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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thanathorn suggests 4 changes to government’s handling of pandemic

Maya Taylor



PHOTO: Flickr/Prachatai

The former leader of a now-disbanded opposition party has suggested 4 ways the government could improve its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, former leader of the Future Forward Party, and now chairman of the Progressive Movement, has posted his suggestions on the group’s Facebook page.

According to a Bangkok Post report, the suggestions relate to the Kingdom’s vaccine procurement and rollout, relief measures, and restrictions to curtail the latest outbreak. While commending the government’s decision to procure vaccines from manufacturers other than AstraZeneca and Sinovac Biotech, Thanathorn says it’s all going too slowly.

“We are unlikely to get any of them before the fourth quarter. I fully support the negotiating team and if it manages to speed up deliveries, Thais will stand to gain. The process is already too slow.”

He was referring to a recent statement from PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, in which he said Thailand would attempt to purchase vaccines from Russia and the United States. Thanathorn says the rollout of existing vaccines is also too slow and could be improved. According to data from The Economist, Thailand ranks 128 out of 161 countries in terms of the percentage of its population vaccinated (currently just 1%).

“The vaccination progress to date has reflected a lack of efficiency. The number of doses administered is too low and there appear to be no preparation plans. With good management, the performance and publicity (of the vaccination) could be improved. I believe we can administer 10 million doses a month (as promised by the government). But nobody has told us how.”

Addressing the impact of the economic fallout on businesses, Thanathorn says the tough restrictions imposed during the first wave of the virus has severely affected people, with a lack of adequate measures to cushion the blow.

“Now, we’re in a semi-lockdown with no accommodating economic measures, a highly risky situation. We’re keeping the lid on businesses but offering operators no relief.”

Of the 1 trillion baht Covid-19 stimulus package, he suggests spending the 250 billion baht that remains on 2 groups. Small businesses should have 50% of payroll costs subsidised if they guarantee not to lay off any workers, while people should also be offered a 3,000 baht monthly handout, which Thanathorn insists the government can still afford.

He adds that many people have no confidence in the current administration to guide them through the pandemic. He claims this is a result of the government’s attitude that sees ordinary people as a burden, despite the fact that this latest wave was sparked by the behaviour of the elite.

“The administration must change its mindset and realise that it is their responsibility – people are not the burden. They must handle the situation without discrimination and with full disclosure and sincerity in taking care of people.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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  1. Avatar

    James Gass

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 11:22 am

    I’m a frustrated expat in Phuket. The government has no plans allowing me to get a vaccine now. While they have said that private hospitals will be allowed to dispense vaccines, there is no plan in place allowing the hospitals to buy vaccines. I asked one major hospital what their plan was, and they said they had no plan. I am willing to pay for one of the safe vaccines. I’m just waiting for the government to allow this.

  2. Avatar


    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    You cannot eat the cake and have it…you dirty farrangs are living in moles i thailand to save your life and scared to leave the country and. Ow complaining about not getting vaccines…what have you done to get so special treatment in a foreign country?

  3. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    “I’m a frustrated expat in Phuket …”

    Why do you think it’s only “expats” who are “frustrated”?

    Don’t you think Thais feel the same way, or do you think you’re entitled to some form of special treatment?

  4. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 6:16 pm

    @Jitendra, how is a foreigner who is living here “wanting their cake and eating it, too”?

    Most of the foreigners that are still in the country are not tourists, we live here. We have jobs, or are retired with income – we have to, it’s Thai law. We pay for houses or rent, we support our families and put our children through school. Most of us don’t have Thai SSO, unless we are working now, and pay for our own health insurance, too. We patronize local businesses; restaurants, shops, banks, cinemas and car dealers. We pay taxes just like you do, yet we are not included in these plans to “vaccinate the population”.

    We aren’t looking for “special treatment”, we want to be treated like everyone else and included in the safety measures the government is taking.

    Before you start throwing out ugly terms like “dirty farang”, look around. The current outbreak has nothing to do with farangs. It’s your own people who have refused to follow the government’s suggestions and mandates and now have put everyone’s life in peril.

    We aren’t special, we are human just like you, and because of that, we should get the same treatment.

