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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Multiple business associations oppose lack of Bangkok lockdown

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Business associations call for a full lockdown in Bangkok. (via Wikimedia)

After the government announced yesterday a one-month closure of construction camps, the Federation of Thai Industries and many other business associations complained that the action was too weak. The FTI and other business groups believe that a full lockdown is necessary to control Covid-19 outbreaks in Bangkok and half-measures like this are ineffective at best.

The federation is one of many business groups expressing frustration with the government’s failure to bring the Covid-19 pandemic’s third wave under control in Thailand and not imposing a lockdown now. The chairman of FTI said the targeted closures won’t help overall infections, as the root problem of Covid-19 in Thailand is not being addressed.

“The most crucial effort at this moment is to speed up mass vaccination of the public.”

Until then though, the president of the Tourism Council of Thailand suggests that flattening the curve is needed and a strict lockdown like at the start of the pandemic is the solution. Every tourism activity has been suspended for over a year, but reopening and partial actions will only stretch that time. With cases soaring and hospital beds nearly at capacity, the tourism business group says a full lockdown and getting the virus under control is the only longterm solution.

The TCT president stresses that decisive and consistent action is needed, not only to control Covid-19 but to instil faith and cooperation in the Thai people. Strong lockdowns need to be coupled with financial aid like using social security to pay 62% of salaries during closures.

A lockdown in Bangkok is also endorsed by the business group Employers’ Confederation of Thai Trade and Industry, who says that government officials should be listening to the doctors and medical professionals struggling to cope with the surge in infections and close Bangkok for at least one week. They remind that it will hurt the economy in the short term, but getting Covid-19 under control will help the long-term economy immeasurably.

The Thai Real Estate Association is also in favour of the lockdown, saying their business won’t be harmed by a lockdown with the market so slow already, but the endless Covid-19 infections do. People look to relocate out of the city to other provinces while they wait for Bangkok to get Covid-19 under control, creating negative perception of the property market.

Asia Plus Securities predict a negative investment market next week due to the uncertainty of continual Covid-19 infections in Bangkok. They understand the government’s worry that a lockdown will only drive people out of Bangkok as business sectors close and people don’t have work. The fleeing Bangkok residents will bring Covid-19 infections with them.

But Asia Plus Securities also believe that the government is only prolonging the pandemic with weaker actions. Their solution matches the other business associations suggestions: a swift and strict lockdown now and a rapid acceleration to Thailand’s sluggish vaccine rollout.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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