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Thailand News Today – Thursday, May 28

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Thailand’s Covid-19 figures

Today the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has announced 11 new cases of coronavirus disease for Thailand.

All confirmed cases were reported as quarantined repatriates from overseas. This brings the national numbers to 3,065 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

1 was a 32 year old Thai woman, who returned from India last week. 6 other cases were aged 27-52 years and had returned to Thailand from working in Qatar.The remaining 4 cases were reported as male construction workers aged 39 – 51 who had been working in Kuwait.

Of the 3,065 accumulated cases, 2,945 (96%) had recovered with 14 more patients released over the previous 24 hours.

Fishermen abuse and slavery cases solved “off-the-record”

Many cases of alleged abuse and slavery at sea are not being reported to the Thailand government.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation did an analysis on the claims of slavery and abuse on Thai fishing boats and found that the majority of complaints are not documented with labour ministry officials who routinely solve issues “off-the-record”.

One Thai labour ministry official explained that they encourage the employer and employee to mediate before submitting a complaint, if the case is minor. Labour abuse complaints from 289 fishing workers lodged between 2015 and 2020, show that nothing was documented on the outcomes. But a lawyer acting on behalf of many of the regions undocumented workers said that many workers are afraid of taking legal action against their employers.

Low cost carrier Thai AirAsia ponders merger

The CEO of Thai AirAsia says it may merge with another low-cost carrier to avoid cutthroat pricing wars once flights resume after the Covid-19 crisis subsides.

He even admitted to conversations with other airlines saying that, if tourism doesn’t resume by July, TAA will be forced to begin laying off employees, downsizing the company and its fleet to keep its business alive.

Thailand has 7 low-cost carriers which has forced a vicious price-war in the past five years providing cheap flights for people flying in Thailand. The AAPA reports that in April there was a 98% drop in flights in Thailand.

Hope for overseas foreigners separated from families in Thailand

For weeks now, foreign nationals who normally reside in Thailand but find themselves stranded overseas due to the Covid-19 travel ban, have been pleading with the government to be allowed to return to their families.

Now, there may finally be some hope on the horizon. At least their plight is now being addressed, albeit in generalisations, by the CCSA as part of their daily briefings.

The Foreign Ministry’s Information Department says once the government has finished repatriating all Thai citizens, who wish to return home, they will look at doing the same for foreigners. But, initially, this will only allow work permit holders or those with a permanent residency permit to enter the country.

We should stress that nothing has been announced at this stage regarding the opening up of borders for returning foreigners and, as of now, the CAAT has closed all international airports to scheduled inbound flights until the end of June, except for chartered repatriation flights.

Central buys Family Mart Thailand

Shopping centre operator Central Retail Corporation has bought 100% of Family Mart, one of Thailand’s major convenience store chains.

CRC’s CEO says the acquisition will strengthen Central’s hold on the food market and convenience store business in Thailand, which continues to grow.

Yesterday’s acquisition saw CRC snap up the remaining 49% from the Japanese partner making it the sole owner of FamilyMart’s Thailand operations.

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Police say at least 2 people to be arrested in Bangkok bomb attack – UPDATE

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Police say at least 2 people to be arrested in Bangkok bomb attack – UPDATE | The Thaiger

Police say they will issue arrest warrants for at least 2 people in connection to yesterday’s bomb attackin Bangkok. According to Thai PBS World, the people are suspected of throwing a ping pong bomb into a group of police officers in front of the Chamchuri shopping centre that injured 3 policemen and 1 reporter. But previous reports by Khaosod English say the bomb attack saw only 2 policemen injured out of a total of 4.

Piya Tawichai, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, says it is believed that the perpetrators threw the bomb from a vehicle on the flyover heading towards Hua Lampong railway station. Police say they found nails, wire and black electrical tape at the scene of the explosion.

The attack occurred at 6pm, during a pro-democracy rally over the government’s enforcement of the lesé majeste law, which has seen over 43 people arrested, including students, since November. Just last week, a Thammsat University student was arrested in his dorm room over lese majeste charges. Ironically, the reason for his arrest was reportedly due to his calling for such a law to be abolished.

