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The Bamrasnaradura Infectious Diseases Institute has announced that they are opening a new channel for requesting the vaccine certificate for international travel. Those who wish to acquire the "vaccine passport" may register via the Mor Prom application from 18 October onward. After registering in the application, users choose their delivery preference, as follows: self-pickup, postal delivery, or email for a digital copy of the certificate. Payment can be made by cash for self-pickup or by e-payment with internet banking via QR code. According to the data from 19 April to 16 October 2021, there were 31,340 people nationwide who walked in to request the vaccine passport at the organizations designated by the Department of Disease Control. To reduce the congestion and make it easier for the public, the institute now offers an online platform for requesting the vaccine passport. For more information, please contact the DDC hotline at 1422.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) has announced that it will sell antigen test kits (ATK) on its website to help people who live in other provinces to purchase a low-price ATK that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. They will sell one box of ATK, which has 20 kits, for 800 baht, and a delivery fee of 52 baht. The public can buy one box per person. Up to 300 boxes of ATK per day are available for online sale and the sale will start at 08.00 hr every day from 20 to 26 October 2021. The GPO will distribute the ATK through its dealers nationwide in the near future. They will supply 2 million ATK in this project in the next phase. Anyone who is interested may visit www.gpoplanet.com. For more information, please contact the GPO call center at 1648.
Thailand is all set to welcome fully vaccinated foreign visitors, including returning Thais and foreign residents, from the approved countries to enter the Kingdom by air with no quarantine requirements from 1 November, 2021.
The Ministry of Commerce is investigating the illegal export of used medical gloves to the United States, as reported by a foreign media outlet. The ministry is working with health authorities to prosecute those involved. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit said his ministry is now looking into the report of 80 million pieces of used medical gloves exported to the United States. This report was released by CNN.
The Ministry of Public Health revealed at 26 October's press briefing that Delta plus (AY.1) has been detected in Thailand. The ministry is continuing to investigate and is doing active case finding to control the spread of this virus. According to observation data from the Department of Medical Sciences from 16 to 22 October 2021, the COVID-19 variant that is most widely spread in the country is Delta, with a few cases of Alpha and Beta. There are seven cases of the Alpha variant and nine cases of the Beta variant. The ministry reported that currently there are two cases of Alpha plus (E484K) in a prison in Chiang Mai, and another 16 cases have been found in Chantaburi and Trat. Meanwhile, one case of Delta plus (AY.1) has been detected in Kamphaeng Phet, but the patient has already recovered. The department is now investigating this case. They assured the public that the Delta plus (AY.1) is an insignificant species that does not require special attention, unlike the Delta plus (AY.4.2), which has been classed as a Variant Under Investigation (VUI). The Delta plus (AY.4.2) that has been reported may be 10-15% more transmissible. However, infections from this variant have not been reported in Thailand.
The Department of Disease Control has released the guidelines for those who have been infected with COVID-19 and have already recovered. People who have never received the COVID-19 vaccine and those who have already got the first dose should get a dose after recovering from the disease. They should get the dose one month or more after getting infected, and it should be the AstraZeneca or Pfizer vaccine. People who have been fully vaccinated don't require a booster dose, or third shot, immediately. The ministry added that everyone, including those who are fully vaccinated or got the mixed vaccine, should get a third dose of COVID-19 vaccine, eventually, to be a booster dose, but not in the near future because there should be further study about this matter and the right timing for a booster dose.
WHO South-East Asia has praised Thailand for significantly controlling tuberculosis, and it is no longer listed with the "high-burden" countries for drug-resistant tuberculosis. WHO's global list of high-burden countries for 2016-2020 includes (1) High TB burden countries, (2) High TB-HIV burden countries, and (3) High MDR/RR-TB burden countries. Thailand was placed in all three of the lists in 2015, but in June 2021, Thailand transitioned out of the list of countries with high MDR/RR-TB burden countries, according to the WHO's new global lists. The Department of Disease Control revealed the three main strategies that made it possible for them to achieve the goal: (1) do active case finding and facilitate care for high-risk groups, such as migrant workers, inmates, and HIV patients, so that they have more access to the treatment; (2) prioritize detecting and treating drug-resistant tuberculosis by listing the disease in the dangerous communicable disease list in the Communicable Diseases Act, B.E. 2558 (2015), which means that every medical center, such as hospitals and clinics, has to prioritize it and proceed with the treatment according to the guidelines; and (3) expand the diagnosis and treatment for tuberculosis infection to people who have been in close contact with patients, and make them get access to the treatment as soon as possible if they are infected with the disease.
Mr.Anucha Nakasai, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister's Office said, during a visit to Suvarnabhumi Airport on 2 November 2021 to examine the preparation of activities to welcome tourists to Thailand, that the Thailand Pass system is a system that will help facilitate foreign visitors. Using the COE system in the past caused some difficulties in document preparation. Last year alone there were more than 400,000 documents to manage and that delayed the process. The adoption of the Thailand Pass system will help make the process faster and easier for tourists who travel to Thailand. After the reopening of the country on 1 November 2021, more than 30,000 visitors registered with the system and over 4,000 were already approved.
The Central Vaccination Center (CVC) at Bang Sue Grand Station in Bangkok is now providing COVID-19 vaccination to people 12-18 years old, regardless of nationality. Walk-ins by people in this age group who have yet to receive their first jab at school are accepted, including out-of-school children.
The Ministry of Public Health has revealed that tourists are satisfied with Thailand's screening measures after the country reopened for international tourists on 1 November 2021. According to the data, there are more than 2,000 people who traveled to Thailand on the first day of reopening the country. Even though tourists are satisfied with the measures and procedures for entering the country, the ministry urged the Department of Disease Control to reduce any unnecessary steps to facilitate the entry of tourists as much as possible. The ministry also aims to reach 100 million doses of vaccination in November 2021 and surveil in the risk areas to prevent the spread of the virus among the vulnerable groups. They assure the public that there are enough vaccines for everyone. The Ministry of Public Health has a framework for medical and public health operations to support the reopening of the country and control the spread of COVID-19 by (1) strengthening the public's confidence and helping the public to live with the new normal under the disease control measures, (2) strengthening the health security and accelerating the vaccination drive in the country to prevent the rate of severe symptoms and death, which will rejuvenate the economy, and (3) strengthening society and culture to help the public return to more normal social activities under the Universal Prevention measures.
Pol Gen Asawin Kwanmuang, Governor of Bangkok, has warned that there is a chance that PM 2.5 may exceed the standards in some areas of Bangkok during the coming cool season between December and February. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration in collaboration with relevant agencies continuously monitor the PM2.5 situation. At the moment, there are 70 fixed PM2.5 dust monitoring stations in Bangkok. Besides, some PM 2.5 outdoor detectors and air quality monitoring vehicles are employed to measure the amount of dust in all areas. If the PM 2.5 in any specific area is higher than acceptable level, certain measures will be urgently implemented to reduce the dust particles for the safety of the people.
The Department of Disease Control has introduced four main measures -- "V-U-C-A" -- for reopening Thailand. "V" is the vaccine; the department has encouraged the public to be fully vaccinated to reduce the chance of severe symptoms if they get infected with COVID-19. "U" is Universal Prevention; this measure will help prevent the public from getting infected with the disease. "C" is COVID-Free Setting; this measure includes the guidelines that will help establishments to provide safe service to the public by fully vaccinating all employees and testing with an Antigen test kit every week. "A" is an Antigen test kit, or ATK; the public can have a prompt test with ATK if they have had close contact with infected persons or if they have respiratory symptoms.
Since 1 November 2021, Thailand has launched the Exemption from Quarantine (Test and Go) scheme welcoming travelers from abroad. As of yesterday, 1,769 travelers used the Test and Go scheme, out of a total of 4,022 persons within the past two days (1-2 November 2021). The nations coming into Thailand who most utilized the Test and Go are Japan, Singapore, Qatar, China, and Germany. The Thailand Pass system has registered 39,506 travelers who want to travel to Thailand, of which 6,484 have been approved. Thailand Pass can be visited via https://tp.consular.go.th/.
The Department of Disease Control has issued an updated vaccine passport called “COVID-19 Certificate of Vaccination,” as published in the Royal Gazette. Within the document, details of the immunization certificate for international travel are presented. Also, an electronic version of the immunization certificate will be made available.
It is worth noting that the reopening of Thailand to tourism both internationally and locally must be done in strict compliance with DMHTTA and universal prevention measures. This is aimed at protecting ourselves and the ones we love as we are transitioning towards learning to live with COVID-19 under the “new normal.”
Even though the COVID-19 infection in Thailand is on a downward trend, the Ministry of Public Health encourages the public to be vigilant and follow the disease control measures to lower the risk of getting infections. Vaccination is one of the main keys to cope with the pandemic. The vaccine will reduce the chance of severe symptoms if anyone gets infected with the disease. However, many people hesitate to get the vaccine. "Vaccine hesitancy" is one of the global threats to public health that WHO is concerned about. The factors that lead to hesitation include (1) having little confidence in the vaccine quality and concerns about the side effects of the vaccine, (2) being complacent and believing that the vaccine will not help protect them from the disease or is unnecessary, and (3) not being convenient to get the vaccine, or thinking that the process to get vaccinated is too difficult.
The Department of Mental Health aims to persuade people in "risk group 608" -- elderly people aged 60 years old upward, patients with seven chronic diseases or underlying conditions who are aged 12 years old upward, and women 12 weeks pregnant or more -- who still have hesitation to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. The department aims to manage the vaccine hesitancy among the risk groups with the 3As strategy: "Ask" about their concerns, "Affirm" the fact and compliment them for their concern about their health, and "Advise" them to release their worries. The department has proposed a plan to accelerate the vaccination drive, especially to the unvaccinated people in sandbox areas, and prepare mental health personnel to go into the field with active vaccination units to help the public get the vaccine, so that it is thoroughly distributed around the country.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense delivered a speech at the opening ceremony of the 4th China International Import Expo 2021: CIIE 2021 in Shanghai, People’s Republic of China via a videoconference on 4 November 2021. As China is Thailand's number one trading partner for a long time, the Prime Minister hopes to see closer cooperation between Thailand and China in all dimensions. Thailand is ready to seek new opportunities to enhance cooperation. Thailand has pushed the EEC to be one of the links between ASEAN and China's BRI, which will contribute to the balanced, sustainable and comprehensive growth of the economies of both countries in all aspects.
Owing to the country's reopening on 1 November 2021, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is preparing to inoculate employees in establishments that are allowed to reopen, based on the announcement on Temporary Closure of Premises no. 45, because they have to provide the service to customers. The district offices will check the reopened establishments in their areas; if there are unvaccinated employees, the officers will make an appointment for vaccination. The BMA will provide Sinovac vaccine for the first dose and AstraZeneca for the second dose. They will vaccinate employees in service establishments on 9 November 2021 at Veth Sport Building, Bangkok Youth Center (Thai - Japan), from 09.30 hr onward.
The Cabinet has approved a budget of more than three billion baht to support the development of the ChulaCov19 and Baiya COVID-19 vaccines by Chulalongkorn University. The budget will go towards phase 3 clinical trials and preparing for mass production. Registration of the vaccine for emergency use will follow, in accordance with the requirements of the Food and Drug Administration. Phase 3 clinical trials for this vaccine will involve at least 10,000 volunteers, as required by the Food and Drug Administration. When successful, the project will enable Thailand to produce its own COVID vaccines.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) recently presented the Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA) Plus Certificate to three of Bangkok’s most famous and revered attractions, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and the City Pillar Shrine. The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and City Pillar Shrine received SHA certification in 2020, and this year have continuously upgraded their sanitary and health measures, which is reflected in the upgraded certification to SHA Plus. They are among 510 SHA Plus-certified attractions and businesses in Bangkok.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense has been satisfied with signs of improvement of the Covid-19 situation in Thailand. The trend of new infections has significantly dropped in thousands, while the death toll has been below a hundred for several weeks and seems to continue to decline. The number of recovered patients has outnumbered the daily number of infected patients, reflecting the effectiveness of public health measures and the potential of medical personnel as well as the cooperation of the people.
A report from Bloomberg on 6 November 2021 showed that 7.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered in 184 countries around the world. Thailand ranked 18th in the world and 3rd in ASEAN. The cumulative number of vaccinations in Thailand has currently exceeded 80 million doses, accounting for 65.44% of the total population, with 33,950,925 second shots. In addition, Bloomberg predicted that 75% of the Thai people can be vaccinated with at least one dose given within one month if the country continues to inject the vaccines at this pace.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) warned the members of the public who live near the river to beware of the high level of water in the river, as it may cause overflowing in some areas. The water will rise between 16.00 and 19.30 hr on 8 November and in the morning of 9 November. The BMA has already assigned related organizations to promptly take care of the situation and help facilitate the needs of people who are affected by the water overflowing.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to set up the Loy Krathong Festival under the COVID-Free Setting and Universal Prevention measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This year, the BMA's festival will be held under Rama VIII Bridge and Khlong Ong Ang. They will also open 30 parks around Bangkok where the public will be able to float their krathong under disease prevention and eco-friendly measures. Meanwhile, the BMA announced that it would prohibit fireworks, firecrackers, floating lanterns, or similar items during the Loy Krathong festival.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit attended the 2021 APEC Ministers’ Meeting via a videoconference on 8 – 9 November 2021. At the meeting, the promotion of safe cross-border travels, keeping supply chain flexibility to prevent obstruction in goods transport, using digital innovation to create more competitiveness, and promoting SMEs’ opportunity to funding were discussed. The policy proposals for APEC’s works in 2022 will be considered at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM) on November 12.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, presided over the press conference of the Southern Border Provinces Development Strategy Committee and important projects to be driven in 2022 at the Government House on 8 November 2021. He was pleased with the progress of the work the Committee had achieved, while the unrest had subsided. This has resulted in economic and social confidence. He also urged the agencies in charge solve problems in the deep south provinces on poverty, education, public health, housing, and access to government services.
Prime Minister and Defense Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, will be attending the APEC Economic Leaders’ Week (AELW) via a teleconference during 11-12 November 2021. In the evening on 11 November, the Premier will join the ABAC - Leaders’ Dialogue. He will deliver a speech at the APEC CEO Summit in the evening of 12 November. After that he will attend the Handover of APEC host from New Zealand to Thailand. According to the Government Spokesperson,Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the Prime Minister is ready to put forward regional connectivity, trade and investment, as well as economic transformation via BCG Economy Model during Thailand’s year of hosting APEC 2022.
Regarding the widely spread story about the Cabinet's ordering the cancelation of the Loy Krathong Festival, the Government Spokesperson reaffirms to the public that this year's festival will be held as usual, but under the disease prevention measures. The cancelation story is obviously a misunderstanding, and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha never stated this position. He insists that the annual Loy Krathong festivities can be held, but the organizers and the public should follow strict measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The CCSA has concerns that there might be new clusters forming in local communities and social gathering activities. They include Kathin ceremonies, workers' camps, funerals, fresh markets, and military camps. There are new cases that have been found in many provinces around the country connected with those places and activities. Therefore, it is strongly suggested that the public should remain vigilant and strictly follow guidelines so that the number of cases will decrease.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been different contexts, situations, and approaches for each country. In Thailand, our approach is to quarantine. After reopening the country, we are looking for visitors to come to Thailand and are working to ensure that our scheme is effective. The Government is intent on reviewing the context, situation, and approach in order to improve them for the good of the Thai people and our friends who are visiting Thailand.
Thailand's Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (Public Organization) or GISTDA has been selected by the CEOS Plenary 2021 International Conference to serve as Chairman of the Committee on Earth Observation Satellite (CEOS) starting from November 2022. Its main responsibility is to focus on the use of space technology to address climate change in cooperation with space organizations throughout the globe. As the Chairman of CEOS, it will be a great opportunity for Thailand to raise awareness and realize Thailand’s potential in global exploration to the international community as well as addressing the issues of climate change and natural disasters many countries are focusing on at the moment. CEOS is a global platform where leading aerospace organizations all over the world attach great importance. Currently, CEOS consists of 34 organizations from 24 countries with their own earth observation satellites.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense delivered a keynote address at the APEC CEO Summit under the topic of "Thailand's Priorities for APEC 2022" on 12 November 2021 via a teleconference. In his remarks, the Premier stated that as the host of APEC next year, Thailand is committed to making APEC “open” to all opportunities, “connected” in all dimensions, and “balanced” in all areas. It will be consistent with APEC's existing goals and implementations, but presented under a new concept with three important issues: the facilitation of trade and investment, the restoration of connections, and the promotion of sustainable and inclusive growth. The Prime Minister ended his speech that Thailand's APEC hosting agenda will reflect the demands of businesses to revive the economy, as well as make the economy stronger and more resilient. Thailand will continue the work of APEC and provide a new perspective on other relevant issues, especially in the context of the post-COVID-19 era.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, on 12 November 2021, expressed his appreciation to New Zealand, as host of APEC 2021at the APEC Economic Leaders and stated that Thailand is ready to assume the role of APEC 2022 host from New Zealand. According to the Prime Minister, Thailand will push forward its priorities to develop the region towards an inclusive and sustainable growth, while driving APEC towards a sustainable and balanced post-COVID-19 era through the BCG Economy Model.
Phuket province has been maintaining stringent COVID-19 prevention measures as stipulated by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, which most recently announced that no relaxations were yet being applied on pubs, bars, karaokes, and other nightlife venues. People entering Phuket by land, on water, and by air must be either fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from COVID-19. Others must present a Covid test result that is no older than 7 days, from either the RT-PCR method or an ATK kit, but the evidence must be certified by a medical facility or lab. The entrant must also download the Mo Phrom application onto their mobile device.
The Ministry of Public Health aims to accelerate COVID-19 vaccination among migrant workers to increase the nation's immunity and reduce the spread of the virus. The ministry is trying to follow people who have not received the vaccine yet in order to vaccinate as many as possible, including migrant workers, both legal and illegal. The target groups include migrant workers along the border areas and those in refugee camps in Ratchaburi, Kanchanaburi, Mae Hong Son, and Tak, who immigrated because of fighting in their home country.
The Office of the Government Spokesperson has stated that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is preparing to procure 65 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine for next year. The office reaffirmed that Thailand is taking good care of its people by spending the second biggest amount of government budget in APEC, second only to Chile. Twenty-five percent of the national GDP is being used to help and compensate the members of the general public who are affected by the pandemic. The Government is closely monitoring the development of new vaccines, such as a nasal application, to appropriately plan the country's inoculation strategy next year.
Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the kingdom of Thailand, and Mr. Anucha Nakasai, Minister to the Office of Prime Minister, participated and presented the award to Mr. Chawanon Wongtrakuljong—the winner of the #APEC2022THAILAND Logo Design Competition , inspired by a “Chalom”. At the event, an exhibition was held to raise awareness for participants, as well as the public who are interested to learn more about APEC.
Bhutan’s Ambassador to Thailand, on 17 November 2021, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on occasion of his assumption of the position. The Prime Minister appreciated the Bhutanese government for donating 150,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to Thailand on the basis that Thailand will later send back vaccines to Bhutan. The Ambassador was full of praise for the Thai government’s measures to fight against the spread of COVID-19 in the country, bringing the country to reopen. In addition, Bhutan is delighted to be one of the countries permitted to enter Thailand with no isolation. The Prime Minister hoped that Thailand and Bhutan would work in collaboration on the import of agricultural products that serve the needs of the Thai people. He also encouraged Bhutan to utilize WTO’s Duty Free, Quota Free (DFQF) scheme to further tighten trade cooperation between both nations.
The Bang Sue Vaccination Center will provide Pfizer vaccine to students between 12 and 18 years old who are in or out of non-formal education. The students should never have received any COVID-19 vaccine before and must be granted permission from their parents. The service is available for both Thai and non-Thai students. Those who are interested may walk in to register for the vaccine at the Bang Sue Vaccination Center from 22 November to 7 December 2021, 13.00-17.00 hr.
The Prime Minister has expressed satisfaction with Thailand’s vaccination rollout and its vaccine regimens that can help reduce severe symptoms and deaths from COVID-19. He is confident the vaccination target of 100 million doses can be reached before the end of this year. With the number of new deaths from COVID-19 staying below 100 daily for more than a month, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has expressed his satisfaction with the country’s vaccination program that has effectively reduced the severity of COVID-19, particularly in terms of severe symptoms and deaths.
The registration for the COVID-19 vaccine through Thai mobile phone networks has been extended to 1-28 December 2021 to enable vaccinations with the third dose (booster dose) for those who have been fully vaccinated with Sinovac and Sinopharm and the first dose for those who have never received the vaccine before. People aged between 12 and 17 years who have not had the vaccine before will get two doses of Pfizer, and those who are aged 18 years and above will get AstraZeneca for the first dose and Pfizer for the second dose, while people who are fully vaccinated with Sinovac and Sinopharm will get AstraZeneca as a booster dose. There are three vaccination places available to choose from, namely (1) Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center, (2) Fashion Island COVID-19 Vaccination Center, and (3) Asiatique COVID-19 Vaccination Center. The service is available for both Thais and foreigners. Those who are interested may register through their mobile networks: AIS, DTAC, TRUE, and NT.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is pleased to report that Phetchaburi Province has been accepted as Thailand’s latest member of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) in the field of Gastronomy. Phetchaburi is the fifth province in Thailand to have earned the UCCN title, after Phuket was named a Creative City of Gastronomy in 2015, Chiang Mai a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts in 2017, Bangkok a Creative City of Design in 2019 and Sukhothai a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts in 2019.
H.E. Mr. Michael G. Health, the Charge d'Affaires Ad Interim of the United States of America to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-o-cha at Government House on 23 November 2021 to officially donate the second batch of COVID-19 vaccine from the US government. The Prime Minister was grateful to the US government for their donation. This reflects the true friendship between the two countries in difficult times. H.E. Mr. Heath stated that the US government is pleased and proud to support Thailand in coping with the COVID-19 epidemic so that the country can finally reopen and carry out effective economic activities. The donation is part of the US government's support to provide more than 2.5 million doses of vaccine to Thailand.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense was satisfied with the progress of Betong Airport construction in Betong District of Yala Province. The airport has been built according to the Stable, Prosperous and Sustainable Economic Triangle Project. With a passenger terminal of 7,000 square meters, it can accommodate 300 passengers per hour, or more than 800,000 people per year. Currently, there are services to support government sector and some private flights. It is expected that the airport will be fully operational in 2022, in line with Malaysia's opening-up early January next year, while supporting domestic tourism in Thailand as well.
The Department of Disease Control has advised that those who have been fully vaccinated with Sinovac or Sinopharm can get a booster dose 3-4 months after their second jab. Those who received mixed vaccines may also use the same guideline. The public is advised to consult with their doctor for an appropriate period to get the third dose.
There are some provinces in Thailand, especially some border provinces, that have been finding more than 100 positive cases per day. The Government is working to provide remedies and expand ATK testing capacity.
Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense is concerned about the continued increase of illegal migrant workers recently. He, therefore, instructed relevant agencies to integrate cooperation with security officials, police, and military to increase stricter measures to block the trafficking movement of migrant workers who smuggle into Thailand along the borders and through natural channels. One of the main causes of the problem is the shortage of labor in the factory, construction, and industrial sector. So, the Ministry of Labor has come up with a plan to legally import labor according to the MOU. The targets are migrant workers from three countries, namely Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. This will help employers have enough labor to work for them under the epidemic situation of COVID-19.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved the extension period of the enforcement of the Declaration of an Emergency Situation in all areas of the Kingdom for another two months, effective from 1 December 2021 to 31 January 2022.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) has notified all airlines about the Thai government's travel restrictions, including the entry ban on travelers from eight African countries, namely Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. These countries are now facing, or at risk of facing, the spread of the new coronavirus variant, known as Omicron.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has opened the COVID-19 vaccine registration for both Thais and non-Thai nationals aged 18 years and above to support the Smart Entry scheme for the safety of the public. The service will provide the first dose for those who have never received the vaccine before, as well as the second and third dose. The registration can be made via the QUEQ application from now on. If persons cannot register through the app, they may register at the vaccination site, Veth Sports Building 2, Bangkok Youth Center (Thai-Japan), in Din Daeng. The site opens from 08.00 to 16.00 hr. Those who wish to vaccinate as a group (ten people or more) may register in a form through the QR code. For more information, please contact the BMA Health Office at 0 2203 2883.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) aims to push wellness tourism and medical tourism to support the travel industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, in accordance with the Government's policies to stimulate the economy. TAT will adjust the strategy in the travel industry to the current situation and prioritize the development of quality services, which will add more value to the industry. In the meantime, the Ministry of Public Health also plans to drive Thailand's role as a medical hub, and it encourages the use of Thai herbs to support the local communities in attraction areas.
The Department of Medical Sciences has not yet discovered the Omicron variant from the samples collected since Thailand’s reopening to international visitors on November 1. All of the said samples comprised of the Delta variant and subvariants. And if the Omicron variants make their way into the country, the Department of Medical Sciences will quickly discover them as the variant identification process at 15 medical science centres nationwide is now being adjusted to focus on the Omicron variant. On 30 November, the Deputy Public Health Minister also urged the public not to panic, emphasising that the prime minister has ordered security agencies to intensify border surveillance to prevent illegal border crossings to help keep the virus at bay. Also, the government has instructed relevant agencies to monitor the situation closely. Measures will be reviewed based on new information coming in and tougher measures will be quickly considered if there is any urgent case.
Thailand’s Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha confirmed the Cabinet’s decision to maintain the RT-PCR COVID-19 testing for international arrivals under the Exemption from Quarantine (TEST & GO) entry scheme, averting the plan to change to an ATK method approved last Friday by the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) – also chaired by the Thai PM.
Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs and APEC SOM Chair, met with APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Chair and Thailand’s ABAC team to coordinate efforts and strengthen public-private collaboration for APEC 2022 THAILAND ahead of APEC Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting (ISOM) during 1-3 December in Phuket.
Mr.Thani Thongphakdi, APEC SOM Chair met with APEC Business Advisory Council & Thailand's APEC Business Team to coordinate efforts & strengthen public-private collaboration for APEC 2022 THAILAND ahead of APEC Informal Senior Officials’ Meeting (ISOM) during 1-3 December in Phuket.
APEC 2022 THAILAND supports local enterprises using sustainable products at the ISOM working dinner on 30th November 2021, featuring "Mae Ning" pineapple pies from Lampang, a local business under the “Palang Chumchon” (Community power) project by SCG.
The BANGKOK Metropolitan Administration (BMA) announced that from 1 December onwards, drinking alcohol at restaurants will be allowed to continue until 23.00 hrs. However, the entertainment venues will remain close until 31 December 2021 or any further notice. Meanwhile, Games, competition and other activities can now resume but the organiser needs to receive a permission from the Ministry of Public Health before any activities can be held.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) would like to provide an update on the latest announcement in the Royal Thai Government Gazette that further adjusted colour zoning for different provinces effective from 1 December, bringing the number of the ‘Blue Zone’ destinations from within 17 to 26 provinces and seeing more COVID-19 curbs being eased nationwide. This means nearly all businesses and activities in the Blue Zone destinations can continue to open with “New Normal” operations. These include all shopping venues, convenience stores, markets, cinemas and theatres, sports venues, hair salons and barbershops, massage and spa shops, beauty and aesthetic clinics, and tattoo shops. Restaurants and eateries can also resume normal opening hours. Meetings, events, and fairs can be also held normally with no limitation on the number of attendees.
The 252 Thais and foreigners from eight African countries, namely Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, who entered Thailand between 15 and 27 November 2021 are requested (1) to urgently undergo an RT-PCR test at any government hospital, free of charge, and send results to the Mor Chana app, and (2) to follow the COVID-19 prevention measures strictly. The aforementioned people are also requested to check their email address that they registered with Thailand Pass. Those who are within the scope of the free requested test will receive an email or they should contact 1422 for more information. Those who fail to comply with the measures will be in violation of Section 34 of the Communicable Diseases Act.
The Royal Thai Government has decided to extend the Emergency Decree nationwide for two more months until 31 January, 2022. The two-month extension takes effect from today, 1 December, 2021 – 31 January, 2022.
The Ministry of Public Health has announced that it will issue the e-Vaccine Passport for those who have been vaccinated in Thailand, free of charge. Anyone who wishes to be issued the e-Vaccine Passport may make a request through the "International Certificate" menu in the Mor Prom application on their phone. The QR code for the e-Vaccine Passport will be available within three working days after the request has been approved and can be scanned on the next day. The free service will be available between 1 and 31 December 2021. If you have any further questions, please send a message through their page at <http://www.facebook.com/Mohpromt>.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense stated on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities this year, 3 December 2021 that the government determines to make Thailand a "Society of Opportunity" for vulnerable groups, emphasizing "leaving no one behind.” Moreover, the government will try every effort to enable people with disabilities to have their rights, welfare, and assistance in a comprehensive manner. This year, the theme for International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 observed by the United Nations is “Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities toward an Inclusive, Accessible and Sustainable Post-COVID 19 World.”
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense agreed, in principle, on four areas at the Economic Situation Management Committee Meeting on the Effects of the Outbreak of Coronavirus on 3 December 2021. These include providing economic and investment incentives for highly potential foreigners, measures to promote investment in cloud service enterprises, measures to promote investment for technology businesses and startups, and finally measures to attract foreign film production companies to Thailand. The Prime Minister also mentioned that the goal of transforming Thailand is to increase the country's income, which requires cooperation between the public and private sectors. The meeting also noted that Thailand's GDP at year end can return to positive growth at 1.2 percent.
The Ministry of Public Health announced on 6 December that Thailand has detected the first COVID-19 Omicron variant from a traveler from Spain who is in the Test&Go scheme. Now, the majority of the COVID-19 variant in Thailand is Delta at 65.97%, while Alpha variant is 32.48% and Beta variant is 1.54%. The ministry is reaffirmed to the public that Thailand has strong and effective surveillance and screen measures to immediately detect and diagnose infected people. They also urge the public to keep following the Universal Prevention measure to protect themselves from the disease.
Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on 6 December 2021, is confident that the Thai public health system is capable of monitoring, preventing, and rapidly detecting people suspected of being infected with “Omicron” COVID-19 variant. Nonetheless, he reaffirmed that the COVID-19 that has spread in Thailand is still delta variant. The Ministry of Public Health and medical experts will closely monitor the development of the situation. In the meantime, there remains no change in guidelines or policies to deal with the disease.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, has been satisfied with the overall COVID-19 situation in the country. Currently the conditions in Thailand have improved continuously. On 8 December 2021, the number of new infections is 3,618, which is the lowest in three months. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that the government has no policy to lockdown the country again since it will affect the public.
The Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) revealed that Thailand’s industrial index portrayed favorable trend for the third consecutive month in November, as a consequence of the government’s economic recovery efforts. The FTI is anticipating the sentiment score to keep on heightening over the months to come. The Industries Sentiment Index (ISI) for November 2021 was at 85.4 points, indicating a 3-month consecutive growth from the relaxing COVID-19 conditions. Nonetheless, the private sector remains worried about the potential outbreak of COVID-19 cases and prefers the government to facilitate the inoculation of the second COVID-19 vaccine doses and boosters, while keeping disease surveillance measures high so that the spread of the Omicron variant can be prevented.
The PM 2.5 and PM 10 dusts throughout the country on 8 December 2021 are mostly acceptable and the air quality is generally in good condition. As for most areas in Bangkok and its vicinity, the air quality is also good, except for 11 areas where the PM 2.5 dust figures exceed certain criteria and can harm people’s health due to stable weather and heavy traffic. The affected areas in Bangkok include Khlong Sam Wa District, Krung Kasem Road of Pom Prap Sattru Phai District, Rama 3 Road in Yannawa District, and Phutthamonthon 1 Road in Taling Chan District. The concerned areas in the outskirts of Bangkok are Pak Nam Subdistrict of Samut Prakan Province, Mahachai Subdistrict of Samut Sakhon Province, and Nakhon Pathom Subdistrict of Nakhon Pathom Province.
Betong Airport was ready to welcome all visitors to the deep South of Thailand. The Ministry of Transport is accelerating the issuance of a public airport license for Betong Airport. The first airline seeking to operate at this airport is Nok Air, which intends to use the Q400 and the ATR 72 aircraft; each can accommodate 86 passenger seats. Betong Airport, located in Betong district, Yala province, will facilitate travel to and from the southern border provinces and boost the local economy and tourism.
Thaiand has been ranked 5th out of 195 countries, according to the 2021 Global Health Security (GHS) Index, conducted by John Hopkins Center for Health Security, while the first place goes to the United States, followed by Australia, Finland, and Canada. Thailand is also ranked number one in the Asian region. The key criteria of the index deal with the capacity of each nation to cope with epidemics and pandemics. The GHS Index shows that Thailand has an effective health care system and strong disease control measures to tackle the COVID-19. The country was ranked 6th in the previous GHS Index.
As of today, three cases of the Omicron Coronavirus variant have been confirmed, according to the announcement of the Ministry of Public Health. The first case was detected in a US citizen who had travelled from Spain and Dubai to Thailand and the other two were Thais returning from Nigeria. Until now, there has been no report of local outbreak involving the Omicron variant.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved shortening the period of the third dose, or booster dose, to tackle the COVID-19 Omicron variant, which is spreading across the world. The formula for the third dose is as follows: (1) Two doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm can be followed by AstraZeneca or Pfizer or Moderna, four weeks or more after the second dose; (2) two doses of AstraZeneca can be followed by Pfizer or Moderna, three months or more after the second dose; (3) two doses of Pfizer or Moderna can be followed by Pfizer or Moderna, six months or more after the second dose; (4) mixed vaccination of Sinovac or Sinopharm and AstraZeneca can be followed by AstraZeneca or Pfizer or Moderna, three months or more after the second dose; (5) mixed vaccination of Sinovac or Sinopharm and Pfizer can be followed by Pfizer or Moderna, three months after the second dose; (6) mixed vaccination of AstraZeneca and Pfizer can be followed by Pfizer or Moderna, six months or more after the second dose. CCSA urges the public to get a booster dose to help protect themselves from severe illness and fatality.
Bangsue Central Vaccination Center has opened for registration for the third dose (Pfizer) for those who have been vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine from vaccination centers nationwide. The service is available for those who have been fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca - AstraZeneca, Sinovac/Sinopharm - AstraZeneca, and Sinovac/Sinopharm - Pfizer, and who got the second dose at least three months ago. The registration may be made through the Thai mobile network, starting from 16 December 2021, and the vaccination will start from 18 December 2021 onward at the Bangsue Central Vaccination Center, from 09.00 to 17.00 hr daily.
The historic ruins of Ayutthaya were bestowed with ‘World Night View Heritage’ certification at the World Night View Summit in Nagasaki, Japan. The World Night View Heritage certification was created to recognise and honor places and events around the world that offer a beautiful night view and which are used to help promote tourism.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense delivered an address on the 75th Anniversary of Thailand's Membership to the United Nations (UN) through Radio Thailand on 15 December 2021. He stressed that he is proud that Thailand has actively participated in the missions of the three pillars of the United Nations. Thailand continues to support the UN by sending over 27,0000 military and police officers to participate in more than 20 regional peacekeeping missions. In addition, The country attaches its great importance to protect and promote human rights of its people especially the vulnerable groups. Moreover, Thailand is accelerating its efforts to achieve the 17 Key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 by adopting the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) as a driving guideline.
The Department of Disease Control (DDC) recently received the United Nations Public Service Awards (UNPSA) 2021 for the Department’s initiative titled “Intelligent and Sustainable Public Health Emergency System in Thailand," which enhances the response to emergency and health threats and seeks to achieve two Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely, Goal 3 and Goal 17. The winning initiative also helps increase Thailand’s reputation on institutional preparedness and response in times of health crisis, especially the Covid-19 pandemic.
Scientific research has proved that mixed COVID-19 vaccines are effective, according to Dr. Yong Poovorawan, Thailand‘s leading virologist. He revealed that the finding was brought out by the World Health Organization on the interim recommendations for heterologous COVID-19 vaccine schedules. The paper suggested combining vaccines such as those used in Thailand.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has permitted the public to have alcohol consumption on New Year’s Eve at open-air areas until 01.00 hr. on New Year’s Day. However, people still need to follow the “COVID-19 Free Setting” measures. According to the CCSA, provincial authorities are advised to remain tough preventive measures with screening procedures for those returning home in the provinces during the long holiday.
According to the Department of Consular Affairs, all travelers arriving in Thailand by air are required to register with Thailand Pass in order to travel into Thailand, effective from 1 November 2021. For those who have questions regarding Thailand Pass, the numbers are +66 2572 8442, +66 6 5205 4247, +66 6 5205 4248, and +66 6 5205 4249. The lines are open 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. You may also contact email@example.com for inquiries about your registration status. We would appreciate it if you do not send duplicate emails. This would cause delays in processing your inquiries, as well as others'. For people living overseas, please contact the Royal Thai Embassy or the Royal Thai Consulate-General nearest to you.
Thailand plans to cancel the Test & Go program and go back to the Sandbox and ASQ schemes, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. The announcement came on 20 December 2021 after it was found that several RT-PCR testing - first at the country of origin and later upon entry to Thailand - failed to detect Omicron cases. The proposal will be brought to the next meeting at the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).
Among the infection numbers, 18 cases are found within a group of pilgrims who went to Mecca, Saudi Arabia at the early of December this year. Of the 18 cases, 6 are of Omicron variant, 8 are delta variant, and 4 more are awaiting confirmation. All of them are being treated in a hospital. Currently, there is 1 case of a locally transmitted Omicron variant. In total, the government have detected 63 Omicron cases in Thailand. While the situation is still under control, CCSA would like to remind that all patients infected with Omicron are asymptomatic. Therefore, staying vigilant and practicing universal prevention measures are still important to help keeping you away from the virus.
During 1 – 19 December 2021, a total of 160,445 travelers entered Thailand. Of this number, the majority, or 138,181 travelers entered via the Test and Go, or Quarantine Exemption Scheme. 18,449 travelers entered via the Sandbox scheme, and 3,815 travelers entered with alternative quarantine. Top ten countries entering Thailand include Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, the U.S., France, Sweden, Singapore, UAE, Norway, and South Korea. Out of the total number of travelers, only 348 tested positive for COVID-19, or 0.22 percent.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has approved to increase COVID-19 vaccination centers for all nationals through "QueQ" application. The service will provide the first dose for those who have never received the vaccine before, as well as the second and third dose. The available vaccination places are as follows: Veth Sports Building 2, Bangkok Youth Center (Thai-Japan), in Din Daeng; 11 hospitals affiliated with the BMA; and 18 public health service centers and health offices. BMA will add more private hospitals in Bangkok areas and other sites in the near future. This action aims to facilitate the public to access the COVID-19 vaccination as much as possible to tackle the spread of the virus. For more information, please contact the BMA Health Office at 0 2203 2883.
