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Thailand News Today – Wednesday, May 20

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Thailand News Today – Wednesday, May 20 | The Thaiger
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Start off today with a sign of one of the new normals, at the Seacon Mall near Bang Na in Bangkok.

Here you can see that they’ve installed foot switches for the elevator system. First to call the elevator and then,once you’re inside, to select the floor and close the doors. Luckily in the case of this elevator there were only 5 floors. Going to be a mess of foot switches for some of the higher buildings.

Most of Thailand placed on storm alert

As Thailand continues to feel a few effects of cyclone Amphan, officials from 62 of Thailand’s 76 provinces have been ordered to monitor for possibilities of flash flooding until tomorrow.

Authorities say 223 households in Nan, Lampang, Kalasin, Surin, Amnat Charoen, and Uthai Thani have already suffered damage from thunderstorms influenced by the wider effects of the huge cyclone, which is centred to the west in the Bay of Bengal and heading north towards the Indian-Bangladeshi coastal areas.

The effects on Thailand’s weather are not direct but the size of the storm has intensified the south-west monsoon.

Redshirts leader says “justice will never be served” over 2010 military crackdown

The leader of the “Redshirts”, political activists supportive of former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, says the military government will never be held to account for a 2010 crackdown that cost the lives of nearly 100 people, most of them civilians.

His comments come just days after a spokesman for the Democrat Party, a member of the ruling government coalition, claimed the crackdown was legal.

Jatuporn Prompan was speaking at a Buddhist ceremony to mark the 10th anniversary of government action that ended 3 months’ of anti-government protests in Bangkok during 2010.

And a Bangkok temple, where 6 people were shot and killed by the military during the 2010 “redshirt” political protests, was closed today.

A sign was put in front of Wat Pathum Wanaram saying it was closed for “disinfection”. But most Thai’s recognise the significance of the closure relating to the events a decade ago.

More about those events at thethaiger.com

Thai Airways’ credit rating downgraded

The credit rating for Thai Airways is being downgraded before bankruptcy and restructuring process start.

The Thai Rating and Information Services has downgraded the rating for Thai Airways and its rating for Thai Airway’s senior unsecured debentures from “BBB” to “C” while maintaining a negative Credit Alert.

Following the government’s resolution yesterday it seems that the national carrier has anticipated a freeze on all Thai Airway’s debt obligations under bankruptcy law. They will also be filing a petition for restructuring via Thailand’s Bankruptcy Court. It’s expected that once the court accepts the petition, it will trigger an automatic freeze on debt obligations.

Security guard stabbed to death in Samut Prakan

A female motorbike taxi driver has allegedly stabbed a security guard to death after a quarrel at a parking building in Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok. 

Police heard about the fatal stabbing of the 37 year old at 10am this morning. The victim was found lying in a pool of blood and had a stab wound on the left side of his chest.

The 66 year old suspect and her husband, aged 73, both motorcycle taxi drivers, waited for police at the scene of the crime. They told police they got into an argument with the security guard, a scuffle broke out and she accidentally stabbed the man in his side. The man died before help could arrive. The pair have been charged with manslaughter and police are continuing their investigation.

Thai massage shops may reopen soon, from the waist down only

The Thai Government is debating whether to allow massage shops to reopen soon, provided treatment is limited to the lower body only.

Upper body massage, including the back, shoulders and neck, will not be permitted for now as it may involve a higher risk of Covid-19 infection.

But massage shops might be able to offer massage treatments from the waist down. Representatives from Thailand’s massage shops have petitioned the government saying that they’re suffering financial hardship as a result of the enforced closure of their premises.

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25

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Thailand News Today – Monday, May 25 | The Thaiger

2 new cases of Covid-19 reported in Thailand with one additional death

Today there have been 2 new confirmed cases of the Covid-19 Coronavirus in Thailand with 1 additional death. 

The 2 new cases consist of 1 imported case from a Thai National being repatriated from Russia last Wednesday. She’s currently under state quarantine in Chon Buri province.

The other was a 49 year old Chinese wife of an Italian who had been infected with the virus in Cherngtalay, Phuket. She has 3 children aged 15, 10 and 7 and currently showing no signs of any symptoms. Cherngtalay is the tambon bordering Bang Tao, which was a hotzone for new cases during April and early May.

The additional death was a 68 year old Thai woman in Chumphon, southern Thailand. She was reported to have had underlying issues when she succumbed to the disease.

From beauty queen Thailand’s new face in Covid-19 reporting

Crowned Miss Thailand 2008, Dr Panprapa Yongtrakul returned to the spotlight last week as assistant spokesperson of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

She’ll be reporting about the pandemic every weekend from now on.

She’s taken over the weekend duties from the reassuring face Dr Taweesin Visan-nu-yothin who has been an extremely professional daily voice of CCSA since it was established on March 26.

In 2008, Panprapa was crowned Miss Thailand at the age of 20. It had been her dream since childhood to become a beauty queen. Now she’s the weekend face of the daily CCSA reports. She’s yet to be tested when taking questions from the Thai and foreign media.

Phuket’s lost summer – looking to 2021 for tourism recovery

In a solemn recognition of the reality of Phuket’s stalled tourist industry, a spokesperson for the southern chapter of the Thai Hotels Association is saying most of the west coast hotels are unlikely to reopen until the last quarter of this year. 