  5. Avatar

    Mr cynic

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Jitendra,could you please post your comment in english that we can all understand please.we may well be dirty and probably very smelly however most of can read and write english to a reasonable standard.
    I find your comment difficult to understand fully and so does my thai wife.many thanks for taking the time to post your original comment and i look forward to you updating it into a format all us dirty farrangs can fully understand.

  6. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Tuesday, April 20, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    What have we done to have special treatment in a foreign country Jitendra?
    Us dirty ferrangs supplied vaccines to your people.
    WE invented the vaccine, and supplied it to Thailand, at a very cheap price.
    You dirty Thais are selling these vaccines at ten times the price, and sometimes to the dirty ferrangs.
    If you were in the UK you would have been vaccinated by now, and it would have been free!!
    You Thais are should be wahing us on the street in gratitude.

  7. Avatar

    Jitendra Bahubali

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 1:37 am

    By the overwhelming response i would break it up for those who did not get it.
    All farangs or xyz living in Thailand are expats. They are not Thais. They have taken a advantage of not leaving the country and staying safe with covid 19.
    Now to rush for vaccines when the citizens of the country are not vaccinated is a bit rude that is what i mean

    I am sure govt has a plan for all expats for vaccinations but to whine and cry about not getting is unbelievable as nobody is getting now.

    Thailand supported you in the pandemic by keeping yo safe from most countries would you agree? Now blaming Thailand for not giving vaccines soon enough is just rude

  8. Avatar


    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Jitendra, sorry I have to disagree with you here. I’m Thai and blaming Thailand/government isn’t rude because it’s a fact. They acted way to slow and never thought about what the consequences would be if they hadn’t acted swiftly. Countries in Europe have vaccinated 50-70% of their population while Thailand I assume 1-5%…… please don’t blame them for being rude I’m just frustrated as the rest of us, these people don’t know what they are doing and will always be playing catch up….

  9. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    @Jitendra, again,

    You are short on logic in your argument. We, the ones who have lived here, since before the pandemic aren’t being protected by the country by staying safe from Covid-19. We didn’t come here as a haven. This is home.

    While you may be sure that the government has a plan for all, we, the expats who have lived here for a number of years know, that based on past treatment from the government of foreigners who live here, that we should be questioning whether we will have vaccinations available to us.

    The original poster, when contacting a local hospital was told that there was no plan. Not a plan for farang, not a plan for anyone, and that was his complaint. He wasn’t making the complaint because he was a foreigner expecting special treatment. He was even willing to pay for his own vaccination. Will you?

    Thailand hasn’t supported me by keeping me safe. I have kept myself safe. I would have done that in any country I lived in.

    The only rudeness displayed here is an unappreciation for others’ situations and predicaments.

    As I said before, we are human, too.

  10. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    “We pay taxes just like you do, yet we are not included in these plans to “vaccinate the population”.


    We ARE included!

    We’ve been repeatedly told we’ve been included by the Minister of Health (Anutin), the Health Ministry, the CCSA, and by the provincial administration in Phuket when it was rolled out there.

    We’ve been told that, repeatedly, for over a year.

    How many times do we need to be told?????

    “we, the expats who have lived here for a number of years know, that based on past treatment from the government of foreigners who live here, that we should be questioning whether we will have vaccinations available to us.”

    Only if “We” not only disbelieve what we’ve been told officially, repeatedly, but ignore what’s actually happened.

    Some farangs have ALREADY been vaccinated as part of the free vaccination programme.

    Some have ALREADY been vaccinated not because they were at risk but just because they were on Phuket as the plan then was to sandbox Phuket, so they were vaccinated BEFORE most Thais.

    If the sandbox plans for Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai were / are followed through then most farangs here, including those not at risk, will be vaccinated before most Thais including most Thais most at risk.

    Yes, the vaccination roll out here is crap but it’s equal crap for everyone – not just us.

  11. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 5:18 pm

    I can’t give links, @Mister Stretch, but if you think it hasn’t been said clearly enough, try reading the article “Covid Vaccinations for Everyone in Thailand” in the Bangkok Post two months ago where the CCSA spokesperson explains that “everyone” means “everyone” – expats, migrant workers, foreign workers, Thais – “everyone” and that it will be done “equally”.

    How many times do we need to be told?

  12. Avatar

    fat green go

    Saturday, April 24, 2021 at 2:48 pm

    @toby andrews – Forcing dangerous vaccines on people who don’t need vaccines, you mean?

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