Toll fees are being waived for drivers using motorways 7 and 9 from December 30th to January 3rd for the convenience of motorists during the New Year period. The sections on motorway Number 9 where tolls will be waived include the Bang Pa-in to Bang Phli stretch and Phra Padaeng-Bang Khae stretch. The fee waiver for both motorways will go into effect from 1 minute past midnight on December 30th to the end of January 3rd.
This New Year's Eve countdown festivities will be allowed to take place under the COVID-free setting guidelines, which include a vaccination requirement, Universal Prevention, health and hygiene measures, and antigen testing. All events must ensure that everyone is fully vaccinated. Events with at least 1,000 participants must also ensure that everyone has received a negative antigen test result 72 hours prior to the event. In all provinces, open-air restaurants with good ventilation will be allowed to serve alcoholic drinks during the New Year countdown until 01.00 hr on 1 January 2022.
The Board of Investment (BOI) presented the outcome of its investment incentive plans between January to November 2021 to Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha at a recent BOI meeting. At the same meeting, the increase of investment incentives and the promotion measure period in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) area has been approved to help expedite the recovery of Thailand’s economy. The premier also encouraged relevant organizations to try to bring in more businesses to the country. In addition, he emphasized on the public policy on Bio-Circular-Green Economic or BCG Model.
Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) ordered temporarily suspension of the Thailand Pass for all new TEST&GO and Sandbox applications (except Phuket Sandbox), effective from 22 December, 2021, citing the rising number of Omicron variant cases in the country. Travellers who have already received a Thailand Pass QR code (approximately 200,000 applicants) will be allowed to enter Thailand under the existing conditions of the scheme they have registered. However, the government will introduce new measures for contact tracing and will ensure all travellers be tested 2 times using the RT-PCR method. The second testing will take place at government-designated facilities (no additional cost).
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) provides the service for COVID-19 testing with ATK, free of charge, for four risk groups. There is a drive-thru location with ATK testing at the Bangkok Bus Terminal (Borommaratchachonnani Road or Sai Tai Mai) from now until 1 April 2022; also, 11 hospitals affiliated with the BMA will provide tests. The four risk groups include (1) elderly people aged 60 years old upward, bedridden patients, people with disabilities, and patients with seven chronic conditions (chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes, cerebrovascular disease, chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and cancer); (2) people who are suspected of having an infection (have a fever, cough, loss of taste or smell, and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath); (3) people who share a home with infected persons; and (4) people whose work involves health care in the community. Those who wish to test at the 11 hospitals affiliated with the BMA may self-evaluate through http://bkkcovid19.bangkok.go.th and book the queue directly with the hospitals.
Thailand's Food and Drug Administration has approved the Comirnaty vaccine by Pfizer for children 5-11 years old in order to protect them from COVID-19. Before this, the Pfizer vaccine was approved to boost immunity for children more than 12 years old. For 5-11-year-olds, the amount of given vaccine will be only 1/3 of that for the 12-year-old group (10 micrograms). Two doses are needed for full inoculation. The suggested interval between doses is 21 days.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has launched Air Pollution Clinics in four hospitals affiliated with the BMA to help members of the public whose health has been affected by PM 2.5. BMA has warned that during the week of 22-26 December 2021, the fine particles might increase because of the close weather and weak wind. There are seven districts under surveillance, namely Khlong Sam Wa, Ladkrabang, Din Daeng, Nong Khaem, Taling Chan, Phasi Charoen, and Thawi Watthana. They advise the public to check the weather before leaving the house, refrain from burning in the open air, use cars only when really necessary, and shorten the period of activities in the open air in the areas affected by PM 2.5. Those who have an illness from PM 2.5 may visit the Air Pollution Clinics for advice and treatment. The four hospitals affiliated with the BMA are as follows: Taksin Hospital, 0 2437 0123 (Monday, 08.00 - 12.00 hr); Sirindhorn Hospital, 0 2328 6900 (Tuesday, 13.00 - 16.00 hr); Charoenkrung Pracharak Hospital, 02 289 7198 (Wednesday, 13.00 - 15.00 hr); and BMA General Hospital (Klang Hospital), 0 2225 1354 (Thursday, 13.00 - 15.30 hr). The public may contact the health hotline at 1646 for basic health advice, around the clock.
According to the announcement of the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand issued on 1 December 2021, passengers are not allowed to wear masks with exhalation valves that can allow the virus to pass out of the mask via the wearer's breath, and they shall not be used on board while traveling on domestic and international flights during the COVID-19 pandemic situation. All persons are required to wear medical or fabric masks at all times while on board, except for a necessary or emergency situation.
Department stores, superstores, supermarkets, and retailers are required to show an item list inside a New Year’s gift basket together with weight or amount contained within each item. According to the Department of Internal Trade, the price of the basket and decorative materials must also be shown. Moreover, items to be expired in less than six months’ time must not be included in the baskets. In addition, if any items are damaged, the shops must accept the return of the items. Those who witness or experience with unacceptable practices of the sellers can report to the Department of Internal Trade at 1569.
The Thai government has a policy to encourage farmers to grow medicinal plants of high quality and standards, while upgrading the Thai herbal industry to high quality and standards. According to Prime Minister Gen.Prayut Chan-o-cha at the Opening Ceremony of the National Herb Fair on 22 December 2021 , Thailand is ready to push Thai herbs to be produced at the industrial level for export values and to compete in both domestic and international markets. This will help create jobs and generate sustainable income for farmers and communities. It will also attract tourists to visit health centers. In 2037, Thailand aims to be the world's leading exporting center of raw materials and herbal products or "World Herb Hub", as well as the center of excellence in traditional medicine.
Hospitals in Chonburi province have announced that they will open for inoculating persons with COVID-19 vaccine for those who live in the province, until 26 December 2021. There are two types of vaccines available, Pfizer and AstraZeneca. The first and second doses of Pfizer will be provided to those who are aged 12 years upward and people who have been infected and recovered from COVID-19 at least one month, while the third dose will be provided to those who have received two doses of Sinopharm, Sinovac, AstraZeneca, or a mixed formula of Sinovac+AstraZeneca or Sinopharm+AstraZeneca at least three months before. The first and second doses of AstraZeneca will be provided to those who are at least 18 years old and people who have been infected and recovered from COVID-19 at least one month, while the third dose will be provided to those who have received two doses of Sinopharm, Sinovac, or a mixed formula of Sinovac+AstraZeneca or Sinopharm+AstraZeneca at least three months before. The service has to limit the number of people per day. Some hospitals may require persons to register through their system, and some may have different conditions for vaccination; that is, all the possible shots may not be available at every hospital. Kindly contact the hospitals for more information.
Thailand was named ‘Best Honeymoon Destination’ for the second year in a row at the 10thAnniversary Edition of the Travel + Leisure India’s Best Awards 2021. Mr. Tanes Petsuwan, Deputy Governor for International Marketing – Asia and South Pacific, Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), said, “Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for Indian honeymooners and couples looking for an exotic getaway to celebrate special occasions and create cherished memories.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked authorities in charge to provide all Myanmar refugees who escape to Mae Sot District of Tak province with medical aid and food supplies. Nonetheless, no additional refugee centers will be established since all refugees will be sent back to Myanmar after the situation becomes better, according to the Premier. Meanwhile, authorities in Mae Sot district have increased security measures along the border and sent some field doctors to help injured refugees under serious disease preventive approaches.
Parking for Zone C at Suvarnabhumi Airport will be free from 00.00 hr. of 30 December 2021 until 00.00 hr. on 4 January 2022. The area can accommodate a total number of 718 cars. Shuttle service between the parking lot and the terminal is given every 15-minute interval. Over 590,000 passengers are estimated during 25 December 2021 and 5 January 2022, an increase of about 72 per cent from the same period last year, according to Airport Director Mr.Kittipong Kittikachorn.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) invites the public to join the holiday activities at Khlong Chong Nonsi Park (Chong Nonsi canal) from now until 5 January 2022. The canal has been renovated to increase the number of green areas in the business districts of Bangkok. The development is under the four concepts: (1) Green, (2) Canal, (3) People, and (4) Knowledge. The park aims to be a place that supports the quality of life for city people, where they can relax, exercise, and learn new things. The first phase, opened on 25 December 2021, has live music and an exhibition about the renovation of the canal, as well as a replica of the finished park, which is scheduled to fully open in January 2022. The special events at the park are open for the public to visit from now until 5 January, from 16.30 hr onward.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is providing the vaccination service for Thais and foreigners in Bang Khae district, free of charge, in the parking lot of The Mall Bang Khae on 27 and 29 December 2021, from 09.00 to 16.00 hr. The service is available for the first, second, and third dose of AstraZeneca. Those who are interested may register at the The Mall. The service will be able to inoculate up to 1,500 persons per day.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has urged that members of the public take an ATK test before and after joining festive celebrations during the New Year holidays. Event organizers and restaurants selling alcoholic beverages on New Year’s Eve are required to seriously abide by the COVID Free Setting standards and Universal Prevention measures.
Thailand’s COVID-19 alert was raised to Level 3 after Omicron COVID-19 cases in the country had increased from 104 to 514 recently. According to Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, COVID-19 new cases could be as high as 30,000 early next year if serious actions are not taken to stop the transmission, whereas the figure could become as low as 10,000 for the best-case scenario late January 2022. However, among the 514 confirmed Omicron cases, 90% were asymptomatic or shown mild symptoms. The Ministry of Public Health assured that at present 170,000 hospital beds and 15 million favipiravir pills are available, considered enough to deal with new cases.
Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense was delighted with the export numbers of the Thai agricultural products in 2021. The Ministry of Commerce reported that Thailand’s exports in November 2021 reached 23,647.9 million US dollars, an improvement of 24.7%, while the November’s trade balance saw a surplus of about 708 million US dollars. The export figure for the past 11 months totals 246,243.2 million US dollars, which is an increase of 16.4% with three major categories of agricultural, agro-industrial, and industrial products.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) plans to administer the fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine to medical personnel, frontline health workers, and patients with chronic conditions who take immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the rate of severe illness and fatality. The BMA also reminds the public to keep following safe hygiene practices, as the vaccine cannot prevent the infection 100% but it can reduce the risk of severe symptoms and death. They invite those who are in the scope of the aforementioned groups to get the vaccine when the appointment is available.
The Ministry of Public Health joins hands with the Ministry of Transport to launch the Antigen Test Kit testing for the public, free of charge, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, for those who travel to their hometown and come back to Bangkok. The service is available for Thais and foreigners at Mo Chit bus station and Hua Lamphong railway station from 28 December 2021 to 3 January 2022. Those who have a positive test will be retested with RT-PCR. Infected people will be transferred to have treatment, according to their healthcare rights, for example, Gold Card, Social Security, and other health insurance. The public may register by scanning the QR code, doing the risk assessment, and filling in the required information before making an appointment for the test.
People affected by the conflict near the Thai-Myanmar border are now in need of help, as emphasized by Army Chief Gen. Narongphan Jitkaewtae at a meeting at the RTA headquarters. Armed forces have been checking border areas and helping people crossing the border from Myanmar arrive in temporary camps. The army will also help send them home when the situation improves. In addition, the 14th Infantry Regiment has been asked to work in collaboration with relevant agencies to restore damaged establishments in the war areas. At the same time, the Royal Thai Army will push the Myanmar soldiers to be more careful with their actions through the Thai-Myanmar township border committee, especially when straying gunfire and explosive ordnance enter the Thai territory.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha sends his best wishes for the coming year. He also reminds the public to be vigilant during the New Year holidays by wearing a face mask, avoiding crowded places, and following the hygiene practices. The PM urges those who have not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine yet to vaccinate, while those who have reached the time period to get a booster dose are advised to vaccinate at the government's designated locations to protect themselves and help control the spread of the virus. It will also prevent the patient overload situation in hospitals.
Thailand has launched the new tourism concept for 2022, "Amazing Thailand, Amazing New Chapters,” with more amazing new experiences than ever before, under the "new normal.” In this concept, emphasis is placed on health care and safety. The Government assessed that consumer behavior had changed, so the tourism industry needs to adjust. A new tourism business model must be introduced, changing from quantity to quality in target groups, without depending heavily on certain markets. The business sector must introduce more technologies to offer tourism services, as online tourism is being widely used by many consumers, and this will also reduce risks of COVID-19 infection.
The Ministry of Public Health has stated that the Food and Drug Administration has already registered the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 5-11 years and is in the process of observing the willingness of both children and their parents. The ministry also shares concerns over children who haven't gotten the vaccine yet during the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Even though the hospitals for children are ready to support the patients if there are infections among small children, parents are advised to be highly vigilant before the vaccinations for small children are kicked off in February 2022.
Chinese authorities have reopened the Pingxiang land port in Guangxi autonomous region and will allow Thai fruit exports into the country from January 4-17, 2022. The reopening of the port is expected to help alleviate a situation where fresh Thai fruit exports - such as durians and longans - were being held at Dongxing border. This prompted exporters to request assistance from the Thai and Chinese governments.
As the number of people infected with Covid-19 is increasing due to the Omicron variant, the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) encourages you all to keep your guard up by getting vaccinated as soon as possible, keep a safe distance, wear masks, open windows, and clean your hands often.
Rajavithi Hospital has temporarily suspended its walk-in service for COVID-19 vaccination, from 6 January 2022 onwards, to improve the service system. Rajavithi Hospital will make an announcement when it is ready to resume its service. As for the persons who are registered and have received an appointment for vaccination with the hospital, they will be vaccinated according to their schedule.
The Department of Disease Control has stated that after the New Year holiday there is a rising of COVID-19 infections in many provinces of Thailand. They have advised the public who travel back from the high-risk provinces should observe their symptoms for 14 days, avoid gathering with others or visiting risked places, and keep following the hygiene practices. The ministry also asks those who recently travel to risk provinces and have to go to work at the office to test with ATK twice in the first week, the second test should apart from the first test at least 3 days. Those who have a positive test should isolate themselves and immediately go into the treatment process. For more information or advice about the COVID-19, please contact the DDC hotline at 1422.
After the New Year's celebrations, Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha kept a close eye on the COVID-19 situation. On January 7, 2022, a general meeting at the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) is expected to review some existing preventive measures and take appropriate action based on the situation. The CCSA will make its judgment based on the number of new cases and deaths, as well as the number of people who had experienced severe symptoms in the previous four weeks. Those in high-risk categories should get an inoculation or booster shot immediately, while those who have traveled or are at risk should practice self-isolation and take the COVID-19 test to prevent the disease from spreading.
The Department of Tourism, Ministry of Tourism and Sports has revealed that in the year 2021, Thailand generated the highest income from foreign film shooting in the last six years, from 2016 to 2021. There were 122 projects that had been filmed in the country in 2021, which generated 156.47 million USD or 5,007 million baht, while the film productions received 6.36 million USD or 220.77 million baht in cash rebates. Because of the Government's relaxed measures against COVID-19, and because it allowed filmmakers to resume filming around the country, many foreign filmmakers started using Thailand as the location for shooting their films. International film producers have continued to choose Thailand as a popular shooting location because of its attractiveness in terms of diverse geographical characteristics, historical sites, natural beauty, local cultures, and the hospitality of the people.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha has asked the public to be aware of the current COVID-19 situation in Thailand with no panic. Those who have received two injections of the COVID-19 vaccine before 1 November 2021 should go get the booster dose at a hospital nearby. Medical and front-line personnel, as well as high-risk groups, who have received three vaccine shots in the last three months, should receive a fourth shot to boost their immunity against the Omicron variant. In addition, the Premier has ordered relevant agencies to prepare the public health system to support the policy. At present, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has accelerated the preparation of personnel, nursing beds, drugs, medical equipment, and places to accommodate patients, particularly in 40 community isolation centers that can accommodate up to 5,066 beds.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has been placing infectious waste bins for the disposal of face masks and antigen test kits, in communities and at schools, temples, mosques, and public spaces. These dedicated bins have also been put in hospitals, sports centers, youth centers, and public offices under the jurisdiction of the BMA, as well as in markets and at the front of shopping centers. Infographics have been created to communicate the disposal method for used ATKs and face masks, so people are informed of the correct sorting and disposal practices for infectious waste. General infectious waste and COVID-19 infectious waste from Bangkok’s healthcare facilities, state quarantine sites, quarantine hotels, hospitels, field hospitals, and community isolation centers are collected by The Krungthep Thanakom Co., Ltd. The waste is then disposed of via incineration at the Nong Khaem and On Nut garbage processing facilities operated by the BMA.
The Medical Services Department has issued a set of guidelines to deal with COVID-19 Omicron variant cases, to ensure that those infected are provided with safe and timely treatment. The department has divided Omicron cases into asymptomatic, probable cases and mild cases. Mild cases may be isolated at home or in community facilities, and the severe cases must be hospitalized.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has prepared medical facilities and isolation centers to address new cases of Covid-19 patients, with more than 25,000 beds in, hospitals, field hospitals, and “hospitels.” According to reports from the Department of Medical Services, a total of 25,345 beds have been prepared by officials to take care of infected patients, with 2,922 in hospitals, 2,898 at field hospitals, and 19,525 beds from “hospitels” around Bangkok.
The Ministry of Public Health announced that it would elevate the COVID-19 alert to Level 4 to tackle the spread of the virus. They ask the public for cooperation to refrain from crowded places and social gathering activities, to travel only when necessary, to keep wearing a mask, and to follow the hygiene practices.
The Ministry of Public Health has asked the general public who traveled during the New Year holiday to self-monitor for symptoms for 14 days, and for businesses to adopt the “Work from Home” policy or require a screening antigen test before returning to office. The ministry advises that people who test positive for the virus, self-isolate at home or at a community isolation center, rather than seek hospitalization, particularly those who have mild to no symptoms.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, people who test positive using antigen test kits can call the National Health Security Office's 24-hour hotline 1330, to register for home isolation or community isolation services. Self-isolating patients will get essential medicines and three meals delivered to their homes daily.
The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved a new round of relaxed entry measures for international arrivals to Thailand, reopening 3 more Sandbox destinations – Krabi, Phang-Nga, and Surat Thani (only Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan, and Ko Tao) from 11 January, 2022 – in addition to Phuket.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha intends to encourage the use of sports tourism as "soft power" by making Thailand a world-class sporting destination. Thailand, for example, will hold the world's number one jet ski tournament, known as the WPG # 1 World Series" under the Thailand brand from 12 - 16 January 2022 in Pattaya. According to the Prime Minister, soft power generated by sports events is one of the government’s primary policies for attracting people from all over the world, particularly from Europe. The government places a high priority on assisting and encouraging the country's sports industry to thrive as a means of increasing economic value.
CCSA General Meeting today discussed that the prior restrictions for travelers from Africa will be lifted. Therefore, international travelers from all countries can enter Thailand while undergoing the same measures. From 11 January 2022 onwards, travelers can register to enter Thailand through Sandbox scheme via Surat Thani Sandbox, Phang Nga Sandbox and Krabi Sandbox which is an extension from the Phuket Sandbox scheme in order to reduce limited capacities for Phuket. For the Test and Go scheme, the registration under this scheme is still being suspended until further notice. However, those who have already received QR code can still travel to Thailand as scheduled under test and go measures. The CCSA will constantly adapt the measures as necessary including consider the time limitation for approved travelers under test and go scheme and we will inform you as soon as there are further updates.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that visitors leaving from African countries can register for the Thailand Pass to enter Thailand under the Sandbox scheme from 11 January 2022. The quarantine period under the Alternative Quarantine (AQ) plan will be reduced from 14 days to seven days for vaccinated people and 10 days for the unvaccinated. It is advised that visitors previously approved to arrive in Thailand under the AQ scheme who would like to change to another scheme must re-register on Thailand Pass.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has set-up 41 triage isolation facilities in Bangkok on Sunday, with combined accommodation for 5,158 patients. The permanent secretary of the city administration, Khachit Chatchavanich, inspected the triage centre in Dusit district yesterday, which will only accommodate children aged 5-12. Members of the public who come across such non-compliant venues can lodge a complaint with the district office, so that an investigation can be launched. If it can be verified that the venue in question is at risk of spreading the disease, the district chief officer is empowered to close it down for improvements.
At a video conference meeting of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) Policy Committee on 7 January 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha urged all parties involved to help raise public awareness about the benefits that will be realized from the implementation of the EEC under the government's policy. He also asked all agencies to help Thailand break out of the middle-income trap and become a higher-income country, boosting the country's GDP. Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated that the government seeks to address poverty in accordance with each group's needs and potential, particularly those who have potential but lack funds, those who require training prior to receiving funding, and those who are not ready at all. The Prime Minister reiterated that the government places a high priority on the development of the country's infrastructure in the global logistics system in order to establish a systematic link to all areas of the country, both land and water, as well as a rail system that will be linked to foreign countries.
Thailand is the finest retirement location in Asia and the 11th best in the world, according to Internationalliving.com's global retirement index for 2022. The rankings are based on a variety of categories, including the cost of living, food, medical costs, visa convenience, weather, things to do, tradition, and culture. Thailand has always been popular among retirees from all over the world because it not only offers beaches and other magnificent natural features, but also handy locations and friendly residents. The top three cities for retirees are Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Hua Hin in Prachuap Khirikhan province. Thailand is also known for its affordable and high-quality healthcare, which is one of the first things retirees look for when it comes to maintaining a healthy and secure lifestyle after retirement. Acquiring a long-stay visa is also simple. Among the top ten retirement destinations this year are Panama, Costa Rica, Mexico, Portugal, Ecuador, Colombia, France, Malta, Spain, and Uruguay.
The Ministry of Public Health will open a new COVID-19 testing site that will be available only on weekdays from 11 - 21 January 2022 in response to the increase of COVID-19 infections after the New Year celebrations. The service will be on the first floor of Car Park Building B at the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the center will use antigen test kits (ATKs) that can provide results in 30 minutes.
The National Health Security Office (NHSO), in cooperation with the Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University, has launched the COVID-19 active testing with ATK in the parking lot of Building B, Government Complex at Laksi district on 11-14 and 17-21 January 2022. The service is available for 1,000 persons per day as a walk-in service from 08.00 - 15.00 hr. The test result will be available in 30 minutes. If the result is positive, infected persons will be processed to the Home Isolation scheme (HI) with online check-up and advice, with the support of medicine, food, and necessary medical equipment at their residences. Patients whose symptoms are getting worse will be sent to have treatment at a hospital. Those who are infected with COVID-19 and have not been in the treatment process yet may contact the NHSO hotline at 1330 press 14, around the clock, or through their Line account at @nhso and @218qffqr.
The “Mor Prom” application is now available for foreigners residing in Thailand. Those who are vaccinated at least one dose of COVID vaccine can now view their vaccine related information on the Mor Prom application which is available on both App Store and Play Store. This effort is made possible by the Department of Disease Control and WHO Thailand. The Video Demonstration comes in four languages: Burmese, English, Khmer, and Laos.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha agreed with the recommendations and guidelines to turn Muay Thai boxing, the national martial art, into a significant soft power for the country, as offered by Gen Tanwa Thipyachan, Advisor to the Minister of Culture and the President of the World Muay Thai Alliance Association on 11 January 2022, at Government House. The idea is to establish a platform that covers all activities related to Muay Thai, such as Muay Thai training and competition, Muay Thai textbooks, and selling various equipment related to Muay Thai. This can create value, jobs, and generate income for Thai people in the country and help develop the art of Muay Thai to an international level. The Prime Minister stated that in any world-class fighting arena, there is always a blend of Muay Thai gestures. The Premier has directed that the Ministry of Tourism and Sports consult with relevant agencies to determine whether such recommendations are feasible to implement.
The National Vaccine Institute is inviting the public who have already gotten their second COVID-19 dose at least three months ago to get a booster dose to protect themselves from the disease. According to the studies of COVID-19 vaccination across the world, every type of COVID-19 vaccine can reduce the rate of severe illness, hospitalization, and death from the disease. None of the COVID-19 vaccines is 100% effective at protecting people from getting infected with the virus because, after we get a vaccination, the immunity in our body will naturally decrease, though slowly. It is necessary for the public to get a booster dose, especially during the spread of the mutant variants of the virus. The institute is advising that, besides getting a vaccination, the public should also follow the normal prevention measures by wearing masks, washing hands, and keeping a proper distance from others to help control the spread of the virus and reduce the chance of the virus mutation.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organization will sell three million antigen test kits (ATK) that have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for 35 baht per kit to help the public access the test kits more easily, because of the high demand for self-testing. The GPO is hoping to find more cases of infections and send patients to have treatment as fast as possible to cope with the widely spreading COVID-19. The ATK will be sold at eight GPO pharmacies in Bangkok from 14 January 2022, while online sales on www.gpoplanet.com will start from 17 January 2022 onward. The eight GPO pharmacies are the following: (1) Ratchathewi branch, in front of Ramathibodi Hospital, tel. 0-2203-8847 and 0-2203-8849; (2) Yot-se branch, beside the Huachiew Hospital, tel. 0-2222-5931 and 0-2225-6367; (3) Charan Sanitwong branch, tel. 0-2412-9377; (4) Thewet branch, near the Bank of Thailand, tel. 0-2282-0729; (5) Rangsit branch, near Simummuang Market, tel. 0-2536-3526 and 0-2536-4086; (6) Ministry of Public Health branch, 1st floor, Building No. 2, Department of Medical Services building, tel. 0-2951-0925 and 0-2590-6034; (7) Tropical Diseases Hospital branch, beside the Siam Commercial Bank, tel. 0-2354-9061; and (8) Government Complex Commemorating King Rama IX's 80th Birthday Anniversary, tel. 0-2143-8768. For more information, please contact the GPO call center at 1648.
Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit stated during a visit to the customs checkpoint at the Thai-Laos Friendship Bridge in Nong Khai province recently that Thailand is planning to negotiate logistics and freight transport with the Lao and Chinese governments. He also met with representatives from the northeastern business community and the Thai Chamber of Commerce, where he discussed the government's goal to leverage the logistics system to enhance fresh fruit exports and border trade between Thailand, Laos, and China. Minister Jurin also stated that the ministry is seeking to increase border trade between Thailand and Laos in order to mitigate the impact of the Laos-China high-speed rail project, which could jeopardize Thailand-Laos trade. At present, China has allowed only mineral, rubber, and cassava to be transported by train. Minister Jurin, on the other hand, promised to negotiate with the Chinese government for more items, such as Thai fruits, which will be harvested this year between March and May.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha has been satisfied with the number of students aged 12 and above currently vaccinated against COVID-19. According to the Ministry of Education, 4,317,337 out of 5,148,710 students, or approximately 84 percent, have registered for the COVID-19 vaccination. The Ministry also has a plan to administer vaccines to more than 5.2 million children aged 5–11 years in February 2022. It is now in the process of asking for parental consent for the vaccination. In addition, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) will put three million sets of ATK on sale to the public. The product will be available at Baht35 each in eight GPO branches from 14 January 2022 onwards, while online purchase can be made from 17 January 2022.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is enhancing its services in the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration Emergency Medical Service Center, or Erawan Center, to tackle the spread of COVID-19 in Bangkok. They are adding 30 more lines for its hotline 1669 and arranging more officers to stand by for incoming calls 24 hours a day. The center is cooperating with other organizations to accelerate the transferring of infected patients faster, from 150 people per day to 300 people per day. This action aims to transfer patients to the treatment process within one day.
Mr. Hagiuda Koichi, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) of Japan, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense on 13 January 2022. The Prime Minister was delighted that Thailand had been chosen to be the first country on his visit to Southeast Asia. It is also the first visit by a METI minister in five years, hence believed to help strengthen the strategic partnership between Thailand and Japan. In the area of investment and industrial development, the Prime Minister appreciated the Japanese private sector for their continued trust in the potential of the Thai economy. This can be seen from the fact that Japan has been Thailand's number one foreign investor and an important trading partner for decades. As for the industry and energy sector, the Prime Minister thanked the METI Ministry for its cooperation in enhancing the Thai industry by using digital technologies. Cooperation in this area will help both nations achieve energy sustainability goals and further reduce carbon dioxide emissions. On this occasion, both parties signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on the Realization of an Energy Partnership between Thailand and Japan. The Prime Minister is also grateful to Japan for its contribution to human resource development in Thailand. This will aid in the development of highly specialized skilled personnel in response to the development of high-tech industries, as well as long-term Japanese investment in Thailand.
Members of the public will be able to buy antigen test kits (ATKs) from the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) at 35 baht per unit starting January 14th. The locations for the 8 GPO branches are Ratchathewi head office branch,Yotse branch, Jaran Sanitwong branch, Deves branch, Rangsit branch, Department of Medical Services branch, Tropical Medicine branch, and The Government Complex branch. Online purchases are available at the website “gpoplanet.com” from January 17th onwards.
The state-run Transport Co has dismissed claims that it will suspend operations nationwide and has asked media outlets to refrain from spreading the misinformation to the general public. The remarks were made by Transport Co President in response to recent online rumors claiming that the company has announced a suspension on all routes beginning on 12 January. The company is currently collecting evidence and will take legal action against propagators of false news. The Transport Co also advises the public to follow updates directly from its website www.transport.co.th, its Facebook fanpage, or by contacting the company’s call center at 1490.
The Department of Disease Control has urged the public to be highly vigilant during the spread of the new COVID-19 variant. The symptoms of infected persons often have different levels of severity and there are usually complications, especially for the elderly and those who have chronic diseases. In some cases, the recovered patients may have "Long COVID" conditions, or the long-term effects of COVID-19 that last beyond the initial illness, which may occur during the first 1-3 months after recovery. In severely ill patients, the conditions may affect them longer, from 3 to 6 months. The Long COVID symptoms can manifest both physically and mentally. The physical symptoms are coughing, headache, fever, less perception of smell or taste, chest pain, tiredness, joint or muscle pain, and diarrhea. The mental symptoms are anxiety, attention deficit, and depression. The Ministry of Health reminds the public to strictly protect themselves by wearing a mask, frequently washing their hands, keeping a proper distance, and avoiding risky places.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs organized the APEC Workshop on "Enhancing Green MSMEs’ Competitiveness through Food Waste Reduction in the Supply Chain" via videoconference on 13-14 January 2022. During the two-day meeting, panelists from APEC member economies, as well as researchers and experts from relevant agencies, discussed key issues in modern technology, digital solutions, knowledge sharing, and PPP, as well as promoting awareness key to reducing food waste for food security.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Defense Minister, has issued a policy directing the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Tourism Authority of Thailand to launch the country's new tourism concept by January 2022, with the theme "Amazing Thailand New Chapter," and to develop "white tourism" in accordance with the BCG economic development concept to ensure tourism sustainability and safety. In addition, the government plans to impose a 300 Baht/person entry tax for arriving tourists, starting in the second quarter of 2022. The fee will be included in the airfare. Revenues will be utilized to develop and improve tourism attractions, as well as to cover the costs of travelers' insurance. The concerned agency will also determine the best method for collecting the entry fee for land travel. Tourism earnings is estimated to be between 1.3 and 1.8 trillion Baht this year, with about 800 billion coming from overseas visitors. If the scenario remains the same this year, with tourists primarily from Europe and the United States, five million tourists are predicted.
The Ministry of Public Health has stated that during the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant, members of the public who got the second jab three months ago or longer have been advised to get a booster shot to protect themselves from the virus. The recommendations for a booster dose are as follows: Sinovac+AstraZeneca should get AstraZeneca; AstraZeneca+AstraZeneca should get Pfizer; Sinovac+Sinovac or Sinopharm+Sinopharm should get Pfizer; and those who have been infected with COVID-19 and have had only one dose of vaccine or were fully vaccinated less than two weeks before getting the infection should get AstraZeneca. In addition, the public can use other academically certified formulas and use the available vaccine in their area.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense was satisfied with the significant progress in educational reform in Thailand. He believes that the improvement will have an important impact on the development of the Thai educational system to keep pace with the changing world. Such advances include the establishment of the “Fund for the Development of Higher Education,” which is aimed to systematically drive higher education institutions to support disruptive changes of the future world as well as developing human resources with modern knowledge. Moreover, cross-institution enrollment according to their interest will enable learners to access sources of knowledge and experiences from different institutions. This considers to be the integration and linkage of knowledge between educational institutes.
The vaccination centre at Bang Sue grand station in Bangkok has extended the free Pfizer vaccination service for people who have not yet had their third dose, after many subscribers missed out due to incomplete information or failed to meet the conditions. People who wish to receive the booster can subscribe from Friday onward through mobile phone providers such as AIS, True, Dtac and NT. Those interested in subscribing for the booster dose must have been inoculated with either AstraZeneca or Pfizer as their second dose. To take the booster shot, the second dose must have been administered at least 90 days prior.
The government's "Khon La Khrueng" or 50:50 co-payment subsidy scheme will be launched mid-February, to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 and relieve people's living costs. Registration will begin on February 14 and spending by registrants can be made on February 21. The scheme will also cover users of the Pao Tang application, new registrants, state welfare cardholders and those in need of special assistance.
The Dusit district office announced last week the official opening of the city’s first new community isolation centre, catered to young Covid-19 patients from across the city. The centre is located on Nakhon Chaisi Road in Kiak Kai sub-district. Reports from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration [CCSA] revealed that more than 1,000 new Covid-19 patients in the age group of 0 to 19, have been rising since December 1 to January 7. This has prompted the district to set up a special centre, specifically for the younger patients who will need special care than adult patients. Medical professionals working in the centre have been supported by Dusit’s 38th Public Health Office and Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health.
The Ministry of Public Health has announced that it will extend the free issuing of e-Vaccine Passports for those who have been vaccinated in Thailand to 31 March 2022. Anyone who wishes to be issued the e-Vaccine Passport may make a request through the "International Certificate" menu in the Mor Prom application on their phone. The QR code for the e-Vaccine Passport will be available within three working days after the request has been approved and can be scanned on the next day. The free service will be available until 31 March 2022. To register in the Mor Prom application, a 13-digit number is required. Non-Thai nationals will get this number after getting the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The number will start with "60." If you haven't got the number, please contact the vaccination place or 0961909462.
The Director of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife, and Plant Conservation’s foreign affairs division, said after the country submitted six Andaman national parks to UNESCO for world heritage site entitlement on December 18 last year, they had made way to the tentative list already. Thailand’s Andaman Sea Nature Reserves is located in Ranong, Phang Nga, and Phuket provinces covering Mu Ko Ranong, Laem Son, Mu Ko Surin, Mu Ko Similan, Khao Lampi-Hat Thai Mueang, and Sirinat national parks.
The Cabinet on 18 January 2022, acknowledged the results of the meeting of the Committee on the Integration of Railway Links Between Thailand, Laos, and China. The Ministry of Transport reported that at the above meeting, chaired by Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, on 13 January 2022, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) approved the construction plan of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) consisting of the first phase of the high-speed rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. The project is currently under construction and is expected to open for service in 2026. The second phase is between Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai. The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning (ONEP) is now conducting the environmental impact assessment (EIA), which is expected to be completed by the end of this year and should be open for service in 2028.
On 17 January 2022, Ms. Noeleen Heyzer, Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Myanmar, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defense. Ms. Heyzer expressed concern over the unrest in Myanmar and praised the Thai government's active role in pushing for peace in Myanmar and making progress in implementing ASEAN’s five consensus. She emphasized that the Prime Minister of Thailand has a good understanding of the situation. She welcomes all suggestions and is ready to cooperate with the Thai government to push for peace in Myanmar. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that Thailand is ready to support and take part in pushing for solutions to problems in Myanmar both in the context of bilateral relations and cooperation with ASEAN as well as the United Nations. However, he stressed that the issues in Myanmar are complex and, therefore, historical and ethnic aspects should be taken into consideration to truly understand the scope of the problem. The Prime Minister suggested that all problems be solved gradually with understanding. At the same time, trust building from Myanmar's leaders is also essential.
The Department of Disease Control is collaborating with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) to provide the second RT-PCR testing for all foreigners and Thai travelers under Test & Go scheme on Tuesday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. (limited to 100 persons per day). The service operates from 18 to 28 January 2022 at the Bangkok Art and Culture Center (BACC), Pathum Wan, Bangkok. Those who are interested may make an appointment at https://qrco.de/bchakm.
The Ministry of Education has revealed the COVID-19 vaccination timeline for children aged between 5 to 11 years (11 years 11 months and 29 days). It plans to start the first inoculation on 1 February 2022, while the second dose will be provided from 26 February 2022 onward. The ministry is in the process of observing the willingness of both children and their parents, including instructing the pros and cons of the Pfizer vaccination in small children to parents and related agencies. It is estimated that there are 5.2 million children in the scope for vaccination.
The Department of Health has disclosed the statistics of COVID-19 infections of pregnant women, postpartum women, newborn babies, and children aged 0-18 years between 1 April 2021 and 15 January 2022. There are 6,510 infected patients, including 300 babies, while there are 104 deaths from mothers and 62 deaths from unborn babies and those who died within seven days after birth. The department also shared the number of infections among children aged 0-18 years during the same period. There are 94,610 infections in children aged 0-5 years with 27 deaths, while children aged 6-18 years have 249,816 infections with 34 deaths. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health has urged members of the public who got their second jab three months ago or longer have been advised to get a booster shot to protect themselves from the virus. All vaccine formulas can protect the public from severe illness and fatality up to 90-100%. Even though three months after getting the second dose the protection rate will decrease, a booster dose can help prevent infections and control the spread of the virus. The ministry is also in the process of observing the willingness of both children and their parents to have COVID-19 vaccination in children aged between 5 to 11 years (11 years 11 months and 29 days). The first inoculations in small children will start on 1 February 2022, after schools nationwide send the list of students who wish to vaccinate to the Ministry of Education.
The Public Health Ministry approved plans to administer a fourth Covid-19 jab in February to people living in the 10 tourism pilot provinces namely Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phang Nga, Bangkok, Chonburi, Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, Kanchanaburi and Pathum Thani. Initially reserved for medical personnel and high risk persons, Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, stated that 4th jabs will be extended to cover the public. Opas said a fourth AstraZeneca jab is recommended for those whose first two jabs were Sinovac and third AstraZeneca, while a Pfizer booster is recommended for those who received two AstraZeneca jabs and a Pfizer booster. People who received their third jab more than three months ago are eligible to get a fourth jab in February.
Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has confirmed the Kingdom’s readiness to chair the upcoming summit, calling it an important opportunity for Thailand to explore economic opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. During the summit, participants from 21 member economies will participate in policy-making or ministerial-level discussions, as well as minor meetings with public officials, private sectors, and media from across the world to assess activities and discuss policies to push the economy forward. The spokesperson urged the public to assist in providing hospitality and cooperation as the host of APEC 2022 so that Thailand can achieve sustainable economic growth to the benefit of everyone in the country, particularly small- and medium-sized businesses.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Defense Minister, has kept a close eye on the PM 2.5 issue, which is on the Government's national agenda, as well as the response plans. According to the Department of Pollution Control, PM 2.5 levels are expected to rise in 17 Northern provinces, as well as Bangkok and its vicinity, from 25-28 January 2022, due to close weather and a decrease in wind speed. People are being asked to take precautions by limiting their vehicle use and fine particulate-induced activities, wearing face masks at all times, and not burning stubbles or materials in open areas. Moreover, the Prime Minister is concerned about the health of the Thai people, particularly those in vulnerable categories. With the Chinese New Year approaching, he requested that people refrain from burning joss paper and instead use shorter or electrical incense sticks.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is going around the city to conduct testing from January 22 to 31 on those who may be at risk of COVID-19 infection. According to BMA Permanent Secretary Khajit Chatchavanich, the authority aims to contain the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant. At the testing spots, ATKs will be used to secure results within 30 minutes. Those who are found positive will then undergo an RT-PCR test for confirmation. Those who test positive using the RT-PCR test will receive treatment either at home, in community isolation, at a field hospital, or a regular hospital, based on their severity. Those who want to get tested can show up at their local testing center with their ID card and a blue pen. Everyone is required to strictly follow the DMHTTA measures to protect themselves from infection and not spread it to others.
Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, has provided the most recent update on the legalization of cannabis and hemp, stating that the Ministry of Public Health has completed all necessary processes, with the Narcotics Control Board's approval still needed. He claims that the legalization of these plants focuses on health and medical applications as opposed to recreational usage, and that the importation of cannabis plants, with the exception of cannabis seeds, remains illegal. The Food and Drug Administration's proposed law to regulate cannabis and hemp specifically bans recreational use of these plants. He also urged relevant agencies to take steps to avoid cannabis abuse, such as the implementation of THC measuring devices. Any product with a THC content greater than 0.2 percent is illegal.
At the end of the official visit to Saudi Arabia between 25 -26 January 2022, at the invitation of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense of Saudi Arabia, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, appreciated the work of all relevant agencies that had led to the success of this historic journey. It is the first visit by a government leader from the two countries in more than 30 years. The visit was considered the most successful in ushering in a new era of Thai-Saudi relations. The premier is confident that the restoration of bilateral relations between the two kingdoms will continue to bring the mutual benefits of both parties in all aspects and at every level. He emphasized that bilateral relations would result in many opportunities for trade, investment, labor, tourism, and tourism. The Prime Minister has asked related agencies to take immediate action to establish a consultation mechanism and coordinate closely to achieve the goals in key strategic areas soon.
The Department of Mental Health has signed an MoU with the Department of Children and Youth to develop the "One House One Hospital" model for supporting children and youth who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The project will facilitate cooperation between children and families and rest homes and hospitals in every province to take care of their psychosocial needs. There are 391 children who have lost their parents because of the pandemic since August 2021, which is the first movement of the departments' cooperation. So far, they have been able to help 246 children, or 63%, to have better mental health. They also launched mobile units to do active mental health care for children and young people, to make sure that the target groups can access the service more easily. In addition, they are ready to support children and adolescents who have been affected by the COVID-19 situation via the application "Children Protection" and the Line application account "SAVEKIDSCOVIDS-19," including arranging foster families.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) will be hosting a discussion on, “Driving Post-COVID Economic Recovery as APEC Host Economy 2022” on Monday, 31 Jan at 6:30 pm. The panel discussion aims to introduce Thailand’s APEC host year as well as closely examining its theme, priorities, and expected key deliverables. Details of the upcoming first APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting, or SOM1, which will be held virtually next month will also be shared. This session will be livestreamed through the FCCT Facebook (Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand - FCCT | Facebook)
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, as the Representative of His Majesty the King, will be conferring the Prince Mahidol Award for the years 2020 and 2021 at the Chakri Throne Hall, Grand Palace today, Thursday, 27th of January at 5:30 pm. The Prince Mahidol Foundation received a total of 44 nominations from 18 countries of which 2 were selected to receive the Prince Mahidol Award 2020. Please tune in to a live broadcast of the ceremony at 1) Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/nbtworld, 2) http://thainews.prd.go.th/en/live, or 3) Youtube Channel NBT World.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, asked the Ministry of Labor to expedite the recruitment process of potential Thai workers to work in Saudi Arabia after his official visit to Saudi Arabia between 25 - 26 January 2022. On this trip, Mr. Suchart Chomklin, Minister of Labor, had bilateral discussions with Mr. Ahmad Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Human Resources and Social Development. Both parties are willing to push forward labor cooperation, especially in the service sectors, including the hotel and health care businesses, as well as the construction industry on large-scale projects. The Department of Skill Development, Ministry of Labor, and the labor office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, will be the main coordinators with the Saudi Arabia to put the results of the discussions into practice. They will recruit Thai workers to work in accordance with the needs of Saudi Arabia. The Prime Minister emphasized that the recruitment of Thai workers must be done immediately. He also reiterated that concrete results must be achieved within 2 months to provide opportunities for potential laborers to work in Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office, acknowledged on 27 January 2022 that the government has always been committed to solving corruption problems and enforcing the law seriously. Although Thailand's Corruption Perceptions Index scores, or CPI, for 2021 have dropped, with a score of 35 points based on nine assessment sources, the overall performance of the relevant agencies is progressing and becoming more concrete. This is an important step in building a corruption-free society. He, however, pointed out that with all the nine assessment sources, Thailand has improved one of the nine assessment sources, namely the Varieties of Democracy Institute (V-DEM), which measures the diversity of democracy, checks and balances of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, as well as corruption of officials in these three areas, with Thailand scoring 26 points, a six-point increase from 2020. The spokesperson finally concluded that the government has taken important steps to address problems and prevent corruption by identifying corruption as a national agenda item. The 2021 CPI score was published by Transparency International or TI.
The Ministry of Public Health has announced it would reschedule the Thailand International Health Expo 2022 to 17-20 March 2022 at Royal Paragon Hall, Bangkok. The event aims to present the medical and public health success in Thailand and the world-standard management of the Ministry of Public Health, to reassure the public on the readiness of Thailand to welcome foreign business people and investors during the COVID-19 pandemic. The expo will be held on the 5th floor, Royal Paragon Hall, Bangkok, 10.00-20.00 hr, together with an online platform at www.thailandhealthexpo.com.
Following an official visit to Saudi Arabia on 25-26 January 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha urged relevant agencies to act immediately. They are encouraged to keep discussing how to promote the Thai-Saudi Arabia tourism industry. Both parties decided to place a high emphasis on the importance of relationships among their people. This will serve as the cornerstone for the two kingdoms' increasing connection and will result in actual efforts to promote tourism collaboration. There will also be prospects for labor exchange, as well as opportunities for Thai people with high potential and skills to work in Saudi Arabia's tourism and service industries.
On 29 January 2022, a special charter flight carrying 78 passengers from Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport arrived at Betong Airport for the first time. The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) recently approved a license and certification that will allow commercial flights to and from the airport. Commercial airlines and the Ministry of Transport are actively negotiating arrangements. It is expected that February, Betong Airport will be fully available to the general public and tourists. With a budget of 1.9 billion baht, construction began in 2016. The airport was supposed to open in 2019, however, the COVID-19 epidemic forced it to be postponed. As a result of greater connectivity between the province and the rest of the country, the Betong Tourism Association expects the number of visitors to jump from 200,000 to 400,000-500,000.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, has been monitoring the overall COVID-19 situation in Thailand. The infection statistics of the Omicron strain from late last year to present have remained stable. He said that the situation is still manageable at a favorable level. The death to infection ratio is relatively steady. Patients have access to medical care with sufficient beds and medical supplies. At the same time, the government is able to provide vaccines to the target groups, including the vulnerable group of 608. It is therefore believed that the Thai people will be able to live with COVID-19 while continuing their economic activities.
The Ministry of Commerce has unveiled a plan to promote Thai digital content through workshops and campaigns, with the goal of heightening Thai culture and soft power on the international stage. The first campaign this year kicks off with a content pitching event, with Thai content creators able to strike deals with big streaming platforms such as Netflix, WeTV, iQIYI, and Viu. The Ministry of Commerce intends to position Thailand as a regional leader in digital content with this program. Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit stated that the Ministry will assist the international export of digital material to a wider audience. It is estimated that the event will be worth 300 million baht. The Department of International Trade Promotion was also directed to establish future plans and report on the results of promotional events throughout 2022.
All 25,000 airport workers at Suvarnabhumi Airport are expected to receive their 4th COVID-19 vaccine shots by the end of March as the "Test & Go" scheme will resume on 1 February 2022. According to director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, staff are being randomly tested weekly using antigen test kits (ATKs). Suvarnabhumi Airport welcomed a total of 381,871 people from 1 November 2021 to 29 January 2022. Of the total arrivals, 317,754 came under the Test & Go scheme while 22,918 arrivaled via the Sandbox program, 30,418 under the seven-day quarantine program, 9,950 through the 10-day quarantine scheme, and 831 under 14-day quarantine program. The airport also prepared taxis and limousines with SHA Plus certification to take passengers under the Thailand Pass program to their hotels in case they do not have sufficient transport services.
The Thai economy will develop at a rate of roughly 4.0 percent in 2022, according to the Ministry of Finance's forecast. This will undoubtedly contribute to increased national and household income. It will be fueled by economic stimulus measures, which include the 3.1 trillion baht state budget, the 307 billion baht state enterprise investment budget, and the Loan Act, as well as increased exports, tourism, and foreign investment. To strike a balance between economic mobility and public health safety, the implementation will be closely monitored. Furthermore, economic stability must be maintained within the 1.0%–3.0% annual inflation target set by the government and the Bank of Thailand.
The Prime Minister, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, was satisfied with the overall result of the registration of "Test & Go" on 1 February 2022, which was the first day of the scheme. There were more than 23,000 people who signed up for the program, More and more registrations are expected. He urged that all agencies act in accordance with the policy and take care of tourists under strict public health measures. This policy will certainly stimulate the Thai economy and help recover the tourism and service industries, he believes.
The Ministry of Public Health has disclosed that, after they vaccinated over 150 children aged 5-11 years with Pfizer vaccine for children on 31 January 2022, so far, Most children have shown normal conditions, even though they have some of the seven underlying conditions. Some had slight fever or felt soreness at the vaccinated spot, which is a normal symptom that may happen. There are no important symptoms that parents should be concerned about. The vaccination for children with underlying conditions is carried out under the supervision of pediatricians; parents who are interested in vaccinating their children may contact the hospital near their residence to make an appointment. Meanwhile, the Department of Disease Control is distributing the Pfizer vaccine for children nationwide, and vaccinations in schools are in the process. The children's vaccination depends on the willingness of children and their parents.
On 2 February 2022, Mr. Remco Johannes van Wijngaarden, Ambassador of the Netherlands to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of his taking office. The Prime Minister mentioned that the Netherlands is the number one investor in Thailand among the European Union. The Ambassador of the Netherlands agreed that both sides could drive more trade and investment. The Netherlands is ready to cooperate with Thailand on sustainable development and a green economy. The Prime Minister discussed the idea of a Bio-Circular-Green Economy, or BCG, which is in line with the expertise of the Netherlands. The premier also proposed expanding cooperation between the Netherlands' Food Valley and Thailand's Food Innopolis, where the Netherlands plans to establish the Global Coordinating Secretariat of the Food Innovation Hubs (GCS). Meanwhile, the Netherlands is ready to exchange knowledge with Thailand, especially in agricultural technology.
The National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) has succeeded in inventing a simple self-testing kit for COVID-19: ATK "NanoCOVID-19." The NanoCOVID-19 Antigen Rapid Test is an extension of the knowledge base from the influenza virus screening kit, together with nanotechnology-responsive materials and sensor systems. This test comes in two types: ATK Professional Use for healthcare professionals and ATK Home Use for the general public. The invention of this ATK test kit could help address the spread of COVID-19, which has caused Thailand to import massive numbers of ATK test kits from abroad, resulting in problems with price and quantity. Extending the body of knowledge has made it possible for Thailand to finally export ATK test kits to the global market.
Due to the comparatively stable COVID-19 situation in Thailand at present, many government and private agencies will return to work on-site next week. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education has prepared for the opening of on-site learning in schools. Therefore, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha asked all parties to be ready and strictly follow the public health measures. Furthermore, relevant agencies, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Public Health, have been urged to jointly discuss and work in close collaboration to prepare a contingency plan to support the COVID-19 situation as well.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, chaired the Board of Investment (BOI) meeting on 3 February 2022 via video conferencing. The meeting approved the improvement of measures to promote investment in the agricultural sector and open a new type of business. The meeting also noted the number of requests for investment promotion in 2021 with a total value of 642,680 million baht. The Prime Minister asked BOI to follow up on the development of the agricultural sector and make it to be more comprehensive, especially land management to meet the market needs. The premier also suggested that there be more investment promotion in certain areas by making use of existing agricultural potential, as well as quality cosmetic products, biodiversity, and soft power. Furthermore, he urged that the BOI examine and strengthen investment promotion measures, rules, and circumstances in light of the current scenario in order to encourage investors to trust in Thailand’s potential.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has announced seven new vaccination places outside the hospitals in its area. The vaccination is for people aged 18 years and above of all nationalities. The seven locations are the following: (1) Central World, (2) Thai PBS, (3) Kluaynamthai Hospital (cooperating with Thanya Park), (4) Central Rama III, (5) Central Pinklao, (6) Central Festival Eastville, and (7) Robinson Lat Krabang. All vaccination places require pre-registration via QR code or QueQ application.
Thai Airways International's Chief Operations, Lt.JG Supoj Charoensuk, revealed that the Thai national flag carrier has been providing a Goods-in-Cabin service to accommodate demand for cargo that requires special handling. The service prioritizes the safety of the goods as well as the efficiency of the transportation. By employing the cabin as additional storage, the airplane can carry more goods. As a result, it's ideal for transporting sensitive items including drugs, medical equipment, food, and computer components. It is expected to assist the airline in generating significantly more income. The Thai Fresh Fruit Traders and Exporters Association is one of the first clients to express interest in the service.
Labor Minister Suchart Chomklin revealed that 90,071 migrant workers have been requested by business operators since Thailand opened registrations for employment requests for workers who will enter the country under the MoU signed with Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos in December 2021. According to the ministry, a total of 1,349 employers requested foreign employees. Out of this, 72.2% requested workers from Myanmar, whereas 20.9% preferred those from Cambodia, and 6.8% asked for workers from Laos.
Mrs. Eva Hager, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Thailand, paid Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha a courtesy call on the occasion of the conclusion of her term as Ambassador of the Republic of Austria to Thailand. She was glad that the two countries worked well together in a variety of sectors. Thailand is willing to share its experience in adopting COVID-19 control measures with Austria, according to the Prime Minister. Both sides agreed that there is still room for Thailand and Austria to further their collaboration, particularly in trade and investment. Finally, Gen. Prayut asked Austrian business operators to invest in the EEC in three high-potential industries: digital and 5G technology, health and wellness, and intelligent logistics and transportation.
Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center has opened the registration for the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 9-11 years (born between 1 March 2010 and 31 December 2013). Children who are interested in being vaccinated should be in non-formal education or not have received any COVID-19 vaccine before and must have permission from their parents. The center will provide an orange cap vial of Pfizer vaccine for children. The registration starts from 8 February 2022 onward and the inoculation will take place from 14 to 28 February 2022 at Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center from 09.00 to 16.00 hr (Entrance 1). Those who are interested may register through the mobile networks listed here: AIS, DTAC, True, NT. The registration for children born from 2014 onward will be opened again in the next phase, according to the Ministry of Public Health's announcement.
On 10 February 2022, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, chaired the meeting of the Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Committee via videoconferencing. He stated that the way to promote small and medium enterprises, or SMEs, is to help SMEs enter the system as much as possible, hence allowing SMEs access to government assistance easily. The Prime Minister has also urged the investigation of SME operators involved in price fixing and insider trading. In addition, it is necessary to provide assistance to SMEs to continue their businesses by helping those with difficulties to return to business with consultation through the Business Development Service. Meanwhile, SMEs should be encouraged to use digital technology to improve operational efficiency in both manufacturing process management and e-Commerce sales.
On 10 February 2022, H.E. Mr. Jaroslav Auxt, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Thailand paid General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, a courtesy call on the occasion of his appointment as Ambassador to Thailand. Both sides agreed that there are several opportunities for commercial and investment collaboration between Thailand and the Slovak Republic at this time. The prime minister intends to improve the quantity and economic value of commerce between the two countries. More investors from the Slovak Republic are being encouraged to participate in Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), particularly in the three high-potential industries that Thailand is now promoting. Slovak investors can use Thailand as a manufacturing base and distribute their products to the ASEAN market. The Thai-Slovak Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JEC) should be re-established at a high representative level to serve as a route for expanding economic cooperation and supporting Thai-EU FTA discussions. The Slovak Republic's Ambassador said that he is willing to fully support the negotiations and believes that the Thai-EU FTA will benefit both multilaterally and bilaterally.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, thanked the US Government and Mr. Michael Heath, Chargé d' Affaires a.i. of the US Mission in Thailand, for donating additional COVID-19 diagnostic and vaccine delivery supplies worth over $1.5 million or about 49.5 million baht to aid Thailand's fight against the virus. This symbolizes the two countries' friendship and close ties, as well as the governments of Thailand and the United States' shared commitment to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Reagents for Real-Time RT-PCR diagnostic tests, next-generation sequencing for variant detection, vaccine delivery materials, and personal protective equipment are among the supplies donated on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Up to now, the USAID has provided more than $12.4 million or around 409 million baht in COVID-19 assistance and ongoing support to Thailand's diagnostic capability for emerging infectious diseases with pandemic potential.
Dr. Yong Poovorawan, Director of Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine's Center of Excellence in Clinical Virology revealed that following two initial injections of AstraZeneca with the same vaccine does not give a significant boost in COVID immunity. He noted that the procedure, termed "Triple A," has fewer effective results because the immunity produced by two AstraZeneca doses diminishes with time. Immunity increases by "one log scale or a bit higher" after receiving an AstraZeneca booster dose than after receiving two doses of the vaccine. According to Dr. Yong, a study conducted by his office yielded the same results as the one conducted by Oxford University. He therefore advised people to have an mRNA booster shot, which would enhance their immunity by two "log scales," while the Triple A regimen would boost immunity by one.
H.E. Mr. David Daly, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, on 11 February 2022, paid a courtesy call to General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of his appointment as Ambassador to Thailand. The Prime Minister thanked the European Union for accepting the Thailand Digital Health Certificate on the "Mor Phrom" system as a travel document in Europe, equivalent to the EU Digital COVID Certificate (EU DCC), which is very useful in international travel. Both sides discussed important cooperation issues to build cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region of the European Union. Thailand is willing to participate in the strategy to drive important agendas that are now challenging in the international arena. Both parties also agreed on a partnership between each other. By discussing the framework agreement on the Comprehensive Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), both sides emphasized the importance of the Thai-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA). They will speed up the negotiations and establish the target level of the FTA soon.
H.E. Ms. Muna Abbas Mahmood Radhi, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Bahrain to Thailand, on 11 February 2022, paid a courtesy call to General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of her appointment as Ambassador to Thailand. Both agreed that promoting trade and investment is one of the most important agendas for economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. It is hoped that the two sides will continue cooperation in trade and investment, including in food security. Thailand and Bahrain are delighted that the Thai Shopping and Service Center, or Thai Mart, in Bahrain opened in early 2021 as a mechanism to promote trade between the two nations and help push Thai products to be better known in Bahrain and the Middle East. The Ambassador of Bahrain hopes that Thailand will encourage the Thai private sector to invest more in Bahrain, especially in the manufacturing sector. tourism, and health. Bahrain's continued support for Thailand in the international arena, particularly through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as assistance with challenges in Thailand's southern border provinces, was appreciated by the premier.
Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center has announced that it would provide three types of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for a booster dose (third and fourth dose): intramuscular (muscle injection) at 30 mcg per dose, intramuscular at 15 mcg per dose, and intradermal (outer layers of the skin) at 10 mcg per dose. According to studies in Thailand and abroad, a half dose of intramuscular injection and intradermal injection has the same effectiveness as a full dose of intramuscular injection but will have fewer side effect symptoms but more pain at the vaccinated spot. Those who wish to get a half dose of intramuscular or intradermal vaccine should register with the Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center and inform the officer at entrance 2 on the vaccination day.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has complimented and congratulated two Thai medical persennel, Prof. Dr. Prakit Watisathokkit and Dr. Paisan Ruamwiboonsuk, who earned accolades from the World Health Organization (WHO), for their outstanding services to society. Dr. Prakit received the Dr. Lee Jong-wook Award from the No-smoking Campaign for his empirical work recognized both nationally and internationally. Meanwhile, Dr. Paisan, an ophthalmologist at Rajavithi Hospital, was awarded the Sasakawa Health Prize for developing a diabetic retinopathy screening procedure. As a result, people now have easier access to diabetic retinopathy medicines, and the number of diabetic retinopathy-related blind patients in Thailand has fallen dramatically. The Prime Minister praised the two medical personnel for their dedication, which has earned the country a good reputation. Both of them will receive the prizes at the 75th session of the World Health Assembly in May 2022.
After the announcement to officially delist cannabis and hemp as narcotic substances, effective 120 days from the date of publication in the Royal Gazette on 9 February 2022, the Ministry of Public Health has stated that many community enterprises offered training to educate people about the use of cannabis and hemp. Many respondents expressed an interest in learning more about the applications of these plants, indicating that they are receptive to the legalization of cannabis and hemp. The Ministry of Health also intends to hold medicinal cannabis academic conferences across the country, with three main target groups: patients, the general public, and entrepreneurs. Medical cannabis developments will also be showcased during the events. In addition, there will be an integrated cannabis clinic as well as a cannabis-hemp festival. One of the government's urgent policies, according to Traisulee Traisornkul, Deputy Spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office, is research and development studies on the use of cannabis and hemp as medical plants. The government has currently legalized cannabis and hemp medications in order to create jobs and produce revenue for the people.
During 1 – 13 February 2022, 78,793 travelers entered Thailand. Of this number, 39,277 travelers continued to enter via the Test and Go, or Quarantine Exemption Scheme. 33,550 entered via the Sandbox scheme, and 5,966 entered with alternative quarantine. Among the total number of travelers, 2,351 or 2.98% tested positive for COVID-19. The majority of international travelers come from these top ten countries of origin during 1-13 February 2022, namely, Russia, Germany, the UK, France, Singapore, UAE, Austria, Kazakhstan, Sweden and Israel.
According to the Deputy government spokeswoman, the government is planning to reopen the Thai-Malaysia border next month to stimulate tourism and the economy in the deep southern provinces. The Prime Minister has ordered the CCSA and the tourism and sports emergency operation centre to prepare and outline pandemic mitigation measures for the reopening of Southern border checkpoints in Songkhla, Yala, Narathiwat and Satun. Following the government's policy to open a travel bubble with Malaysia, tourists from the neighbouring country will be allowed to enter under the Test and Go scheme with no quarantine upon arrival. However, visitors will still need to pass two RT-PCR tests after arriving in Thailand. The CCSA will keep updating on this issue.
The Department of Mental Health has launched the project to urge the public to get vaccinated their whole family to help protect them from the spread of COVID-19. Recently, the Ministry of Public Health started vaccinating children aged 5-11 years with Pfizer vaccine for children with underlying conditions on 31 January 2022, while the children vaccination nationwide in school is in the process.
The Department of Disease Control has reassured the public that Five vaccine formulas available in Thailand for children aged 5-17 years are safe and effective. All vaccine formulas have been advised by the Subcommittee on Immunization, the Royal College of Pediatricians of Thailand, and the Food and Drug Administration to ensure the safety of children. All five formulas are: (1) Two doses of Pfizer (orange cap) for children aged 5-11 years. The distance between doses is eight weeks; (2) Mixed vaccine of Sinovac and Pfizer (orange cap) for children aged 6-11 years. The distance between doses is four weeks; (3) Two doses of Pfizer (purple cap) for children aged 12-17 years. The distance between doses is three to four weeks; (4) Mixed vaccine of Sinovac and Pfizer (purple cap) for children aged 12-17 years. The distance between doses is four weeks; and (5) Two doses of Sinovac for children aged 6-17 years. The distance between doses is four weeks. The formula (5) is for those who are concerned about the side effect of the mRNA vaccine or have an allergic reaction to the mRNA vaccine. This formula may be less effective to protect them from the Omicron variant, so the ministry advises them to get a booster dose with Pfizer after the second dose of four weeks.
Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center has opened to provide booster doses of COVID-19 vaccine, or the third dose, from 17 February 2022 onward at entrances 2 and 3, from 09.00 to 16.00 hr. Walk-in is available. Those who are eligible for the third dose (1) have had the second dose of Sinovac or Sinopharm at least 30 days before, (2) have had the second dose of AstraZeneca-AstraZeneca, Sinovac/Sinopharm-AstraZeneca, Sinovac/Sinopharm-Pfizer, or Sinovac/Sinopharm-Moderna at least 90 days before, or (3) have had the second dose of Pfizer-Pfizer or AstraZeneca-Pfizer at least 180 days before. Meanwhile, Adults who wish to get the fourth dose and children aged 5-11 years who want to get a first or second dose must register through the Thai mobile network.
Mr. Stanley Kang, President of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand (JFCCT) and the delegation paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-ocha, Prime Minister at Government House on February 17, 2022. Both sides agreed on the importance of digital transformation. According to the Prime Minister, Thailand aims to modernize its economy. He stressed that Thailand has focused on "Thailand 4.0" as one of the main economic development policies to transform the country into a knowledge-based economy that emphasizes the use of technology and innovation. The President of JFCCT expressed his delight that Thailand places a premium on upgrading enterprises of all kinds, especially SMEs, in order to aid the nation’s transition to a digital economy. The JFCCT is ready to support Thailand since it has a large network of potential experts. Both parties agreed that sustainable development should be promoted and given importance. The premier reaffirmed that the BCG economy model, or Bio-Circular-Green economy, is a development strategy that aligns with at least five United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dr. Mohammad bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, Secretary-General of the Muslim World League, recently paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. The Prime Minister expressed his delight that the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League recognized Thailand’s pluralism, which leads to its people’s peaceful coexistence. He reiterated Thailand's willingness to support the Muslim World League's mission of providing humanitarian assistance in accordance with Islamic principles and serving as a bridge for dialogue between diverse peoples in order to bring about peace, justice, and coexistence. It is hoped that the visit of the Secretary-General of the Muslim World League will contribute to the development of a close relationship between Thailand and the Muslim world. The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League mentioned that Thailand’s main strength is its diverse interactions in a multicultural, conflict-free society due to three important factors: family parenting, religious and moral learning, and learning at educational institutions. This is an excellent example of multicultural coexistence. Finally, he reiterated his support for building a bridge to peace. Both sides also had fruitful discussions about Thailand's southern border situation.
Mr. Chantanon Wannakhajorn, Secretary-General of the Office of Agricultural Economics, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, revealed that in 2021, Thailand exported agricultural products to the world market at a value of up to 1.3 trillion baht, an increase of 17 percent over the previous year. This resulted in a total agricultural trade balance of 813,693 million baht for Thailand. Thailand's overall trade continues to grow by more than four percent, with exports increasing by 3.46 percent, resulting in a trade surplus. The top five agricultural exports are UHT milk, followed by soy milk, sugar, and sugar-derived products. In addition, Thailand's economy is capable of exporting well to countries with which it has free trade agreements. Its export growth rate is highly potential, thus bringing in a trade surplus. Moreover, the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives has prioritized measures to prevent COVID-19 virus contamination in agricultural products such as crops, fisheries, and livestock. Thailand's agricultural exports are also expected to increase in the global market in 2022.
On 18 February 2022, H.E. Mr. Alex Geiger Soffia, Ambassador of the Republic of Chile to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on the occasion of his assumption of duty in Thailand. Both agreed that the trade and investment cooperation between Thailand and Chile has great potential for growth. They are ready to support the private sectors of the two nations in expanding investment in each country. They will also make the most of the Thai-Chile FTA. Moreover, the tax rate on all items will be reduced to zero next year, which will help increase the total trade value between both countries even further. The Chilean Ambassador is pleased that the Thai private sector recognizes Chile's potential and shows an interest in investing, particularly in the production of electric vehicles (EVs) and renewable energy technologies.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, expressed his delight that tourism cooperation between Thailand and Saudi Arabia is progressing well after Saudi Arabian Airlines announced its first direct flights to Thailand on 28 February 2022. The success of opening direct flights between Thailand and Saudi Arabia not only strengthens both sides' relationships at all levels, but it also expands tourism opportunities in Thailand. Saudi Arabian visitors are highly potential and very important to Thailand because they support Thailand's policy of pushing for medical hubs and health tourism, including Thailand Wellness, which is consistent with the sustainable tourism concept and will generate more revenue for the Thai tourism industry in the future, according to Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office.
Thai tea, grown in Thailand's northern region, is currently dominating the export market to neighboring countries due to its distinct fragrance, high quality, and exotic flavor. To help Thai products gain a stronger foothold in the international market, the government is encouraging local enterprises to take advantage of existing free trade agreements (FTAs). According to Auramon Sapthaweetham, Director-General of the Department of Trade Negotiations, Thailand currently has a number of existing FTAs that can provide significant benefits to local businesses, such as the ASEAN-China FTA and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). These can contribute to the increased popularity of Thai tea mix products. The Director-General added that if Thai tea products are able to maximize the benefits of FTAs, they could possibly gain a competitive advantage.
On 21 February 2022, H.E. Mr. Sandor Sipos, Ambassador of Hungary to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of his assumption of duty in Thailand. The Prime Minister was confident that cooperation could be promoted in areas where both countries have potential, such as vaccine development, alternative medicine, emerging disease management, medical and public health personnel exchange, and cooperation in research, development, and manufacturing of medical equipment. The Hungarian Ambassador agreed with the Thai Prime Minister and expressed willingness to support and exchange knowledge between the two countries. They also agreed to hold the third Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) meeting in the first half of 2022. According to the premier, it will be a significant opportunity to promote trade and investment. Thailand is ready to serve as a gateway to Southeast Asia. In addition, he invited Hungarian businessmen to invest in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in their areas of expertise. The Hungarian Ambassador had the opportunity to visit the EEC area, where he saw investment opportunities. Furthermore, he is eager to promote further cooperation between the Hungarian and Thai private sectors as a means of increasing economic value between them.
The Queen Sirikit National Institute of Child Health has disclosed that the COVID-19 infections among children in February 2022 increased by 30% and the institute is at 80% bed density. To cope with the situation, the institute has launched a home isolation (HI) system for children aged over one year who have no symptoms. According to the data, 15-17% of infected children are hospitalized, 2.2% of whom have severe symptoms, while 50% have no symptoms. The main causes of infection among children are from (1) in-house infections from family members (especially when children are unvaccinated) and (2) infections in school after the reopening in the new semester. Child patients who can do home isolation should have no symptoms, no fever, no underlying diseases, be able to eat, and have parents to take care of them closely. Even though the Omicron variant is easy to get infected with, if the patients have received treatment according to the guidelines, they will likely recover in 10-14 days.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato' Sri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, will pay an official visit to Thailand as a guest of the Royal Thai Government from 24 -26 February 2022. This will also be his first visit to ASEAN, as is customary for ASEAN new leaders taking office. During his visit, Malaysia's Prime Minister will meet with General Prayut Chan-o-cha on 25 February 2022. This visit will provide an opportunity for the two leaders to discuss ways to advance bilateral cooperation, particularly to revitalize their economies impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will also discuss ways to strengthen collaboration in mutually beneficial areas such as security, economic partnership, and border connectivity, as well as cooperation within ASEAN and other multilateral frameworks.
Even as the Ministry of Public Health reaffirmed its COVID alert at Level 4, the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) insisted that no lockdown be imposed to control the current wave of infections. A meeting of the ministry's Emergency Operation Center (EOC) recently concluded that the COVID alert level should be raised nationwide. The meeting also decided to strengthen containment measures in high-risk areas. The decision comes amid an increase in Omicron coronavirus infections, as well as severe cases and fatalities. Authorities have also observed an increase in the risk of infection among friends and family members participating in group activities. The public is urged to work from home, avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel between provinces, and postpone overseas trips.
The Cabinet, on 22 February 2022, acknowledged the results of the bilateral discussions between Thailand’s Minister of Energy and the Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry of Japan on 13 January 2022. Both sides agreed to cooperate in various fields. Thailand will focus on implementing a policy to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector and move towards an energy transition to clean energy in the future, whereas Japan will support the exchange of knowledge and technology on energy with Thailand. Moreover, Japan plans to support the electric vehicle industry and other industrial investments in Thailand. Japanese companies in Thailand attach great importance to businesses that promote energy transition as well as the Bio-Circular-Green Economy (BCG) Model of Thailand. In addition, both parties have jointly signed agreements on energy cooperation and investment promotion.
The United States Trade Representative (USTR)’s 2021 Review of Notorious Markets for Counterfeiting and Piracy showed that it was the first time in many years that no single Thai company was on its list. This clearly reflects that Thailand has been serious about cracking down on intellectual property infringement, thus building confidence and enhancing the country's trade and investment atmosphere. According to Ms. Ratchada Thanadirek, Deputy Spokesperson for the Prime Minister's Office, the government has always taken proactive actions in the serious suppression of all forms of intellectual property infringement. For example, in order to improve the law and align it with the current situation and relevant international obligations, the Cabinet recently approved a draft notification from the Ministry of Commerce on the determination of trademark infringing products and pirated products prohibited for export and bringing into the country.
During the opening ceremony of the third phase of the Map Ta Phut Industrial Port Development Project via videoconference on 28 February 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that the project is one of the five important infrastructures of the Eastern Economic Area Development (EEC) that the government has always prioritized. It is generally in favor of the transfer of natural gas and liquid raw materials to the petrochemical industry. The scheme's implementation confirms the intention of the government and the private sector to collaborate in developing the Map Ta Phut Industrial Port Development Project, bringing investment in various fields that cover all dimensions and improve the Thai economy and people's quality of life. Currently, EEC projects are moving forward satisfactorily, such as the Eastern Economic Corridor (EECi) Development Project, which aims to attract high-innovation-based investments and provide incentives for investors from around the world to enter the EEC area. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that it is thought to be another venue that will support Thailand's hosting of APEC 2022.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, expressed his delight and gratitude to His Majesty King Salman bin Abdul Ashish al-Shaud of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for awarding 50,060 copies of the Koran to Thai Muslims. The Quran is available in a variety of sizes and languages. The handover ceremony took place in Bangkok on 26 February 2022. This reflects Thailand and Saudi Arabia's promotion of cooperation and good relations, which interact with social dimensions, including Thailand's recognized role in the international Muslim community. Thailand always has a policy to promote and support a peaceful multicultural society, which includes freedom, reconciliation, and social interactions.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other relevant agencies have already assisted Thai citizens in Ukraine in evacuating from the emergency situation/war. At the moment, 47 Thais have taken refuge in the Lviv shelter, and 43 more are on their way. Aside from assisting with the evacuation, concerned authorities inquired with Thai communities in several Ukrainian cities to see if they were safe. So far, over a hundred Thais have remained safe and sound in their homes, unable to leave due to the city lockdown or the insecurity of the situation.
The Cabinet has approved the Air Travel Bubble between Thailand and India for those who hold Thai or Indian visas, starting from March 2022. Thai, Indian, Nepali, Bhutanese, and other nationalities who hold Thai or Indian visas can travel via the Air Travel Bubble scheme. India has suspended commercial flights between it and Thailand since 23 March 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approached Thailand to make an agreement on the air travel bubble between the two countries. Passengers on these flights should travel only between India and Thailand.
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) has partnered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) and the Bangkok Expressway and Metro (BEM) to launch a new quartet of historical tours departing from each of Bangkok’s five subway stations in the old town area, home to a number of cultural and historical landmarks. The tourism initiative, dubbed "Happy Journey with BEM," would offer five free trips this year. Additionally, they will be led by tour guides who are knowledgeable about the history and culture of those landmarks. Registration for the first trip is open on the MRT Bangkok Metro’s Facebook page from 2 - 16 March 2022.
Deputy Prime Minister Gen. Prawit Wongsuwon has inspected flooded areas in the Deep South. 18,371 households in 21 districts in Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat are now affected by floods. About 49,000 rai of farmlands have been inundated. Authorities are channeling water away from flooded areas and have set up centers to facilitate evacuations and provide preliminary assistance to victims. Gen. Prawit has urged relevant agencies to work more proactively by issuing more warnings and taking more preventive actions. In areas where floods have lifted, responsible agencies are to rapidly survey damages. This is in order for aid to be promptly administered and for locals to return to their normal lives quickly.
Prime Minister Gen.Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered a pre-recorded message at the Special Session to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Creation of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP@50) on 3 March 2022. He noted that the world is confronted with numerous environmental issues, including the COVID-19 crisis, which is the result of unsustainable development that exploits nature and ecosystems. The premier also emphasized the importance of UNEP's collaboration with the secretariat of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) through the UNEP regional office in order to effectively address global environmental crises. Thailand has tightly implemented environmental laws and policies based on scientific data as well as local wisdom and traditional knowledge at the national level. In addition, environmental regulations have been consistently developed, while relevant acts are currently being advanced. The Prime Minister wished for UNEP to be the key UN agency in supporting innovation and technology, as well as other means of implementation, for member nations depending on their unique circumstances.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, delivered a statement through videoconference at the launching ceremony of the OECD Integrity Review of Thailand 2021 on 4 March 2022. It is a project to strengthen the integrity of public administration in Thailand with the cooperation of the Office of Public Development (OPD) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), as well as other relevant government agencies and networks. He stated that Thailand is the first country in the Asia-Pacific region to self-assess its public sector integrity by using the OECD Framework of Practice. This will lead to the government's credibility being comparable to international standards. The Thai government has always been aware that corruption problems affect people, including foreign investors. Therefore, cooperation and support from international organizations such as the OECD are needed. This is especially the case with the first phase of the country program’s cooperation, which has been instrumental in driving the 20-year national strategy into concrete results. The Prime Minister is confident that the Thai government and the OECD will strive to strengthen ties under the second phase of the country program's cooperation, currently under close negotiations, to enhance the well-being of citizens in line with the OECD principles that focus on "Better Policies for Better Lives."
