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A Thailand Covid update that you won’t read in the news



Tim Newton goes through some of the moving goal posts regarding Thailand’s Covid situation RIGHT NOW. Vaccines for expats, what will happen after Songkran, provincial restrictions, new quarantine requirements. Reading the tea leaves and reading between the lines, Tim provides his personal opinions on many issues expats and foreigners in Thailand are worried about at this time.


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  1. Peter Notley

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:12 pm

    Well balanced report Tim. Thanks !

  2. TV

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks, Tim

  3. neil talley

    Monday, April 12, 2021 at 11:56 pm

    Dear Mr Newton, having been visiting Thailand for the last fifty years, and living there for the last 10, I wonder why ALL of the European, Aus, and American expats don’t pronounce Pattaya correctly EVER ? Patt thai yaah with the emphasis on the last syllable is the correct pronunciation. Not patti ah, nor pat tie ya or pats. I watched you on TV last night, and your pronunciation of the different provinces was outstanding. So why do you and everybody else mispronounce this cities name? My wife is Thai. I guess this is the wrong place to post this, but maybe you could talk about it on your TV media show or email me directly.

    Thank you Mr. Newton

    Neil Talley

  4. Kristof

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6:03 am

    This report is appreciated. There is one other aspect that i think deserves consideration, and that is the new characteristics of the virus variant that we may be dealing with. My understanding is that something very similar to the UK variant has broken in likely thru Cambodia, and if it has similar characteristics this will mean approximately a 1.7x greater ability to spread and a near 50% greater mortality rate. These are game-changing attributes, and it greatly amplifies your assertion of this coming at the worst time given the Songkran migration. I sense you are correct in that the way the govt will try to deal with the after-holiday spike will be similar to the 2nd wave targeted measures, but take note that even with full lockdown in the UK the new variant was spreading for quite some time. If this variant gains a dominant hold, it is likely another drastic lockdown may be imminent after targeted measures prove ineffective. This will be a huge test and we will need Thailand to respond as unified as possible. Thanks again for your report.

  5. denis

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6:47 am

    You should have equipped yourself with a crystal ball and recited some magic formulas, before sharing your divinations with us.
    No one is able today to say what will happen in Thailand or elsewhere, with regard to the evolution of the pandemic and even less what measures will be taken by the Thai government …

  6. TS

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:07 am

    Good report & personal insights Tim-thanks!

  7. John_2

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Good synopsis of whats currently happening.

  8. Patrick

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 12:22 pm

    “Thais first, expats need to get their head around that”. . .

    Well ahem, has there been some official announcement that vaccines won’t be issued on medical need, but on nationality?. . . because in my 20 years living and working in Thailand I never saw even a shred of evidence that this is how Thai doctors think.

    • Thaiger

      Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 2:24 pm

      Thanks Patrick. I hear you but that’s what’s been happening so far. And, in my opinion, will continue to happen.

  9. TS

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 12:50 pm

    Denis- the man said from the get go his report contained his opinions and speculation along with straight up facts. He emphasized that again several times. It was an opinion piece. He sure as hell gave people a heads up as to what they might expect down the line. Which is more that this miserable excuse for a government leadership is doing

  10. denis

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 1:52 pm

    Even though English is not my native language, I heard and understood what was being said. To stay in the same spirit of “personal opinion and speculation”, it would have been enough to avoid the touting title “A Thailand Covid update that you won’t read in the news”

  11. Simon Small

    Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    Very, very disappointing.

    I understand from the video that this is Tim Newton’s opinion rather than an “update” as headlined, but the information given for “Expat Vaccines” is not correct and, as my wife (Thai) said when she saw it, “not fair at all”.

    My wife doesn’t read the “Comments” so doesn’t see the routine abuse all Thais (not just politicians or some groups, but all Thais) are subjected to everyday here, without moderation, and I’ve only recently started to, but this was supposed to be an “Update”.

    I’m not a supporter of the government and I think the vaccine programme has been inexcusably terrible, but saying that “there is no confirmed information about what’s going to be happening with foreigners living in Thailand … about getting a Covid vaccine” is not correct.

    The Health Ministry, Health Minister (Anutin) and CCSA have all confirmed, several times, that “foreigners living in Thailand” will get the vaccines in just the same way as Thais and that’s already started happening. It’s been confirmed and it’s happening now.

    What’s “not fair at all” was the statement that “at the end of the day it’s going to be Thais first and the expats in the country and other foreigners probably need to get their head around that”.

    My elder son has asthma and will almost certainly die if he gets Covid, but tens of thousands of “foreigners” and “expats” here will be vaccinated, free, before he can be vaccinated.

    He’s Thai, but he’s not going to be “first”. He’s only going to be vaccinated after all the “foreigners” and “expats” in Phuket, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and the other tourist centres have been vaccinated and most of those will be far, far less vulnerable to Covid than he is.

    Most “foreigners” and “expats” living here will be vaccinated well before most Thais have been, just because of where they live and where they have the money to live.

    My son doesn’t resent that, although it could be a death sentence for him, nor do my family or any Thais I know. It’s the way things have to be for the good of the country and the economy, although there’s no excuse for the delays.

    What he and my wife do resent, though, is being told that it’s “Thais first” when it isn’t.

    Very, very disappointing.

    • Thaiger

      Tuesday, April 13, 2021 at 6:32 pm

      We will see. I stand by my speculation and observations.

  12. Eager to travel again

    Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at 6:08 am

    Thank you for a good walkthrough. I’m curious about how the reopening phases will affect travelers with children. How will a family of vaccinated adults and an unvaccinated child be affected by the quarantine rules? I understand that it’s difficult to get a non-fluid answer but would love if you could try to cover it in your continuous updates.

  13. Look ni

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 1:28 am

    From all I hear, apart from public service people, the rest pay for the vaccine or die. Is that a fair, unethnic, summary?

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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