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Doctors advise 5-step plan to re-opening Thailand

The Thaiger

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Doctors advise 5-step plan to re-opening Thailand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand
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14 Thai doctors have sent a message to Thailand’s Government alerting them to the dangers of a premature easing of travel restrictions and closures around the country. Meanwhile pressure is mounting from people and hawkish businesses to reopen the schools, open the shop doors, restaurants and shopping centres.

The group of doctors submitted a 5-point proposal. The government says it is deciding how and when to relax restrictions so they can announce before the expiry of the state of emergency on April 30, just 9 days away.

The doctors say that the country’s ‘lockdowns’ have been shown to contain the spread of the virus to a “satisfactory level”. At this stage 32 provinces have reported no new infections for two weeks. Phuket, the province with the highest per capita infection rate in Thailand, has had no new reported cases or deaths for 3 days now.

But they also admitted that the success of the lockdown had forced severe economic and social costs and that the impact on low-income earners would be the hardest if the restrictions continued unnecessarily.

Several European countries are now going through a process of reopening towns, services and shops, in a risky health experiment, trying to re-launch ravaged economies without the safety net of an effective vaccine.

They explained to the government that the coronavirus can only be contained, not eradicated. They admit that the easing of restrictions may have to be approached from a community level and not a country-wide re-opening all on one day.

Before easing lockdown restrictions, the doctors proposed five measures be taken…

• expanding testing and isolation of the infected

• strict enforcement of social distancing and hygienic practices, such as the wearing of face masks

• the reopening of low risk businesses

• the long-term (up to 3 months) closure of high risk businesses, such as pubs, bars, entertainment venues and sports stadia

• effective monitoring and forecasting systems

The doctors recommended that lockdown measures should be eased gradually, as small pilot projects, starting in some of the provinces which have not reported any new infections for the past two weeks.

The team of doctors includes well-known virologist Dr. Yong Poovorawan, Dr. Kamnuan Oengchusak, Dr. Thirawat Hemachutha, Dr. Supamit Choonsutthiwat, Dr. Somchai Chakrabhand, Dr. Sopon Mekthon, Dr. Thanarak Phlipat, Dr. Kanchit Limpakarnjanarat, Dr. Manit Thiratantikanont, Dr. Praphon Tangsrikiatikul and Dr. Paichit Warachit.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Bangkok

First airplane food cafe, now Thai Airways opens fried dough stand

Caitlin Ashworth

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First airplane food cafe, now Thai Airways opens fried dough stand | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

Since not much is happening in the air, Thai Airways is running new business schemes on the ground. For their newest venture, the company opened a deep fried dough street food stand. They say the fried dough with taro custard is an “award winning” recipe.

Thai Airways has already opened a pop-up restaurant serving “in flight” food to customers seated in repurposed airplane seats. They also started offering package deals for a lessons on their flight stimulator, touting that it’s the most realistic stimulator in Thailand and is usually used to train pilots.

For their new fried dough stand outside of the company’s Bangkok headquarters, the new business venture has already “taken off.” Nation Thailand says a long line of people waiting for the 50 baht fried dough early Wednesday morning.

The stand is up from 6:30am to 9:30am in front of their headquarters on Silom Road.

Hopefully they’ll make a profit out of the fried dough with taro custard as they currently owe around 245 billion baht (give or take a few billion), according to Reuters. So 245 billion baht, divided by 50 baht, minus the costs of the taro and dough… they will have to sell a LOT.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Business

Foodpanda joins online grocery delivery movement

The Thaiger

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Foodpanda joins online grocery delivery movement | The Thaiger

Get your latest dinner or snack, or now a delivery from your supermarket. Foodpanda is the latest player to join the online grocery delivery movement as it is now operating under Pandamart. The German-based delivery app is the latest establishment to shift its focus on capitalising from “quick commerce” which sees items being delivered faster than traditional grocery stores.

However, the game is on as Pandamart enters at a time when Grabmart and HappyFresh already have penetrated the rapid delivery market by their respective Grab and Line Man apps. Thomas Buchan, the director of new verticals at Foodpanda Thailand, says customers expect deliveries faster in this new era.

“We are entering the era of quick commerce [q-commerce] where digital customers expect faster delivery within minutes or hours, unlike the 4.0 e-commerce era when users wait for same-day or next-day delivery.”

Pandamart delivers products within 20 minutes as orders are mapped to its nearest product storage facility within 10 km for faster delivery times. Such merchants partnering with the company include Gourmet Market, Lawson 108, Tesco, Beauty Buffet and the retail giant CP Freshmart.

To entice users, it also offers free delivery for orders of 50 baht or more with snacks, alcohol and beverages bringing in the most sales. Currently, Pandamart operates in 12 Asia-Pacific countries and Buchan says that number is expected to grow as shopping habits change.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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