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Thailand News Today | 4th vaccine booster dose now available for 10 provinces

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Residents, both Thai and foreign, in 10 Thai provinces, will be offered a fourth Covid vaccine dose ahead of the return of the Test & Go entry scheme.

The Public Health Ministry has confirmed that a fourth dose is being offered to provinces that are heavily reliant on tourism or where the infection rate is high.Both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines will be offered to people who received their third dose at least 3 months ago.

According to the report, the health ministry initially only planned to offer a fourth dose to healthcare workers and high-risk groups. However, it’s understood officials have now decided to roll out dose number 4 to the general public in 10 provinces.

Of the 10, 4 provinces considered heavily reliant on tourism are Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani, and Phang Nga.

The other 6 provinces are either also reliant on tourism or experiencing high infection rates. They are Chon Buri, Bangkok,

Samut Prakan, Nonthaburi, Kanchanaburi, and Pathum Thani.

Officials have already administered over 800,000 fourth doses, primarily to medical personnel and high-risk individuals. The health ministry has set a target of vaccinating 2.5 million people across the 10 provinces, including foreign residents.

People who received 2 doses of Sinovac followed by an AstraZeneca booster are recommended to get AstraZeneca as their fourth dose, whereas Pfizer is recommended as the fourth dose for those who received 2 doses of AstraZeneca followed by a Pfizer booster.

Not many countries are administering fourth doses at this point – Thailand is one of the few, alongside Chile and Israel. Officials say they’re pressing ahead with dose 4 in order to protect local residents once the Test & Go entry scheme resumes from February 1.

According to the Bangkok Post report, around 17% of the population have now received 3 doses of a Covid-19 vaccine, with 69% having received 2 doses.

Yesterday, Thailand reported 7,139 new cases, with numbers falling for the third consecutive day.

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PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is currently in Saudi Arabia in an effort to restore Thai-Saudi economic and diplomatic relations. Experts say the trip, which is the first government trip between the two countries after 30 years, is a huge breakthrough after three decades of tense relations between the two countries.

Relations first turned cold in 1989 after the Blue Diamond Affair when a Thai cleaner working in the Saudi royal palace stole 20 million dollars worth of jewels from the palace. After the affair, two gunmen shot and killed three Saudi diplomats in Bangkok. There are a number of theories concerning what the assassinations were about.

Prayut’s trip was initiated by Saudi Prince Mohammad bin Salman inviting him. The trip will last a short two days, during which time he will make efforts to renew the export of Thai talent to Saudi Arabia. Once the two country’s relations are normalized, Saudi Arabia will lift restrictions it enforced against Thailand after the Blue Diamond Affair.

These restrictions included replacing the head of its diplomatic mission with a charge d’affaires, prohibiting Saudi Arabian nationals from traveling to Thailand, and prohibiting Thai workers from being employed in Saudi Arabia. Experts say the lifting of these measures will open labor, trade, and investment between the countries.
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A police officer who hit a woman with his Ducati bike as she was on a zebra crossing has been ordained as a monk.

21-year-old นราวิชญ์ บัวดก chose to enter the monkhood to make merit for the killing of Dr วราลัคน์ สุ-ภ-วัตร-จ-ริ-ยา-กุล last Friday afternoon. The Bangkok ophthalmologist was mown down as she was using a zebra crossing on Phaya Thai Road in the Ratchathewi district of the capital.

Narawich has had 7 charges filed against him in relation to the incident, including a charge of reckless driving causing death. He entered the monkhood at Bangkok’s วัดปริวาส ราชสงคราม temple yesterday afternoon.

He was accompanied by his father, a police officer from Pathumwan station, who was also ordained. Narawich has stated that his intention in entering the monkhood is to make merit for the death of Dr Waraluck.

Reports say the victim’s family continued to mourn her as funeral proceedings entered the second day at วัดพระศรีมหาธาตุวรมหาวิหาร temple in the Bang Khen district of Bangkok. She would have been 34 on Monday. Her father said he would not criticize the officer for entering the monkhood, instead saying he would thank him for making merit for his victim.

