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Thailand tourism sector seeks to reopen the country by July

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Thailand tourism sector seeks to reopen the country by July | Thaiger
Stock photo by Alexandr Podvalny for Pexels

The following was submitted by Open Thailand Safely, a campaign pushing the Thai government to reopen Thailand to international tourism by July 2021.

Leading international tourism companies in Thailand have launched a campaign to reopen the country’s borders from 1 July 2021.

The #OpenThailandSafely campaign was launched 2 March with the support of over 15 major companies including YAANA Ventures, Minor Group, Asian Trails, Capella Hotels and Resorts, EXO and many others. (The full launch list is here)

The Open Thailand Safely campaign has laid out its arguments in a petition which will underpin a formal request to the Royal Thai Government to respond favourably to the rollout of Covid-19 vaccination programmes underway in Europe, USA and other Thailand tourism source markets.

The petition is open to anyone in Thailand or around the world who would like to see the country reopen.

The campaign argues that 1 July is an appropriate date for five reasons: the majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then; it gives time to Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both front line staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and/or vulnerable citizens around the country; it gives international travellers time to make travel plans and bookings; the date gives time to airlines, hotels, tour operators and others to start marketing and sales and get ready for tourism operations to commence; and it will take Thailand at least a year, and maybe longer, to return to the large numbers of international visitors that it had before the Covid-19 crisis.

To ensure the safe reopening of Thailand, the petition argues that “international tourists can be asked to satisfy any safeguards the Thai Government may require. This may, for example, include showing officially recognised proof of a Covid-19 vaccination from their home country, purchasing health insurance, showing proof of a negative Covid test within 72 hours of departure, and so on.”

#OpenThailandSafely was the initiative of leading Bangkok-based private sector travel companies YAANA Ventures, Minor Group and Asian Trails.

The CEO of YAANA Ventures, Willem Niemeijer [pictured right], said: “The 1 July reopening would be a strategic opportunity for Thailand to show a leadership role among Asian countries and prepare the way for a solid recovery of the Thai economy in 2022.”

In the coming days, the Open Thailand Safely campaign will also send the 1st July request to Thailand Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Minister of Tourism and Sports, Mr Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and the Governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Mr Yuthasak Supasorn.

According to the Bank of Thailand and official sources in Thailand, tourism, pre-Covid, was worth about 2.9 trillion baht (US$96.5 billion). Some 39.7 million international visitors in 2019 helped sustain up to 8.3 million jobs. However, arrivals fell to 6.7 million in 2020 making between two and four million people unemployed.

Meanwhile, destinations such as Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Sri Lanka have either opened borders already or are in discussions to do so in light of successful Covid vaccine rollouts in their key source markets.

People can sign the petition for Thailand to reopen on 1 July at www.OpenThailandSafely.org.

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32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Anna

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 6:11 pm

    Maldives have been open for a long time now and all the expensive resorts are full. But the advantage is in geography. One island one hotel concept. Nothing to do with managing covid

  2. Avatar

    Ian

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 6:55 pm

    Well what they want and what this demonic dictatorship want are two different things

  3. Avatar

    luca

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 8:04 pm

    it is understandable that the industry tries to find solutions to reopen to international tourism but these are only vain hopes.
    There are not enough vaccines, by next July Thailand will have vaccinated only a few people, as long as there are restrictions such as days of quarantine, apps, mandatory state medical insurance, few tourists will be willing to do so.
    Plus, I don’t think China will let its subjects travel overseas until everyone has been vaccinated.
    The only thing Thailand needs to focus on is getting everyone vaccinated as quickly as possible.

  4. Avatar

    Troy

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 8:19 pm

    Until 100% of all restrictions and requirements have been removed we won’t be going again. Anything that incurs a cost to me (multiplied by # of family members) will not be tolerated. 2nd home/condo owners will not be interested in staying in hotels. PCR test is subjective, unable to distinguish between viable and non-viable virus and produces more false positives than detects genuine infections. Basing decisions on ignorance and fear then moving the goal posts weekly doesn’t instill confidence with potential visitors.