Earlier today, a group of pro-democracy protesters and Ratsadon guards rallied in front of the Internal Security Operations Command head office in Dusit district, demanding for the release one of the guards, who has been missing since last night.

ISOC spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng responded to the claims by saying that ISOC had nothing to do with Mongkol’s disappearance because it is “not responsible for maintaining peace and order in the city.”

Now, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights have reported that that Mongkol has been released in the Bangpoo area. Mongkol and his lawyer went to notify the police at the Muang district police station and say that Mongkol will be sent for a physical and psychological evaluation.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Thailand’s PM says he won’t let Thais become vaccine “guinea pigs”

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Thailand’s PM says he won’t let Thais become vaccine “guinea pigs” | The Thaiger

Thailand’s PM is saying he won’t let Thai people become vaccine “guinea pigs” in his Facebook post today as he points to reports of serious negative side effects that some people have suffered after getting jabbed with the Covid-19 vaccine. Instead, PM Prayut Chan-o-cha says he will wait for more information from the experts about whether such side effects were attributed to the vaccine solely, or other factors.

“For Thai people, I decided not to take the risk and will not rush to inoculate with vaccines which have not been fully tested and will not let Thai people become guinea pigs.”

He says the National Vaccine Committee will advise the government and closely supervise the use of Covid-19 vaccines in the country once they are rolled out. As the vaccines are not yet available, he reiterated the importance of taking precautions such as wearing face masks when leaving home, practising social distancing and abstaining from gatherings, particularly political ones.

The government has reported 374 new cases of Covid-19 in the kingdom today, with all but 10 being locally-transmitted. Now, the total has risen to 12,000 cases since the pandemic began.

A government spokesman is also saying that PM Prayut is worried about people’s health as the weather has taken a turn for the cold. He also affirmed the importance of imposing measures under the Emergency Decree and Thailand’s Communicable Disease Act in order to help curb the recent Covid second wave. He is also reminding the public to download the Thai Chana and Mor Chana apps.

Thailand has ordered 60 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from a variety of sources, with the first shipment of 200,000 doses to arrive in February. Those vaccines are from China’s Sinovac Biotech. In March, another 800,000 doses are scheduled to arrive and another million by April.

The government has also pre-ordered 26 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from AstraZeneca, using vaccine technology transfer to allow local production by Thailand’s local company, Siam Bio Science.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Police hunt for those behind Bangkok bomb attack near pro-democracy protest site

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Police hunt for those behind Bangkok bomb attack near pro-democracy protest site | The Thaiger

Police are hunting for those responsible for yesterday’s bomb attack that hit near a pro-democracy protest site in Bangkok. The attack occurred at Samyan Intersection at around 6pm, leaving 4 people injured, including 2 policemen. Bangkok police chief Phukphong Phongpetra says the device used appears to be a pingpong bomb, which was filled with nails.

Demonstrators gathered yesterday in front of Samyan Mitrtown shopping mall to protest enforcement of Thailand’s royal defamation law, which has been used sweepingly since the protests started up again last year. Riot police were deployed to the site as well as to Victory Monument, where police dispersed a group of activists earlier yesterday.

Last November, a similar incident occurred when someone threw a firecracker at pro-democracy protesters from the MRT Tha Phra Station, but no one was injured and the attacker remains unidentified.

Since November, at least 43 people have been charged with lese majeste, including underage students, with most being comprised of activists that helped organise the protests in Bangkok calling for monarchy reforms.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri is urging people to stop joining in political gatherings, as PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is voicing his concernover the recent cold weather and the potential further spreading of Covid in mass gatherings.

“The government does not wish to see a rise in infections caused by political rallies. Therefore, we’d like to ask for cooperation from the public to comply with measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”

The cooler weather is expected to last for another 2 days, after a cold spell from China washed over Thailand, with the northern part of the country expected to see a drop of up to 8 degrees Celsius in temperature.

Authorities are banning any unauthorised gatherings under the Emergency Decree, as Anucha confirms the need to carry out the decree as well as Thailand’s Communicable Disease Act measures.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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