—–

In the last World Health Organisation report into road deaths in Southeast Asia and Asia, it probably won’t come as a surprise to learn that Thailand came top.

According to the 2018 report, the kingdom had an average of 32 deaths per 100,000 people.

This compares to 26 in Vietnam and 23 in Malaysia, followed by Myanmar at 19, Cambodia at 17, Laos at 16, Timor-Leste at 12, the Philippines at 12., Indonesia at 12 and Singapore at 2

In a list of the top 10 countries with the highest number of road deaths globally, Thailand came in at number 9. The remainder were mostly African countries.

A 2019 report by the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s road safety center identified pedestrians as the most vulnerable category on Thai roads. This came to the fore last week when a woman was killed in Bangkok after being struck by a policeman on a big bike as she used a zebra crossing.

Statistics from the Department of Highways for the period 2013 – 2017 show that on average, 55 out of 100 accidents involved pedestrians being hit by drivers coming from the opposite direction. The report also found that 40 out of 100 accidents were caused by dangerous overtaking.

Meanwhile, the Digital Government Development Agency says Thailand reported around 20,000 road deaths in the period from 2014 to 2017. Of those, 740 were pedestrians.

\Most of those killed were teenagers aged 15 to 19, followed by people aged 50 to 69. Most of the accidents were caused by motorcycles, followed by cars and trucks.

—-

One former member of parliament has filed a lawsuit against another politician for using a photo of him to mock him in a campaign poster.

The image shows the former MP of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party, Sira Jenjaka, under a magnifying glass behind a Move Forward Party candidate with a message calling for volunteers to help catch those who were cheating the polls.

Sira is suing the leader of the Move Forward Party, พิธา ลิ้มเจริญรัตน์ , for doctoring his photo, using it to mock him.

Sira says the poster is a violation of the Election of MP Act, adding that he hired a lawyer and will file a complaint with the Election Commission. He says he plans to demand a combined 50 million baht in damages and will defend his reputation.

Meanwhile, a Pheu Thai Party’s director for the 9th Constituency by-election, สรวงค์ เทียนทอง, says the party will dispatch observers to watch over the 280 polling stations across the constituency.

This is far from the first time opponents of the Move Forward Party have taken legal steps against its members. In September, the Thai military filed a complaint against party member MP ณัฐชา บุญไชยอินสวัสดิ์, accusing him of producing fake documents.

The documents were titled “Royal Thai Army’s Information Operation.” The army alleged that the document misspelled the commander’s name and that the signatures were not reat, saying such errors would not have happened if the documents were authentic.

Sira lost his seat after the Constitutional Court ruling last December that declared he was unqualified to serve because he was convicted of fraud back in 1995. Thailand’s constitution prohibits those who were convicted in a criminal case in Thailand from running for a House of Representatives seat.

—-

The government’s domestic tourism stimulus scheme enters phase 4 from February, with the Cabinet approving a 9-billion-baht budget. The “We Travel Together’ campaign, known in Thai as Rao Tiew Duay Kan will run until July.

Under the scheme, participants can benefit from a 40% discount on hotel rates, up to a maximum of 3,000 baht a night and a total of 10 room nights. There are 2 million room nights available under the scheme.

In the latest phase of the scheme, the number of reduced airfare entitlements has been reduced to 600,000, as the government says not all entitlements were used last time. Officials say the purpose of the scheme is to encourage Thais to holiday at home, spending their cash to help tour operators and hotels that have struggled financially as a result of the pandemic.

————

And that’s all for this report. In case you guys missed it, I was trolling hard on the Good Morning Thailand show with Tim and Jay so definitely check that out to see all the funny conversations we had. The video is popping up on the screen here so go ahead and click on that. Thailand news today will be back tomorrow. Meanwhile, you’re now up to date on the Thaiger.

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