  5. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Out of the 15 signatories, only one is Thai.

    That doesn’t seem very representative of the “Thailand Tourism Sector” – and the plans previously put forward by Thais in the “Thailand Tourism Sector” are markedly different.

    ” 1 July … gives time to Thai medical authorities to vaccinate both front line staff in hospitality settings in Thailand and/or vulnerable citizens around the country”

    How?

    None of the “vulnerable citizens around the country” are even able to register for vaccination until May, at the earliest, leaving little more than a month to vaccinate well over 15 million people with no possibility of 30 million doses being available by then.

    Even if, somehow, all could be vaccinated in that time and the vaccines were available in-country, it would be physically impossible for all to have the second vaccination by 1 July.

    It’s physically impossible.

    “… the majority of citizens in many source markets will have been vaccinated by then [1 July]”

    Unlikely, at best. There’s little indication that most of those from Thailand’s main “source markets” (China, the EU and Asia) will be vaccinated by 1 July even if sufficient vaccines are available.

    “destinations such as Seychelles, Maldives, Greece and Sri Lanka have either opened borders already or are in discussions to do so in light of successful Covid vaccine rollouts in their key source markets.”

    Untrue – and very deceptive where true. The Seychelles has, but it started its vaccine rollout two months ago (in January) and is due to have 70% of the population vaccinated, both doses, within the next two weeks;the Maldives restricts all tourists to limited areas / resorts / islands; Greece renews its restrictions every week and has not announced any plans for changes apart from for Israel in May and possibly the UK well after that; Sri Lanka has curfews, a partial lockdown and travel restrictions, and the government has not announced any plans to relax the quarantine requirement.

    If that’s the best “plan” they can come up with they’re clutching at straws, with no consideration for the vast majority of Thais – and also, very clearly, minimal support even from Thais in the tourism sector who have proposed very different plans.

  6. Avatar

    daniel verex

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    Asia needs to understand how to live with Covid 19 and not treat it like leprosy. Until the stigma that infers Covid 19 = death can be replaced by Covid 19 does not mean death, Asia is unlikely to remove the ridiculous strict quarantine rules, which remember in HKG is now 3 weeks…

  7. Avatar

    Bart B.

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    Thailand is doing an incredible job keeping Covid at bay, seemingly with limited sacrifice (compared to the West or even to China). I don’t see that Thailand could relax quarantine requirements. In an unvaccinated population, a single case is enough to start a new outbreak. The risk is much lower, but unfortunately some people who are vaccinated can still become ill or transmit Covid.

    It should be possible to restart tourism much faster by organising vaccinated bubbles on some of the islands. The amount of vaccine required for a few bubbles is much lower than for a whole country. A quarantine would become a necessity to visit unvaccinated parts of Thailand, and passenger flights would need to become part of these bubbles.

  8. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Doesn’t look like you will be returning then any time soon, the reset button has already been pushed. I think travel to selected islands without quarantine may be possible by the end of the year for fully vaccinated tourists from selected countries. I think compulsory medical insurance will apply to ALL tourists, it shouldn’t be too expensive for 2/3 week holiday makers to afford, but elderly retirees will probably find it a problem unless they have the financial resources. UK retirees with just a state pension to survive on will no longer find Thailand welcoming, unless they have very considerable savings. Visa on arrival as it used to be, I doubt will ever return, and it wouldn’t surprise me if proof of sufficient funds for your intended visit were also required to be proven were enforced. One thing for sure, the repercussions from covid will be many and far reaching.

  9. Avatar

    BangkokBen

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Fear has been the number one factor in all Covid decisions from the beginning, and in some countries, that will continue for many years to come.

