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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Up to 1,000 foreigners per day with smart phone tracking – plan to open Thailand up to foreigners

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

If approved by authorities, foreigners from low-risk countries will be allowed to enter the country and travel in so-called “travel bubbles” without going through the 14 day quarantine period. They’ll be tracked through a smart phone application to make sure they stay in their “bubble.” The plan is being prepared for an approval from the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration this Wednesday.

Countries considered ‘low risk’ at this stage would include Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, possibly Singapore and China, but this is speculation until the decisions are made which country the Thai government wants to include in its travel bubble.

But the move doesn’t mean tourists will be back and flocking to the islands or filling up the markets of Bangkok. Only 1,000 people would be able to enter the country per day, probably an equivalent of 3 – 5 plane-loads. In the proposal, the foreigners allowed in the country initially will be those entering for business purposes and patients seeking medical treatment, according to a government spokesperson in the Bangkok Post.

“Covid-19 screening tests will be required both before the visitors leave their countries and upon arriving in Thailand.”

The plan has faced criticism as Thais returning home from overseas still face a 14 day quarantine while the plan proposes that certain foreigners won’t have to go through quarantine. The difference being the Thais are arriving from a myriad of countries, many still at high risk. In recent weeks confirmed infected Thais have arrived back from Middle East countries and the US.

The “travel bubbles” will carefully curate the countries from which foreigners will be able to travel from – all low-risk countries with few new cases over an extended period.

If the bubble system works, tourism officials will use the system for a ramping up of tourist arrivals in the future with hopes that it will speed up the economy’s recovery after the hard drop in tourism during March, April and May.

But Thai security officials remain concerned about the country opening up too soon to foreigners, and that it could led to a new wave of local transmissions. They also says that giving privilege to these specific foreigners, while still imposing the 14 day quarantine on repatriated Thai nationals will likely prompt further negative reaction by Thais.

A recent Suan Dusit Poll found that 75.7% of Thais do not want foreign tourists visiting Thailand soon with 54.4% saying that they would like Thai people to tour the country first. 21.3% say they are afraid foreign visitors would spark a second wave of Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mr Z

    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    China low risk?!?! People have very short memories, but empty wallets I guess.

  2. Avatar

    Bruce Sterling

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 3:33 am

    If they are so scare of tourist they should be carefull of the outbreak country No:1 ,tourist from China first of all now when they facing the second wave of Covid-19.

  3. Avatar

    Jon Travis

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 3:34 am

    If they are so scare of tourist they should be carefull of the outbreak country No:1 ,tourist from China first of all now when they facing the second wave of Covid-19.

  4. Avatar

    Bubba

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 7:33 am

    And what about the Expats with families here? They are virtual prisoners now in Thailand! If they leave on business or for personal reasons, they can’t return, right? So who suffers? The Expat and his Thai family. So stupid!

  5. Avatar

    Arun Thadhaagath

    Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 3:51 am

    a good movement as thailands main income isfrom tourists.
    I am from India been in Thailand twice till March, for 3 months and now trapped in Laos. I am on my solo bicycle tour and travelled entire thailand,
    from North to far South.
    so safe ,friendly, loving country and people.
    I have only very good experiences and memories.
    amazing loving caring country.
    I love the country and it’s people.
    those who are trapped in countries close to Thailand always think thailand would be the best place for a lock down also.
    we are eagerly waiting to experience agat the one and only the great Thailand.

  6. Avatar

    Glenn

    Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 8:53 am

    owww, how about locked-on ankle bracelets with radio frequency transmitters? ah, add the requirement to wear an brightly colored arm band that says “potential disease carrier”. then they could do mandatory weekly hospital health check-in.
    failure to comply will be met with large fines followed by deportation. Heil !!!

  7. Avatar

    Germany

    Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 8:21 am

    thailand will suffer a great economic blow with these measures, blocking tourism is blocking its economy and thinking that the Chinese (the biggest carriers of covid19) are their solution, will make the economic fall added to a multitude of new infections. bad thinkers in government

  8. Avatar

    Ron Wood

    Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Foreign tourists let into New Zealand infected with the virus. New outbreak in China.
    Opening up to tourists will certainly increase the risk of further outbreaks. Thailand has done well to contain the virus while many western counties have failed and will have to live with Covid-19 for months or even years to come. The economy in Thailand may be bad now,but another large outbreak and a return to lock down would be devastating. Peoples lives over profit. Go on try it for a change.

    • Avatar

      Chris

      Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 10:03 am

      You are so right. In 2018 more than 20,000 people died in Thailand in traffic deaths. Cars should be banned. Right? After all more than 90% of the deaths from covid-19 are people who are over 65. Covid 19 takes about 5 years of average life expectancy away while traffic deaths take about 50 years.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/03/asia/thailand-road-deaths-new-year-intl/index.html

      Anti-body studies are revealing a real infection rate much higher than posted and a survival rate of about 99.5%. Meanwhile economic destruction and lockdowns are destroying lives, leading to increased suicides, delayed diagnosis of diseases like cancer, delayed early treatment is stroke cancer, heart disease. What about the quality of life for the 99.99% of the world’s population that will not die? Lives over profit indeed.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Business

Thailand jumps on the electric bandwagon, aims to become EV production hub

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr / JCT 600

The Thai government has ambitious plans to turn the Kingdom into a Southeast Asian hub for the manufacture of electric vehicles. Nikkei Asia reports that big companies in Thailand are preparing to invest substantially in the greener mode of transport, after the National Electric Vehicle Policy Committee suggested a new manufacturing target could mean half of Thailand’s auto-production is made up of electric vehicles by 2030.