Minister of Public Health has asked the National Health Security Office (NHSO) to increase the capacity of its 1330 Covid-19 hotline to accommodate the increasing number of callers. The NHSO said more than 70,000 calls were made to the 1330 hotline on 1 March. According to the current guideline, people who test positive for Covid-19 are asked to call this number to register for home isolation. Ministry would be pressing ahead with the removal of mild Covid-19 cases from the Universal Coverage for Emergency Patients (UCEP) program. A proposal to do so will be presented to the Cabinet next week.
According to a study carried out by the Public Health Ministry, the pandemic situation in Thailand has stabilized and continued to improve due to the high rate of vaccine’s rollout and good public healthcare system so its status should be changed to endemic by July this year.
Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Minister of Commerce, noted that the tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been constantly observed by the ministry. He admitted that the situation could cause a little slowdown in the country's import-export scenario. All ministries have tried to assist one another in order to have the least amount of impact on product costs. It is the government's responsibility to revisit the equilibrium if costs are dramatically growing. Greedy entrepreneurs, however, must face legal consequences. In addition, the prices of 18 important domestic products are still regulated by the government. They are not allowed to increase their prices. Among these are instant noodles, fresh food, canned food, seasoning, vegetable oil, and soft drinks, for example.
Mr. Suriya Jungrungruangkit, Minister of Industry, revealed that the government has promoted Thailand to become the world's major production base for electric vehicles and parts. In response to this strategy, the Ministry of Industry has continued to develop standards for electric vehicles, with 116 standards already issued, as well as encouraging the availability of approved audit infrastructure. For example, the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) is currently building the National Automotive and Tire Testing Center (ATTRIC) to support the government's EV policy on manufacturing and using electric vehicles in the country in order to meet the country's goals of zero-emission vehicle production and use, thus reducing oil consumption and exhaust emissions.
Innovation in response to COVID-19: “Promising” COVID-19 nasal spray to launch in the third quarter of 2022 The spray is being developed under joint efforts by Chulalongkorn University, Silpakorn University, Health Systems Research Institute (HSRI), the Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), and an undisclosed private bioscience company. A cooperation agreement has been signed to produce the anti-COVID-19 nasal spray, and it could be a subject for global research. A team of researchers has undertaken the development of the spray since the onset of the pandemic two years ago, with support from the private sector and state-run HSRI, and it has reached a point where a prototype antibody was obtained and subsequently patented.
At the second Eastern Special Development Zone Policy Committee Meeting via videoconference on 9 March 2022, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha emphasized that all relevant agencies should proceed with prudence, fairness, transparency, and lawfulness in driving the Eastern Economic Corridor to all parties in accordance with the situation both domestically and globally. This will eventually lead to collaboration among people from all walks of life. Furthermore, the premier stressed that the high-speed rail project connecting the three airports must be completed on time and in accordance with the law and that it will benefit no one in particular.
On 10 March 2022, Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana revealed that Thailand's transition to the endemic phase of COVID-19 will be focusing on preparedness in all dimensions, such as monitoring incoming travelers, vaccine management, preventive and control measures, in tandem with propelling the economy to generate revenues and normalize people's way of life under the "Universal Prevention Scheme." Disease severity must be controlled in the transition to the COVID-19 endemic phase. Moreover, there must be adequate medical facilities to accommodate patients and ensure that they have timely access to health care. The number of fatalities should not exceed the World Health Organization's recommended level. People must also strictly follow COVID-19 preventive measures and take inoculations, including the booster dose.
Mr.Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, Government spokespeson, reaffirmed the government's strategy on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, saying that Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has been following the policy since the war began to maintain international balance. The evacuation of Thais from Ukraine, which has been completed effectively, must be the top priority. Thailand has always advocated for peaceful settlement through conversation rather than violence, in accordance with the principles of the United Nations Charter or through a mutually accepted process. Thailand, as an ASEAN member, has also stated its position in the "ASEAN Foreign Ministers' Statement on the Situation in Ukraine." They have called on all relevant parties to exercise maximum restraint and make every effort to engage in dialogue through all channels in order to contain the situation, de-escalate tensions, and seek a peaceful resolution in line with international law and treaties.
The government plans to support the establishment of deep technology startups, particularly those related to the bio-circular-green (BCG) economy which aligns with the government’s economic policy. The National Innovation Agency (NIA) will prioritize businesses related to deep technology or BCG models in key areas including food, agriculture, and medicine. Deep tech businesses differ from general startups in that they provide technological or scientific solutions after lengthy research and development. Deep tech startups’ products have a clear potential value to society’s solution and are difficult to replicate. The NIA hopes to establish 100 deep tech startups in Thailand by 2025, with at least 65 of these firms being deep tech BCG companies.
Thailand's potential, according to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, includes a wide range of cultural capitals, particularly in the sphere of art. This can be exploited to add value to the economy and produce a lot of revenue for the country. Promoting modern art, on the other hand, must be done in a practical way. He voiced his strong opinion via videoconference at the flag handover ceremony of the "Thailand Biennale," an international contemporary art exhibition, from Nakhon Ratchasima Province to Chiang Rai Province, the next host on 11 March 2022. It is believed to be accomplished by raising public knowledge and understanding of the arts, encouraging artists to express themselves on both domestic and international platforms, developing human resources, and offering art-learning tools and promoting cultural attractions, among other things. This is in keeping with the government's strategy to consistently foster the development of creative industries, culture, and high-value services. The plan begins with potential 5F cultural items and services, i.e., Thai boxing (fighting), Thai fabrics and fashion design (fashion), food (food), movies and video (film), and bringing Thai traditions and festivities to the rest of the globe (festival).
The Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, chaired a meeting of the Advisory Council on 11 March 2022, to examine future industrial project investment or S-curve plans. The premier stated that the government is taking steps to encourage investment in future industrial initiatives, including the electric vehicle (EV) industry. Many initiatives are progressing well and have gotten great feedback from investors. It is envisaged that meaningful benefits will be seen in a variety of sectors in the near future. A long-term resident visa, for example, will be established to fulfill the demands of Thais and foreigners who intend to stay in Thailand for an extended period of time. The pharmaceutical, digital, and electronic industries will also be enhanced.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha expressed his delight at Fitch Ratings (Thailand) Co., Ltd.'s forecast that Thai companies' earnings will continue to improve in 2022, owing to the country's economic recovery and gradual opening-up. Although the COVID-19 crisis continues to affect several economic sectors, the ratings of most Thai corporations are stable. The majority of Thai companies ranked by Fitch have demonstrated prudent cash flow management. They have been more careful in spending and investing in several areas during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha officiated inauguration flights to and from Betong International Airport in Yala Province on 14 March 2022, in the hopes of promoting tourism and the economy, and assisting in the development of the southern border provinces into a regional aviation hub. The Prime Minister reiterated that the administration intends to strengthen and expand ties with other countries in the region, particularly Malaysia. This will necessitate collaboration from all sectors. Thailand has been hailed for its multiculturalism and harmonious coexistence. It is thought to be a strong basis for the country's development to move on in a more positive path.
Despite the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine, Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanavisit has stated that they are constantly watching commodities prices. He said most prices of necessary commodities, such as meat, eggs, and other perishable goods, are steady. However, other companies, particularly canned food manufacturers, have demanded price increases. Steel and related commodities, as well as wheat and maize prices, have risen 40%–45% as a result of the Black Sea conflict, impacting the animal feed sector. According to the Minister, all petitions to raise the prices of commodities affected by the Ukraine conflict, including fertilizers, animal feed, canned goods, and construction materials, will be carefully considered by the administration. Nevertheless, not all commodities will be allowed to increase their costs.
The cabinet approved in principle, on 15 March 2022, the exemption of the prohibition against aliens' entry into the country as a special case for migrant workers of Cambodian, Laotian, and Myanmar nationalities in a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under the 2019 Agreement, according to Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana. This will allow migrant workers from these countries who entered Thailand under the above Agreement on the MoU to stay for another six months to sort out their employment status and work permits, which can be extended for up to two years. These migrant workers, whose four-year employment contracts will expire at the end of 2022, will be eligible to apply for a work permit, an extension of their work permit, or a two-year temporary stay without having to leave Thailand. The extension helps to address the issue of workers' entry into the nation and to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This will also help enterprises relying on migrant workers to run their businesses, hence driving the national economy. At present, there are 106,580 migrant workers from the three countries on the MoU under the 2019 agreement.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha recently urged all concerned agencies, including the Ministries of Energy, Finance, Labor, Commerce, and Agriculture and Cooperatives, to come up with solutions and mitigation guidelines for the people, particularly those who have been affected by energy price hikes, low-income earners, and workers. To handle the problem within a restricted budget, the Prime Minister has issued a strategy to implement proper actions that have the least impact on the population. For long-term solutions, there should be both urgent, short-term, and long-term actions.
At the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding for a project to improve the quality of medical and public health services through digital technology on 17 March 2022, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, appreciated the cooperation in the exchange of health information to build a large public health archive. It is recognized as the government's outstanding success in terms of public health reform in the country. The project aims to link and exchange health information and develop into a large archive of big data, effectively bringing benefits to the Thai public health network. The Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministries of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation are among the 12 agencies involved.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has invited the public to get COVID-19 vaccinations before the Songkran holiday to protect themselves. There are five venues that are available for walk-in from now until further notice: (1) Central Pinklao, (2) Central Rama III, (3) Central Eastville, and (4) Robinson Lat Krabang, which are open for walk-in service from 13.00 to 15.00 hr, 200 persons per day, while (5) Central World is open for walk-ins from 11.00 to 15.00 hr, 300 persons per day. For more information, please contact 02 203 2883.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha is pleased with the tangible progress of labor cooperation between Thailand and Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Labor has continued to push for labor collaboration with Saudi Arabia, with the goal of sending Thai workers to the country as soon as possible. Representatives from the Ministry of Labor recently met with Dr. Adnan Abdullah M. Alnuim, Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister for International Affairs, in Bangkok. The discussion resulted in a positive vision for improving international relations and labor collaboration. Thailand is glad that Saudi Arabia is interested in reestablishing labor connections and is willing to allow Thai employees to work in the nation. The labor recruiting agreements have also been finalized and will be signed at the end of March 2022. Currently, more than 1,000 Thai employees have expressed their interest in working in Saudi Arabia by registering through an e-service.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, on 21 March 2022, emphasized the importance of caring for COVID-19 patients, focusing on all factors in a comprehensive manner in terms of efficiency, safety, and ability to supply pharmaceuticals, as well as providing a service system to support comprehensive treatment of patients. He also urged related agencies to monitor the pharmaceutical effectiveness of vaccines and medicines in particular, as well as continue to explore medical innovation research and development that can be registered for public use, bolstering the Thai public health system's ability to deal with the epidemic. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Public Health has confirmed that favipiravir is effective in treating COVID-19 patients.
The Department of Disease Control has disclosed the guidelines for booster doses for three groups of people. People aged 18 years and above should get a third dose three months after the second dose and get the fourth dose four months after the third dose. Those who get Pfizer as a booster dose can choose to get half of the dose, under the judgment of physicians and the voluntary choice of vaccine recipients. People aged 12-17 years should get an mRNA vaccine, a normal dose, as a third dose and should get it 4-6 months after the second dose. And those who have been infected with COVID-19 should get vaccinated in accordance with the rules for people who have never got the vaccine before and should be vaccinated three months after getting the infection.
On 24 March 2022, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha presided over the signing of the "Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Integrated Cooperation of Seven Ministries: Lifelong Human Development (Early Childhood and Elderly People), 2022-2026" between seven ministries, namely the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Higher Education, Sciences, Research and Innovation, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, as well as Ministry of Digital Economy and Society. According to the Prime Minister, the government has placed a high priority on the development of workforce of all ages because everyone is essential to the country's overall development and advancement. Children in their early years of life require comprehensive and equitable development in all areas. To increase their capacity and resistance to change, their talents and gifts must be identified. In order to become quality citizens, they must be cared for and fostered by their parents, families, schools, and society at every level. It's also critical to cultivate a good attitude toward the elderly, who, with their potential and self-reliance, remain a significant driving force in national growth.
The Ministry of Commerce disclosed that 444 new logistics enterprises registered with the Department of Business Development in January 2022, a 39.6 percent increase over the same month in 2021. Goods transport and discharge, road freight, and transport agencies are the top three registered firms. According to Ministry data, manufacturing and sales logistics generated total revenues of 87,240.63 million Baht in 2020, and 207 new business entities in logistics were recorded in 2021, with a total investment value of 908.17 million Baht, a 53.3 percent increase. Thailand's international trade value in January 2022 was 1.51 trillion Baht, up 27.7% over the previous year. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement, which was pushed forward by the Prime Minister and took effect on 1 January 2022, is seen as a crucial element in the country's export growth. Thai logistics companies now have access to markets in RCEP member countries. Thailand has also been made available for RCEP member countries to invest in transportation services, allowing the country to participate in global value chains. Furthermore, the rise of e-commerce is aided by the increase of logistics business.
The Ministry of Commerce is expected to sign an MOU on the establishment of the ASEAN-Korea Industrial Innovation Center (AKIIC) by mid-2022, and AKIIC will be established in South Korea by 2023, with the goal of promoting ASEAN-South Korean cooperation on sciences, technology, and innovation for various hi-tech industries through joint research, knowledge exchange, technology transfer, and commercial use of technologies. Thailand will be represented by the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) as an executive member of the AKIIC. The Ministry of Commerce will work closely with NSTDA to help AKIIC achieve tangible results, particularly the S-Curve industry-related implementations that are relevant to Thailand's 20-year strategy for Industry 4.0 development, such as the development of innovation for product diversification and value-added, and the promotion of smart farming through technology adoption to improve efficiency, reduce costs, and generate more revenues.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to attend via a teleconference the 5th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) and related meetings which will be hosted by Sri Lanka on March 30, 2022. BIMSTEC is a technical and economic cooperation framework involving Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, which are all dependent on the Bay of Bengal. It was founded on 6 June 1997, at the initiative of Thailand in 2014, to support Thailand's "Look West" strategy, as well as the "Look East" policies of the South Asian countries and India's "Act East" policy. The theme of the 5th BIMSTEC Summit will be "BIMSTEC-Towards a Resilient Region, Prosperous Economies, and Healthy Peoples." The Prime Minister will receive the BIMSTEC chairmanship from Sri Lanka and deliver a speech at the 5th BIMSTEC Summit. Thailand will serve as the chair of BIMSTEC for two years, from 2022 to 2023. Among the topics to be discussed during the country's presidency are post-COVID-19 economic recovery, preparedness for a wide range of problems and crises, and resilience.
On 28 March 2022, Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister. The Prime Minister and the UN's Deputy Secretary-General agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflicts in different countries are key challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. The Premier mentioned that Thailand has established a sub-committee on youth. and the private sector under the Sustainable Development Committee chaired by the Prime Minister to hear opinions from various sectors. Thailand also produced the Voluntary National Review (VNR) as an important tool for monitoring progress in driving Thailand's SDGs. The UN's Deputy Secretary-General appreciated Thailand for listening to opinions from various sectors. Moreover, the Prime Minister recognized the urgent importance of solving the climate change problem. He stressed that the country has continuously cooperated with the international community. Thailand was one of the first countries to participate in the Paris Agreement and delivered the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) participation programs in a timely manner.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has asked responsible agencies to closely adhere to VUCA procedures in order to restrict the spread of COVID-19, particularly in the run-up to, during, and after the Songkran festival. Vaccination is represented by the letter V in VUCA, whereas the letter U stands for universal prevention. And the COVID-free setting is C, while A stands for ATK testing. The Prime Minister also focuses on the government's work direction by allowing key agencies to prepare for infection screening, immunization, and a nursing care system for infected persons, as well as lowering outbreaks and mortality. He believes that It is possible to control COVID-19 infection if all parties are rigorous in following the steps to reduce the danger of all actions. As a result, the number of infections after the holiday would be lower than what the Ministry of Public Health predicted.
The Ministry of Public Health has released guidelines for the public and event holders during the upcoming Songkran Festival. Regarding members of the public, people in Group 608 who return to their hometown should get a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster dose seven days before the gathering or event. They should also evaluate their risk of getting infected with the virus. If they have a high risk, they should avoid participating in activities. Those who travel by public transportation should wear a mask all the time, frequently wash their hands, and avoid having meals or drinking alcoholic beverages with others. As for event holders, they should do a COVID-Free Setting evaluation through the Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus website. Holders of small events that have not over 200 participants must inform the Office of Disease Prevention and Control in their district or sub-district. Large event holders should inform the Provincial Communicable Disease Committee.
Mr. Suchart Chomklin, Thailand's Minister of Labor, and H.E. Eng. Ahmad Sulaiman ALRajhi, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, signed two labor agreements on 28 April 2022, namely the agreement on labor recruitment and the agreement on the recruitment of domestic workers. Both agreements are focused on attracting Thai people to work lawfully in Saudi Arabia while also respecting workers' and employers' rights. They also strive to enforce rules and regulations, as well as fair employment contracts. Workers will be fairly compensated and enjoy reasonable welfare and legal benefits, according to labor law. The signing ceremony was a truly tangible achievement, following the Prime Minister's formal visit to Saudi Arabia on 25-26 January 2022.
Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana disclosed that representatives of automotive operators are satisfied with the government's recently announced measures to promote electric vehicles, such as the measures to reduce import tariffs and excise taxes, and other benefits that will make the market for electric cars more attractive for consumers. According to the Thai Automotive Industry Association (TAIA), new registrations for electric vehicles are expected to grow exponentially because of positive factors, including the EV trend around the world. This technology has become an answer to the problem of global warming. It is also environmentally friendly. As a result, many countries are increasingly turning to promoting the use of EVs at the moment.
On 30 March 2022, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered a speech via teleconference at the 5th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit and related meetings, hosted by Sri Lanka. BIMSTEC, according to the Prime Minister, is the only sub-regional framework that connects Southeast Asia and South Asia. Due to the volatility of the global situation, cooperation and implementation under the BIMSTEC framework have not made much progress in the past. As a result, the 5th BIMSTEC Summit is crucial for reviewing collaboration and execution. Thailand's BIMSTEC presidency coincides with the country's hosting of APEC 2022, and Thailand pledges to promote quality and sustainable development by adapting member nations' best practices to the needs and context of their individual cooperation frameworks.The Prime Minister stressed that the summit is historic because all member countries agreed to and signed the BIMSTEC Charter and other essential documents, demonstrating their commitment to future tangible collaboration. Thailand believes that strengthening connectivity is critical because member countries have a lot of trade and investment possibilities.Thailand's commitment to advancing BIMSTEC in all dimensions was also underlined by the Prime Minister. Thailand's approach to the BIMSTEC presidency will be in line with the "PRO BIMSTEC" idea, which promotes inclusive, balanced, and long-term growth.
The Chonburi Provincial Public Health Office has invited all nationalities to get the COVID-19 vaccine at hospitals on the list from now until 3 April 2022. The type of vaccine will be considered by the medical personnel under the Ministry of Public Health guidelines and the available vaccines in each hospital. Some hospitals may require persons to pre-register to get the vaccine. For more information, please contact the Chonburi COVID-19 Center at 038 932 466 or 038 119 777.
According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Global Summit of Women 2022, the world’s major international business and economic forum for women leaders, is set to be held in Thailand in June. It is an excellent opportunity to showcase Thailand’s potential as an international conference and convention host, and “World Destination” following the coronavirus pandemic. Any person wishing to attend this important international meeting can find more details and register on the website https://globewomen.org/globalsummit/
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration has invited children aged 5-11 years, of all nationalities, to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Veth Sports Building 1, Bangkok Youth Center (Thai-Japan), in Din Daeng. They will provide the Pfizer (orange cap) vaccine. Children who are eligible to get vaccinated should be in non-formal education or not have received any COVID-19 vaccine before, have no underlying disease, and come along with their parents on the vaccination day. Those who are interested should register via the QueQ application. Walk-in is available. The vaccination starts from 26 March and goes to 10 April 2022, 08.00-16.00 hr.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has stated that he is willing to support the establishment of the Thailand Halal Taskforce in order to expand trade and investment cooperation in the Halal agricultural and food industries, as well as develop export channels and create more jobs for Thai farmers. At the same time, enterprises will have additional opportunities to tap into Muslim markets. The value of halal food exports is predicted to climb by more than 30 trillion dollars. According to Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the government's continued negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to strengthen cooperation on trade and investment in agricultural products and food, notably in the halal certification system, was a huge achievement (UAE). The other accomplishment was when Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on Thai processed chicken imports. Thailand is the world's 13th largest food producer and exporter. As a result, it has the ability to produce and export halal products. The country is optimistic that it would be able to tap into the Muslim market of more than two billion people, as well as grow investments in the Halal Agricultural Industry Promotion Zone in five southern provinces, namely Yala, Narathiwat, Pattani, Satun, and Songkhla.
On the occasion of his visit to Thailand to attend the UNDP Regional Management Meeting, Mr.Achim Steiner, United Nations Deputy Secretary General and Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on 31 March 2022. Thailand has prioritized inclusive and sustainable development through the adoption of the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) as a guide for moving the country toward a more environmentally friendly future, according to the Prime Minister. Mr.Steiner praised Thailand's efforts to promote sustainable development on a global scale. He also applauded the Prime Minister's leadership in grassroots development and his dedication to eradicating poverty and reducing disparities, which aligns with UNDP's long-term goal. Current international tensions, he believes, only emphasize the significance of multilateral collaboration.
The Ministry of Public Health has urged the public, especially the elderly, to get a booster dose to protect themselves as the Songkran holiday is approaching. Since the COVID-19 situation is still ongoing and there are a lot of people who travel to their hometown during this long holiday, getting a booster dose can prevent the vulnerable group, namely the elderly and those who have underlying diseases, from hospitalization and death from the virus. According to the COVID-19 infection data in Thailand, a booster dose can reduce the fatality rate 41 times less than those who have never been vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated.
According to the Ministry of Public Health, the third vaccination, the booster, can reduce the fatality rate from the COVID-19 Omicron strain infection by 98 percent. Recently, Thailand has been working on the vaccination inoculation process for the elderly (the age group more than 60 years old) to achieve almost 80 percent for the first dose inoculation. In addition, according to the data collected in Chiang Mai by the Faculty of Public Health in Chiang Mai University and the Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office, the effectiveness of booster vaccine shots during the spread of Omicron from January to February 2022 is as follows: 1. Two doses of vaccine cannot prevent COVID-19 Omicron infections; 2. Three doses of vaccine can prevent 45-68 percent of Omicron infections; 3. Four doses of vaccine can prevent 82 percent of infections. As for fatalities, vaccination can prevent fatalities at the following rates: Two doses at 85-93 percent, three doses at 98 percent, and there is no report of the fatality rate for those who have four doses of vaccination. This report shows that three doses of vaccination is necessary in order for the public to prevent infection and prevent fatalities by almost 100 percent. MOPH will also speed up booster doses for elderly persons to prepare for the Songkran Festival because the elderly are a sensitive group and are more likely to have severe symptoms. MOPH is taking action and providing more than 3,000,000 doses, aiming to provide booster doses for more than 70 percent of persons who already have been vaccinated, before the Songkran Festival.
On the occasion of her leaving her service as Kazakhstan's Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Ms. Raushan Yesbulatova paid General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Thailand's Prime Minister, a courtesy call on 31 March 2022. Both sides were pleased with the continued recovery of economic cooperation between Thailand and Kazakhstan after being affected by the COVID-19 situation. In 2021, the trade value between the two countries returned to increasing. This was a good sign, and it is believed that the value will continue to increase in 2022, especially with the trade in halal products. Kazakhstan is a potential market, and Thailand has always pushed for strict standards. The Prime Minister asked the government of Kazakhstan to facilitate Thai investors in Kazakhstan. He also invited Kazakh investors to increase their investment in Thailand. Both discussed issues of multilateral cooperation under the framework of the Conference on Interaction and Confident Building Measures in Asia (CICA). They agreed that this was an important cooperation framework for both countries.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stated at a meeting of the National Digital Economy and Society Committee on 1 April 2022 that Thailand is undergoing a transition to a new world based on technological and digital trends, with various agencies involved in the digital economy regulatory framework. As a result, integrated management of all relevant organizations in each ministry is required in order to develop measures, strengthen the law, and have powerful regulations to oversee the safety of how to use digital technology. In addition, the Prime Minister raised concern about the safety of cryptocurrency trading and online transactions, as well as the potential for harm. This is due to the fact that possibilities and hazards are always present. As a result, entrepreneurs must work together and be cautious so that the entire system is not affected.
The Ministry of Public Health has emphasized that the public should pay attention to the differences between dengue fever and COVID-19, as there is a rising number of dengue fever patients in many areas in Thailand. Lately, there is some weather turbulence and rain causing waterlogging, which is a good breeding ground for the Aedes mosquito; besides, there is also the spread of COVID-19, which may cause people to be confused between the two diseases. The ministry advises the public to observe the patients' symptoms closely, especially children, who easily get sick, as some of the COVID-19 symptoms may seem like dengue fever, such as having a fever, body aches, and diarrhea. If anyone has these symptoms, they should test with ATK to screen for COVID-19. The other way to know which disease they have is to have a complete blood count test to look for the dengue fever's protein in the first three days of having a fever. The danger signs that indicate that the patient is in the critical period of dengue fever are having severe stomach aches, cold limbs, a temperature 39 degrees Celsius or higher, panting faster than usual, diarrhea, or continuous vomiting. If so, the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately. There is no antiviral drug for dengue fever, so the treatment is to manage the symptoms, mainly giving paracetamol to lower the fever (avoid using aspirin and ibuprofen because they can aggravate gastritis or bleeding).
Hospitals nationwide are inviting the public, of all nationalities, to vaccinate with the COVID-19 vaccine before the Songkran holiday to reduce the chance of severe illness, pneumonia, and fatalities. The hospitals and other locations are as follows: Mae Fah Luang University Medical Center Hospital, Chiang Rai; Ban Thung Ruea Klon District Health Promotion Hospital, Kanchanaburi; Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya; Suk Anan Park Mall, Saraburi; the auditorium in front of the Amphoe Phra Phutthabat Office, Saraburi; Kaengkhoi Community Center, Saraburi; Wihan Daeng Hospital, Saraburi; Sao Hai Kindergarten, Saraburi; Khaoyoi Hospital, Phetchaburi; and Khao Khitchakut Hospital, Chanthaburi. The service is also available for walk-ins. As each vaccination place has limited doses per day, kindly contact the facility before visiting there. The type of vaccine will be considered by the medical personnel under the Ministry of Public Health guidelines and the available vaccines in each location. Those who have been infected with COVID-19 should get the vaccine three months after getting infected. Please bring along your ID card or passport and a copy with your Social Security number, if any, and COVID-19 vaccine certificate (for those who have been vaccinated at least once already).
Mr. Juan Carlos Salazar, Secretary General of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and his delegation paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on the occasion of his official visit to Thailand on 5 April 2022. Both parties agreed that the COVID-19 outbreak has had a negative impact on the aviation sector. In such cases, the Prime Minister believed that the two sides should strengthen their cooperation. He also appreciated the ICAO Council's Aviation Recovery Task Force (CART) for producing a document with recommendations to help member countries. Thailand has used the document as a guide in its operations, working closely with ICAO and the aviation industry. In addition, the two sides highlighted crucial cooperation between Thailand and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), particularly cooperation in staff training, which Thailand always values. They decided to collaborate more closely to grow and enhance Thailand's aviation industry so that it may become a regional aviation hub.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha kept track of the clean-energy bus project's success by engaging private contractors to run the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA)’s bus operation. The services are planned to be available to the general public by August 2022. Its main purpose is to reduce PM 2.5 dust pollution by replacing outdated, deteriorating buses with clean-energy buses in critical downtown locations. It will also provide services that are linked to other means of transportation to help travelers.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister, expressed concern about COVID-19-infected patients in the 608 group, which includes the elderly (60 years and older), people with underlying diseases, pregnant women, and those weighing more than 90 kg. He directed related agencies to speed up screening and provide immediate treatment to those classified yellow. In this instance, UCEP Plus allows them to be treated for free at either public or private hospitals. If there are a limited number of beds, however, concerned authorities are instructed to collaborate with local networks to get patients into medical care as soon as possible.
On the occasion of his leaving the service as Peruvian Ambassador to Thailand, H.E. Mr. Fernando Julio Antonio Quirós Campos paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister on 7 April 2022. The Ambassador of Peru stated that he fully supports Thailand in hosting APEC 2022 and looks forward to sharing experiences and expertise with each other, such as in the area of gastronomic tourism, which both Thailand and Peru are considered a leader in this field as well as COVID-19 management. Both sides also agreed that Thailand's commerce with Peru has a lot of room for growth. Peru is Thailand's most important trading partner In Latin America and the Caribbean. There are numerous potentials to expand mutual cooperation in the BCG model economy as well. Furthermore, both countries were pleased with their close technical and development cooperation over the previous 16 years, with Thailand and Peru looking forward to cooperating in new and diverse fields, particularly in human resource development, and supporting the exchange of experts in agriculture, including the development of alternative crops, sustainable community tourism, and science and technology.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) is hosting the ‘Amazing Songkran 2022 Celebrations’ at 10 temples in Bangkok. TAT has scheduled traditional festivities that honour the centuries-old origins and traditions of the Thai New Year at 10 temples in Bangkok’s old quarters; namely, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, Wat Rakang, Wat Suthat, Wat Kalayanamit, Wat Prayun, Wat Ratchanatdaram, Wat Mahathat, Wat Saket (Phu Khao Thong), and Wat Ratchabophit.
The Chula 100 Year Park project, developed by "Kachakorn Woraakhom" and a team of Thai landscape architects, enhanced Thailand's profile at the World Government Summit and Expo 2020 Dubai by obtaining the top award in the 12th Dubai International Award for Best Practices. Under the topic "Urban Regeneration and Public Spaces," the United Arab Emirates has established a competition with the United Nations Human Settlements Program, or UN Habitat, to find innovative solutions from around the world to achieve sustainable development for the world. There were 2,950 projects from 150 nations that competed in this competition.
The Ministry of Public Health has urged the public to keep their guard up, especially during the Songkran holiday, which has many people traveling to their hometowns. They also disclosed that the Omicron variant of COVID-19 causes reinfections more easily than the Delta variant by 3-6 times, but most of the cases are not severe. The reinfections may happen when (1) the body has low immunity, such as those who have never gotten the vaccine, have not been fully vaccinated, got the vaccine more than six months before, or have an immune deficiency; (2) the virus has mutated; and (3) people lower their prevention behavior and engage in risky activities.
According to Mr. Kittipong Kittikachorn, Director of Suvarnabhumi Airport, the number of foreign passengers to Thailand in April 2022 on average is 11,623 per day after the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) relaxed the measures for entry into Thailand by canceling the RT-PCR test before entering the country from 1 April 2022 onwards. This represents a 65.97 percent increase over the number of incoming passengers in March. In terms of international inbound flights, there are an average of 141 per day, a 2.92 percent rise since March. In the near future, it is projected that an increasing number of international passengers would visit Thailand.
The Ministry of Tourism and Sports revealed that 196 foreign film productions traveled to Thailand to film between July 2021 and mid-March 2022, after the government eased restrictions to allow film, television, and commercial production companies to work in the country under the COVID-19 situation. 86 filmmakers from 33 nations came with their own production teams, bringing in a total of 4.24 billion baht in revenue for the country. India, France, Singapore, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom were the top five countries that chose Thailand as a filming location during that time period, while the United States, Australia, and Hong Kong were the top three spenders on filmmaking in Thailand, with 1.95 billion baht, 702 million baht, and 616 million baht, respectively.
Mr. Yuthasak Supasorn, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), linked the upbeat mood to a recent notification from the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which asked appropriate units to explore easing COVID limitations for overseas passengers. He explained that during the upcoming CCSA general meeting on 22 April 2022, competent agencies will analyze infection rates throughout the long Songkran vacation period and make recommendations. Authorities are also considering scrapping the "Thailand Pass" program, as well as the RT-PCR test requirement for international arrivals, in favor of the speedier and more convenient antigen test. The TAT may suggest altering quarantine measures for high-risk individuals and eliminating the requirement that foreign visitors have travel insurance, according to TAT’s Governor. If authorized, these changes may go into effect as early as the beginning of May or June this year.
The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved a plan to obtain Evusheld, a long-acting monoclonal antibody meant to prevent COVID transmissions in people with weakened immune systems who are unable to be vaccinated. Evusheld has been developed by AstraZeneca using a combination of two long-acting antibodies, tixagevimab and cilgavimab. They function by inhibiting the SARS-CoV-2 virus from adhering to and entering human cells by binding to the spike protein on the exterior of the virus. It is given in two shots and gives at least six months of protection. The government is presently looking for ways to procure Evusheld, including renegotiating with AstraZeneca to have Evusheld replace some vaccine doses in order to save some cost.
The Ministry of Commerce is planning to organize a major border trade fair during the upcoming "Amazean Jungle Trail 2022" event, which will be taking place in Betong district of Yala province from 6-8 May 2022. The running event is projected to attract at least 1,000 participants from across the world, as well as 3,000-5,000 visitors to the areas. The trade show will exhibit more than 60 premium items from the southern border provinces for both onsite and online customers.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-O-cha has advised the public to prepare themselves with the "Self Clean Up" measures before traveling back to their hometown during Songkran Holiday. The measures include three parts: (1) People in Group 608 [elderly persons aged 60 years and above, people with seven underlying health issues (diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, cardiovascular diseases, and cerebrovascular disease), and pregnant women who are in the gestational age 12 weeks or more] have been advised to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine or a booster dose; (2) the public should follow the Universal Prevention measures by wearing a mask, keeping a proper distance, frequently washing their hands, and avoiding touching their face; (3) and those who come back from their hometown should do self-observation for seven days and test with ATK if they have suspicious symptoms, and they should apply the work-from-home measure as appropriate.
On 11 April 2022, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the Government Spokesperson, stated that the Advisor to the Ministry of Public Health clarified a misunderstanding over the long-acting antibody (LAAB) purchase plan that had recently been in the press. He clarified that LAAB is not a vaccine replacement; rather, it is intended to be used as a supplement for people who have weakened immune systems or who are unable to get vaccinated. Vaccines remain the mainstay of COVID-19 prevention at this time. In addition, before taking any further action, the Ministry of Public Health will conduct some research into cost-effectiveness and its consequences.
UNESCO Bangkok has recently revealed that Thailand is the first country to fully adopt the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge. This pilot project is part of a bigger collaboration between UNESCO and Expedia Group to promote sustainable tourism. More than 500 hotels have signed the UNESCO Sustainable Travel Pledge to eliminate single-use plastic and promote local culture a year after it was launched in Thailand. Most of which are located in Thailand's best famous tourist attractions. Hotels were asked to list the measures they were presently taking as well as the initiatives they planned to take or pursue in the future while signing the commitment. For their usage, many hotels have ordered locally created products such as bamboo straws or hyacinth woven tote bags. These collaborations between hotels and local manufacturers not only help to reduce single-use plastics, but they also help to enhance the life of local populations.
Mr. Abderrahim Rahhaly, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Thailand, gave Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha a courtesy call on 18 April 2022. Morocco, according to the Premier, is an important trading partner in the North African region. Trade between the two countries surged by more than 24% in 2021. It is anticipated that the volume of trade between the two nations will continue to grow in the future. The Moroccan Ambassador indicated his desire to arrange a meeting to take advantage of the Morocco Trade Agreement, which he expected to include participation from the private sector. Morocco is also willing to encourage and increase collaboration in other areas such as education, development, tourism, and energy.
The Thailand Pavilion at the International Horticultural Exposition (EXPO 2022 Floriade Almere) in Almere, Netherlands, showcases the potential of Thailand in food innovations and agricultural products, as well as the country’s production processes of high standards and quality. King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands officially opened the Expo, which is being held from 14 April to 9 October 2022. The Horticultural Exposition is an A1 level expo that is scheduled to be held every 10 years. The Thailand Pavilion has been built under the concept of "TRUST Thailand." TRUST – Trendy, Reachable, Utility, Safety/Sustainability, and Technology – aims to create confidence in Thailand, especially the quality of agricultural products, as well as promoting the Thai tourism industry. For those not able to attend the EXPO 2022 Floriade Almere in person, they can visit www.thailandfloriade2022.com to experience a virtual reality tour of the Thailand pavilion.
The Ministry of Finance has lowered its GDP prediction for 2022 from 3.5-4.5 percent to 3-4 percent due to a host of internal and foreign issues. According to Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the current COVID-19 scenario, rising global gasoline costs, and the ongoing crisis between Russia and Ukraine are all contributing reasons. Nonetheless, the Minister pointed out that this year's forecast is still much greater than that of 2021. According to the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, the Thai economy grew by 1.6 percent last year, rebounding from a 6.2 percent contraction in 2020.The Ministry expressed confidence that the Thai economy will gradually recover as the government eliminates more COVID rules. All the measures will make it easier for international and domestic travelers to participate in tourism activities in the country, which will finally result in increased spending.
Thailand has a plan to sign a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese state business sector to create a Thai product distribution hub in China. The signing ceremony will be conducted in Guangzhou, according to Kriangsak Prateepvisarut, Director of the Thai Public Warehouse Organization (PWO). Thai exporters will be able to deposit their goods at the center, which will then be dispersed to other Chinese cities. In addition, the PWO will look for partnerships to distribute Thai goods on Chinese e-commerce sites. The initiative is designed to increase revenue by expanding the distribution channel for Thai products.
Bang Sue Central Vaccination Center has reopened for COVID-19 vaccination after the Songkran holiday for all nationalities. The vaccine is available for those aged 5 years and above. Children aged under 18 years should come with their parents. The center also shortened the period between the third dose and fourth dose to four months for those aged 18 years and above. The third and fourth doses are available for three types of Pfizer COVID-19: intramuscular (muscle injection) at 30 mcg per dose, intramuscular at 15 mcg per dose, and intradermal (outer layers of the skin) at 10 mcg per dose. The service is available for walk-in from 09.00-16.00 hr, every day.
