Advance Blog

August 9, 2021
Australian Embassy

Headlines summary as of 9 August 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)
19,603 (313 from prisons)776,108 (last seven days: 142,824)5,218/ 1,084555,334 (+19,819)747,24515,986,354 (+143,071)BKK:5,460,638 (+50,804)221,565 (+24,381)BKK: 51,987 (+2,352)
Local transmissionFrom abroadBeing hospitalised/ in field-hospital/ quarantinedConfirmed cases in BangkokDeath tollTotal vaccination (doses)2nd dose vaccine recipients (from 28 Feb) 
19,278 [16,119 (get tested in hospital) + 3,159 (active case finding)]12 (in SQ)214,421 [145,526 in field hospital]185,104 (+3,114)6,353 (+149) (last seven days: 1,185)20,669,780 (+191,145)BKK:6,703,480 (+61,299)4,461,861 (+23,693)BKK:1,190,855 (+8,143) 
  • The deputy head of the Disease Control Department said that the spread in Greater Bangkok begins to slow down and should there is no new major cluster, the situation could be under control within a month. Meanwhile, the situation in the provinces will be under control in two weeks. The health authority has called for the people to stay at home more to help curb the pandemic.—Prachachat Turakij
  • It is a spooky news for widely-believed Thai anti-Covid herb ‘Creat’ as the research team has withdrew their publication from the medRxiv (journal awaiting publications) as there are flaws within experiment. The current experiment in the publication could be concluded that the usage of the herb could reduce the lung’s inflammatory in no greater effects than the placebo. The herb has been used and trusted by many locals as the panacea to the coronavirus.—Thai Rath
    • Political Scientist from Chulalongkorn University Pitch Pongsawat said that the ‘myth’ revolving around the herb is in accordance with the psyche of ‘Thai exceptionalism’ where Thai people believe that the Kingdom is home to the best herb in the world. This kind of ‘myth’ has been there since the Thai herb as the solution to HIV/AIDS. The effects of the herbs are, however, never have scientific proof.—Voice TV
  • Thai police on Saturday said that a man had been taken into custody for the death of a Swiss tourist who entered Phuket on the government flagship Phuket Sandbox scheme. The 27-year-old suspect knocked out the tourist and robbed her, having encountered the woman at a waterfall where he had gone to find fruits.–Reuters

Politics

  • The rumor regarding position in high place has been circulating over the weekend:
    • Starting with BBC Thai, the name of Sarath Ratanavadi has returned to be under political spotlight as the potential figure for minister or even the prime minister. The reports came in coincidentally with the signal from Deputy PM Prawit of the new PM to be person aged 45 to 60 who has been successful in business.—BBC ThaiVoice TV
    • On Friday, the Deputy Agriculture Minister and the secretary-general of the main ruling Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP) came out to dismiss the reports that he said he is ready to be the next Prime Minister as fake news. The minister said he never gave such remarks with ultra-conservative TopNews and has assigned his legal team to prosecute the news distributor.—Prachachat Turakij
    • An MP from PPRP has suggested the idea of cabinet reshuffle swapping the Interior Minister to be the Public Health Minister and vice versa in a bid to curb the pandemic. The MP said that the father of the Health Minister was the former Interior Minister, he will have contributions to bring to the Ministry. The MP said the reshuffle will bring about positive changes to the pandemic administration.—Thai Rath
      • The MP this morning came out to apologise on his suggestion saying that it was merely the personal opinion not on the PPRP MP capacity. To take responsibility of such remarks, he said he has resigned from the position of deputy PPRP spokesperson and an PPRP regional secretary-general.—Prachaya Nongnuch
  • A vocal MP from the Opposition Move Forward Party leaked internal presentation of the Ministry of Public Health which is preparing to issue an amnesty for mistakes of vaccine policy makers. The document laid out the royal decree for health workers and policy makers on their mistakes and failures in handling the pandemic.–Matichon
    • The official whose name was on the presentation declined to give clarification to the media, so do the Public Health executives.—Inside Thailand
    • Health Minister Anutin came out to defend the bill saying it was necessary to give doctors ease-of-mind as they deal with the pandemic. He said the legislation would close loopholes where patients could file lawsuits against the doctors. The Minister, however, dismissed claims that the legislation was to grant amnesty to decision makers—Thai Enquirer
  • Over the weekend, there were various developments regarding the anti-government protestors:
    • On Saturday, anarchist-prone Free Youth Movement clashed with riot police after they changed the destination of the march from the Grand Palace to the Government House and then to the PM House in an army base. Organic protestors were in stalemate with riot police at Din Daeng intersection. There was a report of a police car being lit on fire. The metropolitan announced that they have apprehended 14 suspects on six different cases.–Matichon
    • The PM, through the government spokesperson, praised police for “adhering to international standards” in crowd control on Saturday, calling for the protestors to avoid using violence.—Krungthep Turakij
    • Free Youth Movement, the organiser of the protest, turned their stance on the fire lit on the police car that it remains unknown who is the vandal. Earlier, the  Movement implicitly said that the fire was a vengeance reaction against the violent crackdown by the police.—Krungthep Turakij
      • After seeing the violence on Saturday, the Twitter #BanFreeYouth has made it to the top trending in defiance against the relatively anarchist fashion of the movement.—Krungthep Turakij
      • Deputy PM Prawit has called for unity among the Thai people joining hands to pass through this pandemic together.–Matichon
    • Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak, a student-led protest leader who got his arrest warrant turned himself in at the Police headquarters. The protest leader and other were taken into Border Patrol Police in Pathum Thani.—Thai Rath
    • Former pro-establishment PDRC leader Tanat Thanakitamnuay (see the Vice News report) led the so-called ‘enlightened former royalist’ movement from the posh area of Thonglor to the Ratchaprasong intersection against the PM whom he fully supported seven years ago. The group using car as means called for the resignation of the PM, the Constitutional amendment and the access to quality vaccines.—Prachachat Turakij
    • The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration Group led by Parit Chiwarak is scheduled to hold a car mob protest at the Ratchaprasong intersection on 10 August from 1.00pm.
    • Natthawut Saikreau, former Red Shirt leader, has called for the other major CAR PARK (car mob and Hyde park) on 15 August.–Matichon
  • There is an instability to the position of the government spokesperson as the PM has signaled last week saying that “for any spokesperson who does not want to work, just leave”, though the PM later clarified that the comment was made against ministerial spokesperson. Anucha Buraphachaisri, the government spokesperson, who has been in position for one year has been witnessed as stepping up his contribution in the last week. The support behind Anucha, who is closed to the former Education and the Digital Economy Ministers who got kicked out of the cabinet earlier, is running thin as there are emerging competitors against the spokesperson.—Matichon Weekly
  • After the Civil Court made a verdict that the PM order under the Emergency Decree to ban the report on ‘information which may stir fear’ and the authority to close down IP address of the outlets are unconstitutional, the Deputy PM and government legal pundit Wissanu warned the media that even with the Court protection, the media must not violate any other clauses regarding the fake news and that the court order is just temporary.—Thai Rath

