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Thailand News Today | Thais praised for Covid response, Travel Stimulus doomed, Alcohol Ban | Dec 18

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Thailand’s top epidemiologist warns against shortening quarantine

Whilst the CCSA announced yesterday they were going to conduct yet another enquiry into shortening quarantine for arrives in the country,Thailand’s top epidemiologist has repeatedly warned against opening Thailand back up to tourism.

Now that health officials have started a 1-month study to determine if the mandatory quarantine period can be cut down to 10 days, senior doctors are again warning health officials to stick with the 14 day quarantine period. They says reducing the mandatory quarantine period could lead to more local transmissions, and possibly another outbreak.

There’s been a battle in the past 3 months between the TAT and tourism officials demanding the quarantine time to be shorted or scrapped, whilst health and medical officials are countering the economic needs with the harsh realities of the impact of Covid in other countries.

Satirical fashion show leads to lèse majesté charges

A satirical fashion show has led to a pair of young pro-democracy activists, one just 16 years old, to be charged with violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté laws.

Both of them attended the “People’s Runway” rally on Silom Road back in October. One was dressed in traditional Thai dress, and is accused of mocking a royal consort, while the other wore a cropped T-shirt top, allegedly mimicking some unroyal attire captured in the past.

Section 112 of Thailand’s Criminal Code prohibits insulting or defaming the Royal Family. Breaking the law carries a punishment of 3 to 15 years in prison. More than 2 dozen activists involved in recent pro-democracy rallies, including several protest leaders, are facing charges under the draconian law.

Back in June this year the Thai PM told the media that HM the King had expressly requested officials not to use the lese majeste laws. The Thai government said at the time that they could use the Computer Crime laws instead.

Phase 2 of travel stimulus may be cancelled due to fraud, as PM said to be “furious”

Officials are considering cancelling the next phase of the government’s domestic tourism stimulus campaign, after multiple cases of fraud emerged.

To date, over 200 people have been prosecuted for corruption in the domestic travel campaign, as well as in other government stimulus schemes. The Tourism Authority of Thailand says that, in conjunction with the Tourism and Sports Ministry, it has filed a police report against more than 500 hotels and other businesses.

The discovery of the fraud cases had prompted officials to postpone the addition of another 1 million discounted hotel rooms, a decision that has already impacted bookings for the New Year period. But Nation Thailand is reporting that the “We Travel Together” program may end up dropped altogether.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is said to be furious over the reports of corruption, ordering the authorities to punish those involved.

WHO praises Thailand’s unity as key to successfully tackling Covid-19

Thailand has received plaudits from the World Health Organisation who have laid praise on the Kingdom for its unity and ability to control the early days of the pandemic and keep its population safe.

Unity between Thailand’s public and social sectors, healthcare workers, local organisations, and individuals, has been key to tackling Covid-19, according to the World Health Organisation. WHO director general Tedros was speaking yesterday at an online address to Thailand’s National Health Commission Office when he made his remarks.

According to him, unity between all sectors in the country, coupled with strict health and safety measures, helped Thailand fight off the spread of the virus.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Health Minister is warning that the war against the pandemic is far from over, pointing out that until the widespread administration of a vaccine, health measures such as social distancing and mask-wearing will have to function as “social vaccines”.

24 hour alcohol ban for provincial elections part of a “ridiculous war on alcohol”

The sale and distribution of alcohol in Thailand, even parties serving alcohol, are banned from Saturday 6pm to Sunday 6pm, all in aid of the Provincial Administration Organisation elections.

Unless you’re Thai, you don’t need to worry about the voting although the alcohol ban will affect everyone who lives in the Kingdom.

Having a party or a wedding on the day? No problem, as long as there’s no alcohol. Violators of the ban could end up in jail for 6 months, and/or fined 10,000 baht.

The reminder of the ban has provided plenty of warning and time to stock up for the 24 hour ban if it’s going to impact you. And even though the ban has been standard practice for provincial elections, it seems to have caught many foreigners off guard who believe the ban shouldn’t apply to them.

The online response has been broadly critical of the government policy, particularly among the expat communities.

