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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Government urged to investigate forced unemployment claims

Jack Burton

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Government urged to investigate forced unemployment claims | The Thaiger
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A Thai labour rights group is urging the government to investigate whether some employers are abusing labour laws to avoid paying their workers during the Covid-19 crisis. The call was made during an online seminar on unemployment related to the outbreak.

Some businesses are allegedly requiring their employees to seek unemployment compensation from the Social Security Fund, when they should have continued paying their wages as required by Section 75 of the labour law.

Before the Labour Ministry classified the pandemic as a “force majeure,” some business operators who had furloughed their staff agreed to pay 75% of their salaries. But when the outbreak was declared a “force majeure,” those businesses reportedly asked their workers to seek unemployment compensation from the SSF, at 62% of their daily wage capped at 500 baht per day, or 15,000 per month.

Human rights lawyer Charit Meesit says the Labour Ministry should investigate those unemployment claims, and says new legislation is needed to take care of workers during times of crisis.

Pornnarai Tuiyakhai, a lawyer specialising in labour disputes, says some businesses have exploited the situation to lay off workers without giving severance pay.

“There has also been confusion as to what employers can do, whether they can reduce wages or furlough workers without saying when they will get back to work.”

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.

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

CCSA Update: 59 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death

Caitlin Ashworth

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CCSA Update: 59 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Post Today

The new wave of cases has been on a downward slope in recent weeks. Today’s count of 59 new Covid-19 cases is the lowest daily count since mid-December. A coronavirus-related death was also reported today in the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily briefing.

A 48 year old Thai woman died after testing positive for Covid-19. The woman worked as a driver for migrant workers. No other information was released about her in the CCSA’s English-language report. It’s unclear if she had pre-existing conditions.

Out of the 59 new Covid-19 cases, 28 are local transmissions, 23 cases were detected in proactive testing and 8 cases detected in quarantine for those entering Thailand from abroad.

Since the start of the pandemic, Thailand has reported a total of 12,653 Covid-19 cases and 71 deaths. The new wave of Covid-19 cases has spread to 62 of Thailand’s 77 provinces.

CCSA Update: 59 new Covid-19 cases and 1 death | News by The Thaiger

Active Covid-19 cases in Thailand as of January 19, according to Worldometers.

SOURCE:CCSA

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Economy

Shoppers disgruntled as registration for co-payment scheme fills up in 10 minutes

Maya Taylor

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Shoppers disgruntled as registration for co-payment scheme fills up in 10 minutes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: National News Bureau of Thailand

Social media users are up in arms after registration for the government’s Kon La Khreung (“Let’s Go Halves”) co-payment scheme filled up within 10 minutes. The scheme, first introduced as an economic stimulus measure in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis, gives shoppers 50% off the purchase of everyday items, up to 150 baht a day and capped at 3,500 baht for the duration of the scheme.

The third phase of registration had a quota of 1.34 million users, but interested parties had to be quick. Having lost their chance to register, many disgruntled people took to social media to complain, with the hashtag #คนละครึ่งเฟส3 (#Let’s Go Halves3) trending on Twitter.

Several netizens say they filled out the online registration form at exactly 6.01am but were then forced to wait for the one-time password to be delivered to their phones before they could complete the process. In many instances, by the time they received the OTP code, registration was full. Some say they had to wait over 5 minutes to receive the password, which caused them to miss the small window for registration.

According to a Nation Thailand report, one person has described the scheme as nothing more than a government PR stunt, pointing out that, despite being funded by taxpayers’ money, only some people can avail of it.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week

Maya Taylor

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AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved for emergency use in Thailand this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Hakan Nural for UnSplash

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration is likely to approve a Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University as early as this week. The vaccine, already given the go-ahead in the US and UK, would be approved for emergency use, with administration likely to begin next month. Healthcare workers and those with underlying conditions will be prioritised.

Opas Karnkawinpong from the Disease Control Department says the FDA’s review of the vaccine’s efficacy and safety is going well. Thailand has fallen behind its neighbours in terms of vaccine administration, with a number of countries in the region already starting their roll-out. Indonesia kicked things off last week, with President Joko Widodo the first to receive China’s Sinovac jab.

Thailand is expected to take delivery of 200,000 doses of the Chinese vaccine next month, but questions linger over its efficacy, which was recently revised downwards by researchers in Brazil. The vaccine has not yet completed phase 3 trials and Thailand’s health officials say it may not gain FDA approval until February 14, as the manufacturer has no representation in the Kingdom.

Thailand has signed a technology-transfer agreement with AstraZeneca to produce that vaccine locally. The jab will be manufactured by Siam Bioscience, a pharmaceutical company owned by the Monarchy. Surachok Tangwiwat from the FDA says the doses currently subject to approval have been produced by other countries, but did not specify which ones, how many doses have been imported, or at what cost.

The AstraZeneca vaccine has completed phase 3 trials and has been shown to be 70% effective, less than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. However, the World Health Organisation has previously stated that a vaccine only needs to be over 50% effective to meet the global threshold for regulatory approval.

SOURCE: Coconuts

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