For now, Phuket’s International Airport remains closed to scheduled flights, and the Tha Chatchai road checkpoint at the top of the island is heavily curating who comes in and out with plenty of red-tape and paperwork. Nationally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand still has a ban in place for all international travel into Thailand until at least the end of June – it could be extended further. The only exceptions are repatriation flights of Thai’s returning home and the return of international diplomats.

Phuket’s issue, as an economy that revolves almost completely around tourism, is that, even if it throws open the immigration gates at the airport and the doors of its almost 100,000 hotel and accommodation rooms, there are few markets that could provide incoming tourists at this stage. Where will they come from? Europe (including the UK), the US and now South America, are mired in their own pandemic outbreaks, and whilst trying to reopen their economies, are facing imminent second waves of Covid-19. 

Whilst other parts of Thailand have opportunities to reopen their businesses – manufacture, agriculture, IT, and large chunks of populations visit shops and general trading – Phuket has little of that. Some 50,000+ of the island’s 450,000 permanent population have already departed the island, either before the borders were closed in mid-March, or as soon as they were able to return to their provinces when the road border re-opened for repatriating people at the start of May.

The vice-president of the Thai Hotels Association southern chapter, says that hotels along the west coast might reopen in September at the earliest. 

Opposition criticises Thai government over economic toll of Covid response

Opposition party Pheu Thai has condemned the government’s management of the Covid-19 crisis, saying total shutdown has had a devastating effect on the country’s economy. 

The party says the hard-hitting restrictions imposed across the country have led to high unemployment, with the International Monetary Fund saying Thailand’s economy is the worst-affected in the region.

They add that the IMF is predicting the Thai economy will shrink by 6.7% this year, saying the country has one of the world’s most negative GDP forecasts, despite appearing to have brought the virus under control quite quickly.

Ayutthaya welcomes visitors after restrictions lift

Ayutthaya is welcoming visitors again after months of empty temple grounds as another set of restrictions were lifted over the weekend, allowing temples and historical sites to open back up. 

The Tourism Council of Thailand president says reopening the historic sites and business for domestic tourists will give tourism operators in the area a “lifeline”. The Buddhist temples had the most tourists over the weekend.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht

May Taylor

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Thai food giant to provide a million meals priced at 20 baht | The Thaiger
PHOTO: CP Freshmart Phetchaburi/Facebook

Thai food conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Foods says it plans to offer heavily discounted ready-to-eat meals for those facing financial difficulties as a result of the economic fallout of Covid-19.

CEO Prasit Boondoungprasert says a million meals will be distributed to Fresh Mart shops around the country and will cost just 20 baht. There will be a choice of dishes on offer and customers who purchase 5 meals at a time using the TrueWallet app will get an additional 5 baht discount .

“Six ready-to-eat meals will be offered under the campaign – rice with chicken breast in spicy sauce, rice with roasted chicken, rice with spicy chicken, fried rice with Korean-style roasted chicken, rice with garlic and liver and rice with omlette.”

Nation Thailand reports that CPF is also delivering free food to impoverished homes in Bangkok on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and distributing vouchers to village healthcare volunteers around the country so they can purchase items at discounted prices at Fresh Mart branches nationwide.

Charoen Pokphand Foods Public Company Limited a company of the Charoen Pokphand Group, is an agro-industrial and food conglomerate headquartered in Thailand. Approximately 64% of its revenue came from overseas operations, with 30% from its home market of Thailand, and 6% from export operations. It recently acquired Bellisio Foods, one of the largest frozen food suppliers in the United States, for US$1 billion, as well as Westbridge Foods, a major British poultry producer with turnover of over £340 Million.

The company’s core businesses are livestock and aquaculture. Livestock operations include chicken broilers, chicken layers, ducks, and swine. In aquaculture, the two main marine animals are shrimp and fish – Wikipedia.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school

Caitlin Ashworth

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Students to wear mask, get temperature checked at school | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

Students will need to wear a face mask and have their temperature checked before entering school. The Public Health and Education ministries recently put restrictions in place for the start of school set for July 1, according to Nation Thailand.

Schools are categorised as a high risk area for the potential spread of the coronavirus. In general, cold and flu bugs spread fast in schools. Now, with a more serious pandemic, teachers and school officials will need to work extra hard to keep students healthy and somehow find a way to make sure students are social distancing.

“Hand sanitising checkpoints are now required throughout school grounds. Door knobs, toilets and playgrounds must be cleaned often. If a student has symptoms, the school must inform public health authorities.”

Some advisors are saying schools should wait longer to open, while others say children are less likely to show symptoms of the virus. The start date has already been pushed back and students are looking at a so-called “mega term” with little to no holiday break to make up for lost time until next year.

Thailand’s chief virologist, Dr. Yong Poovorawan, from the Faculty of Medicine says reopening schools needs careful consideration.

“If they do reopen in July, class sizes must be reduced to make sure students are seated a safe distance apart. It’s unclear how schools that are at capacity will lower class sizes.”

Distance-learning classes have launched online, but the system has had a few early bugs, with many Thais without internet or some unable to access the classes.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand| Thai PBS World| Bangkok Post

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