Economic:

  • In the 3 years since the establishment of EEC in 2018, it had succeeded in attracting investments worth 1.5 trillion Baht, which is 94 percent of its 1.77 trillion Baht target.  The EEC Board is currently working on a strategy for the next 5 years with the goal of attracting 500 billion Baht into 4 target industries, namely 1) 5G businesses that had already transformed Rayong province’s Ban Chang district into a Smart City; 2) Medical Business 3) Electric Vehicles (EC) for which it aims to establish 100 EEC stations in 2021 and 200 stations in 2022 and 4) BCG economy where investment in clean energy was made in 30 percent of the EEC zones, such as solar cells.  Moving forward, the EEC establish more industrial estates and special economic zones.  Board of Investment reported that Investment applications in the EEC as of Q1 2021 had risen by 39 percent to 64.4 billion Baht and is anticipating investments of 250 – 350 billion Baht in the 4 target industries from 2022 onward.  The EEC Office affirmed they have not given up on pursuing the MRO in U-Tapao despite having to start the project from scratch.  Source:  Prachachart Turakij
  • The government is committed to investing 52.9 billion Baht in 38 projects from now until 2037 to secure sufficient water supply to the EEC.  The EEC Office is also deliberating on using underground water to fulfill the EEC’s demands for 1.295 billion cu m of water annually.  In 2027, the EEC’s water demand is estimated at 1.493 billion cu m.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • The Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) saw its revenue in the first 9 months of FY 2021 increase by 138 percent YoY to 130 billion Baht, driven largely by industrial estates located in the EEC. Most investments went into car manufacturing (13.8 percent of total investment), followed by steel (10.8 percent).  China invested the most in industrial estates (15.2 percent), attributable to the US-China trade war that led investors from China to relocate their facilities to Thailand and other ASEAN countries.  IEAT noted investors have relocated 230 projects to Thailand with a value of 120 billion baht since 2018.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Given that Thailand is unlikely to reopen in September and the momentum for Phuket Sandbox is slowing down, Bank of Thailand (BOT) forecasted that Thailand will receive 150,000 visitors this year and 6 million in 2022 if it can curb the pandemic in Q4.  If COVID-19 is rampant until the end of this year, foreign tourists would total 100,000 in 2021 and 2 million in 2022.  Similarly, Tourism Authority of Thailand projected that in the worst-case scenario, Thailand would welcome 10 million international visitors in 2022 and up to 18 million visitors in the best case scenario.  To this end, Thailand will have to resort to other drivers of growth such as export, start-ups and e-commerce and reforming tax structure to boost investment.  Source:  Bangkok Post
  • Some 107 environmental groups have called on the government to prohibit the import of plastic waste within 2021 and promote the use of domestic plastic waste for recycling to protect the environment and promote circular economy. The environmental groups objected revisions made to a plan to ban plastic waste imports by September 2020 by a subcommittee on plastic waste and electronic waste management.  Nonetheless, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources confirmed plastic import will be completely banned on 1 January 2026.  Sources:  Thai Public Relations Department News Bangkok Post
  • Food processors asked Commerce Ministry to raise the prices of processed food by 5-7 percent, citing high production costs from raw materials and packaging to labour. Thai Food Processors Association attributed this to the rising number of Covid-19 infections in the manufacturing sector, wherein costs have risen by 10 percent.  Concurrently, Commerce Ministry has instructed provincial commerce officers to monitor the prices of goods in the market to ensure sufficient supply.  Source:  Bangkok Post
The Australian Embassy Bangkok
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