  10. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    To be fair both Greece and Spain have already committed to opening in time for the summer. They may restrict countries that can visit at first, but you can count on them opening. Others like Denmark, Austria and Italy have already publicly told the EU they plan to do the same. The UK actually has a detailed plan to open either in May or July at the latest. Bali of all countries is also planning on reopening later this summer (they are talking August). They intend to create five green zones, something similar to what Thailand is planning in their five targeted tourist areas. While I do agree it’s highly unlikely the Chinese will be vaccinated at a high enough level to participate by July, or even this year at all. Don’t count out the Japanese, South Koreans and Taiwanese. The US plans to start shipping them millions of doses starting in June or July. Sometime in April, US vaccine demand will crash in a good way. On-demand walk in vaccination will become the norm and everyone who will want a vaccination will have one by the end of May. The J&J-Merck partnership will be starting to spit out millions of J&J doses come June. The US plans to send them to it’s friends (that includes those three and the Philippines along with Canada and Mexico at first).

  11. Avatar

    Siso

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    If this keeps dragging on for for too long there won’t be nothing left te re-open anymore.

    These power hungry dictators need to be removed and these BS strict measures with them to get this machine moving again. The damage done of this miss managed circus is already a travesty and will be beyond repair if this takes months too come.

    And take a look what kind of new policies these crooks are pushing behind te smokeswalls of this pandemic in a lot of countries while everybody is focused and bombarded with covid propaganda. There’s a lot of new draconian laws being pushed by some crazy power hungry folks that not a lot of people take notice of, but the consequences in the long run will make this virus pale in comparison and will completely wipe out and trample your human rights

  12. Avatar

    Ian

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 12:14 am

    Amazing you didn’t mention the uk ij as we will all be vaccinated by July so we are ok to come prob is your just anti farang you want Thailand to yourself you disrespect us on a daily basis but the thing is your voice means nothing, money will talk in the end and they will be begging us to come and spend our hard earned dollars euros pounds .

  13. Avatar

    Ray W.

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 1:18 am

    Should have opened up in June 2020, no quarantine with a negative test. The real objective damages to our economy and the lives of the people are not commiserate to the subjective perceptions of virus not-spread.

  14. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 2:04 am

    Nice dose of negativity by Issan John.

    Only one of the signatories is Thai but they are all companies who are important to the Thai tourism sector, most of the major hotel chains are foreign owned.

    There is no need to vaccinate the whole of Thailand before they let tourists in, if the tourists are Covid free they can’t possibly pass it on.

    We have vaccines that work, that changes everything, it’s time to get back to business and push on.

  15. Avatar

    Ben

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 4:13 am

    Asia understands it’ll have to live with COVID because it’s not going away. What most here don’t understand is they’re going to do it post vaccination no matter what.

    And yes tourists will come back once quarantines are lifted. And yes many will go bankrupt and others will sense an opportunity and jump into their place. And yes it’ll take a few years to get back to the numbers before the pandemic.

    The Thai leadership would need to have their heads examined at this point if they listened to the majority of this group. What about Texas? Smart for opening 100% next week and eliminating the mask mandate when they’re literally a month or two away from herd immunity through vaccination? Spring Break on Padre Island is going to be wild this year. Many will bring the virus home and hopefully their parents and grandparents will already be vaccinated. This decision will mean thousands of deaths that didn’t need to happen. Collateral damage.

    One positive thing is the tourism folks now talk about opening safely. Not just because they’re losing their shirts. They should put most of their energy into determining when the population will be 50-70% vaccinated and plan accordingly. More like October at the earliest.

  16. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Yes, Ben, 1 October is at least “do-able” if everything falls into place rather than 1 June which is impossible.

    Revealing / unsurprising, depending on your bias, that the supposedly “greedy” Thais, who are most affected, have opted for 1 October as a target, while the farangs who insist they know what’s best (at least for their own pockets) have opted for 1 June as a demand.

  17. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:01 am

    If only “if the tourists are Covid free they can’t possibly pass it on” were true it would all be so easy.

    Unfortunately it isn’t, and even the most optimistic experts “guess” that sterile immunity will only apply to 95% at best.

    Doing some very basic, absolute best scenario figures, 95% sterile immunity is far from good.

    Between 0.2% and 1% of those currently arriving in Thailand test positive on arrival or in quarantine every day according to the published figures – probably considerably more, as that’s including returning Thais in the arrival numbers but excluding them from the numbers testing positive as they’re not tested pre-flight.