Following a remarkable performance by Thai rapper Danupa "Milli" Kanateerakul at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, California, efforts to promote Thailand through "soft power" are beginning. Milli's incredible performance went viral on social media, boosting sales of mango sticky rice when she ate the iconic delicacy on stage during her performance. Thailand, according to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, has a wide range of attractions, ranging from gastronomy to natural beauty. In order to attract more foreigners to the Kingdom, the Premier added, his soft power policy must be supported and developed. Meanwhile, Chai Nakhonchai, Director-General of the Cultural Promotion Department (CPD), stated that "Milli" has helped promote Thailand's soft power internationally. The CPD also plans to nominate mango sticky rice as Thailand's intangible cultural heritage to UNESCO.
The Department of Disease Control has urged members of the public who have recovered from a COVID-19 infection to be vigilant, even if their case of COVID-19 is not severe, because the effects after getting the infection, known as "long COVID," are worrisome. Long COVID can be found in different systems in the body and can vary in each person. The most commonly found symptoms are exhaustion, feeling tired easily, shortness of breath, dementia conditions (such as lack of concentration and less control of emotions and behavior), and trouble sleeping.
The Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is satisfied with the "Air Travel Bubble" plan between Thailand and India. This has been made possible by associated government organizations working together with the corporate sector to promote tourism between India and Thailand. The initiative intends to improve the visitor experience and develop the Indian market in Thailand while also stimulating the Thai economy and tourism to rebound following the relaxation of foreign travel restrictions. Prior to the emergence of COVID-19, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports reported that 1,995,516 Indian visitors traveled to Thailand in 2019, bringing in more than 86,372.01 million baht in revenue. This suggests that the Indian market has the potential for high-growth consumption of goods and services. As a result, the recovery of the Indian market presents Thailand with an opportunity to boost its economy and tourism.
Barracuda mango prices have risen by as much as ten baht per kilogram due to increasing demand for mango sticky rice. In addition to higher demand, according to Wattanasak Sur-iam, Director-General of the Department of Internal Trade, measures to interfere in the price mechanism and expand distribution channels have also contributed to the jump. The Director-General mentioned that the situation has helped mango growers generate more cash than last year. Prices for top-quality barracuda mangos range from 25 to 35 baht per kilogram, up from 22 to 25 baht per kilogram last year.
On 20 April 2022, H.E. Ms. Orna Sagiv, Ambassador of the State of Israel to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-chan on the occasion of her taking office. The Israeli Ambassador stated that Thai workers are a high-priority group in Israel. Currently, there are approximately 25,000 Thai workers in Isarel, most of whom work in agriculture. The Prime Minister mentioned that the Thai private sector is interested in investing in Israel. He stressed that Thailand and Israel could work together on the BCG economic model. The Premier also thanked Israel for the donation of hydroponic greenhouses at the Hup Kapong Royal Project. Meanwhile, the Israeli Ambassador stated that the two countries will continue to work closely in this area and the cooperation will be certainly strengthen.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is prepared to distribute Paxlovid to its affiliated hospitals for treating COVID-19 patients who have a chance of developing severe illness. The medicine, which is an oral antiviral pill, can help reduce the risk of death or hospitalization among the adult population who are in the risk group by 88%. COVID-19 patients who are suitable for Paxlovid are older persons aged 60 years and above, people with obesity, patients with diabetes mellitus, patients with cancer, and unvaccinated people or people who have had only one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. BMA also plans to build an understanding of prescribing and dispensing guidelines of antiviral medicines for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, to ensure they are in accordance with suggestions and drug indications prescribed by the Department of Medical Services, Ministry of Public Health. For the patients with mild symptoms without any risk, the doctor may consider providing medications based on their symptoms, such as “Fa Thalai Chon” (green chiretta) or Favipiravir.
On 21 April 2022, H.E. Mr. Moon Seoung-hyun, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Thailand paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of his taking office. Both sides were satisfied with Thailand and South Korea's close military cooperation, which is an important basis for expanding cooperation to other areas. They were also glad with the increase in trade and investment value between the two countries despite the Covid-19 crisis. The Prime Minister expressed that both nations have the potential to greatly expand economic cooperation, especially in the industry of the future and green economy which is in line with the goals of the BCG economy and the Eastern Special Development Zone (EEC) of Thailand. The Premier praised South Korea's achievement in promoting Soft Power, which Thailand is also known for. He also recommended that the two countries work together in this area. Finally, the Prime Minister praised South Korea for its positive contributions to the Mekong-ROK Cooperation, the ACMECS, and the ASEAN-ROK framework. Thailand is willing to work with and support the initiatives, both in terms of human resource development and green economic development.
Thailand has been officially selected to host the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA Congress 2023) from 12–15 November 2023. It is expected that more than 1,000 foreign delegates and 200 Thais will participate in the event. This will be beneficial to the Thai economy and increase the employment rate by more than a hundred million baht. It also provides good opportunities for the government and the Thai business sector to revive the economy after the COVID-19 epidemic crisis. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed his appreciation to all relevant agencies for pushing the country to become a part of the global community.
The Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) will employ a private business to buy 400 electric buses, as well as drivers and fare collectors, to service passengers at the BMTA's eight bus terminals as part of its rehabilitation plan. The plan's budget is made up of funds set aside by the BMTA for maintenance and gasoline costs, as well as a state subsidy for public service duties. The BMTA's CEO, Kittikan Chomdoung Charuworapolkul, denied the labor union's claim that the executive board overspent on hiring a private company to run the EV fleet, which cost more than 6,000 baht per day. He explained that the BMTA was spending the same amount on its present fleet of regular buses.
Starting on 1 May 2022, Thailand will scrap its Test & Go travel scheme for foreign arrivals by air, while the minimum COVID-19 insurance coverage for them will be reduced from US$20,000 to $10,000. The decision was made at a meeting of the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), chaired by Prime Minister and Defense Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. According to the decision, fully vaccinated travelers will not be tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival in Thailand anymore. It is recommended that they self-test using antigen kits (ATK) during their stay. If they test positive, they should enter their COVID-19 insurance process or take care of their own treatment. However, they must register for entry via the Thailand Pass system.
Starting from 1 May 2022, the CCSA has reclassified a number of provinces under its color-coded scale, designating 65 provinces high-surveillance, or "yellow zones.” The remaining 12 provinces, which will be designated tourism-oriented, or "blue zones,” include Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi, Krabi, Nonthaburi, Phuket, Kanchanaburi, Pathum Thani, Rayong, Chon Buri, Phang-nga, and Songkhla. In both zones, the serving of alcoholic beverages at restaurants will be extended from 11 pm to midnight. However, these venues must receive SHA Plus or Thai Stop COVID 2 Plus certificates, or implement COVID-Free Setting measures. Night entertainment venues must remain closed, but they are allowed to operate as restaurants, in accordance with the established measures.
The Digital Economy Promotion Agency (DEPA) recently reported that Thailand Pavilion at World Expo 2020 Dubai, which took place between 1 October 2021 and 31 March 2022 under the theme "Moving into the Future," came in fourth place out of 192 countries. The Pavilion attracted more over 2.35 million people, accounting for 9.8% of all visitors, exceeding the aim of 7%. Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates were the other top three most popular pavilions, according to Google Public Review. Exhibitor Journal, a renowned exposition magazine in the United States, also gave Thailand Pavilion an Honorable Mention in the Editor's Choice Award category. Furthermore, a poll of visitors to the Thailand Exhibition Hall indicated that over 82 percent of the audience preferred Thailand Pavilion to the other pavilions, and that over 95 percent of the audience intended to travel to Thailand after visiting Thai Pavilion.
A number of Thai provinces have declared their desire to be among the first to designate COVID-19 as an endemic, though future declarations must first be approved by the Emergency Operations Center (EOC). According to Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Public Health, 15 provinces are prepared for the new disease status. The criteria for the designation have been finalized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but the EOC has yet to debate whether provinces are ready for approval. The EOC meeting to discuss the problem has yet to be scheduled. The National Communicable Disease Committee has defined endemic provinces as those with a death rate of less than 0.1 percent and a new case rate of fewer than 10,000 new cases per day. In addition, more than 80% of the people at risk must receive coronavirus vaccine doses.
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith has recently asked the Fiscal Policy Office to examine whether Thailand's economy still requires additional cash injections. Even if more economic stimulus initiatives are required, he believes that additional loans are unnecessary. The Minister stated that as the economy has begun to revive, the government has been able to generate more revenue. As a result, more research is required to assess whether an extra stimulus package is needed. According to Minister Arkhom, many countries' economies are beginning to return to normal as a result of investments, job creation, and revenue generation. Thailand could follow suit, with a focus on investment to boost the economy's cash flow.
Suriya Juangroongruangkit, Minister of Industry, revealed that the Ministry recently published 30 laws aimed at protecting the environment and ensuring human safety. Nine of the 30 have already been enacted, while the remaining 21 are in the process of being enacted. Among these is a change in the statute of limitations for cases involving industrial facilities that discharge untreated water into the environment, which has been increased from one to five years. The penalty for these infringers is still a 200,000 baht fine. Wanchai Phanomchai, Director-General of the Department of Industrial Works, promised to prosecute firms that break the law, particularly those who fail to submit required waste management reports. In Thailand, there are around 70,000 factories, but only 15,000 of them make regular reports to the department.
The World Health Organization Thailand has advised the elderly to vaccinate with a COVID-19 vaccine because they have a higher risk of hospitalization and death from the virus than younger people have, especially older persons who have underlying diseases. According to the analysis of COVID-19 infections in Thailand during the first two months of the year 2022, 75% of deaths were among the elderly aged 60 years and above, and 60% of 928 fatalities were not vaccinated. The analysis also indicates that the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine can reduce the risk of death by six times, and the third dose of the vaccine can reduce the risk by 41 times.
Dr.Tedros Adhanom Ghebreeysus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has recognized Thailand as one of the model nations for conducting an assessment of public health emergency and universal health preparedness in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by This is due to Thailand's successful management and response to the COVID-19 crisis. At the 2022 World Health Assembly, WHO will designate Thailand as a pilot country for exchanging public health experiences in order to benefit member nations and enable the development of new tools and mechanisms to confront future public health emergencies.
Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Minister of Commerce, revealed that Thailand's exports in March 2022 grew by 19.5 percent, with a value of $28.859 million. It is the greatest export value in 30 years, dating back to 1991. Imports, on the other hand, increased by 18.0% to $27.34 billion. As a result, Thailand's trade balance is now at $1,459 million. The increase in exports was due to increases in three primary product categories: agricultural, agro-industrial, and industrial goods. One of the most important factors supporting the increase in export numbers, according to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, is the government's use of soft power. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Commerce has accelerated exports of food, digital content, health and beauty products, as well as Thai identity.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has selected Pornpimol Kanchanalak to closely monitor and handle all relevant matters inside the ministry in accordance with the Foreign Minister's policy on Myanmar. Pornpimol will represent Thailand in local and international negotiations, as well as work with other authorities and the private sector to manage Thai-Myanmar issues. The envoy will be accompanied by a senior foreign ministry official and will work out of the Prime Minister's Office. She will also report directly to the Foreign Minister on the implementation of policies and significant events. Her nomination is intended to promote successful advancements in dealing with difficulties between the two nations because Myanmar is critical to Thailand in terms of geopolitics, economy, society, and national security.
H.E. Mr. KISHIDA Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, is scheduled to pay an official visit to Thailand as Guest of the Royal Thai Government during 1 -2 May 2022. During the visit, Prime Minister of Japan will have a bilateral meeting with H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, at Government House on 2 May 2022. After the meeting, the two leaders will witness the signing ceremony of agreements between the agencies concerned of both sides and have a joint press conference. The Prime Minister of Japan will then attend a dinner hosted in his honour by the Prime Minister of Thailand.
Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand and the Minister of Public Health, disclosed that Thailand will host the World Motorcycle Championship (Moto GP) between 30 September and 2 October 2022. The time should be suitable, as more than 80% of Thailand's people have COVID-19 vaccinations, while the booster dose rate is 36%, and the country has good readiness in its public health system. The Moto GP that was held in 2019 attracted over 50,000 people and generated more than 4,000 million baht for Buriram and neighboring provinces. The event this year is expected to attract more travelers and will stimulate the economy in the post-COVID era. The Moto GP will be held in Buriram under public health measures.
The CCSA decided to scrap the requirement for RT-PCR testing of overseas arrivals and the “Test and Go” scheme for fully vaccinated travellers from May 1st, to simplify entry into Thailand. Self-administered rapid antigen COVID-19 tests are, however, recommended during their stay.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is confident that the spread of COVID-19 can be controlled soon. Various statistics are beginning to show that COVID-19 is entering a downward trend in many parts of Thailand. The number of those infected has declined, although the mortality toll has remained largely constant. This is a promising indicator. The Premier, on the other hand, has tasked several agencies with assessing and dealing with the situation in all areas, including medicine, medical supplies, staff, and medical facilities. Nonetheless, people in the country and visitors from overseas must follow effective disease control methods, particularly the Universal Prevention and Universal Vaccination principles, as well as other government-recommended preventive measures. As a result, the country can be open to driving the economy and the people can live in safety with COVID-19.
Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection ranks Thailand eighth-safest country in the world. According to the latest survey results by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, American tourists generally see that Asian countries are safe. And the number who think so has been increasing for more than four years. The survey results from the "State of Travel Insurance Report" in 2022 showed that South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, China, and Vietnam have all increased their safety rating this year. The survey was conducted in September 2021 by asking 1,500 American tourists their opinions on the subjects of crime, terrorism, transport and health, the safety of women, racism, and LGBTQ+ issues.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha discussed how to assist the public in light of recent high prices for goods and services. The administration has consistently looked for and helped people by implementing various initiatives to ease the current situation. The government is also considering certain relevant measures to assist limit product and service costs so that high selling prices are avoided. Furthermore, the Prime Minister stated that the government has never stopped working to resolve labor, wage, and energy pricing issues by establishing rules and standards for all relevant ministries to follow in order to find appropriate solutions.
On 2 May 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-ocha stated that the government plans to attain carbon neutrality by 2050, with an emphasis on industries that will help Thailand reach this objective, particularly the electric vehicle and battery industries. Minister of Energy Supattanaphong Panmeechao had the opportunity to meet with large Japanese private companies in target industries such as electric vehicles, electronics, and pharmaceuticals, both new and existing, during his April visit to Japan, in order to encourage investment in innovative products and advanced technology in Thailand. Thailand is an appealing investment destination for many Japanese enterprises, according to the minister.
The Thai baht depreciated significantly in March and April, according to Sakkapop Panyanukul, Senior Director of the Bank of Thailand's (BOT) Economic and Policy Department. The baht has decreased by 2.5 percent in value since the start of 2022. Global issues such as the crisis in Ukraine, China's economic slowdown, and predicted changes to the US central bank's benchmark rate have been major contributors. Despite this, the senior director feels that the baht's depreciation is consistent with regional currency trends. The BOT will intervene to stabilize the baht if it perceives excessive volatility or movements that contradict Thai economic fundamentals, said Sakkapop.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, on 2 May 2022, welcomed H.E. Mr. Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan on occasion of the Japanese Premier’s official visit to Thailand. The Prime Minister of Japan reaffirmed Japan's resolve to maintain close and cordial ties with Thailand at all levels. He also agreed with his Thai counterpart that the two countries' relations should be elevated to comprehensive strategic partnership, and suggested that they consider stepping up close cooperation on key issues to produce tangible results, particularly in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, security and judicial cooperation, and future economic cooperation. On international issues, Japan is eager to create close cooperation with Thailand and play a more constructive role at the sub-regional and regional levels, particularly in the development of Mekong sub-region. The Japanese Prime Minister underlined Japan's commitment to cooperate with Thailand, as the coordinator for ASEAN-Japan Dialogue Relations from 2021 to 2024. Japan is also ready to host the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit in 2023, as part of the ASEAN-Japan framework.
On 2 May 2022, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha and H.E. Mr. Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan witnessed the signing of three agreements between Thailand and Japan on the occasion of the latter’s official visit to Thailand. The three agreements are the Exchange of Notes on Financial Cooperation between the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and the Government of Japan, the Agreement on Transfer of Defense Equipment and Technology Between the Government of Japan and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand, and the Exchange of Notes regarding the grant by the Government of Japan under the Program for COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support. The conclusions of the meeting between the two Prime Ministers represent Thailand and Japan's inclusive and comprehensive strategic cooperation. The Thai Prime Minister reaffirmed the Thai government's resolve to work with the Japanese government to turn the visit's deliverables into practical results for the benefit of the countries, peoples, and region as a whole.
Mr.Yuthasak Supasorn, the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), stated that TAT is attempting to harness Thai soft power in order to attract high-quality international visitors to the country. Following the government's decision to reopen Thailand to the world community earlier this month, the strategy was developed in consultation with the corporate sector. The goal of the conference was to figure out how to bring in between five million and 15 million visitors this year. If 160 million people visit Thailand in 2022, tourist earnings might be worth 1.3 to 1.8 trillion baht. Thai soft power will be promoted through culinary delights, Thai cinema, fashion, and martial arts, among other things. The TAT is hoping to attract new members over the months of May to September 2022.
Ministry of Education prepares to open new semester with on-site schools, along with COVID-19 prevention measures The Ministry of Education is preparing to open the school semester this May as semester 1/2022. The policy for this semester is to open on-site schools as much as possible and encourage students at all levels to get vaccinations. In order to take care of children, they will be categorized into two groups, as follows: 1. Children who can come to school. It is strongly suggested that they have psychical distance during activities on site. 2. Children who cannot travel to school. Schools should provide an appropriate curriculum, for example, online courses. "On-hand" learning is recommended for students who do not have the equipment or devices for online learning, so they can study at home with books, exercises, and worksheets.
The Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, has disclosed that COVID-19 infections in Thailand are decreasing, as well as the number of pneumonia patients and intubated patients. Even though the new variants of COVID-19 cause mild symptoms or are asymptomatic, they can cause people who haven't been vaccinated to have severe symptoms, and they are sometimes fatal. A booster dose of vaccine can reduce the fatality rate by 31 times. The elderly have been strongly advised to get a booster dose, while parents also have been advised to take their children aged 5-11 years to get the vaccine before the new school semester starts.
The Division of Tuberculosis, Ministry of Public Health, has opened a COVID-19 testing service from Monday to Friday, 09.00-11.30 hr, except public holidays. The testing is available in two methods: (1) Real-Time RT-PCR with laboratory report, 500 baht. The service starts from 1 May onward; (2) ATK with laboratory report, 100 baht. The service is available until 31 May 2022. Those who are interested should register in advance for the service at https://dtbthairc.com/covid2/index.php. The service takes place at the Division of Tuberculosis, Daranon Building, first floor. It is limited to 150 persons per day.
On 5 May 2022. Dr. Wissanu Krea-ngam, Deputy Prime Minister, chaired the press conference on the "11th Thai Silk: Journey to the World" on the auspicious occasion of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother's 90th birthday on 12 August 2022. The fair is organized by the Association for the Promotion of Silk and Thai Culture in cooperation with the Office of the Permanent Secretary, the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Culture, the Tourism Authority of Thailand, and the Government Public Relations Department. The project aims to honor and pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother as well as promote Thai silk to the world. It will take place at the Navy Auditorium in Bangkok on 28 May 2022 at 17:00 hours. A total of 100 countries are anticipated to attend the festival, including 77 embassies and 23 consulate offices in Thailand. Furthermore, the event will aid in the promotion of Thai silk at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in November.
The number of tourists visiting Thailand has surged in the week since the government lifted the lockdown in preparation for the country's full reopening on 1 May 2022. The elimination of the "Test and Go" scheme has made it easier for foreign visitors to come to Thailand, which is expected to boost the country's tourism business. Thailand has received over 300,000 foreign tourists, according to the Thai Tourism Authority. From May to September, it is expected that visitors from around the world will increase by at least 300,000 per month, while from October to December, during the high season, at least one million tourists will visit Thailand each month. This will also increase the possibility for the tourism industry and the economy to recover.
Thailand and its cultural assets have earned high marks among the international community during the post-pandemic era, with the government saying it will continue to promote the kingdom’s soft power in all areas. Activities that most interested tourists included Thai massage, Thai cuisine, vacationing at resorts and experiencing Thai culture, such as by visiting local temples. The culture minister also noted that CNN Travel recently listed Tom Yam Kung as one of the world’s 20 best soups in the world. He added that the ministry has submitted the soup for consideration by UNESCO to be included on the representative list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, has announced it will temporarily close its service for issuing the COVID-19 vaccination certificate for international travel on 30-31 May 2022 at Bangrak Medical Center Building (Division of Communicable Diseases). The service will reopen from 1 June 2022 onwards.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives is one of the main agencies promoting soft power according to government policy. Mr. Chalermchai Sri-on, Minister of Agriculture, has urged relevant agencies to drive the promotion of Thailand’s outstanding agricultural cultural heritage. Currently, it is in the process of submitting documents to certify the way of raising water buffalo and ecological agriculture in the Thale Noi area in Phatthalung province as a globally important agricultural heritage system, or GIAHS, by the Food and Agriculture Organization, or FAO, of the United Nations. The land has been passed down from generation to generation for more than 250 years. In addition, it is so bio-diversified that it has been declared a Global Wetland, or "Ramsar site," and complies with FAO guidelines for agricultural heritage.
The Ministry of Public Health announced that it would lower the COVID-19 alert to Level 3, as the infections have tended to go down, which is in accordance with the global trend. It is the result of the good cooperation from the public, which has brought the situation under control and not spread widely after the Songkran holidays. Even though the country's infections are in the downward trend, the public -- especially the elderly aged 60 years and over, those who have seven underlying diseases, pregnant women, and those who haven't got a booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine yet -- has been advised to continue refraining from crowded places and social gathering activities, to travel only when necessary, to keep wearing a mask, and to follow the hygiene practices. The ministry also encourages the persons who have had the second dose to get the third dose after three months, and those who have had the third dose should get the fourth dose after three months.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to visit Washington, DC, USA from May 12–13, 2022 at the invitation of US President Joe Biden to attend the second Special ASEAN-US Summit, organized by the United States. It aims to commemorate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-US relations and strengthen their ties, as well as discuss and exchange views on pertinent issues. In addition to the scheduled event, there will be an opportunity to meet with US leaders and high-ranking officials to promote cooperation in the region’s rehabilitation and sustainable growth. This will also provide a chance for the Thai delegation to meet members of the US private sector in order to underscore Thailand’s readiness in the transition to full opening and economic recovery.
Following the decision of the Public Health Ministry's Emergency Operations Center for COVID-19 to downgrade COVID-19 alert nationwide from level 4 to level 3 in line with the global situation and the decrease in the number of patients who have developed pneumonia, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha suggested that all provinces develop an action plan for the transition to endemic phase. In addition, infection has reached a plateau in 23 provinces and is dropping in 54. Nonetheless, in order for the country to move to the endemic phase, everyone is highly recommended to follow "2U," which stands for Universal Prevention and Universal Vaccination.
Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, announced on May 15, 2022 that at the 15th ASEAN Health Ministers Meeting in Indonesia, ASEAN member countries endorsed Thailand as the secretariat for the ASEAN Center for Public Health Emergencies and Emerging Diseases: ACPHEED, which will open in August of this year. The main goal of ACPHEED is to improve the ASEAN region's ability to plan for, prevent, identify, and respond to new health emergencies and illnesses.
Stay tuned for our live stream of the Opening Ceremony of the Nineteenth Senior Official Meeting Responsible for Information (19th SOMRI), on 19 May 2022 at 9:30 AM onwards via Facebook Live: ASEAN Information Center.
The Ministry of Public Health has answered some of the frequently asked questions on pregnant women and COVID-19. Pregnant women have a low risk of having severe symptoms; however, in some cases -- especially those with obesity or gestational diabetes, or who are old, or who have underlying diseases -- they may have severe symptoms. According to the studies, COVID-19 may cause a higher chance of preterm birth in those who have been infected with the disease. The benefits of having a COVID-19 vaccination during pregnancy are much greater than the risk of the vaccine's side effects. Also, there is a low chance of transferring COVID-19 infection during pregnancy from mother to child; it can happen in 2-5% of cases. The infection transfer may happen if the mother has severe symptoms.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed satisfaction with the outcome of the 2nd ASEAN-US Special Summit, which took place in Washington, D.C., during May 12-13, 2022, to discuss ways to strengthen tangible cooperation in various areas for mutual benefit toward a comprehensive strategic partnership. Three areas of collaboration between ASEAN and the US were highlighted by the Prime Minister. First and foremost, the United States' constructive position in the region should be promoted through its cooperation with ASEAN and other regional key actors, notably in terms of humanitarian assistance to those affected by current world events. Second, Thailand and ASEAN may become critical components of the US supply chain, particularly in the areas of electric vehicle production, medical supplies and industry, and biotechnology. Finally, cooperation on climate action should be emphasized in order to meet climate change targets for future generations.
Thailand and Germany are working together to advance a farming project to combat global warming and promote "Thai Rice Nama" (Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Action) to expand cooperation in developing a production process that produces low greenhouse gas emissions, increased productivity, and long-term income. It will also strengthen immunity and establish recommendations for modern peasant farmers to successfully adapt to the environment. It is envisaged that the Thai government would meet its commitments to the Carbon Neutrality Goal and the Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions Goal in the future, in accordance with recommendations to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is a major international agenda. The Thai Rice NAMA initiative, according to Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, is a collaboration between Thai government agencies and the German Organization for International Cooperation (GIZ), with funding from the NAMA Facility. The goal is to address the problem of climate change caused by traditional farming practices, which can account for up to 55 percent of the agriculture sector's greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand.
The Ministry of Public Health encourages the public to get an influenza vaccination, as Thailand has already entered the rainy season, which may cause a rise in infections. The vaccine will lower the chance of severe illness and fatality. They advise that the influenza shot can be given at the same time as the COVID-19 vaccine, by inoculating different arms, which will lower the chance of getting infected with both diseases.
The Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives have teamed up to push for a cannabis-friendly policy. Hemp is a commercial crop with medical and health benefits. Both ministries have agreed to collaborate on domestic cannabis and hemp strain research and development in order to produce a high-quality cannabis seedling that may be planted in homes for health advantages. Besides, farmers will be encouraged to grow according to GAP standards so that they can develop into profitable crops, ultimately creating cash for both farmers and the government. According to Ratchada Thanadirek, Deputy Government Spokesperson, the Ministry of Agriculture aspires to be a center for cannabis and hemp strain research and development, as well as integrated production technologies.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand reported that 1,016,103 million tourists have visited Thailand since the beginning of the year. In the first quarter of 2022, there was a 2,368 percent increase in tourists and a 1,424 percent increase in visitors when compared to the same period in 2021. According to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, the government's "Thai Tourism Promotion Year 2022-2023" or "Visit Thailand Year 2022-2023" campaign is expected to attract at least 300,000 quality foreign tourists per month, with at least one million visitors expected per month in the fourth quarter. By the end of 2022, about five million tourists are anticipated.
On May 23, 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered a keynote presentation via teleconference at the 78th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). In the "Next Normal" era, he recommended three strategies to proceed beyond recovery after the COVID-19 crisis and establish a stable and sustainable area. First, in response to climate change, the region should balance growth and transform its development into an environmentally friendly strategy. Second, the region requires resilient growth. They should improve their response to unexpected events, especially in vulnerable groups. Third, to enhance connectivity in all dimensions, comprehensive and inclusive growth is required. Trade and investment should be facilitated as well. Infrastructure and the digital industry will also help to develop regional and global supply chains. The promotion of MSMEs and startups are therefore very important in the 4IR era.
The Department of Disease Control, Ministry of Public Health, has urged the public to be on guard for the monkeypox infection, owing to the spread in many countries. They explained that the disease is not actually an "emerging" disease, as there was an outbreak 20 years ago. The disease can be transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days. Patients in the first period will have a fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, muscle aches, and lack of energy. The skin eruption usually begins within 1–3 days of the appearance of fever. The symptoms will last for 2-4 weeks. Most patients are able to recover on their own. Severe cases of illness are usually found in children. It has had a 10% fatality rate in Africa. The smallpox vaccine can protect against monkeypox up to 85%. The department advises the public to protect themselves by avoiding touching blood, secretions, or pustules from infected animals; avoiding consuming undercooked meat; frequently washing hands; isolating themselves when they have symptoms; and going to see a doctor.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul and the delegation met with Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghrebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), during his visit to Geneva, Switzerland for the 75th session of the World Health Assembly (WHA). Thailand has been lauded by the WHO for its outstanding performance in dealing with the COVID-19 crisis. As a result, Thailand has been selected to be an international role model for epidemic crisis management, according to WHO. Mr. Tedros has been asked to attend the APEC High Level Meeting on Health and the Economy, which will be held in Bangkok from August 22 to 26, 2022, as part of the APEC meeting hosted by Thailand.
The Ministry of Public Health has established the Emergency Operations Center and tightened the surveillance measures to screen those who are infected with monkeypox. The persons or patients under investigation (PUI) for the disease are defined as coming from or having habitation in countries that have reported local transmission of monkeypox within the last 21 days, along with these symptoms: a fever (high temperature - 38 degrees Celsius or above), sore throat, headache, muscle aches, sore back, swelling of the lymph nodes, and rash (include papules, vesicles, pustules, and crusts). As of 24 May 2022, a list of countries with monkeypox outbreaks includes countries in central Africa, West Africa, the United Kingdom, Spain, and Portugal. The list will be updated according to the current situation.
On May 26, 2022, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, met with Mr. Kishida Fumio, Prime Minister of Japan, in the Japanese Prime Minister's Office. Thailand's Prime Minister thanked Japan for considering Thailand's request to expand the KOSEN teaching program in Thailand and build the KOSEN Education Center to help Thailand become a center for personnel training and development in the Mekong Sub-region and ASEAN. Furthermore, both parties are eager to work together on the Asia Zero-Emissions Community concept. In addition, the Prime Minister is glad that the Japanese government will enable small groups of tourists from Thailand, as well as the other three pilot countries, to enter Japan, in addition to the previously approved businesses, students, and skilled professionals. In terms of ASEAN-Japan collaboration, Thailand, as the coordinator country for ASEAN-Japan relations in 2021–2024, is ready to enhance the guidelines to develop an ASEAN-Japan strategic partnership in all dimensions. The two parties also had a fruitful conversation about the situation in the area and throughout the world. They agreed that the international community must continue to work together to help alleviate humanitarian repercussions in both the Russian-Ukrainian conflict and Myanmar.
On May 27, 2022, Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister, met with Mr. Tokura Masakasu, President of the Japan Business Confederation (Keidanren) and Mr. Suzuki Yoshihisa, Chairman of the Thai-Japan Trade and Economic Commission under Keidanren. The President of Keidanren said that Keidanren has set up a committee to promote cooperation between the Thai and Japanese private sectors, and there have been more than 70 companies participating. The business sector has welcomed the strong relationship between Thailand and Japan. He stressed that Thailand is an important base for Japan in ASEAN. Besides, the RCEP agreement has contributed to the promotion of economic relations. Therefore, it is hoped that the economic relationship between both nations will be even stronger. Moreover, Thailand is still an important part of the supply chain. Human resource development, particularly in the area of personnel exchange and technological disruption in the difficult world, is therefore of great importance nowadays. Both sides agreed that the world has been facing several challenges. Consequently, free, open, and fair trade are extremely important. The Japanese private sector is very pleased that Thailand has joined the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF). In addition, both parties welcomed and agreed to exchange knowledge, expertise, and experience in addressing the issues of climate change and the spread of COVID-19.
In order to improve public immunity in the case of the monkeypox breakout, the government is attempting to get a supply of smallpox vaccine from the World Health Organization (WHO). Despite the fact that Thailand has yet to register or detect any cases of monkeypox infection, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul claimed on May 26, 2022 that the growing number of international visitors will raise the danger of infection. The minister made the request at a meeting with WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus on the sidelines of the 75th World Health Assembly in Geneva on May 5.
The World's Best Rice Award will be presented in Phuket this year by the American magazine The Rice Trader, with the Ministry of Commerce hoping that the event will promote the global appeal of Thai grains. The event will be held between November 15 and 17, 2022. The Rice Trader's CEO, Jeremy Zwinger, made the announcement during a meeting with Thailand’s Commerce Minister, Jurin Laksanawisit. For the past 13 years, the magazine has given out such honors, with Thailand's Hom Mali rice taking first place the last two years. With over 1,000 people expected to attend, this award ceremony will be the largest ever organized by a magazine publisher. It is also expected to help enhance Thai rice's popularity and keep national pricing stable. Furthermore, the event will boost tourism in Phuket and nearby provinces such as Krabi and Phang Nga. The Ministry of Commerce estimates that 7–8 million tons of rice will be shipped this year, an increase from 6.1 million tons the previous year.
The Ministry of Public Health recently addressed a number of misleading claims about monkeypox. These include assertions that the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine increases the risk of monkeypox transmission. According to the DDC, COVID-19 vaccines do not increase the risk of monkeypox infection, whereas standard smallpox vaccines are 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox. A report suggesting monkeypox cases had been discovered in Ko Chang, Trat, was also refuted by the DDC. These cases were found to be human cases of simian malaria, with mosquitoes as the main carrier. To avoid the spread of monkeypox, the Ministry of Public Health has initiated screening measures for international arrivals. Visitors with a temperature of more than 38 degrees Celsius and at least one other symptom, such as a sore throat, headache, myalgia, enlarged lymph nodes, or rashes, will be evaluated.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has pushed the country to meet its greenhouse gas reduction goal by aiming for a net-zero carbon emission target of 40% by 2030. The government has been making changes to the energy system to limit the use of fossil fuels and increase the use of renewable energy. In order to promote the energy transition trend, the government also intends to restructure the way fuel energy is used in various power plants. This involves promoting the use of environmentally friendly energy in all sectors to improve energy efficiency through technology and innovation, while encouraging people to drive electric vehicles (EV). Furthermore, by 2030, the government intends to produce 30% of all zero-carbon vehicles from total production capacity. There will also be measures in place to encourage and attract investment in the electric vehicle industry. The goal is to create an infrastructure that will allow electric vehicles to thrive. Moreover, public fast charging and battery replacement facilities for electric motorcycles will be increased.
The Ministry of Public Health has disclosed that from 1 June 2022 onward, they will adjust the report of COVID-19 infections by reporting only the number of patients who are hospitalized. The infections in Thailand are on a downward trend and better than expected, so there will be a discussion on lowering the COVID-19 alert this week. After the more relaxed measures have been applied, there may be a new rise in the number of infections, for those who are in the high-risk groups, such as the elderly and small children. They should strictly follow the 2U measure -- Universal Prevention and Universal Vaccination -- to protect themselves from getting infected and having severe symptoms.
On June 2, 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha was pleased with the evidence that the Thai economy remained strong. According to the Ministry of Industry, industrial production increased for the eighth month in a row, tracking exports of both industrial and agricultural goods. People will have additional job opportunities as a result of this. Meanwhile, the Thai Industrial Economic Warning System (EWS-IE) tool was used by the Office of Industrial Economics to assess trends. With the recovery of the domestic economy and the rise of exports, it was discovered that the industrial sector will continue to expand in the next 1-2 months.
Over 1,000 people from over 60 nations are expected to attend Thailand's high-profile 2022 Global Summit of Women, which will take place between 23-25 June 2022 in Bangkok. The Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB), the Global Summit of Women, and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will be collaborating on the event. After a two-year break owing to the epidemic, the summit will be Thailand's first large-scale, in-person global convention. It is also considered a good time for the country to market itself as a world destination for international events, given that incoming travel and event restrictions have been steadily eased over the last three months. The "Carbon Neutral" structure of the 2022 Global Summit of Women in Thailand is also noteworthy. The carbon impact of all summit meetings and activities will be tracked. The purchase of carbon credits from the Project to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Thailand will offset emissions from energy consumption, participant travel, catering, and trash management.
Fitch holds the outlook steady and the sovereign credit rating of Thailand at BBB+. It also has faith in the Thai government's ability to perform in a concrete and efficient manner. The government spokesperson, Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, stated that the Fitch Ratings projection from the first quarter of this year indicates that Thai company earnings will probably continue to improve in 2022. As a consequence of effective fiscal management, Fitch revealed on 21 June 2022, that Thailand's credit rating was steady at BBB+. The government has relaxed economic measures to continuously lessen the effects of people from the COVID-19 scenario. Furthermore, the actions taken to open the nation led to the tourism sector's resurgence. The economic, trade, and investment sectors are moving in a good way.
Warawut Silpa-archa, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment together with Semonetta Sommaruka, Minister of Environment, Transport, Energy, and Information of the Swiss Confederation recently drew up an operating agreement under the Paris Agreement between Thailand and the Swiss Confederation. This is considered the world's first dual carbon credit transfer agreement. Under the agreement, the two nations established a framework for international collaboration in the transfer of greenhouse gas reduction results. The Clean Energy and Electric Vehicle Promotion Program, which will engage both the public and private sectors, will be implemented in Bangkok with the help of the Swiss Confederation. When carbon credits from such projects are transferred, Thailand hopes to be the first nation in the world to do so.
According to the International Aviation Transport Association (IATA), more than 10 million foreign visitors will fly to Thailand in 2022, with air traffic increasing globally as more nations relax their immigration policies in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The Ministry of Transport and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports have reached an understanding on the government's softening regulations that enable the entry of international tourists to some level, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Traisulee Traisarakul. However, the tourism industry, which includes hotels, lodging, dining establishments, and tourist attractions, will be able to draw more tourists to various locations if it joins the promotional activities. As a result, more money will circulate throughout the nation's economy.
A request will be made to the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) for safety inspections of about 400 power cables and transformers throughout the capital after a fire on Sunday (26 June) in Sampeng market claimed the lives of two people, according to Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt. In order to prevent further fire occurrences, he continued, the BMA will speed up its underground cable operations and carry out sporadic safety assessments of every structure. The governor of Bangkok also advised the public to report any fires right away and to keep an eye out for damaged transformers and cables.
On 28 June 2022, Mr.Young Liu, Chairman of the Board of Foxconn Technology Group, paid a visit to Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. Both parties talked about working together to make Thailand the production hub for the Mobility-In-Harmony platform. They agreed that it would support the expansion of the nation's economy, improve its capacity for international competition, and help raise the employment rate. Additionally, it will be environmentally friendly. Foxconn's chairman commended Thailand's EEC project, which, according to the Prime Minister, is a significant factor in accelerating Thailand's economic growth and generating broad economic and social advantages in the area, particularly in the semiconductor industry.