You can read some of their responses at thethaiger.com

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    D-Boy

    Friday, December 18, 2020 at 7:30 pm

    Has any media Reporter asked for a Government position on Visitors that are FULLY VACCINATED?

  2. Avatar

    Keet Korin

    Saturday, December 19, 2020 at 5:46 am

    why do the do these stupid alchohol bans?.. if a drinker wants a drink he will always find a way to get it

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned

Maya Taylor

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Health Minister volunteering to receive first Covid jab, as effectiveness rate questioned | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

“I’ll go first!”

Thailand’s Public Health Minister has repeated his pledge to be the first person to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, in a bid to allay people’s concerns. Questions have been raised about the Chinese-manufactured Sinovac Biotech jab after its effectiveness rating was revised downwards by researchers in Brazil.

Anutin Charnvirakul says the vaccine process will be overseen by Sophon Mekthon from the Ministry of Public Health and all safety criteria will be met. The Pattaya News reports that the minister says he has confidence in the safety of the vaccine and is willing to prove it by being the first person to get the jab. It’s not the first time he has made this suggestion but there has been no official confirmation that the Health Minister will be first in line.

Thailand has ordered 2 million doses of the vaccine, with the first 200,000 expected to arrive next month. The government has also ordered 26 million doses of a Covid-19 vaccine produced by AstraZeneca in partnership with Oxford University but is not expected to take delivery of that vaccine until the middle of the year.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Economy

Government considering another registration round for co-payment scheme

Maya Taylor

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Government considering another registration round for co-payment scheme | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Finance Ministery is considering adding another registration round to the Khon La Khrueng (“Let’s Go Halves”) co-payment scheme, as 1.34 million rights have not yet been taken up. The government introduced the scheme last October, in an effort to stimulate the Covid-battered economy. Under the scheme, Thai citizens get a 50% subsidy on the purchase of food, drink and general products, up to 150 baht per person per day, to a maximum of 3,000 baht for the duration of the scheme. Those who sign up need to make purchases within 14 days of their registration.

The first phase got under way on October 23 and finished on December 31, with the government setting aside 30 billion baht to cover 10 million people. The second phase began on January 1 and runs until March 31, covering an additional 5 million people. The cap has also been raised from 3,000 to 3,500 baht.

Kulaya Tantitemit from the Fiscal Policy Office says that of the combined 15 million rights, 13.66 have been taken up. The Bangkok Post reports that those who have not received subsidy rights can register for the 1.34 million that remain by the end of this month.

The Finance Ministry is also considering a third phase of the scheme, based on the success of the first 2 phases, according to Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Crime

Arrest warrants sought for 8 civilians suspected of smuggling migrant workers

Maya Taylor

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Arrest warrants sought for 8 civilians suspected of smuggling migrant workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: AP

Deputy national police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas has confirmed that arrest warrants are being sought for 8 civilians implicated in the illegal smuggling of migrant workers. The Bangkok Post reports that the 8 face charges of aiding and abetting illegal immigration. The workers were trafficked from Myanmar to the central Thai province of Samut Sakhon, where the latest outbreak of Covid-19 began last month. 20 police officers are also being investigated for their role in the smuggling operation. They have been suspended from duty pending a full investigation. It’s thought there are up to 25 police officers suspected of involvement.

“After tracing the migrant workers’ route into Samut Sakhon and then jobs at its shrimp market, we found that most received direct assistance from more than 20 police officials and eight civilians. They smuggled the workers across the border in Sangkhla Buri district of Kanchanaburi and then provided transport to get them to Samut Sakhon.”

Damrongsak says an investigative committee is being set up prior to criminal prosecution and disciplinary action being taken against the police officers involved.

“A formal fact-finding procedure will be carried out before both disciplinary and legal action is pursued against them.”

The committee, which is being chaired by the assistant national police chief, will work with a separate panel set up by the government to investigate the role of police officers in people smuggling. The committee is mostly made up of police officers. Damrongsak says PM Prayut Chan-o-cha insists that investigating officers carry out their duties in an honest and transparent manner.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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