    If all were vaccinated, 95% of those would not pass on the virus but the remaining 5% could – so between 0.01 and 0.05%.

    Minimal numbers. But if tourist arrivals are even one tenth of the numbers in 2019 that’s ten thousand tourists per day of whom between 1 and 5 would be infectious – every day.

    With a conservative ‘r’ rate of 2 for a “tourist lifestyle” that’s would mean at least tens of thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands, of cases within a month – with everything the West has inflicted on itself over the last year as a result of its open border policies and everything Thailand has avoided.

    Thailand can’t afford that, and Thais realise that even if farangs don’t.

  18. Avatar

    Richard

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:36 am

    I fear not the China Flu, why because I live in a country that knows how to heal the sick. Yeah that’s Thailand. Who would’ve thought this of a 3rd world country.

  19. Avatar

    Mike

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:48 am

    “most of the major hotel chains are foreign owned.”
    Chains are foreign but they don’t own the properties, hotels are belong to Thai companies and businessmen

  20. Avatar

    Frank Leboeuf

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 10:05 am

    The expensive resorts are privately run islands.
    On the resorts located on “local islands”, ie with a village, the situation is far from rosy. I have friends running a dive operation on one of these and the problem is protecting the local population (lots of elderlies, with no access to proper healthcare) while trying to get tourists in. Tourists arrive, test positive, and the population has to isolate.

    It’s a very complex situation. There are also questions about contaminations in privately run resort islands, including local staff welfare and mobility…

  21. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:24 am

    Yes the vaccination program is a shambles I John. A Siamese shambles.
    No let’s be totally truthful. The vaccination program is an incompetent, stupid, Siamese, shambles!
    Thais could not organise a party in a brewery – right John?
    Unless a westerner was there to show them how.
    Or even a Burmese . . .

  22. Avatar

    Andy W

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:35 am

    IMO it won’t happen. This government are extremely slow to make positive changes, as shown by the delayed change to STV applicants countries after the TRV already allowed those same people in.
    Maybe it could open in September but more likely November and still with some form of quarantine unless data shows vaccinated people can’t carry the virus at all.

  23. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Sorry, Frank LeB, but the Thaiger’s changes to the “comments” seem to make it near impossible to “reply” clearly.

    I’m guessing you’re talking about the Seychelles or the Maldives?

    If so, agreed 100%.

    The only practical solution’s clear, and always has been, and I think most – other than the virus-deniers and the selfish – accept and realise that.

    It’s all about mass vaccination – everything else is just a distraction.

    Once Thailand, the EU, and anywhere else, has vaccinated enough people (probably 70%) their economies can start to recover.

    Until then, all it / they can do is survive.

    The cost of the vaccines is minimal – the cost of vaccinating the entire population is no more than the amount lost to missed tourism in less than a week.

    Thailand could pay ten or twenty times the going rate for vaccines (Israel only paid double) and the economy and country would still benefit.

    Sinovac, Sputnik V, J & J – they should all be on the table and approved; if someone doesn’t want one from a government rollout, they should be able to buy another instead.

    Instead of pushing to open the borders, these groups and the like should be pushing for the vaccine rollout and asking why it’s been delayed.

  24. Avatar

    Thomas Gotschalk

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    They seem to assume that everyone sees a vaccine as a saviour and a guarantee of returning to normal including traveling, without questioning if it’s reasonable.

    But in many of those countries that usually contributes a lot to tourism in Thailand, a lot of people don’t want to get vaccinated at all.

    And understandably so. To a lot of people, getting vaccinated seems more risky than being infected with covid, unless you’re 80+ year old. (And this age group is hardly the main target of tourism in Thailand.)

    People who enjoys traveling, usually do so, to feel the ultimate sense of freedom. Having so many requirements to a visitor will simply make people travel elsewhere or focus on domestic travel.

  25. Avatar

    Kim Armitage

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 2:34 pm

    The Thai government are dragging their feet again with the vaccination of of the Thai people. They talk about vaccinating the front line people but there is never a mention of the people who are really struggling due their reliance on the tourist industry many are being fed on handouts from farang restaurant owners. Until the Thai government step up and recognize the only safe way is to vaccinate the Thai people first before opening the doors to tourism.

