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Defence chief favours lifting Thailand’s Emergency Decree

Jack Burton

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Defence chief favours lifting Thailand’s Emergency Decree | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

“In terms of disease control, we’ve managed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

The chief of Thailand’s defence forces raised no objection yesterday to calls for the national state of emergency to be lifted, saying security operations will not be affected if the Emergency Decree, set to expire at the end of June, is not extended.

Pornpipat Benyasri, who is charge of security for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, says police have other legal tools, including the public assembly law, to maintain peace and order if political activities resume without the emergency decree in place.

“The PM has made it clear that the country will have to move forward and the economy must grow. Security authorities are trying to relax any measures so the people can go about their business as usual.”

The Emergency Decree was touted by the government as a necessary tool to curb the spread of Covid-19, as it enables swift action and coordination among agencies at the national level. It has been extended twice since it was enacted on March 26.

Critics say the decree gives the government too much power and the steady drop in new infections in recent weeks justifies lifting the decree, which they say limits individual rights and freedoms. Thailand has gone well over 3 weeks without a locally transmitted Covid-19 case.

Democracy activists yesterday rallied outside Government House as they stepped up calls for the government to revoke the decree.

“The curfew has been lifted, which indicates Covid-19 infections have been contained and there is no need to continue using the emergency decree. Extended use will only hurt the economy.”

In parliament, 55 Kao Klai Party MPs submitted a bill aimed at overriding the decree to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Tourism

Thai Air Asia urges government to re-open the country to foreign tourism

Maya Taylor

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Thai Air Asia urges government to re-open the country to foreign tourism | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

The low-cost carrier, Thai Air Asia, is calling on the government to accelerate the re-opening of the country to international tourism. TAA chief executive Santisuk Klongchaiya says Thailand risks losing its status as a regional hub if the country does not re-open soon in order to re-ignite tourism and airlines. According to a Bangkok Post report, he warns that Thailand could lose out to places like Vietnam, should international carriers decide to move direct flights to other countries.

“After facing the pandemic for a year, the key factors that can strengthen Thai tourism are re-opening borders and financial aid such as soft loans to help airlines maintain their business and save jobs. If the plan to welcome foreigners is not ready, Thailand may lose those potential tourists to other competitors that have prepared to attract them with a practical scheme.”

TAA is one of 7 local carriers that have been calling for a 14 billion baht soft loan since March last year. In 2020, the airline reported 16.2 billion baht in total revenue, a year-on-year decrease of 61%, with a 57% drop in passenger numbers. Santisuk says the carrier is planning for similar numbers this year, with 15% of total passengers expected to come from the international market in the last quarter of the year. He is also hopeful that cost-saving initiatives, such as placing some staff on furlough, should help lower operational costs by up to 20%.

In other tourism-related news, the Tourism Authority of Thailand says it will add a further 2 million room nights to the “We Travel Together” domestic tourism stimulus campaign. TAT is also planning another scheme aimed at tour operators, between now and July. TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn says the scheme will be put to cabinet for approval next week. TAT is proposing a “buffet-style” ticket scheme for airlines, aimed at frequent travellers. Passengers receive their subsidy once they use the first flight that is linked to a hotel booking at their destination. Each tour operator can have up to 3,000 customers.

“These additional stimulus measures will boost travel sentiment for the upcoming regional holiday in the North on March 26, as well as the Songkran festival.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave

Caitlin Ashworth

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CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave | The Thaiger
Photo via Facebook/อนุทิน ชาญวีรกูล

54 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death were reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing. Thailand now has 515 active cases, a record low since the start of the new wave of Covid-19 infections. An enormous 1-day spike in cases was reported on December 20 with more than 500 cases among migrant workers at a Samut Sakhon fishing hub. The virus quickly spread to the majority of Thailand’s provinces.

The number of daily cases continues to be on a downward slope with Samut Sakhon now the only province classified as a “red zone” under maximum control.

Since the start of the pandemic, the CCSA has reported a total of 26,162 infections and 85 deaths. Out of the new cases reported today, 36 were exposed to the virus at areas considered to be at “high risk,” including 28 in Samut Sakhon, 2 in Bangkok, 1 in Nakhon Nayok, 1 in Pathum Thani and 1 in Chon Buri. Active case finding detected another 8 cases in Samut Sakhon. The other 10 cases were detected in quarantine for those entering Thailand from overseas.

A 63 year old Thai man in Bangkok died after testing positive for Covid-19. He had underlying conditions of diabetes and high blood pressure. On January 9, he developed symptoms of a cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing. He tested positive for Covid-19 that day. He was put on a ventilator on January 12. His symptoms worsened and he died on Sunday.

CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave | News by The Thaiger

CCSA Update: 1 death, record low daily case count since start of the recent Covid-19 wave | News by The Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of 3 March 2021, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Riot police officer in Bangkok tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
Protest in Bangkok on February 28 / Photo by Thai News Pix

A riot police officer, who was deployed at the recent pro-democracy protests in Bangkok, has tested positive for Covid-19. His supervisor, chief of Wang Thonglang station Ekapop Tanprayoon, says the officer had visited Samut Sakhon, a coronavirus hotspot.

Riot police who worked closely with the infected officer, Somyot Nuamcharoen, are ordered to quarantine. The Wang Thonglang police station and any items the police officer handled are being disinfected, the chief says.

The officer had met up with friends during a visit to Samut Sakhon, just southwest of Bangkok. He travelled to the coastal province on February 18 and returned to Bangkok the next day.

On the 20th, he was deployed to a protest outside of parliament, just after returning from his trip to the “red zone” province. On Sunday, he deployed the protest outside the military barracks in Bangkok. The demonstration turned violent and numerous people were injured.

On Tuesday, his friend from Samut Sakhon tested positive for the virus. The infected officer was tested for Covid-19 that day and his result came back positive yesterday.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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