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Thailand News Today – Tuesday, June 16

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Thailand News Today – Tuesday, June 16 | The Thaiger
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Outrage over 75,000 baht travel allowance for senior execs at Thai Airways

The deputy leader of Thailand’s Democrat Party says Thai’s should be outraged by the disclosure that Thai Airways senior management have been getting a 75,000 baht “travel allowance”.

He decries the allowance granted to anyone holding the position of executive vice president at the long-struggling airline.

Thailand’s national carrier, run as a state enterprise, until it filed for bankruptcy protection, is understood to have accrued debts of around 200-300 billion baht. It has long drawn criticism for the generous perks offered to the airline’s senior executives and their family members.

In his post, Samart also hits out at senior executives for insisting on an allowance that covers the cost of a private driver, even when they have their own car.

Poll shows flea markets, supermarkets, most popular with Thais as lockdown easing continues

A new poll shows that most Thais are anxious to return to markets and supermarkets first, and not venture too far away from their homes.

83% of those surveyed are prioritising markets, flea markets and supermarkets, with fewer than 49% saying they want to return to department stores, and just over 40% saying hair and beauty salons are high on their list.

Recently reopened cinemas may be quiet for a bit longer, as a whopping 91% of Thais say they don’t want to visit movie theatres right now. Nearly 84% say they’re not interested in visiting airports, 83% say they won’t be going to beauty clinics, and over 81% say massage parlours are out.

In terms of how the Thai government can boost domestic tourism between July and October, nearly 52% say they’d prefer a cash handout, while 24% say they’d like the tax on hotel and restaurant bills to be reduced. Just over 21% say they’d prefer discount vouchers for hotels and restaurants.

Meanwhile, 46% of Thais want the Songkran holidays moved to the (western) New Year period, while over 33% say they’d prefer to get them in September as there are no public holidays that month. 20% say they’d be happy to have the holidays granted at any stage this year.

Government reticent to re-open Thai entertainment after new Covid cases hit Japanese nightlife

The Thai government says it still has some concerns about reopening the country’s nightlife after a resurgence of the Covid-19 virus in Japan was linked to entertainment venues in Tokyo.

The spokesman for the government’s Covid-19 task force says the Japanese outbreak, and a prior, similar outbreak in South Korea’s clubs, is the reason Thailand’s bars and nightlife venues remain shuttered following the latest easing of restrictions.

On Sunday, Tokyo authorities reported 47 new cases of the virus, the highest number since May 5. 18 of those could be tracked to entertainment venues in the city. Yesterday, a further 48 cases were confirmed in Japan, with 20 linked to nightlife establishments in the same part of town.

The Thai government will no doubt be watching the situation in Japan, and in other nations where nightlife venues are opening up, with developments overseas likely to influence any decisions on reopening Thailand’s nightlife. Bars and nightclubs remain closed at this stage but alcohol can now be served at restaurants as part of the meal.

Monk chases pregnant woman and kills her in Buriram

Investigating a fatal stabbing in Buriram yesterday, police now believe the woman who was stabbed by an Abbot, had been blackmailing him after having an affair.

The fatal stabbing happened on a road in northern Buriram yesterday afternoon. The victim, 36 year old “Lampai”, was 8 months pregnant

Eyewitnesses told police that the 59 year old Abbot of a local temple, crashed his van with a pickup. The passenger in the pickup was Lampai. The woman ran from the vehicle but the monk chased her down, wielding a knife, caught her and stabbed her twice. She died at the scene. Emergency responders raced her body to the hospital but her baby also died.

The former abbot has now been defrocked and charged with “premeditated murder” and “carrying a weapon in public”. He claims the woman had been black mailing him but did not admit to an alleged affair.

Tropical Storm Nuri and Andaman Sea monsoon cause heavy rains throughout Thailand

Tropical Storm Nuri ripped China’s Guangdong province over the weekend; its wider effects causing storms in Northern Thailand.

And a strong southwest monsoon in the Andaman Sea brought on rainstorms in other parts of the country. So the country was getting influences from both ends. Hundreds of homes have been damaged from the storms and many streets have flooded.

From Udon Thani in the north to Surat Thani in the south, 324 homes were damaged from storms. In the Isan region, certain areas of Korat were flooded after hours of heavy rain on Sunday. In Saraburi, Central Thailand, many vehicles with flooded engines stalled out, causing a traffic jam on the Mittraphap Highway.

Storms and heavy rain are expected to continue for the rest of this week.