On 29 June 2022 Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the opening ceremony of FTI EXPO 2022: SHAPING FUTURE INDUSTRIES FOR STRONGER THAILAND, organized by the Federation of Thai Industries at the International Convention and Exhibition Center in Chiang Mai Province. On this occasion, the Premier gave a keynote speech on "New Scenarios for Thai Industry for Sustainability." The event will be held between 29 June – 3 July 2022, with the goal of concentrating on how all pertinent sectors may cooperate and forge strong linkages between various industry groups to boost the nation's economy. The showcase is also a mobilization of leading organizations, the public sector, and members of the Federation of Thai Industries, with 11 industrial clusters in five different regions across the nation, as well as SMEs in the northern region. Over 400 individuals are anticipated to attend the merchandise exhibitions, seminars, business negotiations, and the presentation of new technical advancements throughout the event. Above all, it is hoped that there will be at least one billion baht in spending to boost economic confidence.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives recently disclosed the volume and value of livestock exports for the first five months of 2022 (January through May), which totaled 1,014,611 tons and exceeded 106,656.17 million baht, a rise of 20.82 percent and 2.08 percent, respectively. Meat and processed goods, non-frozen goods (eggs, milk, honey, bird's nest, extracted chicken soup, canned goods, etc.), pet food, and livestock feed were significant exports. Japan, the United Kingdom, the European Union, the United States, and others were important commercial partners. Due to the relaxing of meat import restrictions in some nations as well as the increased demand for food throughout the globe as a result of effects on food security, it is anticipated that the export trend will continue to rise in the second half of the year.
On July 1, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the kick-off of the “Soong Wai, Jai Smart” event to promote lifelong education for the elderly. The project aims to maintain the physical and mental performance of the elderly in the form of life skills development activities. The Prime Minister said that the proportion of the elderly in 2022 is more than 16% of the population. This figure accounts for more than the percentage of school-age children. Thus, all sectors turn to focus on the elderly by providing care services and laying solid foundations so that they can live in a society with happiness.
At the invitation of the Thai government, delegates from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) traveled to the southern provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat on 29-30 June 2022 under the leadership of Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Yousef Mohammed S. Aldobeay. The delegation observed local communities, educational initiatives, and religious activities. The Thai government was praised by the assistant secretary-general for protecting the Muslim population in the southern provinces and resolving conflicts amicably. The OIC delegates also agreed that Thailand provided a good example of a multicultural society in which people of all races, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions peacefully coexist. The visit by the OIC delegates, according to Rear Adm Somkiat Pholprayoon, Secretary-General of the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC), provided local residents in the provinces with a good opportunity to voice their opinions. He informed the OIC that one of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-core cha's policies is Thailand's dedication to multiculturalism and equality, and that the OIC visit directly represents this commitment to the international community.
On July 4, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha was delighted after Travel + Leisure rated Bangkok as the Best City in Southeast Asia, while Phuket and Koh Samui were also ranked 1st and 2nd as Southeast Asia's best islands. The Prime Minister is pleased that tourists from all over the world continue to visit Thailand, and view Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui as cities that can provide great experiences. The Government Spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana added that Thailand is still a popular destination for tourists this year, with an increase in the number of people traveling to the country.
On the occasion of his visit to Thailand, Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on 5 July 2022. The "Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Collaboration" between the two nations celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, and the Thai government is prepared to work with its Chinese counterpart to advance this partnership for the coming ten years. The mutual trade value, which climbed by more than 20% between January and April 2022, thrilled the Prime Minister. He also expressed gratitude to China for responding to Thailand's request for assistance in exporting agricultural products, the top Thai export to China, and made a suggestion to his Chinese counterpart to hasten the development of infrastructure at China's various border crossing points for the import of Thai fruits. The State Councilor and Foreign Minister noted that China has prioritized connectivity promotion by connecting the China-Laos and Thai railway systems, which could improve relations and ease the movement of people and goods.
According to the Department of Industrial Promotion (DIPROM), the Thai textile and apparel industry continues to export goods in the first quarter of 2022. In comparison to the same period previous year, export value increased by 13.7 percent, reaching US$1,784.2 million. The value of the import market was US$1,373.9 million. There was a US$410.3 million trade surplus. It is a significant opportunity to boost the economy more rapidly through the textile and garment sector. DIPROM has developed the quality of textile products through “Thailand Textiles Tag,” which is a certification mark for textile products manufactured in Thailand with high quality according to international standards. Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana, the government's spokesperson, stated that the government has continued to advance and concentrate on grassroot economic groups in order to raise the standard of living in the neighborhood by promoting locally produced products on both domestic and worldwide markets.
A delegation from the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives recently visited Japan. The visit's primary goal was to have discussions with the corporate sector about Thailand's agricultural warehousing and logistics in Japan. They also took into consideration the opinions of Japanese businesspeople regarding customer preferences and market trends so that Thailand may produce food and agricultural products in line with the "Production Leading Market" strategy. According to the Ministry of Commerce, Japan is Thailand's second-largest market for agricultural and food exports. Between 2019 and 2021, Thailand was responsible for approximately 11.35 percent of the export value of agricultural goods to the global market. More than 130-billion-baht worth of agricultural trade exists between Thailand and Japan. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives increased their collaboration on the production of future foods with Futurenaut Inc., a producer of insect-processed foods utilizing cricket powder imported from Thailand, and Japan's Takasaki City University of Economics in Gunma Prefecture.
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt stated during a recent meeting that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will implement waste management policies while improving its waste transportation system. The governor also emphasized the importance of dispelling the narrative that the BMA dumped its waste in one location which made residents reluctant to separate waste for reuse and recycling. Morever, he encouraged residents to help separate waste for reuse and recycling to reduce the high-spending on expenditure on waste management.
The Ministry of Public Health had urged the Ministry's Public Health Centers and all hospitals to prepare for a new wave of Covid-19 epidemics after the infection rates of Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 accounted for more than 50 percent of new cases. Public health officials have warned that the number of cases could rise in the next three months, with the Bureau of Epidemiology forecasting 4,000 cases per day in September.
During his official visit to Thailand on 10 July 2022, H.E. Mr. Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State of the United States, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha. The signing of the Thai-US Communiqué on Strategic Alliance and Partnership, which would outline strategy objectives based on shared values and interests, also pleased the Prime Minister. The importance of Thailand as a partner and ally of the United States in the Indo-Pacific was stressed by the U.S. Secretary of State. In addition, both parties agreed to expand economic cooperation. Despite the COVID-19 situation, the U.S. remains Thailand's most significant trading partner as evidenced by the ongoing growth of their bilateral trade value. The two nations also agreed to advance their cooperation in support of supply chain resilience, economic recovery, and sustainable development. The growth of collaboration in the areas of climate change and sustainable energy was also agreed upon by both sides. Furthermore, they are ready to support each other's countries' positive roles in the subregional and regional cooperation.
Permanent secretary of the Ministry of Education Supat Champathong said that all schools will remain open although there are increasing reports of students contracting the coronavirus. He also urged schools to strictly enforce health-safety measures such as mask use, social distancing, hand washing, keeping classrooms properly ventilated, and temperature screenings. Several schools, however, have already started reviving online classes to help stem the spread of infection among students.
The Thai government is moving on with plans to turn Thailand into a regional hub for hemp products over the next five years, with the goal of generating at least 25 billion baht in revenue. Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit estimates that the value of hemp grown and harvested in Thailand will increase by at least 50,600 baht per acre, creating additional employment opportunities in the industry's supply chain. He also mentioned that the global hemp industry is expected to be worth over 558 billion baht by 2027 which corresponds to an increase of 22.4% compared to the previous year.
Through the "Promotion of Thai Brands to the International Brand" Campaign, Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit has promoted Thai brands with potential to the global market with a focus on the Asian and Oceania markets, particularly the Indian market, which is Thailand's top trading partner in South Asia and has the second-largest population in the world. In keeping with the growing export potential for Thai goods and the government's "production market" plan, the Ministry of Commerce seeks to offer opportunities to build networks and businesses in a tangible way. By developing strategies in line with the strategy of boosting competitiveness in international commerce, the Department of International Trade Promotion has put this policy into practice, pushing Thailand to be among the top five economies in Asia by 2027. To achieve this, Thai goods and services must be strengthened with innovation and technology to satisfy the demands of megatrends and the coming normal era.
The 7th APEC Virtual Food Security Ministerial Meeting will be held on August 26, 2022, at the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, to reaffirm intent and commitment in achieving regional food security. A statement on APEC food security will be adopted, and Thailand will provide agendas that support food security. Thailand is known as the "Kitchen of the World," but the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative has not been sitting still. The National Food Committee, whose responsibilities include identifying food quality, food safety, food security, and food education policies and strategies in all dimensions, has prepared and established an overall food security plan. In the meantime, Thailand has taken advantage of the crisis to accelerate its export of agricultural and food products to other nations. Data on agricultural exports show that over the first five months of 2022, imports of Thai agricultural products climbed by 26 percent, from 548 billion Baht in 2021 to 6.91 billion Baht.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha directed the Ministry of Public Health and all other concerned agencies to prepare response plans against possible monkeypox spread after the World Health Organization had declared growing monkeypox outbreak the “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).” The Immigration Office has been asked to conduct close and special monitoring of travelers from the high-risk countries. The Ministry of Public Health has also upgraded its monkeypox alert to the national level in a bid to boost public confidence on the country’s health system efficiency. The public is advised to firmly maintain their adherence to the universal prevention measures to prevent the spread of both COVID-19 pandemic and the monkeypox.
The rumor saying that Thailand is no longer a top international investment destination was refuted on 26 July 2022, by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha. He declared it to be false information. In the first half of 2022, according to a study by the Department of Business Development, the Ministry of Commerce, foreigners invested close to 70,000 million baht in Thailand, an increase of close to 30 billion baht from the same period in 2021, employing more than 3,000 Thai people.
Thai Airways International (THAI) plans to introduce its new route between Bangkok and Jeddah, as a result of the Prime Minister's official visit to Saudi Arabia in January this year. The first service will be available on 19 August 2022. According to Deputy Government Spokesperson, Ratchada Thanadirek, this shows the great relationship between the two countries, and more business opportunities will undoubtedly follow. Additionally, THAI stated its goal to promote "soft power" in the southern border provinces, including food, local crafts, and historical and cultural tourism. It is hoped that Middle Eastern and Saudi Arabian tourists would be able to learn more about Thailand. Hopefully, visitors from Saudi Arabia and the Middle East will be able to learn more about Thailand. The direct flight from Bangkok to Jeddah is anticipated to increase the number of Saudi Arabian visitors arriving in Thailand from the current 30,000 by a factor of ten.
The initiatives of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (NACC) for the year 2022 to develop and enhance cooperation with neighboring nations to stop drug production and disrupt global drug trafficking networks were approved by the Cabinet on 26 July 2022. These efforts have actually been ongoing since 2015. By doing this, the Thai government will fund a total budget of 16 million baht to help four bordering nations—Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam—solve drug problems in the Golden Triangle region.
By 2034, Thailand hopes to surpass all other Southeast Asian countries in terms of the size of its tiger population. Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said the country was hailed by bordering nations at the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation for its effective animal conservation efforts during a celebration of International Tiger Day on 29 July 2022. He also mentioned that the National Strategy for Tiger Conservation 2010–2022, which has helped the nation have the wildest tigers in Southeast Asia, is responsible for the success in safeguarding these great animals. Thailand now boasts the most wild tigers in Southeast Asia, with an estimated 148–149 wild tigers living in its national parks and wildlife refuges. With approximately 3,000 tigers, India continues to have the largest tiger population in the world.
A 48-hectare plot of land in the Thanyaburi district of Pathum Thani province was graciously donated by His Majesty the King for the construction of a new zoo. A portion of the zoo will function as a miniature zoo during construction to welcome tourists. The government is currently selecting a building company to carry out this project, as the zoo's design phase is complete. According to Natural Resources and Environment Minister Varawut Silpa-archa, the ministry is making every effort to ensure that the new zoo will meet the needs of the public. It will certainly meet world zoo standards and serve as a learning center in addition to being a destination for recreation and tourism. The new project is estimated to cost 10.97 billion baht, with a partial opening expected in 2026 and a full opening in 2028.
Thailand will host the 54th APEC SME Working Group Meeting and other associated activities between 5-10 September 2022 in Phuket province. The main focus of the meeting is “Inclusive Recovery of APEC MSMEs through BCG & High Impact Ecosystem.” Accelerating BCG Adoption, Inclusive Digital Transformation, The Next Normal MSME Financing and Debt Restructuring, and Coping with Evolving Market Landscape: High Impact Policy are the other four sub-topics that will be covered. This demonstrates Thailand's capacity and readiness to open its doors to global business and trade while also embracing travelers from all over the world.
The outlook for the Thai economy in the second quarter of 2022 has a positive trend and is predicted to grow steadily at 3.3 percent in 2022 and 4.2 percent in 2023, according to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha. This was caused by an increase in the number of foreign tourists as well as a recovery in private consumption and purchasing power of high-income groups. Due to an increase in foreign visitors and a rebound in domestic demand, the Thai economy is predicted to grow faster than anticipated. However, the Prime Minister stressed that the administration is not relaxed about the microeconomic issues facing the nation. The cost of living for some vulnerable citizens, businesses, and low-income individuals is a concern for the government.
The government is extending an invitation to the general public to see a brand-new exhibition honoring Her Majesty the Queen Mother's 90th birthday in August. From August 1 through 15, everyone can see this spectacular exhibition at Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall in Bangkok. The celebratory event of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, the Queen Mother's 90th birthday on 12 August 2022, is commemorated with the unique display "With Love for the Nation." The exhibition will highlight past and ongoing royal initiatives by Her Majesty the Queen Mother. Admission is free. Visitors must, however, show a vaccination certificate proving they have had at least three doses of the required vaccines or a negative antigen test result.
The Office of Agricultural Economics found that the agricultural economy grew by 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2022 compared to the same period of 2021, when it grew by 4.1 percent. This increase can be attributed to a number of factors, including the implementation of government policies and measures regarding the development of production efficiency, marketing, and planting methods that lessen the burden of higher production costs. Additionally, the government is stepping up its efforts to support the industrial economy by encouraging the export of goods from the creative industry. This will help to contribute to the sustainable development of the Thai economy and society by promoting the growth of competence for business owners in the fashion and apparel industries.
Aeroflot, the national carrier of Russia, will provide daily direct flights from Moscow to Phuket starting on 30 October 2022. After the Russia-Ukraine tensions began, the service has been suspended since March. According to Yuthasak Supasorn, Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), if Aeroflot starts flights to Thailand, other Russian airlines will likely follow suit. The restart of the service will help Thai tourism because Russian tourists would prefer to travel to warmer countries like Thailand, he added. According to TAT, in the first seven months of this year, 3.12 million foreigners visited Thailand. Of these, more than 76,000 were Russians. By the end of 2022, the TAT aims to bring in seven to ten million tourists.
In his keynote address at the Thailand Climate Action Conference (TCAC), on 5 August 2022 with the theme "Our Future: Our Responsibility, Our Opportunity," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha emphasized that the conference would serve as a springboard for Thailand's achievement of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and progress toward balanced, sustainable, and environmentally friendly growth. The accomplishment of the 2050 carbon neutrality and 2065 net-zero GHG emission targets, however, will depend on Thailand's ability to quickly develop cutting-edge and innovative technologies, strengthen human resource capacities, and work with other countries to effectively address climate concerns.
The "Yala Durian City” program has been included as part of the agenda of Yala province since 2018. The program aims to add value to local durian through processing and to develop the province as a center for durian trade and durian processing in the southern border provinces. This year, Yala will hold its annual Fruit and Local Product Festival on 13-15 August 2022 at the White Elephant Park in Mueang district. The festival offers a good opportunity for local residents and visitors to savor delicious fruit and buy local products, especially "durian sadet nam Yala” and many of the OTOP goods that make a name for this province.
On August 8, 2022, H.E. Mr. Jonathan Dale Kings, Ambassador of New Zealand to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on the occasion of his assumption of duty in Thailand. As Thailand is New Zealand’s important partner, the New Zealand Ambassador assured to enhance longstanding ties of friendship between the two countries by increasing trade and investment, tourism, and cooperation under a multilateral framework including the Greater Mekong Subregion, ASEAN, and APEC, as well as global challenges. Both parties expressed pleasure with the growth of mutual trade value in 2021, even during the COVID-19 situation. The Prime Minister also invited New Zealand investors to invest in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in critical industries such as smart agriculture and biotechnology, which correspond to Thailand’s Bio-Circular-Green Economic Model and New Zealand’s 30-year Economic Plan. In addition, both sides shared views of mutual interest in international issues. On the Myanmar situation, the New Zealand Ambassador praised Thailand for providing appropriate humanitarian assistance. He finally showed his support for Thailand as the host of APEC this year.
The National Communicable Disease Committee has agreed to change its description or classification of “COVID-19” from “Dangerous Communicable Disease” to “Disease Under Surveillance” from 1 October 2022. This is the same level as influenza, malaria, and dengue fever. In addition, the committee has also agreed to adapt the medical treatment policies, and will allow private hospitals and clinics to provide anti-virus medicines which will be in effective from 1 September onward.
Bangkok ranks number one in Asia-Pacific for attracting international conferences GainingEdge, a consulting firm for international conferences, has released its latest report on “Leveraging Intellectual Capital,” which shows that Bangkok has been able to leverage its local knowledge leaders by attracting 123 international conferences. In addition, Bangkok has local leaders assuming positions on the boards of 194 international associations. The performance was translated into a “Harnessing Ratio” of 63.4%, placing Bangkok at the top position in the Asia-Pacific region and sixth place on the global scale. The report has ranked Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibitions (MICE) destinations worldwide based on the influence of their knowledge leaders in attracting international conventions. It compared the number of knowledge leaders from each city who are on the governing bodies of international associations and the number of international conventions.
The consumer index that the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) had analyzed increased from 41.6% in June of this year to 42.4% in the following month. University president Thanavath Phonvichai predicted that consumer spending would gradually climb later this year as the economy picked up steam, aided by higher exports and a rebound in the crucial tourism industry. Additionally, he stated that this year's economic growth is predicted to range between 3.0% and 3.5%, with exports likely to increase by 6% to 8% and 8–10 million foreign visitors expected.
Thailand and Malaysia agree to construct new bridges across Golok River. Key outcomes from the 14th Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation (JC) and the 5th Ministerial Meeting of the Committee on Joint Development Strategy for Border Areas (JDS) between Thailand and Malaysia on 10 August 2022 in Bangkok are to facilitate bilateral trade in order to achieve the trade target of USD 30 billion by 2025, to boost their tourism industry by promoting Muslim-friendly and sustainable tourism, and to expedite the completion of pending projects, including the construction of the Road Alignment Linking CIQ Sadao – ICQS Bukit Kayu Hitam and the construction of two new bridges across the Golok River.
The Department of Medical Services (DMS) suggested that antivirals for the treatment of COVID-19 should only be administered with a prescription. The Director-General of DMS, Dr. Somsak Akksilp, outlined how COVID prescriptions often fit into one of the four categories. Since the first group of patients exhibits no symptoms, antivirals are not advised for them. Patients in the second category have little symptoms. Tablets containing favipiravir might be suggested for this population. Those who have a higher chance of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms fall into the third category. One of the several antivirals may recommended by doctors. The last group of patients developed pneumonitis, a fever, a cough, or low blood oxygen levels. If symptoms are severe, Remdesivir may be advised for 10 days together with anti-inflammatory medications.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, expressed his satisfaction with the success of the EEC project, which has now made great progress and is in line with the government's policy goals to lift Thailand out of the middle-income trap and improve the standard of living for all EEC citizens. Despite the overall success, it must also focus on other groups of people to benefit from the implementation of the EEC project, including creating systematic connectivity, infrastructure, and transportation. The aim is to promote growth in all regions of Thailand and to connect them to other countries in the region. During the first four years of 2018–2022, the EEC achieved satisfactory growth in all dimensions and directed benefits to all groups of people, including the approval of an investment budget of up to 1.8 trillion baht, exceeding the target of 1.7 trillion baht in five years. The EEC's target over the next five years between 2023 and 2070 is an investment of 2.2 trillion baht, enabling Thailand to expand by 5% from 2024 onwards.
Goods transport trial through railway connecting three countries: Malaysia – Thailand – Lao PDR. The State Railway of Thailand, in collaboration with the Malaysian State Railway Authority, made a dry run “parade” of international goods containers through a new route to promote the shipping of goods through the railway across Thailand, Malaysia, and Lao PDR. This trial set off from Padang Besar in Malaysia to Nong Khai, a northeastern province of Thailand and connected to Thanaleng Station in Lao PDR, where the China-Laos railway route starts. A round-trip transportation rate of 320,800 baht per cargo is an economical price and cost-effective, in comparison with other types of transportation.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has recently taken the “Phuket Road Show to India 2022” to New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore to promote Phuket as a top holiday destination for Indian tourists. TAT expects to attract Indian travelers to Phuket during Diwali, one of the most important holidays in India, which will be observed in October this year. Phuket is already well-established as a favorite destination for Indians with its beautiful beaches, inviting sea, and multitude of attractions and activities. From 1 January to 31 July 2022, Thailand welcomed over 3 million foreigners. The Indian market provided around 10% of this total, with more than 300,000 arrivals. Out of this number, nearly 90,000 Indian visitors traveled to Phuket.
During his visit to Thailand to attend the 9th Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation, H.E. Mr. Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of India, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on 17 August 2022. Both parties also discussed topics of shared interest. Regarding the security issue, both sides reached an agreement to use current structures for cooperation in order to create new forms of security cooperation while promoting regional peace and security. Given that India is Thailand's top trading partner in the South Asian region, the two countries have been establishing a strong economic partnership. However, there is a lot more room for growth in terms of both commerce and investment, particularly in Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The development of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway project, which will connect India with the Southeast Asian nations, was agreed to by all sides as a priority for collaboration.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health, will meet with Khairy Jamaluddin, the Minister of Health of Malaysia, on 24 August 2022 to discuss the Thai government's medicinal marijuana regulations. Malaysia currently has a law in place that allows for the use of medical marijuana. The draft of a cannabis law and hemp, which is now being studied, are a couple of the topics that will be covered. They will also talk about issues, challenges, and solutions that arise during the formulation of policies.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), which includes 15 members, including 10 ASEAN nations, Japan, South Korea, China, Australia, and New Zealand, has been promoted by the Ministry of Commerce. Since the RCEP entered into force on 1 January 2022, it has already covered a combined population of 2.3 billion, or 30.2% of the world's population, and a total GDP of 28.5 trillion US dollars, or 33.6% of the global GDP. The first half of 2022 saw an increase of 13% in the total trade value from the same period last year between Thailand and member nations to 169,041 million US dollars. Thailand had an increase of 9% in its exports to RCEP participants to 78,172 million US dollars. ASEAN, China, Japan, and South Korea are Thailand’s significant export markets.
Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (QSNCC) in Bangkok will reopen in September following a three-year shutdown for renovations. The QSNCC's management company, N.C.C. Management & Development Co.,Ltd., estimates that the rebuilt convention center will be able to host 13 million people annually. This would be more than twice as many visitors as there were annually before the refurbishment. There are already 160 events scheduled. This year's biggest event will be the APEC Summit and associated gatherings in November. This event is anticipated to draw 30,000 attendees. A 15-billion-baht renovation fund was used to upgrade the QSNCC. The overall area has increased from 65,000 square meters to 300,000 square meters, or about five times. The retail area has grown to 11,000 square meters, while the event space has been enlarged to 78,500 square meters. 3,000 cars can now fit into the entire parking space thanks to the development of an underground parking lot.
Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health is showcasing the latest medical innovations at the APEC Health Week meetings on 22-26 August 2022 in Bangkok, such as the COVID-19 breath analyzer enabling the users to test with high accuracy and within five minutes; G-Breath, the breath analyzer for diabetes; the facilitating system for doctors’ and nurses’ notes integrated with speech recognition for Thai medical transcription; 3D for medical treatment, enabling higher precision of operations or radiotherapy for cancer treatment; and cannabis “cosmeceutical” innovations. The exhibition highlights innovative solutions and accessibility to medical care services, as well as a wide array of opportunities for commercial production.
On 22 August 2022. H.E. U Chit Swe, Ambassador of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on occasion of his assumption of the position. The Prime Minister expressed hope for border peace and trade in relation to border peacekeeping and cross-border challenges. In order to handle challenges like drugs, illegal immigration, human trafficking, and cross-border crimes, he commended Myanmar for its assistance. Both parties agreed to foster reciprocal transactions for economic growth through economic cooperation. The use of Baht and Kyat together for border commerce purposes is permitted by Myanmar. While Thailand is prepared to offer humanitarian aid, the Prime Minister stated his hope that peace and stability will soon return to Myanmar.
On the first day of the APEC Health Week meeting (22 August 2022), Thailand’s Deputy Minister of Public Health presented the policy dialogue on the topic of “Smart Family.” Numerous experts in public health, educational institutions, and international organizations are gathered to deal with demographic concerns. It was revealed that 17 of all 21 APEC member economies are facing a decline in the fertility rate, which may cause a long-term economic impact. In support of Thailand’s Smart Family policy, several laws and policies have been issued, aimed at promoting preparedness for pregnancy, and encouraging the future of children with full potential. The policies also aim to alleviate the problem of teenagers dropping out of the education system by providing welfare for adolescent mothers.
On 24 August 2022, Public health Minister Anutin and Ms. Andrea Palm, Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, had a bilateral discussion on strengthening public health cooperation at the APEC Health Week in Thailand from 22 – 26 August 2022. The Thai Public Health Minister emphasized that the bilateral cooperation between Thailand and the US in the field of public health has demonstrated Thailand's strong commitment to the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) and shown its readiness to set up laboratories, human resources, and provide basic vaccines to Burmese children living close to the border in order to prevent communicable diseases. The US counterpart commended Thailand for its good work in providing patients with enough medication, a medical service for in-home isolation and hospitel under the nation's primary health insurance system, and in particular for its extensive COVID-19 vaccination program for the vast majority of people.
At the fifth Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Forestry (MMRF) in Chiang Mai from 23–25 August 2022, ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) supported a sustainable forest management strategy for member economies in an effort to combat climate change. The participating ministers agreed on the notion of mutually supporting a balance between the economy, environment, and society by cooperating to achieve sustainable forest management, according to Thailand's Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varawut Silpa-archa. The Minister claims that following this rule will increase opportunities for the legal wood sector while reducing illegal logging. It strives to support the expansion of green spaces, the preservation of biodiversity, and the reduction of the effects of climate change. In order to encourage sustainable forest management among APEC economies, Thailand on this occasion introduced its Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) economic model, which uses cutting-edge technology and innovations to boost product value and assist enterprises.
A draft master plan for the National Space for 2023–2037 was recently agreed upon in principle at a meeting of the National Space Policy Committee, which was chaired by General Prawit Wongsuwan, Deputy Prime Minister. This plan is in keeping with the national strategy. A draft plan for the National Satellite Project and a policy for the National Communications Satellite Operation were also approved at the meeting. As a result, the National Telecommunications Public Company Limited has been tasked with conducting an extensive survey of the demand for satellite use among various authorities. The National Space Affairs Act would be a crucial weapon in advancing the nation's space affairs, the Deputy Prime Minister further highlighted, according to the Deputy Prime Minister.
The Chairman of the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), Mr. Kriengkrai Thiannukul, is optimistic that the Constitutional Court's decision to suspend the Prime Minister's duties will assist to reduce political tensions for a further month until the final verdict. Additionally, it avoids issues down the road in the event that the Constitutional Court rules that the Prime Minister has served for eight years already. However, political issues can have an impact on the industry's trust. The risk is also increased by political unrest. Businesses will need to closely monitor the situation over the course of the next month to determine what sort of outcome it will have because it is too early to predict how much the industrial sector will be affected.
Thailand’s Ministry of Culture, in collaboration with the Royal Thai Consulate-General in Fukuoka, Japan, and other partners have organized “Thai Festival 2022” on 26-28 August 2022 at Tenjin Chuo Park in Fukuoka, to mark the 135th anniversary this year of the relations between Thailand and Japan. During the event, there will be booths of Thai food and beverage, products from Thailand, and Thai tourism promotion, as well as Thai arts and culture shows.
The Ministry of Culture revealed that the U.S. Homeland Security Investigations, or HIS, has negotiated with the Denver Art Museum to promptly return three artifacts to Thailand, including a Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, a pre-Phra Nakhon Khmer artifact, and two standing Buddha images in the Dvaravati art style. The next two items, namely the Buddha image sitting above the panasbdi in the Dvaravati period from the ancient city of Sap Champa Lopburi, which is now in the possession of the Asia Society Institute, New York, USA; and a stone plaque carved in the Dvaravati period from the ancient city of Fa Daet Song Yang Kalasin Province, are now in the process of request for return to Thailand. With the assistance of other nations, Thailand has received back 611 antiques in total during the last five years.
The 13th National Economic and Social Development Plan, which translates the national strategy into action, is being prepared by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDB). According to Traisulee Traisornkul, the government's deputy spokesperson, the plan will determine the course of national growth for the ensuing five years, from 2023 to 2027. It has now been endorsed by the Senate and the House of Representatives. The plan has five key objectives: reorganizing production toward an economy based on innovation; educating people for the future; advancing toward a society of opportunity and justice; reorienting production and consumption toward sustainability; and strengthening the country's ability to cope with risks and changes in a new global context.
Thailand officially unveiled a new visa program called “Long-Term Resident (LTR)” on 1 September 2022 to persuade new foreign residents, technologies, and talents to stay or work in Thailand longer, contributing to domestic spending and investment while supporting economic growth. The LTR visa is offered to four categories of foreigners: Wealthy global citizens; Wealthy pensioners; Work-from-Thailand professionals; and Highly skilled professionals. Privileges will be offered to LTR visa holders, such as 10-year renewable visa, fast-track service at international airports in Thailand, one-year report to the Immigration Bureau (from 90 days), multiple re-entry permit. Those interested in living in Thailand under this new LTR visa, please visit the website http://ltr.boi.go.th
In order to assist farmers cope with escalating costs, Thailand and Vietnam have come to an agreement to increase the price of domestically produced rice on the international market. After the recent success of bilateral negotiations, Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on disclosed that special teams will be formed to strive for better pricing of exported rice. In an effort to accomplish this goal, the special team will be led by Alongkorn Ponlaboot, advisor to Thailand's Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister. The Thai-Vietnamese rice pact will be discussed at meetings with farmer associations, millers, exporters, and other relevant groups by the ministry in order to get input from everyone involved.
during the first seven months of 2022
The Ministry of Commerce revealed that during the first seven months of 2022, there were 323 foreign companies allowed to invest in Thailand with a total investment of 73,635 million baht, employing more than 3,308 Thai people. The top five countries were Japan, Singapore, the United States, Hong Kong, and China.
The government spokesperson, Anucha Buraphachaisri, provided an update on the development of a high-speed rail system to link the region between Bangkok and Nong Khai and a railway link between Thailand, Lao PDR, and China. He mentioned that the civil work for the first phase of the 250.77-kilometer Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima is currently underway. Currently, it can go on as scheduled. To have the service operational by 2027, the Ministry of Transportation is accelerating the process.
Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce, Jurin Laksanawisit, has inked a deal with Mongolia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Battsetseg Batmunkh, to establish the Thailand-Mongolia Joint Trade Committee (JTC), and held the first Thailand-Mongolia JTC meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. With this significant visit, it is expected that the trade value of the two countries would increase from USD 55 million to USD 100 million, approximately 3,600 million baht, in at least five years.
The government understands how critical it is for small and medium-sized businesses to have access to capital from financial institutions and enough liquidity to run their operations following the COVID-19 epidemic. The Small Industry Credit Guarantee Corporation (TCG) can now guarantee the whole credit ceiling after the Finance Ministry recently approved the second phase of extending the credit guarantee limit under the Royal Decree by an additional 50 billion baht. The new policy has gone into force since 1 September 2022.
Transactions through QR payments and PromptPay, a local fund transfer service, are widely performed in Thailand thanks to their simplicity, rapidity, and convenience. The Bank of Thailand (BoT) recently expanded its services by recently commencing a cross-border QR payment linkage with ASEAN countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Under this linkage, both consumers and merchants in different countries can use their mobile payment applications to send and receive payments instantly through a QR code across borders, allowing them to enjoy safe, real-time, cost-effective cross-border payments.
The Thai government believes that Thailand will serve as a regional investment hub. Foreign investors still have faith in Thailand, claims government spokesperson Anucha Buraphachaisri. He stressed that, in general, Thailand continues to attract more investment. At the end of 2022, it is anticipated that the total number of applications for investment promotion will amount to 500 billion Baht. More than 784 projects totaling about 200 billion baht applied for investment promotion in the first half of 2022. The government has a policy to support the BCG (Bio-Circular-Green Economy), the electric vehicle (EV) industry, and related businesses.
The Eastern Economic Corridor of Digital (EECd) – Thailand’s digital industry and innovation promotion zone is aimed at promoting digital technology and innovation to elevate the competitiveness of Thailand’s digital industry. The EECd covers an area of 534 rai (214 acres) in Chonburi province. It is scheduled to open its first zone of 65 rai (26 acres) in 2024 and expects to fully open in 2025. The EECd, also known as Digital Park Thailand, provides a complete ecosystem, which includes the Global Trade Center, Wisdom Center, and Innovation Park, to support the development of future industries and facilitate digital innovation businesses for opportunities in the Southeast Asian market.
Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesperson, stressed the government's commitment to national infrastructure development on September 16, 2022. She said this would support a sustainable and efficient transportation system in Bangkok and the surrounding area as well as in other areas. The spokesman claims that these large-scale infrastructure developments not only link cities and nations but also make it easier for people to travel, spread prosperity, and grow business, trade, investment, and tourism, raising Thailand to the position as the region's production and service hub.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has opened three "creative historical travel routes to stimulate interest in the history of various areas. The three historical routes include the Ayutthaya historical route, Dvaravati historical route (in Suphan Buri and Ratchaburi provinces), and Lavo historical route (Lop Buri province). The activities will help to generate income for local communities and increase knowledge and understanding about Thai history.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) has opened three "creative historical travel routes to stimulate interest in the history of various areas. The three historical routes include the Ayutthaya historical route, Dvaravati historical route (in Suphan Buri and Ratchaburi provinces), and Lavo historical route (Lop Buri province). The TAT will kick off its first creative historical travel route in Ayutthaya province in November 2022. The activities will help to generate income for local communities and increase knowledge and understanding about Thai history.
The Cabinet approves cancellation of COVID-19 as a forbidden disease for foreigners entering Thailand, But the following diseases are still stipulated as forbidden: - Prohibited diseases for foreigners entering the Kingdom: leprosy, tuberculosis in the dangerous stage, elephantiasis in the stage of being unsightly, narcotic disease, and syphilis stage 3; - Prohibited diseases for foreigners who have settled in the Kingdom: leprosy, tuberculosis in the dangerous stage, elephantiasis, drug addiction, alcoholism, and syphilis stage 3.
Thailand intends to increase the U.S. investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), particularly in the areas of smart electronics, digital economy, and renewable energy. At a reception held by the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council and U.S. Chamber of Commerce (USCC) in honor of the Thai delegation during the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Don Pramudwinai stated that this was Thailand’s objective. Don continued, "Thailand is also pushing the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy Model to foster more resilient, sustainable, and balanced economic growth in the kingdom and other member economies as it prepares to host APEC in 2022." Don stated that incentives are being increased to promote the expansion of S-curve industries along the EEC, as well as those in the low-carbon, renewable, and smart electronics industries, in order to advance the bilateral collaboration.
Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, asked all parties involved in the conflict in Ukraine to meet in November during three significant international events in Southeast Asia in order to work together to end the crisis there. On 24 September 2022, in New York City, Minister Don said at the 77th UN General Assembly that the three locations—Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for the ASEAN summit; Bali, Indonesia, for the G20; and Bangkok, Thailand, for the APEC Leaders' Meeting—could be used singly or in succession as a suitable forum for discussions on Ukraine.
The Minister of Culture, Itthipol Khun Pluem, recently stated that soft power is one of the main tools utilized by the government to boost the value-adding of the creative economy. It can effectively generate income and a positive reputation for the nation over the long term. The Ministry of Culture has placed a high value on developing the potential of the cultural industry to compete in the global market and advance the basic economy through cultural dimensions, including the use of contemporary art to stimulate the production of intriguing and exceptional cultural goods and services.
Executives from the Queen Sirikit Department of Sericulture, a unit under Thailand’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, have recently welcomed a delegation of officials and diplomats from the Department of South Asia, Middle East, and African Affairs, in Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to discuss the export and promotion of Thai silk for producing costumes and household textiles made from Thai silk in Middle East countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, where the furniture market is very large. On this occasion, other products made from sericulture, such as silk dry facial sheet masks, food, and cosmetics, were presented. Meanwhile, the Department of South Asia, Middle East, and African Affairs proposed that Thai silk products be showcased in the upcoming Expo in Saudi Arabia, and it is proud to use Thai silk products in its future important diplomatic events.
Despite recent turmoil in the global economy, investments remain strong and volatility is still low on the Thai stock market. Nearly 150 billion baht worth of foreign investment has poured into the Thai stock market despite the acceleration of inflation in many economies and the unpredictability of exchange rates. This is credited to effective export sector performance and a slowly improving tourism market. According to SET Senior Executive Vice President Soraphol Tulyasathien, the persistent depreciation of ASEAN region currencies is a result of the strengthening of the dollar. The same is true with the Thai baht. Investments in Thai stocks have not been hurt by this, though. In the first nine months of this year, net purchases by foreign investors totaled 146 billion baht. Foreign investors generated the biggest transaction value for the sixth consecutive month. According to Mr. Soraphol, the stock market profited from the impetus created by the sectors of the economy that were aided by the effort to reopen the nation.
Three organisations have signed a memorandum of understanding for a "initiative to generate innovative and cultural tourism products." These include the Thailand Board of Trade, the Tourism Authority, and the Ministry of Culture. The signatories concurred to work together to advance the pertinent knowledge and employ innovations in the creation of goods and services. The utilization of community identities to enhance cultural tourist pathways is emphasized. Communities' capacities would be increased, and local firms' profits would increase. One-stop tourism services will be provided with the aid of the "TAGTHAi" smartphone application.