The message to car manufacturers and energy suppliers is to grab this opportunity to invest in the necessary infrastructure to support electric vehicles, as the number of drivers using such cars is expected to rise significantly. The Thailand Board of Investment says that between 2017 and 2019, investment in EV production and its infrastructure reached 79 billion baht. That figure is expected to rise at a much quicker rate over the next 3 years.

According to the Nikkei Asia report, Toyota was the first car manufacturer to make EVs in the Kingdom, with Chinese manufacturers becoming more competitive in recent years. The latest Chinese firm to join the EV revolution is Great Wall Motor, which plans to launch electric vehicles this year. The number of EV manufacturers in Thailand is also growing, but Surapong Phaisitpattanapong from the Federation of Thai Industries’ Automotive Industry Club says they still need to overcome serious supply chain challenges. He says manufacturers of the traditional internal combustion engine now find themselves trying to supply parts for electric vehicles, including batteries, motors and converters.

“It’s all about the economy of scale. If the number of EV users goes up substantially, it would be worth investing, and everyone, including auto parts makers, would be ready to switch to producing EV parts, and that would create supply chains that are ready for the development of EVs, but it will take time.”

Surapong points out that the government hasn’t provided enough subsidies to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, saying there needs to be more of an incentive to deliver the sales boost needed.

“We think there should be a more direct subsidy for EV buyers to promote EVs, but we haven’t seen the government issue any kind of subsidies like that yet.”

SOURCE: Nikkei Asia

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pfizer sees 45% increase in net income and revenue, as critics point to disparity in global vaccine availability

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Stock photo via Flickr

After seeing a 45% increase in net income from last year, Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant, is largely increasing its projected profits for this year. And, the increase is undoubtedly due to the high amount of Covid-19 vaccine sales, in which the company says is shaping up to provide a “durable” revenue stream.

The company says this year’s first quarter profits featured almost 1/4 of sales coming from the Covid vaccines. As it is teaming with German partner BioNTech, the company is set to increase its vaccine production, putting it on track to see US$26 billion in revenues from the vaccine this year. The new number-crunching is an increase from the US$15 million that was projected in February of this year.

But the profits are triggering criticism as governments are feeling pressured to ensure vaccines are available in poorer countries. Chief Executive Albert Bourla, says the company is holding dialogues with “basically all governments of the world,” and it is awaiting approval from the US for 12 to 15 year olds to be able to receive the jab.

The company is also studying the efficacy of giving inoculations, or boosters, every 6 or more months after the second dose- in a move that signals even more profits on the horizon. Bourla says this scenario would allow the company to be both a leader and a financial beneficiary.

“It is our hope that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will continue to have a global impact by helping to get the devastating pandemic under control and helping economies around the world not only open, but stay open.”

But last month, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, cited a “shocking imbalance in the global distribution of vaccines” and emphasised that the WHO’s Covax programmes must be fortified soon to allow poorer nations to gain access to the inoculations.

Zain Rizvi, a law and policy researcher at progressive Public Citizen advocacy group, says Pfizer’s increase in profits show the need for governments to take action to save lives.

“Pfizer is cashing in on the crisis and hoarding technology, even as billions of people around the world go without a vaccine. Pfizer’s profiteering shows the urgent need for governments to step-in. Governments should require Pfizer to share technology with manufacturers around the world to help ramp up global production.”

Pfizer has defended its vaccine pricing policy, saying it has moderated the cost to encourage broad access through the pandemic phase that could continue into the year 2022. But with a net income increasing by 45%, at US$4.9 billion over the past year and revenues jumping the same percentage to US$14.6 billion, critics point towards the continued disparity of vaccine availability between poor and rich countries. Pfizer’s shares have also increased by .3% to US$39.95.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Phuket

What will be the most expensive real estate on MONOPOLY: Phuket Edition?

Tanutam Thawan

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Phromthep Cape… Phuket Old Town… Patong Beach… These are just a few of the landmarks in Phuket that have now been short-listed since it was announced that Phuket will be getting its own edition of MONOPOLY.

The top squares of the the locally-themed game board will soon be handed over to Phuket’s most prominent places. With so much around Phuket that stands out, the public has been asked to help with what the top squares of MONOPOLY: Phuket edition should be.

“Thank you for everyone’s suggestions so far! We have seen so many wonderful ideas come in and we will start to put the game together very soon,” says Jennifer Lau of Winning Moves, the company putting together the Phuket edition of MONOPOLY under official license from MONOPOLY owners Hasbro.

“We’ve had so many suggestions for the most iconic places of Phuket to feature on the top end of the board, that it is difficult to decide what should be there!”

Tell Hasbro what you would like to see featured on the most prominent squares of the game by writing into the Phuket Monopoly Facebook page, or by emailing phuket@winningmoves.co.uk with your suggestions.

Maybe a “Go to jail (but pay 10,000 baht for a quick release)” or the Community Chest could be free for Thais but 500 baht for foreigners. When you land on a property you can be charged rent, but foreigners can’t buy the land. Go for it… 🙂

 

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