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Thailand

Thailand growing more expensive for expats

Jack Burton

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Thailand growing more expensive for expats | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Business Traveller

According to Employment Conditions Abroad, Bangkok and Chiang Mai are among the 30 most expensive cities for expats in Asia. The capital of Turkmenistan might not spring to mind when with considering the priciest cities, but according to ECA International it ranks first on both the global and Asian tables, a 5 point rise up the rankings due to an ongoing economic crisis, food shortages and the resulting hyperinflation.

The survey is performed in March and September every year, based on a basket of items such as rents and utility fees. Car prices and school fees are not included.

In Asia, Bangkok ranks 28th, just above Chiang Mai, according to the latest ECA International survey on the cost of living for expatriates. But it dropped out of the top 50 global rankings from the report released in December 2019. In global rankings, Bangkok is now at 60 and Chiang Mai at 142. Bangkok has lost a good deal of its former appeal for budget-conscious travellers and expatriates, rising 64 places over the past 5 years, according to the survey.

ECA says a rapidly expanding economy and increased foreign investment, at least, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, made Thailand more expensive, fuelled by the strengthening baht.

“The baht has strengthened considerably, making the country more expensive for expatriates and tourists. However, this trend has slowed over the past year, partly in response to government attempts to weaken the baht in order to keep the country competitive.”

Hong Kong is the second most expensive city in Asia after Ashgabat (Turkmenistan), but ahead of Tokyo and Singapore. Singapore is rated the most expensive place for expats in Southeast Asia and has led that ranking for many years.

Hong Kong remains sixth in the global standings, 1 place ahead of the Japanese capital. Singapore was fourteenth in Asia, dropping 2 notches from the previous survey.

Ashgabat’s sudden rise to the top of the is largely attributable to the economic dilemmas of Turkmenistan’s government, according to ECA. The energy-rich Central Asian nation faces severe inflation, and a black market for foreign currencies has caused the cost of imports to rise. Both factors have sparked a large increase in the costs visitors pay.

The ECA says Chinese cities fell across the board due to signs of a weakening economy and poorly performing currency, even before Covid-19 began taking its toll.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

90 minute Covid-19 test at BKK being tested

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90 minute Covid-19 test at BKK being tested | The Thaiger

A Covid-19 test that takes about 90 minutes. This is a new ‘outside the box’ way at bringing people back into Thailand and checking them before they go through Immigration. The new ‘rapid’ tests were unveiled today at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. The new tests would be offered for overseas arrivals as the Thai government wrestles with the desire to reboot the tourism economy vs avoiding a second wave of the coronavirus.

Tourists have been locked out of the Kingdom since March and only this week saw the blanket ban lifted and a first phase of selected foreign tourists allowed to visit. Last year tourism accounted for about 11% of Thailand’s GDP, reaching nearly 40 million visitors.

Now, business travellers, diplomats and guests of the Thai government, visiting for less than 14 days, will be considered “fast-track travellers”. They are to be swab tested at Thailand’s main international airport entry points to ensure they are Covid-19-free before entry.

Suwich Thammapalo, an official of the Department of Disease Control, believes that the ‘rapid’ tests could be rolled out to use for other arrivals and tourists in the months to come.

But, no surprise, the test would cost 3,000 baht. The cost would be carried by passengers who wanted fast-track entry without spending 14 days in quarantine. It’s also required for other foreigners who have already been arriving – people with resident status or have a family in Thailand, plus international students.

Today the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced they are looking at a plan to open up the travel gates with reciprocal “travel bubble” arrangements with selected countries in September.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Hospital director proposes importing overseas Covid-19 patients for treatment

Jack Burton

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Hospital director proposes importing overseas Covid-19 patients for treatment | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Khaosod English

With the Covid-19 situation in Thailand apparently well in hand (there have been no locally transmitted cases for well over a month), a hospital director in Bangkok is proposing flying in patients from abroad for treatment at his hospital. The director of Mongkutwattana Hospital is considering medical flights to bring international Covid-19 cases to the hospital for treatment, in an effort to stimulate the economy.

In a Facebook post, Dr Rienthong Nanna said flights would carry 60 passengers and be specially adapted to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outside the cabin. Under his proposal, the hospital would act as a state quarantine facility, caring for foreign patients until they are certified virus-free and allowed to travel in Thailand as tourists.

The proposal has the support of several clinics that treat international patients. Accommodation providers who want to collaborate with the hospital to prepare medical flights and state quarantine are invited to contact the director of Mongkutwattana Hospital’s office.

The Ministry of Public Health Ministry has not announced whether Thailand will consider accepting Covid-19 patients from overseas.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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