.  The payments will be made in September in a follow-up from the first round of handout in August.
    • Of the 16.96 billion Baht, some 16.1 billion Baht will be allocated to 194,600 employers and 3.53 million workers registered under Section 33 in 13 dark-red provinces.
    • The remaining 862.2 million Baht will go to 18,900 employers and 400,375 workers in 29 dark-red provinces who are new registrants to social security Section 33.
    • To date, the government has approved 34.01 billion Baht as cash handout for workers and businesses affected by the restrictions in 29 dark-red provinces.
  • Approved extending the housing scheme for low-income earners to Dec 31, 2023 from the expiration date of December this year.  Cabinet also approved an additional 20 billion Baht in housing loans for low income earner through Government Savings Bank.  Sources:  Bangkok Post  Naew Na  Thai Post
  • The Labour Ministry has extended the scheme to reduce employers’ and employees’ contributions to Social Security Fund for the next 3 months, effective from September to November 2021.  For those insured under Section 33, contributions of employers and employees are reduced to 2.5 percent of the employee’s monthly salary.  For the self-insured under Section 39, contribution is reduced to 235 Baht.  Source:  Post Today
  • A joint survey by the Bank of Thailand and Thai Hotels Association (THA) on 234 hotels between 13-28 August found that 52 percent of the hotels are considering closing temporarily, while 9 percent would shut down permanently if the pandemic lasts longer than expected.  Some 58 percent of the hotels are reporting income of less than 10 percent of pre-COVID levels, while 17 percent earned 11-30 percent of their pre-COVID income.  THA also added around 65 percent of hotel operators have enough liquidity to survive for less than 3 months.  Furthermore, hotel occupancy rate nationwide in August was 10.6 percent; slightly higher than the July’s 9.6 percent.  Source:  Bangkok Post  Matichon
  • Russia and Thailand must resume commercial flights to boost the number of Russian tourist arrival in Q4 this year, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). There is travel demand to Thailand, but there are currently no commercial direct flights serving Russian cities and Phuket.  Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat will discuss this matter with the Russian Ambassador to Thailand this week. TAT has set sight on attracting 500,000-700,000 Russian travellers in 2022.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Businesses and communities in the resort town of Hua Hin are not ready to reopen in October as planned, fearing it could repeat the mistakes of the Phuket sandbox scheme.  Phuket reported many daily infections despite having stringent measures and should this occur in Hua Hin, it would drive away the domestic travellers who currently make up 75 percent of tourists.  Moreover, the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan shared a long borderline of over 200 km with Myanmar, which raises the chance of migrants illegally entering the town and spreading the virus.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The National Shippers’ Council has raised its export growth forecast to 12 percent this year from the 6-7 percent projection made in May, buoyed by the global economic recovery and a return of economic activities in major trading partners such as the United States, China, the European Union (EU) and Japan.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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