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Thailand News Update | Meeting today about Thailand Pass and local restriction updates

So we start Friday with a focus on this afternoon’s CCSA meeting. Apart from confirming the further postponement of the Test and Go program and a possible sunset date for existing Thailand passes, it looks likely that there will be some new restrictions coming down from the meeting.Here are some of the matters being discussed in the media following quotes from the Public Health Minister and the director-general of the Department of Disease Control in the past 24 hours.There could be a tightening of the quarantine system and banning alcohol consumption in restaurants, currently the only premises you can legally consume alcohol. The CCSA will be asked to reintroduce an alcohol ban…. A lot of people will not be happy about that last recommendation…. Especially the bar owners and nightlife workers who were looking towards a reopening of their industry on January 15. For now, that looks very unlikely.The Minister is also quoted in the Bangkok Post as saying that “all returnees and arrivals from abroad will be quarantined”. How that would actually roll out and affect the existing, approved, Thailand passes is yet to be seen.The permanent secretary for public health also asked people to work from home, suspend travel plans, said their ministry might close at-risk areas and limit the number of people at gatherings again. He also called on people to avoid non-essential travel to other provinces and countries.And in Phuket, the local Governor has pre-emtively announced some tweaks to the Phuket Sandbox as the island will be hoping to keep the island Sandbox program open. He announced Phuket Sandbox Version 2 which would include better availability of PCR testing and the option to self-isolate if you test positive on the island.So, bad news to start the day as we all wait eagerly to see what will exactly be confirmed in this afternoon’s meeting. Of course you’ll get all the latest information at as the details are released. Jett will also have full coverage of the latest details on Thailand News Today. We’ve also got an update of today’s Covid numbers at the end of the bulletin.Thailand’s local airlines are getting a cash injection as the Export-Import Bank of Thailand has offered up over 6.2 billion baht to keep them afloat and their planes in the sky.The financial assistance is aimed to increase liquidity and restructure airline debt to stay solvent through the persistent pandemic, according to the Exim Bank president.The bank is starting out by suspending 3.5 billion baht of loan repayments and rescheduling debt payments, while also providing 2.7 billion baht in new loans to struggling local airlines to prevent them from having to do any layoffs and provide liquidity while the tourism sector that got a taste of reopening for the last 2 months now looks to be closing back to a trickle again.The bank is rumoured to have earmarked a maximum of 20 billion baht reserved for offering financial relief to the ailing airline sector.To help develop home-developed and manufactured Covid vaccines, the Stock Exchange of Thailand has donated 40 million baht to the Thai medical teams working on the vaccines. 2 vaccines are currently being developed at Chulalongkorn University, in separate departments and involving different partnerships.The president of the SET said that it is imperative that new and improved vaccines are developed and Thai people need to receive the most modern vaccines possible.The two vaccines currently in the works are the Baiya vaccines being developed by the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and the ChulaCov19 vaccine that is in development by the Faculty of Medicine.The bodies of a Thai model and an unidentified woman were found in Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River adjacent to two of the capital’s most popular shopping centres.The model’s body was found by the Asiatique: The Riverfront Pier while the woman’s body was found by the ICONSIAM Pier.Thai male model Kendo Kullapat was reported missing on Tuesday. Some Thai designers and celebrities shared a missing person post on social media. A maid who worked at the model’s apartment reportedly said she had seen Kendo sitting on a bench outside the apartment and he looked like he felt ill.Yesterday morning, Kendo’s body was found by the Asiatique, The Riverfront Pier.And then an unidentified woman’s body was found by the ICONSIAM Pier. Police are still investigating but believe there are links between the two incidents.Looking around the region, and in the Philippines, one in every 6 girls get married before the age of 18. But yesterday, child marriage officially became illegal in the deeply Catholic country as a new ban went into place. The Philippines is saddled with gender inequality and a culture that has long accepted child marriage as a common practice.In fact, Plan International, a British rights group, said that the Philippines has the 12th highest amount of child marriage in the world. But now President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the new ban on child marriages with harsh consequences for violators.Those caught marrying or living with someone under the age of 18 can be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison, and those who assist by arranging a marriage or officiating a wedding ceremony with an underage bride can receive the same prison term.Environmentalists in Indonesia are blaming their government’s deforestation to grow oil plantations on Sumatra island for the floods that killed at least two children and displaced 24,000 people this week.According to the national disaster service, the north Indonesian island has been battered by torrential rains for days, prompting rivers to overflow their banks and causing water levels to rise in residential areas, destroying houses as well as farms on the way. Many houses were also submerged in Jambi province.Environmentalists claim that logging on higher grounds, particularly, had a negative impact in the village of Aceh, which is located at the northern tip of the islands. Aceh was also the province that was hardest hit in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.Another emerging horror story out of Myanmar this morning… In an alleged attack by Burmese military forces in late-December, at least 20 civilians were slain and nearly 40 houses were razed in the country’s northeastern region of Sagaing.Sagaing is where one of the first armed rebellions rose up following the junta’s bloody crackdown on anti-coup protesters. Last month, the military retook Natchaung village in Sagaing.According to a doctor who spoke to Myanmar Now, many of the remains showed evidence of torture.State media is also denying the accusations that more than 30 civilians, including women, children, and two members of the international humanitarian organisation Save the Children, were allegedly slaughtered by the army in Kayah State, near the Thai border, on Christmas Eve.