On 12 October 2022, vaccinations for very young children between the ages of six months and four years will start. The vaccination to be used comes in bottles with dark red tops from Pfizer. After the Department of Medical Sciences verifies the batch of vaccines, the vials will be given to public health offices around the nation, according to acting chief of the Department of Disease Control (DDC) Tares Krassanairawiwong. He mentioned that many parents have already agreed to have their young children receive vaccinations. Dr. Tares said that the Pfizer vaccine with the dark red cap can be included in a child's vaccination schedule along with other shots. Small children experience illness and death at a rate that is three times greater than that of older children, according to DDC Deputy Director-General Sopon Iamsirithaworn. Therefore, vaccinating young children will help lower the rate.
On 10 October 2022, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the preparatory meeting of the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders’ Week (AELW) under the theme "Open. Connect. Balance." The Prime Minister invited the public to serve as welcoming hosts while praising all pertinent agencies for their diligent work in getting ready for the AELW. The leaders of several APEC economies have already confirmed their attendance. At the meeting, Thailand intends to advance a number of important topics, including the ease of trade and investment as well as the restoration of mobility, notably in the travel and tourist sectors. In addition, Thailand will support a project to create a database on foreign travel among APEC economies. This effort enables the extension of the APEC Business Travel Card as well as the compatibility of vaccination certificates. At the leaders' week, the Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy are anticipated to be declared.
Following the reopening of the country's border to tourists, the tourism industry is anticipating a comeback. Due to their size, desire to go overseas, and strong spending power, Indian tourists will become important spenders, according to Mr. Chamnan Srisawat, President of the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT). India has been the second-largest source of tourists visiting Thailand this year, after Malaysia, with about 600,000 visits so far. The TCT has recommended a sustainable tourism development strategy that encourages a balance between popular tourist attractions and lesser-known towns, enabling improved income distribution to all areas, in order to accommodate expansion in the high-spending category.
The Interior Ministry and the police force have declared a war on drugs in response to the Prime Minister's call for a comprehensive anti-narcotics campaign by all authorities. By the end of October, the two organizations need to have compiled a national registry of drug users and dealers. The information will help with user rehabilitation and narcotics suppression. Sutthipong Juljarern Sutthipong Juljarern, the Permanent Secretary of the Interior Ministry, said that a drug user must spend at least one week at a rehab facility. Alongside the rehabilitation effort, a suppression effort will be made, taking into account even one tablet of illegal drugs. Additionally, local administrative entities will be requested to contribute material support in the form of drug-screening equipment. A significant proportion of drug addicts, according to Royal Thai Police Commissioner Damrongsak Kittipraphat, have not yet entered treatment. Many of these people later developed mental illnesses and turned to attacking people. He stated that in order to strengthen ties with the community and increase public trust in the police, chiefs of police stations across the country will make frequent community visits.
The Department of International Economic Affairs revealed that Thailand is preparing to announce the “Bangkok Goals” on BCG Economy at the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in November this year. The "Bangkok Goals," which reflect Thailand's pursuit of a bio-circular, green economy, will be remembered as a "landmark" for APEC in 2022. The proclamation would have four primary goals, according to Choetchai Chaiwaiwit, director-general of the Department of International Economic Affairs. Goals in the areas of carbon neutrality, net zero emissions, natural resource management, and biodiversity management will all need to be met. A plan for managing waste produced by trade and investment will also be included in the statement. Following the announcement of the Bangkok Goals, the business community will need to incorporate ethics into trade and investment. This effort needs to be quantifiable and controlled.
Starting on November 15, deposit cash machine users must use bank cards to prove their identities. The Bank of Thailand (BOT) noted that the modification is required to ensure that laws prohibiting money laundering and countering financing of terrorism are followed. The ability to deposit money using methods other than CDM machines will be available to those who do not have a debit card, ATM card, or credit card. As an alternative, individuals can use non-bank money top-up machines, convenience shop counter services, Thailand Post service providers, and bank-supported deposit agents, according to BOT Senior Director for Payment Systems Policy Department, Budsakorn Teerapunyachai. The depositor will need to provide their ID card while using the aforementioned methods. The BOT will exert pressure on banks to install different kinds of identification technologies at CDM machines. All groups of people will find it more convenient to deposit money thanks to this, which could require the use of citizen identity cards or cardless identification.
On 20 October 2022, H.E. Miss Cecilia Zunilda Galarreta Bazan, Ambassador of the Republic of Peru to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of taking the position. Both parties agreed that there are many chances for Thailand's commerce with Peru to grow, particularly through collaboration in the area of agricultural trade. The leading exporters of agro-food items globally are Thailand and Peru, both of which have a bio-diversified economy. The Prime Minister believes that Peru's circular economy program and the BCG Economy Model are compatible. This will make it possible for both countries to advance their mutual cooperation in sustainable agriculture, bioenergy, and the circular economy. The Peruvian Ambassador applauded the BCG Economy Model for being in line with Peruvian policy and for making a significant contribution to environmentally friendly and sustainable economic growth. The Thai business community was invited by the Peruvian Ambassador to engage in infrastructure projects including roads, hospitals, and the service industry. Thailand can be a key partner in the expansion of multilateral infrastructure cooperation between the two countries. The Premier emphasized that Thailand is prepared to advance multilateral collaboration with Peru.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha delivered a speech on United Nations (UN) Day—24 October 2022. He emphasized that Thailand has played an active and innovative role in exchanging experiences on problems where Thailand has potential over the course of its 75-year membership in the UN. He believes that the world will be saved from crises through cooperation within the framework of the UN. The Thai government is ready to support the goals and objectives of the UN, including cooperation with international organizations, for the well-being of all future generations.
Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health stated that although the number of people infected with Ebola is still small and the World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the Ministry of Public Health is not being negligent by closely monitoring the disease situation. According to Thailand's Communicable Diseases Act of the Year 1995, precautions have been increased at the international communicable disease control checkpoint since September 2022 by inspecting all tourists from Uganda. Before entering Thailand, they must register at the international communicable disease control checkpoint.
The 29th APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting (APEC FMM), which was held on October 19–20, 2022, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center in Bangkok and headed by Minister of Finance Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, was a success, according to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha. In order to create a free, open, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, and predictable international trade and investment environment favorable to both global and regional economic growth, APEC economies made a commitment at the 29th APEC FMM to deal with rising inflation. New policies have been investigated as revolutionary forces for economic growth, including digitization and sustainable economic growth.
The Cabinet has approved a draft ministerial regulation that will allow foreigners to buy a maximum of one rai, or about 1,600 square meters, of land in Thailand. One of the requirements is an investment with a minimum of 40 million baht worth that must be kept for three years. Foreign investors can have access to a wider choice of investment alternatives thanks to the ministerial regulation, which can be revised every five years. Four categories of high-potential foreigners, including high-wealth individuals, retirees, those planning to work from Thailand, and specialists with specific talents, will be eligible to purchase land in Thailand for residential use.
On 2 November 2022, while on an official visit to Thailand as a guest of the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Senator the Honourable Penny Wong, the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Commonwealth of Australia, paid Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha a courtesy call. In the areas of agriculture, the digital economy, climate change, public health, tourism, and the shift to a low-carbon society, the Prime Minister intended to deepen relations with Australia. The collaboration to combat trafficking in person was also agreed upon by the parties. In order to boost security cooperation between the two nations through human capacity building, the latter was glad to sign an MOU with the Thai Ministry of Justice on the establishment of a Thailand-Australia’s Counter Trafficking in Persons Center of Excellence. Both parties agreed that there is potential and more chance to enhance the volume of bilateral trade. They were also happy with the economic cooperation, which has resulted in a number of significant investments between Thailand and Australia. Both parties agreed that there is potential and more chance to enhance the volume of bilateral trade. In addition, they were happy with the economic cooperation, which has resulted in a number of significant investments between Thailand and Australia.
The Real Estate Information Center (REIC) disclosed that when the proposed easing of property ownership begins, yearly registrations of homes and condominiums by foreigners could potentially top 100 billion baht (US$2.6 billion). The pre-pandemic period saw annual non-resident purchases of roughly 50 billion baht, according to REIC. By enabling foreigners who invest a minimum of 40 million baht for a period of three years to buy residential land, the government hopes to hasten Thailand's post-pandemic economic recovery. Only condominium units may now be owned by non-residents. The plan has been sent to the Office of the Council of State and pertinent government departments for additional review before getting final approval following last week's Cabinet backing.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister, gave the opening address on 3 November 2022, at the inaugural Thailand-China Investment Forum. It serves as a platform to promote Thai-Chinese business and investment ties. According to the prime minister, all levels of Thai-Chinese ties are close and active. Thailand and China are both significant trading partners, and 2022 will commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the two countries becoming "All-round strategic cooperation partners." The Thai government is prepared to work with the Chinese government to create partnerships for the upcoming decade in all dimensions with stability, prosperity, and sustainability, the prime minister reaffirmed. Thailand has also backed the positive role that China's government has played within the framework of the Global Development Initiative (GDI), which is in line with the BCG economy model that places prosperity with people at its core, resulting in balanced, sustainable, and inclusive growth in all dimensions.
Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit and his delegation recently had a dialogue with Lax-C grocery wholesaler and retailer executive Anek Bholsangngam. The challenges faced by US importers of Thai goods, such as the US Food and Drug Administration's quality criteria, were discussed by the two parties. Lax-C. Locals is the biggest retailer of Thai goods in Western America, which imports 400–500 million baht worth of goods from Thailand each year, as the "Thai Costco," serving American Asian customers. It is situated in Chinatown in Los Angeles, California. The US is Thailand's second-largest export market. Thailand shipped items worth 1.2 trillion baht to the US in the first nine months of this year. This was a growth of 30.34% from the same time last year. Computers, computer components, computer accessories, rubber goods, telecommunications gear, gems and jewelry, and electrical appliances are among the major exports. The Ministry of Commerce anticipates a minimum 15% increase in Thai food exports to the US in 2023.
The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is putting mitigation measures in place prior to an anticipated peak in dust pollution. According to Ekwaranyu Amrapan, a spokesman for the BMA, and Pornphrom Vikitsreth, a consultant to the governor of Bangkok, the BMA has been keeping an eye on dust levels and has already improved the channels for alerting the public to elevated readings. Through the "Line Alert" channel on the Line mobile application, users will be able to get pertinent news and information. To get information, they can also access the Facebook page of the BMA or the Air BKK app. When the area's PM2.5 values reach 90 micrograms per cubic meter or above, a red alert will be given. An alarm will also be sent out if readings over 75 micrograms per cubic meter are detected simultaneously in 10–20 Bangkok districts. Additionally, 90 smart signboards on roadways in 20 districts will display PM2.5 levels.
The Cabinet recently approved a plan in principle that the U-Tapao Airport in Rayong province will be greatly expanded in order to increase its capacity for receiving commercial flights by adding a new runway, taxiways, and facilities. Ratchada Dhnadirek, the deputy government spokesperson, claims that the extension will benefit companies with offices in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The airport closest to the well-known tourist destination of Pattaya will be transformed into a significant international travel hub, serving up to 60 million passengers annually. The Royal Thai Navy first began the U-Tapao expansion in October 2019 on a budget of 17.77 billion baht. The Ministry of Finance has been tasked with locating the remaining 16.31 billion baht to fund the project.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to visit Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to attend the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and related summits between 10-13 November 2022. The theme "ASEAN A.C.T. : Addressing Challenges Together" will be used at the 40th and 41st ASEAN Summits and related summits. The theme is relevant given the issues ASEAN is currently facing, which range from COVID-19 to geopolitical unpredictability, global upheaval, and the regional environment.
Itthiphol Kunplome, the Minister of Culture, revealed that "White Monkey," a film about the Hindu god Hanuman, has been made, with cooperation of the Thai Media Fund and collaborators from the private sector. Preserving cultural artifacts from the era of His Late Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is one of the project's goals. Since 2005, Late King Bhumibol has helped preserve Khon performances in Sala Chalermkrung Royal Theater along with Her Majesty Queen Sirikit the Queen Mother. In addition, the movie is expected to contribute to Thailand's soft power through motion pictures. The Ramayana film is presented in Khon format with the use of traditional arts, digital graphics, and film special effects. The plot is based on literature and expert information about the Khon language. The pictures would thrill and impress viewers, according to the Minister of Culture, while promoting Khon, Thailand's national performance art, worldwide.
On November 8, 2022, Honorable Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, had a conversation on the phone. Following Australia's formation of a new administration in May 2022, this was the first meeting between the Prime Ministers of Thailand and the Commonwealth of Australia. The Thai Prime Minister is certain that the Australian Prime Minister will bolster Thailand-Australia relations and collaboration. The fight against COVID-19 has been characterized by the Australian Prime Minister as a global issue that requires international cooperation. The two sides also addressed bilateral cooperation under the strategic partnership. The plan will serve as a key engine for bilateral cooperation in all areas.
On 8 November 2022, Honorable Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, and General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, had a conversation on the phone. Following Australia's formation of a new administration in May 2022, this was the first meeting between the Prime Ministers of Thailand and the Commonwealth of Australia. The Thai Prime Minister is certain that the Australian Prime Minister will bolster Thailand-Australia relations and collaboration. The fight against COVID-19 has been characterized by the Australian Prime Minister as a global issue that requires international cooperation. The two sides also addressed bilateral cooperation under the strategic partnership. The plan will serve as a key engine for bilateral cooperation in all areas.
Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri disclosed that the Cabinet meeting on 8 November 2022 approved the Interior Ministry's proposal to withdraw the Cabinet’s resolution on October 25, which would allow foreigners to own a maximum of 1 rai, or 1600 square meters. The previous action was taken to promote economic growth and investment by luring highly qualified foreigners to Thailand. It was suggested that an investment of 40 million baht be made and retained for three years in exchange for the opportunity to purchase land. The decision to withdraw was made in favor of carefully gathering public feedback and viewpoints from all pertinent parties. According to Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, contentious issues will be discussed. He pointed out that the draft ministerial regulation was not yet in effect and was still collecting feedback. Interior Minister Gen. Anupong Paojinda recommended the withdrawal since the situation was so delicate. He emphasized the necessity of carefully weighing the advantages and disadvantages for the economy and society.
The top six airports in Thailand are anticipated to handle 96 million passengers in 2023, according to Airports of Thailand Plc. (AOT). The "Sawasdee by AOT" smartphone application, developed by the AOT and partners hope will eventually become a travel "super app" in Thailand to best serve travelers. Users may now look up flight timetables, see arrival and departure flight statuses, and sign up for alerts for flight changes. They can also learn how long lines will be at the passport control, security, and checkpoint lines. Travelers will be less likely to miss their flights as a result of this information. Additionally, the app has a feature for reserving taxis. Thai, English, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Spanish, and Russian are all supported languages.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister chaired the 14th Indonesia - Malaysia Thailand Growth Triangle or IMT – GT in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on 10 November 2022. The meeting was also attended by the President of the Republic of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, the Speaker of the House of Representative, Tan Sreida Tuk Azhar Azizan Harun, the Special Envoy of the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato Paduka Lim Jock, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, and Masatsuka Asagawa, the President of the Asian Development Bank. The Thai Prime Minister believed that IMT-GT has implemented its operational strategies at various stages to achieve its 2036 objective of being a "integrated, innovative, leaving no one behind, and sustainable subregion." The Thai Primer listed six urgent issues that need to be resolved, including quickening the development of seamless connectivity for projects involving transportation infrastructure, making it easier to implement significant projects to strengthen the value chain of agricultural products, promoting the development of projects under the green city initiative, and creating a framework for sustainable urban development in line with the BCG Economy Model. The others are advancing the implementation of significant tourism projects as a key driver of the sub-economic region's recovery, supporting the connectivity of the IMT-GT Program with the economic development programs at other sub-regional levels, and strengthening the IMT-GT Business Council to drive various projects.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, delivered a speech at the discussion between ASEAN Leaders and representatives of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BACK) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on 10 November 2022. The meeting was also attended by the leaders of ASEAN member states and the Secretary-General of ASEAN. The Prime Minister praised ASEAN BAC for its initiatives that have contributed to the ASEAN economy's concrete driving force. It is really helpful for preparing for future challenges. The Thai Premier also saw that the private sector is an important engine in driving the economy. It can help advance various actions to show ASEAN unity in achieving its key goals. These include the digital transformation of ASEAN, which is an important mechanism for trade and supply chain connectivity in the region. Besides, they aim to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. The Prime Minister reiterated his commitments under the framework of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. Thailand plans to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 and net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2065. The Prime Minister finally reaffirmed his support for ASEAN to achieve the SDGs.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister, attended the plenary session of the 40th ASEAN Summit on 11 November 2022, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to discuss ways to make the ASEAN Community stronger, including potential future policies and directions. Along with the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the nine ASEAN leaders (with the exception of Myanmar) were attending. Three strategies have been put out by the prime minister to motivate the ASEAN Community to overcome various obstacles. Above all, ASEAN must fortify the present and work toward the execution of the ASEAN Comprehensive Restoration Framework, with a focus on the support of the human security and public health systems. Second, ASEAN must cooperate in the future. To make the sustainability agenda a focal point of all ASEAN strategies, all parties must cooperate. Finally, the ASEAN way must be respected by all member states. Working together and upholding the ASEAN Way over the past 55 years has allowed ASEAN to grow into the community it is today.
Thailand will have a fantastic opportunity to showcase its capabilities, particularly the world-famous Thai cuisine, at the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders' Week (AELW) between 14-19 November 2022. For the reception meal of economic leaders and businesspeople, a menu including regional and creative dishes prepared entirely from materials acquired locally has been carefully crafted. For the reception of AELW participants, local delicacies made with products from all around Thailand have been chosen and prepared to perfection using both conventional and cutting-edge methods. The unique dinner was prepared by chef Chumpol Jangprai to highlight regional foods and emphasize the wealth of food resources available in the nation. Four bite-sized dishes will be served on a map of Thailand as part of a tasting menu that includes regional specialties from every area of Thailand, such as northern Thai noodles called crispy Khao Soi and the southern rainbow lobster from Phuket.
On 14 November 2022, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha revealed that heads of state of 14 economies and the representatives of seven economies, including South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Russia, Chinese Taipei, and the U.S. confirmed their attendance at the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting and Related Meetings. Special guests are the Prime Minister of Cambodia, President of France, and Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia. The Prime Minister was confident that the meetings would be a success and that Thailand and the Thai people would benefit from the hosting of the 29th APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings especially through tangible economic stimulation.
Anutin Charnvirakul, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health recently led his delegation to meet with Akihiko Tanaka, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) at JICA headquarters in Tokyo. The Deputy Prime Minister briefed JICA that both the rail transport development project and the Southern Land Bridge project, which connects the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Seas and builds new economic zones in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) are both key investment initiatives now being driven in Thailand (SEC). The JICA and Japanese investors were also encouraged to participate in funding important infrastructure projects, particularly the train system, a field in which Japan is an expert. According to the JICA president, Japan has a variety of interests in Thailand. The Red Line Project is the most recent project that JICA has co-sponsored and has already begun to run. But in the following stage, JICA will concentrate on human development in Thailand. Currently, JICA is working on a number of human resource development initiatives in Thailand. These include establishing the Kosen Institute in partnership with Thai educational institutions and training highly qualified engineers, practitioners, technicians, and innovators to assist diverse industries.
At the 27th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Egypt, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Warawut Silpa-archa is representing Thailand in meetings with other nations about how to combat climate change. He is also talking about policies and developments that would lessen greenhouse gas emissions, which are a major cause of global warming. The world's first carbon credit transfer agreement between Switzerland and Thailand, which opens the way for upcoming carbon credit exchange models, has made significant progress. In an effort to establish Thailand as a hub for the voluntary trading of carbon credits, the country has also created a carbon credit trade platform. Member countries of ASEAN are debating the concept in an effort to broaden its reach to include the entire region. Thailand has been effective in lowering greenhouse gas emissions and putting climate change response plans into action over the past year. Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero emissions by 2065 are the kingdom's current goals.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha spoke at the opening ceremony of the APEC CEO Summit on 17 November 2022, at the invitation of the APEC Business Advisory Council, or ABAC. The APEC CEO Summit is one of the largest gatherings of business sectors in the region, providing an opportunity to restore connections, resurrect relationships, and build cooperation. The Prime Minister proposed three areas of cooperation between the government and business sectors. The first is to promote sustainability. Thailand has designated sustainability as APEC's top priority this year and is committed to leading the BCG Economy Model to drive long-term resilient economic growth while advancing comprehensive environmental sustainability. The second issue is comprehensive growth. According to the Premier, all parties can work together to ensure that they do not leave anyone behind on the development path, which is in line with the BCG Economy concept that pushes it to look beyond profitability. Women's empowerment in the economy is also encouraged. The final point of concern for the Prime Minister is to drive forward digitization, as the digital economy is a new dimension of job creation and economic growth in the region.
On 18 November 2022, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, Chaired the 29th APEC Leaders' Meeting in Retreat on "Balanced, Inclusive, and Sustainable Growth." He stressed that this meeting would be a conclusion to jointly revitalize the region for a better future. Thailand presents the BCG Economy Model as a strategy for strong, balanced, sustainable, and inclusive long-term development. Thailand also prepared the Bangkok Goals as a clear framework for APEC by driving four goals: fighting against climate change, driving sustainable trade and investment, pushing for environmental conservation, and improving resource efficiency to reduce waste to zero.
Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, attended today's APEC CEO Summit in Thailand. For the sake of world peace and stability, he urged nations to reaffirm international law and multilateralism. He claimed that the global order has been damaged by the rising rivalry between superpowers, which has an impact on trade and investment. He proposed that a new equilibrium and stability be developed at the regional level to prevent fresh conflicts because the Russia-Ukraine war has resulted in food and energy shortages. The greatest way for nations to avoid being forced to choose between superpowers, he continued, is through dynamic balancing. In order to address inequality and instability, President Macron also emphasized that trade and capitalism need to be reevaluated to make them more equitable and sustainable.
On 17 November 2022, the 33rd APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) was co-chaired by Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Jurin Laksanawisit, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce. The ministerial discussions were centered on the APEC 2022 theme of "Open. Connect. Balance." Ministers at APEC discussed how to maintain sustainable trade and investment in the region in the face of new economic challenges by remaining open to all opportunities. Moreover, they reviewed how to strengthen health policy collaboration and took longer-term lessons from COVID-19 in order to ensure that cross-border travel is robust. Digital technology was also promoted as a potent tool for enhancing safe and seamless connectivity. In addition, the APEC Ministers discussed how using the BCG Economy Model could help economies shift more quickly to inclusive, sustainable economic recovery and long-term growth. They underlined the importance of incorporating all segments of society.
On 17 November 2022, during the APEC Economic Leaders' Week in Bangkok, Don Pramudwinai, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, met with Antony J. Blinken, the Secretary of State of the United States. In particular, the United States-Thailand Communique on Strategic Alliance and Alliance and the introduction of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework both reinforced the strategic partnership between the two nations. They also talked about advancing human rights. The American Secretary of State praised Thailand for effectively holding the APEC meetings, which brought together the heads of 21 economies at a time when the globe was facing unprecedented challenges. The 190th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the United States and Thailand will be celebrated next year, which will also be the year when the United States hosts APEC.
The Deputy Minister of Commerce for Thailand, and Tim Watts, the Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs for Australia, signed the memorandum of understanding (MoU), witnessed by Jurin Laksanawisit, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce for Thailand, with the goal of strengthening economic ties between the two nations, advancing trade and investment as well as other cooperative frameworks such as sustainability and a green economy. This memorandum is an extension to the Joint Declaration on a Strategic Partnership between Thailand and Australia, which was signed in 2020 by the leaders of both countries. With the help of this MoU, the two nations' cooperation in such areas as agriculture, technology and sustainable food systems, tourism, health care, education, e-commerce, the digital economy, the creative economy, investments, green energy and the economy, and carbon reduction will be further strengthened.
On 18 November 18, 2022, Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri disclosed that a new discussion about the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) had been started in order to advance regional economic integration and support the multilateral trading system during the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on 17-19 November 2022. The Thai government has prepared a joint ministerial statement for the APEC Ministerial Meeting that covers 47 topics under three main agendas: opening to all opportunities; connecting in all dimensions; and balancing all FTAAP-related elements. Additionally, Thailand put forth the FTAAP 4-year work plan (2023–2026), which takes into account the conventional trade, emerging trade, and economic recovery challenges that are of common concern to APEC member economies. The FTAAP aims to increase trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, reduce trade and investment barriers, improve the competitiveness of APEC member economies, and close the development gap between APEC member nations.
On 18 November 2022, Government Spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri disclosed that a new discussion about the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) had been started in order to advance regional economic integration and support the multilateral trading system during the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on 17-19 November 2022. The Thai government has prepared a joint ministerial statement for the APEC Ministerial Meeting that covers 47 topics under three main agendas: opening to all opportunities; connecting in all dimensions; and balancing all FTAAP-related elements. Additionally, Thailand put forth the FTAAP 4-year work plan (2023–2026), which takes into account the conventional trade, emerging trade, and economic recovery challenges that are of common concern to APEC member economies. The FTAAP aims to increase trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific, reduce trade and investment barriers, improve the competitiveness of APEC member economies, and close the development gap between APEC member nations.
During his final remarks for this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Week on 19 November 2022, Thai Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha declared the conclusion of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting a success. He also mentioned the member economies' determination to make sure the meeting produced beneficial results for the area. APEC leaders issued the 2022 Declaration and the Bangkok Goals on the Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy as a driving force for growth and sustainability in all member economies in the region. Moreover, the premier noted in his summary the significant work and significant accomplishments throughout Thailand's host year. The global trading system would be further strengthened by APEC leaders, who also pledged to concentrate their efforts on tackling issues like inflation, food security, biodiversity loss, and climate change.
On 19 November 2022, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha had a bilateral meeting with H.E. Ms. Kamala Harris, Vice President of the U.S., during her trip to attend the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok. The U.S. Vice President praised Thailand for playing a key role in making APEC 2022 a success. In particular, on the BCG issue, which is in line with their concerns, the U.S. has prepared to carry over the significant issues and outcomes from this meeting as the host of the APEC meeting the following year. The two sides decided to further their security cooperation. The Premier recognized that there is still room for the two parties to increase their economic collaboration, particularly through investments in specific sectors such as clean energy, electric vehicles, and the digital industry. Both nations share similar objectives, with an emphasis on promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly growth through the BCG Economy Model toward a world without carbon emissions, including collaboration under the Net Zero World Initiative.
According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek, the adoption of the "Bangkok Goals on Bio-Circular-Green (BCG) Economy" by APEC Economic Leaders at the 29th Leaders' Meeting in Bangkok was the key factor in the success of Thailand's hosting of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting this year. The Bangkok Goals on BCG Economy are a comprehensive framework for advancing APEC's shared goals to support robust, balanced, stable, and sustainable regional growth. Hosting AELW gave Thailand the chance to showcase its ability to advance the BCG Economy Model and to raise public understanding of the nation's course and future. The Thai economy would be reinvigorated as a result of APEC 2022, according to the Center for International Trade Studies of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, with the projection of over 600 billion baht in investment value under the BCG policy. Wide-ranging production activities will see an increase in investment, particularly those in agriculture, industry, forestry, livestock, mining, production of natural gas, transport, business administration, retail and wholesale, and hotel and lodging.
The Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund's (IMF), Kristalina Georgieva, commended Thailand for hosting the recent APEC 2022 Meeting. The gathering might inspire cooperation across all economic zones. In addition, the IMF Managing Director commended Thailand for clearly defining the theme as "Open. Connect. Balance." According to the IMF, APEC will considerably benefit from the 21 economies, which together account for 60% of the world's GDP, with Asia having the most robust regional value chains. While Latin America's largest trading partner is in the Pacific, two-thirds of U.S. imports come from APEC. Over the past 30 years, this consolidation has brought more than 1.5 billion people out of poverty, and hundreds of millions more have joined the middle class. The IMF has proposed that all economies cooperate to find solutions suitable for all parties. Together, monetary and fiscal policy must create an environment that can be passed down to future generations while also fostering resilience to withstand shocks in the future. We will be more powerful if we all work together.
The Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDC) forecasts that the Thai economy will expand by 3.2% in 2022, in contrast with 1.5% in 2021. The third quarter of 2022 saw Thailand's economy rise by 4.5%, continuing the country's trend of development from the first and second quarters, which were 2.3% and 2.5%, respectively. interacting with external forces, such as the growth of domestic investment, consumption, and industrial production. The Government, according to Traisuree Taisaranakul, Deputy Government Spokesperson, is committed to putting various measures in place to maintain the pace of economic growth and address pressing concerns. In order to boost the economy's liquidity, NESDC also recommended accelerating the release of the public sector investment budget.
The recent visit of His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Crown Prince and Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, to Thailand at the APEC Economic Leaders' Week (AELW) was a significant step toward the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. He was the nation's first official royal visitor to Thailand in more than 30 years. The visit of the Crown Prince was hailed as a historic step in the restoration of diplomatic ties between the two nations by a number of high-ranking Thai officials. The Crown Prince reiterated his aspirations to broaden the scope of bilateral collaboration and friendship while congratulating the Thai prime minister on holding the AELW successfully.
During a meeting with representatives of the U.S.-ASEAN Business Council (USBAC), on 28 November 2022, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha outlined his vision for the development of business in Thailand under the country's "New Normal."According to the prime minister, Thailand is committed to fostering investments in the digital sector, supporting the shift of the economy toward a digital one, and fostering digital businesses. In honor of both nations' 190th anniversary of diplomatic relations the next year, he expected that trade and investment links between Thailand and the United States would grow even further and that their relationship would become more active. Ted Osius, president and chief executive officer of the USBAC, stresses that the meeting represents a commitment to increase the council's cooperation in the region and Thailand.
At Thailand Travelution 2022, the first digital technology exhibition for the Thai tourism industry, held on 29 November 2022, at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center, Minister of the Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakamanusorn stated that the use of digital technology is advancing the nation's industries. This makes it possible to modify manufacturing and service processes. The use of digital technology in the tourism sector would boost Thailand's GDP by attracting tourists and generating cash for the sector. He additionally stressed that when using digital technology, legislation governing personal data protection and cyber security must also be taken into consideration. This would be done to safeguard the personal data of visitors.
The Ministry of Finance revealed on 30 November 2022 that Fitch Ratings, a global credit rating agency, had affirmed Thailand's sovereign credit rating at BBB+ and maintained its outlook at "stable." The economic growth prognosis for 2022–2023 shows that Thailand will expand by 3.3 and 3.8 percent, respectively, which is greater than the average level of nations with similar credibility, supporting the aforementioned credibility stance on Thailand. In addition, the public financial system can be controlled. The fiscal deficit tends to become smaller over time. The ratio of public debt to GDP is at a constant level. The global financial system is both solid and resilient at the same time. Furthermore, the level of international reserves is higher than that of nations with comparable credit ratings and is sufficient.
Concerns have been raised following the identification of the first case of the COVID-19 hybrid strain XBC "Deltacron" in Thailand. According to health officials, the hybrid does not appear to cause more severe symptoms, but it seems to spread more easily. The Public Health Ministry is still keeping an eye on different coronavirus variations. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, claimed that the ministry now uses a mechanism to control COVID-19 so that the illness would continue to fall under the category of "communicable disease under monitoring." He clarified that no mutations that would cause the illness to worsen have yet been discovered. The ministry will continue to put its emphasis on ensuring that people receive all four doses in the meantime. As a result, the severity of COVID-19 symptoms would be lessened.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha has issued a directive to promote Thailand as an EV manufacturing base through green investment, in accordance with the Government's policy on EVs and renewable energy, toward carbon neutrality. He has also directed concerned agencies to incorporate environmental goals into their operations. By implementing the 30@30 campaign, which aims to increase EV manufacturing capacity by 30% by 2030, the government is working to support green energy, economic development, and the development of the country's EV industry. This will help Thailand become the ASEAN region's leading EV manufacturing hub. These policies and directions have so far been well received by the business sector, as seen by the rise in foreign investment in the nation's EV sector.
A survey of more than 17,000 people conducted by U.S. News & World Report showed that Thailand was ranked the 28th best country, according to "total scores" derived from elements such as cultural influence, cultural legacy, thrilling experiences, etc. The country was also ranked number one in ASEAN and number 19 globally in terms of the best nations for a comfortable retirement, when variables such as quality of life, tax rates, friendliness, public health system, and low cost of living, etc. were taken into account.
Mr. Pengiran Haji Sahari bin Pengiran Haji Salleh, the Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on General Prayuth Chan-ocha, Prime Minister, on 7 December 2022 after he assumed the office. The Ambassador of Brunei Darussalam praised Thailand for its capacity to combat COVID-19 and restore the country's economy and tourism. In areas where Thailand excels, such as agriculture, livestock, trade, investment, and tourism, Brunei prefers to work more closely with Thailand. Additionally, they hope to learn from Thailand's experiences in boosting community businesses. Both parties acknowledged that the existing state of the world has altered and presents some challenges. The Prime Minister saw that Thailand and Brunei should strengthen their relationship even more, including coordination in the international arena and the promotion of cooperation in food and energy security. Thailand is ready to share experiences in agriculture, livestock and aquaculture, health tourism, and halal food production.
Anucha Burapachaisri, the government spokesperson, stated on 8 December 2022 that Thai rice exports increased in volume and value over the previous 10 months (January–October 2022) compared to the same period in 2021 by 33% and 32.4%, respectively. Exports in October 2022 increased in volume and value over September 2022 by 24.7% and 20.5%, respectively. Additionally, white rice exports increased by 44% and reached over 400,000 tons, primarily to Iraq, China, Japan, Angola, Mozambique, and Cameroon. Additionally, exports of parboiled rice rose by 21%. African nations like Benin, South Africa, Bangladesh, Yemen, Cameroon, and Niger served as major marketplaces.
On 8 December 2022, Traisuree Taisaranakul, the Deputy Government Spokesperson, revealed the information from the Ministry of Tourism and Sports stating that, as of the end of November 2022, or the first 11 months of the year, 9.09 million foreign visitors had visited Thailand, with 1.73 million of those visitors being counted only in November. The government is certain that the milestone of 10 million foreign tourists in 2022 will be soon surpassed. It is crucial to retain both Thai and foreign travelers' faith in the country by ensuring their safety. After the COVID-19 situation improved, many people chose Thailand as one of their first travel destinations. A number of Thailand's attractions and provinces have consistently ranked among the top tourist destinations in the world, according to surveys and data on international tourism. In the most recent CNBC research on the best places for expats to live and work, Bangkok is ranked sixth out of more than 12,000 responses from InterNations, an online expat network with more than 4.5 million global members.
The Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, declared during the International Anti-Corruption Day on December 9, 2022, that Thailand, as a member of the United Nations, has always placed significance on combating corruption in all its manifestations. In order to jointly demonstrate its stand with the Thai people from all sectors, the government organized the International Anti-Corruption Day in collaboration with the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, civil society sector, and affiliated networks. "No act, no tolerance, and no ignorance" to corruption was the year's theme. The prime minister stated that it must be in everyone's subconscious thinking not just today, but every day. The administration has prioritized and fought for the elimination of corruption as a national priority. Additionally, the government has consistently developed problem-solving tools and encouraged the inclusion of recommendations for addressing corruption issues in the 20-year national strategic plan, national reform plans, and even the creation of secondary plans to effectively address the issue.
Thailand's economy remained stable, with relatively low interest rates, ample liquidity, and robust fiscal and financial positions, according to Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. The minister noted that the third quarter's annual growth of 4.5% was the strongest rate in more than a year, stressing that the Thai economy has demonstrated once again that it is exceptionally resilient and can weather the storms. He added that the tourist industry will play a significant role in the economy's predicted 3.4% growth rate this year and 3.8% growth rate next year. "The central bank will gradually raise interest rates as the economy improves," Minister Arkhom continued. Moreover, fiscal policy will be more focused on promoting growth and containing inflation.
Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha will attend the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit on 14 December 2022, in Brussels, Belgium, to celebrate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations. The summit is significant because it marks the first time under the ASEAN framework that nine ASEAN leaders and the leaders of 27 EU member nations have met. Therefore, this would be a crucial chance for them to discuss current regional and global problems of concern, particularly geopolitics, security threats, economic recovery, and the digital and green transition. The Prime Minister will participate in the C-Suite Roundtable Luncheon, organized by the EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC). The business sector in Europe will be able to share ideas and viewpoints with the leaders at this event regarding trade and investment-related issues. Furthermore, at the ASEAN-EU Commemorative Summit, the Premier will support the EU's positive efforts in the area to foster a climate of peace, trust, and prosperity while respecting ASEAN's vital position in the regional architecture. Thailand will also promote the strategic partnership between the EU and ASEAN as a source of uplifting and productive energy for the two regions.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul revealed that Thailand ranked fifth among the world’s most popular health tourism destinations in 2021, according to the Medical Tourism Association. Thailand is one of the most well-liked medical travel destinations due to its high standards for medical care, effective treatments, inexpensive costs, and affordable cost of living for long-term patients. The Department of Health Service Support reports that a ministry survey carried out on 30 hospitals last year in partnership with the Bank of Thailand indicated that tourists who came for medical treatment spent around 11.9 billion baht. This is an increase of 47% from the prior year. Cardiovascular conditions, metabolism, cancer, bones and joints, and neurological systems were the top five medical specialties in terms of revenue for hospitals. Average treatment costs for international medical tourists were 35,000 baht, with the bulk of patients arriving from Kuwait, followed by Cambodia, Myanmar, Japan, and China. Patients mostly sought care for their teeth, bones, joints, cardiovascular system, and metabolism.
The latest wave of COVID outbreaks should make use of the long-acting antibodies (LAABs) already available in Thailand, according to Dr. Yong Poovorawan of Chulalongkorn University's Faculty of Medicine. As the coronavirus continues to mutate, it is anticipated that the efficacy of the LAABs now in stock will deteriorate. He clarified that during the early phases of the epidemic, antibodies were used. Because there were no COVID vaccines available at the time, new patients were treated using plasma from recovered patients, which had antibodies. Plasma therapy was no longer required after the creation of effective vaccines that cause recipients to produce antibodies. The effectiveness of produced antibodies is reduced by ongoing viral alterations. The most efficient antibodies that are currently accessible in Thailand were obtained under the LAAB procurement scheme, with Omicron BA.2.75 being the dominant strain at the time. Dr. Yong stated that as the virus continues to mutate and as sub-variants of the BQ.1, BQ.1.1, or XBB strains proliferate, current LAABs will become even less effective. Patients with weakened immune systems should be given antibodies, according to the virologist.
