Thailand News Today – Tuesday, May 19

Thailand’s new Covid-19 cases – May 19

Today the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, reported 2 additional cases of Covid-19 bringing the total number of cases in Thailand to 3,033.

No further deaths have been confirmed today, leaving the accumulated toll at 56.

The 2 new cases were the daughter and son in law of a previously confirmed Covid-19 patient in Narathiwat.

Meanwhile, 9 Thais arriving back from London yesterday have presented with “high fever” and 3 more repatriates from Singapore have been placed “under investigation” for the coronavirus.

Cabinet approves bankruptcy restructuring for Thai Airways

The Cabinet today approved that Thai Airways International undergo rehabilitation under the Bankruptcy Act, the announcements from the Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

The PM has declined to provide details of the rehab plan, though the Cabinet has approved the plan by the Finance Ministry, which is the major shareholder in the airline, to sell 3 per cent of its shares in the carrier to the second largest shareholder, the Vayupak Fund. The ministry currently holds 51.03 per cent of THAI shares, while the Vayupak Fund, a state-run investment fund, owns around 15%.

Hotels across Thailand angered by European tour group’s failure to pay up

Around 173 Thai hotels are appealing to the PM for help after the TUI tour group reneged on up to 2 billion baht in unpaid bills.

The TUI tour group has left hotels in Phuket, Phang Nga, Krabi and Surat Thani struggling with significant cash flow problems after trying to renegotiate contracts so that it would only have to pay 25% now, with no confirmation of when the balance might be paid.

The TUI group, headquartered in Germany, is one of the world’s largest tour operators and prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, had brought many Europeans to Thailand. However, when trips were cancelled as a result of the virus outbreak, it’s understood TUI left many accommodation providers struggling for cash, despite receiving a reported US$2 billion bailout from the German government.

“Off the charts” – biggest drug seizure in decades

“Truly off-the-charts.” That was the assessment of the UN Office of Drugs and Crime talking about a major drug seizure in Myanmar’s northern Shan state.

Authorities have announced the seizure of 200 million methamphetamine tablets, more than 500 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine, 35.5 tonnes and 163,000 thousand litres of precursor chemicals used to manufacture illicit drugs. They also seized nearly 3,750 litres of liquid methylfentanyl, used to manufacture the powerful synthetic opioid-like drug fentanyl, as well as 300 kilograms of heroin.

Jeremy Douglas, regional coordinator for the UN Office of Drugs and Crime says that the amount of methylfentanyl precursor chemicals seized could manufacture a batch of synthetic opioids “large enough to replace the region’s heroin production for a year”.

33 people were arrested in the operations, which were carried out between February and April.

“Amazing Trusted Thailand” – tourism rebrands

International tourists still can’t enter Thailand, so the country is using this time to rebrand their tourism promotions. So the TAT have come up with Amazing Trusted Thailand.

The intention is that they want tourists to feel safe after the world coronavirus pandemic calms down and will see Thailand as a ‘safe haven’. Thailand’s Authority of Tourism governor Yuthasak Supasorn said the rebrand is focusing on trust rather mass tourism.

But there are some people working in the hospitality industry who believe the campaign may backfire. Speaking on condition of anonymity, one tourism consultant told The Thaiger that they feared the photos of masked staff, shop QR codes, overtly ‘healthy’ promotions and hand sanitisers at every doorway may send the opposite message, by constantly reminding people about the virus rather than allowing them to get away from it.

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