On 14 December 2022, Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha attended the Special ASEAN-EU Summit to commemorate the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations along with leaders or representatives of nine ASEAN countries and 27 European countries. The prime minister stated that the meeting between the leaders of the two regions took place amid challenges. However, it demonstrates the will of ASEAN and the European Union to work together to solve the issue and act as a creative, positive force to bring about peace and the welfare of the people. Additionally, the premier believes that the ASEAN-EU Strategic Partnership has benefited both the two regions and the wider world over the previous 45 years, demonstrating its significance and advantages. Dealing with geopolitical instability and security issues, a green transition for sustainability by jointly forming an ASEAN-EU green partnership, and digital transformation were the three main topics that the prime minister addressed in order to help the region and the world achieve their goals. Thailand is eager to assist with infrastructure and digital support as part of the EU's Global Gateway strategy.
Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith expressed his optimism that Thailand’s future growth is still on the road to recovery and is resilient enough to withstand global uncertainty. He forecasts that average inflation in Thailand will be 6% this year, with economic growth of 3.4% this year and 3.8% in 2023. Between January and early December this year, it was estimated that 10.3 million foreign visitors arrived in the country, exceeding the 10 million target set by the government, according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Given that Thailand now welcomes 60,000–70,000 foreign travelers every day, TAT projects that the nation will end the year with 11.5 million foreign visitors. According to authorities, Thailand could get roughly 25 million tourists in 2023, increasing the number of travelers closer to what it was before the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sathit Pitutecha, Deputy Minister of Public Health, officially opened the "Operation Center for Investigating Technological Wrongdoings." The facility was established to combat illicit clinics, bogus medical professionals, and "suitcase doctors." The latter describes unlicensed people who perform beauty operations in illegal situations. The center will serve as the focal point for receiving reports and complaints and will keep an eye out for wrongdoings by the people. Additionally, it will collaborate with pertinent organizations, such as the Food and Drug Administration, to identify issues and provide solutions. So far, a lot of information has been submitted by the general public, according to the Deputy Minister. The service will shorten the process for filing complaints and reports as well as the amount of time it takes for an arrest to be made. Since October 2021, 40 cases involving phony physicians and illicit medical facilities have been handled.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Mr. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, during his visit to attend the Special ASEAN-EU Summit to mark the 45th anniversary of ASEAN-EU relations. The Prime Minister of Thailand praised the Hungarian government for consistently assisting Thailand in the EU, particularly during the drafting of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) between Thailand and the EU. The two parties were pleased that the cooperation covered fields that were mutually beneficial. Thailand places a strong emphasis on the role the private sector plays in advancing trade. The Thai Prime Minister reaffirmed that the government has a responsibility to foster an environment that is conducive to investment and trade.Hungarian businesses were asked to invest in Thailand, particularly in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The Thai premier also stated that Thailand always supports clean power and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through encouraging the use of clean and ecologically friendly energy.
The Ministry of Industry, the Thai Automobile Association, and various government agencies have set a goal to make Thailand a production hub for electric vehicles (EV) and crucial automotive parts. In 2025, it is planned to create 250,000 electric vehicles annually, or 10% of all automobiles built in the nation. Production will climb to 750,000 vehicles annually by 2030, accounting for 30% of the 2,500,000 vehicles produced overall. They can be broken down into 375,000 battery-electric vehicles (BEV), hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV), and 375,000 plug-In hybrid-electric vehicles (PHEV), adding 200,000 million baht in value to Thailand's GDP and 30,000 new jobs per year to the sector.
The Department of Foreign Trade (DFT) intends to negotiate with Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia to reopen all 97 land border crossings in order to simplify the movement of commodities. Trade shows in Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia will be hosted alongside the plan during the entire year in a number of these countries. According to DFT Director-General Ronnarong Phoolpipat, the department will continue to be dedicated to facilitating exports by updating pertinent regulations and departmental services such as exporter registrations, permit extensions, and the issuance of geographical indication documentation. Last year, border trade brought in almost 1 trillion baht for Thailand. However, as more exporters chose sea and air shipping, trade with China, Singapore, and Vietnam began to sputter. The DFT will plan promotional activities for Thai agricultural products, particularly rice, in both current and potential new markets abroad. This year, Thai rice exports exceeded 8.5 million tons, exceeding the original goal of 7.5 million tons.
The World Bank disclosed in its monthly report that Thailand's economy is anticipated to grow by 3.4% this year and 3.6% in 2023, with the 2023 growth projection being 0.7 percentage points lower than the June forecast due to a faster-than-expected fall in global demand. According to the World Bank's economic monitor report, Thailand's economy has proven resilient to recent global shocks, helped by rising private spending and robust tourism inflows. Data from the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council showed that Thailand's third-quarter economic growth increased from 2.5% to 4.5%, up from the second-quarter rate of 2.5%. The paper claims that Thailand's economic reaction to the epidemic lessened the crisis' negative effects on household welfare. However, as the nation's relief measures are phased out amid high inflation, poverty is expected to increase this year.
According to a BBC Global Minds study, Thailand is the most popular Southeast Asian travel destination for people coming from North America and Europe. BBC Global Minds is an online community with a unique panel of international news consumers from around the world, with around 19,000 profiled members. The survey was distributed to members in July 2022, with a 1,414-person sample size. It was found that 57.4% of the respondents who planned to go to Southeast Asia would choose to go to Thailand more than any other nation in the region. The survey's results revealed that travelers visiting Southeast Asia are frequently seasoned globetrotters seeking out novel and interesting experiences. They typically prefer independent travel over package tours. Moreover, they usually aim to remain for at least one or two weeks. According to statistics, 72% of travelers are concerned about reducing their impact on the local environment, and cultural and historical treasures of their selected location rank high on their priority list.
The Cabinet, on 20 December 2022, acknowledged the Draft Action Plan for the EEC Business Center Project and Smart New City with an investment limit of 1.35 trillion baht, proposed by the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee. The draft's goal is to "become a regional financial and business hub by 2027, equivalent to global standards, and one of the top 10 smart cities in the world by 2037. It also aspires to be a business hub and a paradigm for intelligent livable cities. The 10-year project development period was broken down into three stages. The 1.35 trillion baht investment budget will come from three different sources: governmental investment, private sector investment only, and combined investment between the public and private sectors.
In a recent Facebook post, Manoon Leechawengwongs, M.D., of Vichaiyut Hospital highlighted that the COVID virus is evolving too swiftly for next-generation vaccinations to keep up. The next-generation vaccines will target the strain that is currently the most prevalent one in Thailand, but new Omicron subvariants like BQ.1 and XBB will soon take its place. But these new subvariants will make the new-generation vaccinations less effective. As new vaccines cannot keep up with virus modifications, people are still in danger of contracting the COVID-19 infection. He confirmed that both the old and new vaccines lower the incidence of COVID-19-related severe symptoms and fatalities.
In a recent Facebook post, Manoon Leechawengwongs, M.D., of Vichaiyut Hospital highlighted that the COVID virus is evolving too swiftly for next-generation vaccinations to keep up. The next-generation vaccines will target the strain that is currently the most prevalent one in Thailand, but new Omicron subvariants like BQ.1 and XBB will soon take its place. But these new subvariants will make the new-generation vaccinations less effective. As new vaccines cannot keep up with virus modifications, people are still in danger of contracting the COVID-19 infection. He confirmed that both the old and new vaccines lower the incidence of COVID-19-related severe symptoms and fatalities. (Source: www.nationthailand.com)
The Thailand Massive Open Online Course (Thai MOOC), which is overseen by the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research, and Innovation, is a huge success, according to Ratchada Thanadirek, the Deputy Government Spokesperson. For all Thai people, the platform is a veritable gold mine of knowledge for lifelong learning. They are free to enroll in any course unconditionally and select when to study without paying a registration fee. A certificate will be awarded once they complete the courses and the exam. Since this project's inception six years ago, the collaboration between Thai and international colleges has grown steadily. 104 organizations, including public universities, governmental organizations, and private businesses, have teamed up to develop 104 courses. There have been 589 courses offered up to this point, with 1.5 million students registered, compared to 800,000 people enrolled last year. Students can transfer their credits to other institutions to further their studies while keeping their academic record.
Despite a 44-month high in automobile production, Thailand's finished car exports fell 10.98% from a year earlier in November, according to the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI). Only 81.9%, or 87,979 units, of the 107,345 entirely completed cars produced for export were actually shipped overseas. Space limits for wheeled goods aboard freighters were a hindrance to the process. Thailand's automotive output increased by 15% in November to 190,155 units, the highest number since March 2019, because of an increase in semiconductor supplies. In the first 11 months of this year, a total of 1,724,909 cars were produced, a 20.95% rise from the same period last year.
Nopasit Chakpitak, President of Aeronautical Radio of Thailand Co., Ltd., or AeroThai, recently announced that the number of flights would rise by 65% this year. The government's decision to lift COVID-19 travel restrictions and fully reopen the nation is significantly responsible for the recovery of Thailand's aviation industry. According to AeroThai's research, there were 1,637 flights to and from Thailand on average per day in October alone, while there were 1,806 domestic flights. The average daily flight count in December was over 1,800, and it is anticipated that this figure will increase in the near future. Additionally, Thailand has already handled 520,367 flights this year, a 79% increase from the 291,397 flights handled in the same period last year. Nearly 860,000 flights, or 2,352 per day, are anticipated at Thai airports in 2023.
Anucha Burapachaisri, the government's spokesman, announced that over 112,466 million baht in foreign investments were made in the country during the first 11 months of 2022 (January–November). This was a 74% increase from the same period last year, creating more than 5,000 jobs for Thais.The Ministry of Commerce permitted 530 foreigners to invest in Thailand between January and November 2022. The top three foreign investors were 137 from Japan (26%) with a total investment of 39,000 million baht, 85 from Singapore (16%) with a total investment of 11,999 million baht, and 70 from the United States (13%) with a total investment of 3,343 million baht.The majority of approved investments were in line with the nation's infrastructure development and government investment promotion policies. They also supported businesses related to the country's target industries.
Thailand’s Culture Minister Itthiphol Kunplome recently presided over a signing ceremony of the agreement on the cultural exchange program to mark the 75th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Thailand. Minister Itthiphol claims that in 2007, a cultural exchange initiative was started between the Thai government and the Ministry of Culture of India. This year, in order to specifically advance cooperation, both ministries approved the implementation of a program for cultural exchange. Exchanges in anthropology, dance, and music will all be part of the program. Events will also be staged in 2022 and 2027 to commemorate the diplomatic relations' 75th and 80th anniversaries, respectively. The objective is to enhance cultural understanding between Thailand and India, which will advance investment, trade, and tourism. The public is welcome to attend an exhibition on Thai-India relations at the Ratchadamnoen Contemporary Art Center in Bangkok until January 11 next year.
Dr. Pana Tappinthakorn, President of the Save Planet Agro-Economy Development Association, and Natthakit Khongthip, Director-General of the Thai Rice Department, recently met with Dr. Sicha Singsomboon, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Ghana. they discussed cooperation on rice planting technology Thailand will provide to Ghana. Dr. Sicha pointed out that although Ghana imports rice primarily, its economy prevents it from having much purchasing power. Thailand, the top exporter of rice in the world, now has the chance to support the advancement of agricultural technology while also fostering closer ties. Director-General Natthakit responded by stating that Thailand is prepared to provide such support since it is convinced that closer ties will be advantageous for both countries. He continued by saying that Thailand will be able to assist with research into creating technologies and rice strains appropriate for Ghana's particular environment.
Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha emphasized the importance of the campaign in raising people's incomes and advancing national development at an EEC Policy Committee meeting on 28 December 2022. First of all, the Rayong Pluak Daeng 2 Hospital Improvement Proposal was approved at the meeting, and private contractors will be chosen in 2023. The meeting also took note of the fact that important EEC-related infrastructure development projects have advanced significantly. One of these is the high-speed railway connecting the State Railway of Thailand's airports, on which the contractors have begun preparing the work on the Suvarnabhumi-U-Tapao and Makkasan-Si Racha sections after receiving the land plots. Construction is anticipated to begin following the Board of Investment of Thailand's issuance of the relevant investment promotion certificates (BOI).
The cabinet recently approved National Health Commission (NHC) guidelines on the health rights of migrant workers and stateless children. The NHC's resolution on migrant workers' rights to health will be used as a guideline to ensure that their rights are upheld and that they have fair access to healthcare in Thailand. To ensure migrant workers' access to health security and services as economic citizens, measures include the adoption of a migrant worker management strategy into the national development plan and the imposition of a law dealing with migrant workers' health. Standards for ensuring that stateless children in Thailand have equitable and protected access to healthcare shall be set in compliance with international accords and basic human rights principles. Stateless children's birth certification and registration requirements must be developed and improved. Legislative changes are also required, as are the growth of public healthcare facilities and the provision of basic medical privileges.
Kanchana Patarachok, the Spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, revealed that the minister had been closely following the case of the casino fire in Poipet, Cambodia early on 29 December 2022, working closely with the Royal Thai Embassy in Phnom Penh, the governor of Sa Kaeo Province, the Thai-Cambodian Border Coordination Center, and other Cambodian related agencies. According to the spokesperson, the Poipet Casino Fire Victims Information Center was established to assist Thai citizens who want to return to Thailand but whose travel documents have already been burned. The embassy will assist in expediting the issuance of documents confirming their identity and streamlining the procedure to allow them to cross the border back into Thailand.
The Department of Cultural Promotion (DCP) stated that it is seeking to have the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognize Thailand's Songkran event as an Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH). The move to examine such a nomination was already accepted by the General Assembly at an ordinary session in 2022, according to DCP Director General Kowit Pakamart. A selection committee of 12 member states will make the final decision this year. Following a thorough evaluation by the committee, the ICH status will need to be adopted by 24 nations during an ordinary session of the General Assembly in late 2024 if it is approved. Thailand is confident in obtaining the ICH designation for its Songkran Festival because it is a long-standing celebration that has not been overly commercialized, reaffirmed the DCP chief. It also has a small environmental impact, reflects the nation's distinct cultural identity, and strengthens the value of family.
Anucha Burapachaisri, the government spokesperson, disclosed that relevant organizations are now considering health safety and COVID-19 precautions as they make plans for an increase in foreign visitors in 2023. This includes closely monitoring information and the development of COVID measures in other nations. The spokesperson also discussed China's reopening and the freedom of overseas travel for Chinese visitors. About 300,000 Chinese visitors are anticipated to visit Thailand in the first quarter of 2023, according to the Thai private sector. The Tourism Authority of Thailand decided to increase its 2023 target for international tourist arrivals from 20 million to 25 million as a result.
The Canada-based travel website and application Hopper revealed that searches in North America for overseas flights have increased from 19% to 27%. Bangkok is currently the third most searched destination in Asia, behind Tokyo in Japan and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.In comparison to pre-pandemic levels, the government has set a target for this year of 80% tourism revenue and 50% foreign arrivals. These goals imply a minimum of 2.38 trillion baht in revenue and at least 20 million tourists, excluding the 180 million mainland Chinese visitors and local tourists. The Prime Minister of Thailand has asked related agencies to help increase the number of tourists to the expected level.
The new incentive package from the BOI, which consists of nine tax and non-tax measures in accordance with the new investment promotion plan (2023–2027), will go into effect on January 3, 2023, for a five-year term. In order to transform Thailand into an innovation-, technology-, and creativity-driven "new economy," a new package of incentives that was approved by the BOI late last year was crucial. Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed confidence that it would be able to draw potential high-caliber investors. Major global trends that would affect investors' decisions were taken into account by the BOI and concerned agencies when outlining the nine measures for promoting investment. Major global trends that would affect investors' decisions were taken into account by the BOI and concerned agencies when outlining the nine measures for promoting investment. These include various trade wars, geopolitical shifts, manufacturing resilience, the ability to handle crises, and a focus on renewable energy.
Anutin Charnvirakul, Minister of Public Health, has reiterated his belief in Thailand's healthcare system and its capacity to control the spread of COVID-19 as the nation gets ready to receive a wave of Chinese tourists. He also guaranteed that the country had enough medical equipment and staff to address any unforeseen situations. The minister was making reference to China's intention to remove all travel restrictions starting on 8 January and allow its citizens to freely travel to other countries. However, the action also raised worries about the potential for additional COVID waves in other countries. There are currently more domestic COVID instances in China than ever before. In order to stop potential outbreaks, several countries have implemented stringent entry rules for Chinese tourists. The Tourism Authority of Thailand claims that there are no special entry requirements for Chinese tourists at the moment.
On 4 January 2023, H.E. Mr. Pavel Pitel, Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-ocha, Prime Minister, on the occasion of his taking office. Thailand and the Czech Republic are prepared to advance their mutually beneficial cooperation in a number of areas in order to see tangible results as soon as possible. The Prime Minister of Thailand believed that both sides still had the potential to increase trade with each other. Thailand is ready to invite businesspeople from the Czech Republic to invest in high-potential sectors of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). The Czech Ambassador agreed that there is still a great deal of potential for cooperation between Thailand and the Czech Republic.
A research team from the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University, and the Nano Medicine Laboratory, National Center for Nanotechnology, National Science and Technology Development Agency, have successfully innovated "fluorescent carbon particles" from Biopolymer Bunch to deliver colon cancer drugs. The breakthrough is in accordance with the BCG Economy Model and is an important step for Thailand to become a medical hub, with support from the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT). The fluorescent carbon particles from palm bunch biopolymers used to deliver targeted colon cancer drugs will increase the survival rate of cancer patients at a low cost and are not toxic to the body. According to Ratchada Thanadirek, Deputy Government Spokesperson, the technology will help people access effective treatment more thoroughly. It also promotes production technology using agricultural raw materials available in the country while reducing the import of expensive pharmaceutical delivery materials.
Thailand scored 74.13 out of 100 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Index, according to the United Nations Sustainable Development Report 2022. The country has been leading ASEAN by ranking first for four years in a row since 2019 and is number 44 globally for sustainable development efficiency. The assessment indices comprise 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, including those related to human development, the economy, the environment, peace and justice, and development partnerships, in addition to economic components. This is in line with Thailand's 20-year, six-pronged national policy, which seeks to be stable, wealthy, and sustainable without leaving anyone behind.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, indicated that Thailand has scrapped its weekend announcement of an entrance requirement asking travelers to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, citing adequate immunization levels in China and around the world. He claimed that verifying vaccination records was cumbersome and that a committee of medical experts had decided to revoke the new regulation. Aviation authorities made the new rule public on 7 January 2023, ahead of a surge in visitors from China, where COVID instances have increased. The minister said those who are unvaccinated would also be allowed admission without limitations. He told the press that the group of health experts opted against requiring vaccination proof because it would be burdensome and difficult. The health minister pointed out, however, that if their next destination mandates a pre-entry test, Thailand will continue to demand that visitors from other countries present proof of health insurance coverage for COVID-19.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) will organize a roadshow in China during the third week of February 2023 in an endeavor to break into the Chinese tourism sector and develop tour packages for FITs (foreign independent travelers) and tour groups. Guangzhou, Chengdu, and Shanghai will all be the venues for the roadshow. Approximately 120 businesspeople from China and Thailand will also attend the event. In the first quarter of 2023, TAT predicts that roughly 300,000 Chinese tourists would visit Thailand. The number is anticipated to rise in the second quarter.
On 9 January 2023, Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha received a courtesy visit from H.E. Mr. Nagesh Singh, the Republic of India's ambassador to Thailand, to mark the occasion of his appointment to the position. According to the Indian ambassador, there is a great deal of cultural, linguistic, historical, and religious similarity between the two nations. India's "Act East Policy" and Thailand's "Look West Policy" are both pertinent. The ambassador pledged to collaborate with the Thai government to advance friendly ties and mutual collaboration in all spheres. Both sides were pleased with the trade value between Thailand and India, which totaled more than $16.5 billion between January and November 2022, an increase of 21%. Both nations have the opportunity to enhance trade and investment in areas of mutual expertise and interest. The Prime Minister hopes that Indian businesspeople will think about making investments in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) in areas such as smart electronics, robotics, aviation, logistics, biofuels and biochemicals, digital technology, and healthcare.
Poonpong Naiyanapakorn, the director of the Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO), discussed the economic trends in China following the relaxation of the "zero COVID" policy and stated that there are encouraging signs for exports to China. He disclosed that the TPSO anticipates a green turn in exports to the Chinese market in 2023 as people in China resume their regular lifestyles. Tourism, consumption, and public sector investment will all rebound as economic activity picks back up. These will provide the world economy and international trade with a crucial boost. However, there is still ambiguity around the COVID scenario, particularly with the prospect of a high number of patients dying and subsequent lockdowns being finally triggered by this. However, Mr. Poonpong asserted that China is still a market with considerable potential and that a prompt "reopening" of the nation will boost Thai exports to China. China can import goods from Thailand at a discount because of tax concessions provided by the RCEP and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement. Exports of goods affected by these incentives, particularly those of fruits, are anticipated to rebound.
The Department of Disease Control's (DDC) Director-General, Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, stated that the COVID-19 situation is less concerning than initially anticipated after the New Year's holiday. The department will reevaluate the situation following the Lunar New Year season, when it is anticipated that a large number of Chinese visitors will go to Thailand. and health authorities are likewise preparing to launch vaccination sites for foreign visitors next week. The Bang Rak Medical Center on Sathong Tai Road is the first. The other is the Bang Khen district's Institute for Urban Disease Control and Prevention. The cost of one immunization shot is expected to be in the range of 800-1000 baht. RT-PCR testing will also be offered at the sites. Airports are putting in place strict screening procedures for foreign arrivals, and these procedures will be extended to land border crossings, according to the DDC Director-General. Travelers would need to have health insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment if their home country requires them to undergo an RT-PCR test prior to re-entry. India and China are the nations that currently demand this.
The "Visit Thailand Year 2023" campaign has been launched by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) in an effort to increase tourism and increase the country's revenue to as much as 2.38 trillion baht. TAT Governor Yuthasak Supasorn is optimistic that this campaign will support the tourist industry's growth despite global uncertainty. Due to some issues in 2022, the campaign, which was originally scheduled for 2021–2023, has been moved to this year. TAT intends to employ techniques to increase tourism expenditure in an effort to develop high-value and sustainable tourism. According to projections, 65% of the 2.38 trillion baht will come from the international market and 35% from the home sector. Experience-based tourism, raising service and safety standards, and creating a smart tourist ecosystem are the three directions that TAT has identified for the development of the tourism supply. Additionally, TAT has requested that the 45-day stay limit for tourist visas be extended through the end of 2023.
On 12 January 2023, H.E. Mr. Saif Abdulla Mohammed Khalfan Alshamisi, Ambassador of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Prime Minister of Thailand, to mark the occasion of his retirement. Both parties talked about several matters relating to their collaboration. The conclusion of an agreement regarding the waiver of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic and official passports pleased the Prime Minister. This will substantially facilitate communication and relationship-building between the governments of the two countries. Thailand's top trading partner in the Middle East is the United Arab Emirates. The Thai Prime Minister thought that trade and investment cooperation between the two countries may open doors to other nations in the area.
Kittipong Kittikachorn, general manager of Suvarnabhumi Airport, disclosed that the airport predicts that during the Chinese New Year celebrations from 16–28 January 2023, 1.8 million people—or roughly 139,000 passengers per day—will use its facilities. The airport's international terminal is anticipated to be used by 1.3 million people over that time, in addition to 454,000 domestic travelers. The airport has therefore partnered with relevant organizations to effectively handle the increase in travelers, according to the general manager of the airport. More check-in desks will be added to ease airport congestion for departures. It has also increased staff at passport check-in desks to help the Immigration Bureau, given baggage handlers instructions to ensure that luggage is transferred quickly, and arranged enough personnel and equipment for the services.
Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand's Minister of Tourism and Sports, hopes to increase the number of international visitors to 80 million in the next five years. This would imply more than doubling the number of international visitors from pre-pandemic levels, outnumbering the kingdom's current population of around 70 million. The minister estimated that if this target is met, the country's tourism revenue could increase from 1.93 trillion baht in 2019 to five trillion baht. In order to accommodate the influx of visitors, the target calls for an improvement in tourism safety standards. Furthermore, the Thai government has a plan to charge international visitors an arrival fee of 300 baht per person in early June 2023. However, foreigners entering the country with border passes, local public servants in border areas, and those with a valid work permit in Thailand will be exempt from the fee.
A Thai-Myanmar border point at Mae Sot has reopened after being closed for three years due to the pandemic and Myanmar's political situation. Thai and Myanmar nationals can now cross the border between Thailand's Tak province and Myanmar's Myawaddy town via the Mae Sot border crossing, which is the first Thailand-Myanmar Friendship Bridge. Tak Governor Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj and his Myawaddy counterpart, U Zaw Tin, presided over the reopening ceremony on 12 January 2023. Local officials hope that the reopening will help revitalize the area's trade and tourism.
Pichet Kunadhamraksin, Director-General of Thailand's Department of Rail Transport (DRT), announced that there will be fewer long-haul trains departing and arriving at Bangkok's Hua Lamphong Station beginning January 19, 2023. As many as 52 special-express, express, and rapid services will depart from Krung Thep Abhiwat Central Terminal, also known as Bang Sue Grand Station, according to the DRT. For the time being, the remaining 62 "public service" train trips, including excursion trains and subsidized long-distance services, will depart from Hua Lamphong Station. The reduction in the number of services originating and/or terminating at Hua Lamphong Station is expected to help reduce traffic congestion in and around downtown Bangkok.
The second Joint Plan of Action between Thailand and the Republic of Turkiye for 2023–2028 has been accepted by the Cabinet on 17 January 2023 and will be signed during the 4th Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation: Thailand–Turkey Meeting on January 25–26, 2023, in Ankara, Turkiye. Following the initial joint action plan, a second draft was created to continue the bilateral relations between Thailand and Turkiye, focusing on areas of already-existing collaboration such as military, economic, and tourism cooperation. Additionally, the partnership has been broadened to include other fields like agriculture, transportation, and research.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn revealed that the National Tourism Policy is scheduled to debate a proposal to charge international visitors a 300-baht tourist fee on January 24. The same rate will be requested of the committee for visitors arriving by boat, land, and air. The fee will start to be collected in June if the idea is accepted. If the proposal is approved, the collection of the fee will begin in June. The minister, however, pointed out that foreigners with work licenses to work in Thailand and citizens of adjacent countries with border passes would not be required to pay the cost.
The Permanent Secretary of Labor, Boonchob Suttamanuswong, expressed concerns about personnel shortages in the tourism industry as Thailand continues to welcome more international travelers. The Thai Hotels Association (THA) reported that while five-star hotels had enough manpower to welcome guests during the New Year holidays, three- and four-star hotels faced personnel shortages, affecting their service operations, according to the permanent secretary. Meanwhile, the Thai Travel Agents Association (ATTA) has expressed concern about a lack of tour guides. To alleviate labor shortages, the association proposed a legal change that would allow foreigners to work as tour guides. The Department of Skill Development, according to the permanent secretary, will launch a program to upskill final-year undergraduates studying tourism and hospitality. The department will also collaborate with businesses in the field to hire them after they graduate, providing businesses with skilled workers in the tourism industry.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to boost the usage of soft power as another crucial aspect to draw tourists to Thailand by utilizing the 5Fs cultural marketing approach. The 5Fs include food, film, fighting, fashion, and festival. First of all, it will declare 2023 as the Year of Thai Gastronomy and promote the Walking Street Market, as well as organizing the Bangkok International Food Festival. Secondly, TAT will launch a Film City Tour Package, following in the footsteps of famous Thai movies and series, to help drive the trend of travel in 2023 and achieve the goal of 250 million tourists. Furthermore, the Amazing Muay Thai Festival 2023 will be held at Rajabhakti Park in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province, aiming to be a world record according to the Guinness Book of Records with over 3,500 people attending the event. Moreover, the "Thailand Tourism Festival Limited Edition 2023" will be held in the middle of the year to upgrade local traditions, Thai wisdom, and culture, with the hope of making them better known to foreigners.
The Banker, a subsidiary of the Financial Times, recently named Thailand's Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisit Finance Minister of the Year for Asia-Pacific. The banker praised Arkhom for his economic policies, which helped Thailand survive the COVID-19 pandemic's aftermath. The nation's economy is beginning to recover under the leadership of Finance Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith. According to The Banker, Thailand's GDP was expected to increase by 3.3% in 2022, with a target of 3.5% growth set for 2023. To meet these economic targets, the minister has been eager to revitalize the Thai economy as the country recovers from the pandemic and welcomes tourists back. His plan is to direct stimulus spending toward vulnerable groups and low-income households.
The Cabinet approved in principle on 24 January 2023, a budget of 5,945,161,000 baht, or about US$18,073,300, for the Office of the Election Commission to administer the general election of the House of Representatives in 2023. The present House of Representatives will expire on 23 March 2023, and the Election Commission is required to organize a general election within 45 days of its expiration.
General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand, stated that the government is working to improve public health and pensions, reform prisons, and prevent sexual assault and forced disappearances. The Cabinet recently approved a project to strengthen the public health system through cloud computing, citing the importance of human security as a critical factor for Thailand's future. This allows hospitals to track each patient's medical history, including diagnoses and treatments, and allows patients to receive care in the location of their choice. Moreover, the Cabinet approved ministerial regulations to expand the National Savings Fund's pension scheme in order to encourage people to save more for retirement. In addition, legislation to toughen penalties for repeat sexual assault offenders as well as a law to toughen penalties for those involved in forced disappearances were approved.
Thailand's Department of Disease Control reported that the number of new COVID-19 infections in the country is decreasing. In contrast to the increasing number of foreign tourists reported by the Ministry of Tourism and Sports, there were 1,342,365 foreigners entering Thailand between 1-21 January 2023. Tourists from Russia (143,580), Malaysia (138,737), South Korea (111,522), India (68,609), and Laos (56,517) are among the top five. There were 627 hospitalized COVID-19 patients between the 15th and 21st of January, an average of 90 cases per day. This is a decrease from the previous week of January 8–14, when there were 969 new cases, an average of 138 people per day, and the death toll was 44, down from 65 the previous week.
The fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, which connects Thailand's Bueng Kan province with Laos' Bolikhamsai, is anticipated to open early in 2024, according to deputy government spokesman Tipanan Sirichana. The center segment of the bridge connecting both sides is estimated to be finished by the middle of the year because the construction is moving more quickly than expected. It is hoped that the opening of the bridge will improve border trade and transform Bueng Kan into a regional trade hub. The work on the fifth Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge began on October 28, 2022.
The Head of the Foreign Ministry's Fiscal Policy Office, Pornchai Thiraveja, disclosed that the Thai economy will likely expand 3.0% in 2022, down from a previous forecast of 3.4%, as exports, public investment, and private consumption slow. The official GDP figures for 2022 are scheduled to be released next month. GDP grew 1.5% in 2021, one of the lowest rates in the region. The tourism industry has been steadily improving as the world relaxes international travel restrictions. With 11.15 million foreign tourist arrivals last year, the country’s tourism industry began to recover. Thailand has booked 1.34 million foreign tourists since the start of the new year.
According to Deputy Government Spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana, the government has confirmed that construction on the 290-billion-baht (US$8.82 billion) U-Tapao aviation city will begin early this year. The project is expected to create 15,600 new jobs in the first five years and drive growth in Thailand's aviation industry. The investment plan calls for U-Tapao Airport to be transformed into a new international airport linked to Don Muang Airport and the country's main Suvarnabhumi Airport.
Songkran in Thailand, the traditional Thai New Year festival," has been added to the tentative list of the country's fourth intangible cultural heritage, following Khon (masked dance drama), Nuad Thai (traditional Thai massage), and Nora (southern Thai dance drama), which were inscribed in 2018, 2019, and 2021, respectively. The consideration will take place at the UNESCO meeting at the end of this year. An intangible cultural heritage (ICH) is a practice, representation, expression, knowledge, or skill, as well as artifacts and cultural property, that UNESCO considers to be part of a place's cultural heritage. Other aspects of Thailand are also being considered for inclusion on UNESCO's tentative list of intangible cultural heritage.
Suriya Juangroongruangkit, Minister of Industry, revealed that the Manufacturing Production Index (MPI) for all of 2022 averaged 98.32, up 0.62 percent from the same time the previous year. That reflects a cumulative capacity utilization rate for the entire year. It was 62.61 percent on average. It was brought on by the growth of domestic economic activity and the rebound in tourism, as seen by the rise in the number of international visitors coming back to Thailand. In contrast, the overall picture of exports of industrial goods in 2022 increased 2.95 percent over the same period in 2021 (excluding gold). In comparison to the same period in 2021, capital goods imports increased by 2.48 percent in 2022. Compared to the same period in 2021, imports of raw materials and semi-finished goods (other than gold) climbed by 6.43 percent.
Anucha Burapachaisri, the government spokesperson, disclosed that in December 2022 alone, 2,241,195 foreign tourists visited Thailand. With a total of 398,295 visitors, Malaysian tourists took the top spot out of all of them. The most well-liked locations were Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chonburi, and Songkhla. According to the TTB Economic Analysis Center, the return of foreign tourists in 2023 will contribute to the revitalization of popular tourist spots in Bangkok and the surrounding area, as well as in the southern and eastern regions. 28 million foreign visitors are anticipated to come to Thailand in 2023, bringing in more than 1.44 trillion baht.
The Foreign Trade Department Director-General, Ronnarong Phoolpipat, disclosed that the rice export target for 2023 was made following consultation with the Thai Rice Exporters Association. Although there is still a high demand for Thai rice, the unstable Thai baht may cause Thai rice to be more expensive than its rivals. The ministry therefore reduced its export goal from the 7.69 million tons established for last year to 7.5 million tons for this year. Iraq imported 1.6 million tons of rice from Thailand last year, followed by South Africa (775,000 tons), China (750,000 tons), the United States (650,000 tons), and Benin (321,000 tons), according to the department.
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has announced plans to develop Khao Nang Phanthurat Forest Park in Phetchaburi Province into a geological tourist destination in order to promote geological studies and natural resource conservation. Geologists from the Department of Mineral Resources recently discovered a large number of fossilized marine creatures embedded in the park's limestone mountain, according to Dr. Yuthapol Angkinan, an advisor to the Natural Resources and Environment minister. The fossils, which include bivalves, single-shell mollusks, and corals, are thought to be 250 million years old and date back to the Permian period.
H.E. Mr. Patrick Hemmer, Ambassador of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on the occasion of his assumption of duty on 2 February 2023. The Prime Minister and the Ambassador agreed that the two countries' economic cooperation could be strengthened. The Thai premier expressed his appreciation to the Luxembourg private sector for their trust and investment in Thailand and hoped that they would consider increasing their investment, particularly in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC). Both parties were additionally pleased with the dynamism of financial cooperation between Thailand and Luxembourg and agreed to expand cooperation on information exchange, knowledge transfer, and financial training, particularly FinTech.
On the occasion of his assumption of duty, H.E. Mr. Jon Thorgaard, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Denmark to Thailand, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister and Defense Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha on 2 February 2023. The prime minister welcomed the opportunity to strengthen agricultural cooperation with Denmark. In terms of renewable energy and green economic cooperation, the Danish Ambassador praised the Bangkok Goals, which were adopted at the APEC Leaders' Meeting in Thailand. In the area of bilateral and multilateral cooperation, the Prime Minister expressed confidence that the two countries can expand cooperation to other regions through the ASEAN and EU frameworks. The ambassador was certain that the two countries would contribute to the systematic reinforcement of cooperation in all areas.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) has recently established a task force to address the natural rubber glove prohibition in various U.S. states, with some employees and consumers claiming probable allergic reactions. The newly formed task force will aim to promote the efficacy and security of natural rubber gloves produced in Thailand while encouraging their export to other markets, particularly China and India, where demand is still high. In the form of general-purpose gloves and medical gloves, Thailand exports over 738 million dollars' worth of rubber gloves to the United States, making up 23% of all rubber gloves imported into the country (second only to Malaysia).
The Thai National Shippers' Council (TNSC) has announced that Thailand's exports will grow between 1% and 2% this year, unchanged from previous forecasts, due to slowing global demand. TNSC Chairperson Chaichan Chareonsuk noted that shipments, which contribute significantly to economic growth, are also subject to high currency volatility. Despite some negative factors, the council sees signs of economic recovery in China. According to the group, exports are expected to fall 3.7% in the first quarter of 2023 compared to the same period last year, but they are expected to recover in the second quarter with a 0.7% drop and post gains in the second half of the year.
The South Korean government has set February 28 as the deadline for Thais working illegally in South Korea to return to Thailand, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek. Thai workers who are currently in the country illegally and return within the deadline will be exempt from the penalty fee of around 30 million won or 800,000 baht. Those wishing to return home should contact South Korean immigration authorities or go to www.hikorea.go.kr.
Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development has recently sent a request to the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) for an African Horse Sickness (AHS) disease-free certification due to the absence of African plague reports in horses in Thailand for more than two years. The WOAH’s Scientific Committee is currently reviewing the documents. If approved, Thailand will formally be declared clear of the African disease in horses in 2023. The Deputy Government Spokesperson, Ratchada Thanadirek, claims that Thailand can host a variety of international equestrian competitions if it is AHS-free, including the import and export of horses. This will contribute to increasing employment and income for workers across all industries.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) Director General, Sutthipong Kongpool, disclosed that Chinese airlines are currently asking to open routes and increase frequency to Thailand between January and March 2023. At this time, the CAAT has authorized 1,035 flights, or more than 300 flights a month on average. This is seen as a promising sign of the aviation sector's resurgence following China's announcement of its opening. At the moment, China Airlines is still asking for an additional 40 flights every day. It is awaiting review by CAAT. The airline's readiness as well as ground services' ability to assist travelers must be evaluated.
Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime Minister of Malaysia, stressed during his official visit to Bangkok on 9-10 February 2023 that while the insurgency in southern Thailand is a domestic matter, Malaysia will make every effort to contribute to a peaceful resolution. The Malaysian government's support was appreciated, and Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha stated that any assistance it offers will go a long way toward resolving issues in the unruly provinces. He emphasized that if the negotiations go well, there will be more economic growth and better ties between the two countries.
The Thai Airways International (THAI) rehabilitation plan has made approximately 70% progress since the cabinet's resolution on May 19, 2020, according to Deputy Government Spokesperson Tipanan Sirichana. Furthermore, the company's operational outlook remains positive, with an estimated income of 90 billion Baht in 2022. The company anticipates a 40% increase in revenue in 2023. With steadily increasing operation revenue since May 2022, combined with rising air transport demand, THAI is expected to exit rehabilitation sooner than the end of 2024, as previously planned, and resume trading on the Thai Stock Exchange in 2025.
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