  26. Avatar

    Norm

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 4:00 pm

    Honestly, with the maskurbators, the vaccine mafia, Thailand will incur more deaths from suicides than what it is saving. The china virus is not a death sentence! These ridiculous entry requirements will only mean that would be foreign visitors will replace Thailand with Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia. I have a lady in Issan and she just returned from a funeral of a family member who killed himself due to financial stress.

    Get a grip people! The vaccine is no saving grace. There is no 100 percent foolproof way. The virus is way too transmissible and with the mutations out there, will Thailand lock down again if they get hit with mutant variants? Wait for new vaccines? Laughable. If not for my girl I would have written off Thailand for a few years. Way, way to many alternatives out there.

    If you compare the economics of the world, it stands to reason that it will take Thailand the rest of the decade to recover. Whenever they open, it will take months for tourist to return to make some sort of impact. Years to be back at 2019 levels. But hey, at least they will feel safe with their vaccine.

  27. Avatar

    Rasputin

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    Ian, amazing you don’t get your stats correct, The UK expect to have vaccinated all people over 18 who actually WANT the vaccine by the end of July. The take up although high in the older groups is anticipated to be around 70% overall. What you fail to say is the vaccine need to be administered in TWO doses 12 weeks apart, so the end of July then becomes becomes the end of OCTOBER. the vaccine takes a further 2/3 weeks from injection to build up its protection. I don’t suppose that fact suits your argument though, personally I doubt Thailand will be removing quarantine requirements this year, but we can but hope.

  28. Avatar

    Steen Darum

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 9:56 pm

    What about children under the age of 16; why will not receive a vaccine?

  29. Avatar

    Ben

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    The Thai government operates conservatively. They wanted to see evidence of efficacy before shelling out money for vaccines.

    The USA, by comparison, shelled out money for vaccines in the development stage before they were proven. They also built factories and took a risk that the vaccines would be effective. They bet billions of dollars without any conclusive evidence of success.

    Israel is somewhere in between Thailand and the USA. Once it appeared that the trials were going well it offered to pay double for the Pfizer vaccine and secured supplies before the final efficacy results were in. They made a bet without absolute evidence.

    At this point Thailand is not dragging its feet. On the contrary they’re scrambling to do all they can to get vaccine supplies because they realize it’s the only path to reopening. Because of their decision making process early on they find themselves at the back of the line and don’t have access to the most promising vaccines available.

    So where do they go from here? Some thoughts:

    -Maybe they should go to Pfizer, Moderna or J&J and offer to pay 5 times the going rate for immediate delivery?
    -Maybe they should start discussions now about acquiring some of the next generation vaccines that’ll take care of the latest variants?

    As an example J&J is a one shot vaccine that costs $10/shot, appears effective against the SA and UK variants and is 100% effective against hospitalization and death roughly 40 or 50 days after the jab. It also can be stored at refrigerator temperatures. To buy enough vaccinate for Thailand’s population would cost $700 million. Less than the cost of a submarine. Why not pay 5 times as much or $3.5 billion? Thailand is losing 10 times that much in tourism revenue.

    Penny wise and pound foolish. If you can’t make decisions with anticipation that involve risk then you end up paying more in the end. They envy Israel’s position at this point but don’t get why they’re at the back of the line.

  30. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    John continues to completely ignore the combination of vaccine and testing, if as he says between 1 and 5 out of 10,000 daily vaccinated arrivals will have Covid that will be picked up with testing.

    No doubt John is comfortable with his lifestyle and steady income stream, he might like to consider that not everyone is as lucky as him, we have a situation in Phuket whereby they don’t have a single case of Covid yet the local economy is in tatters and people are desperate, they need solutions now, not in 6 months time.

  31. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 12:00 am

    “Thais could not organise a party in a brewery – right John?”

    Wrong, Toby.

    The Thais have shown that they’re far more capable of controlling and managing all other aspects of the Covid crisis than most of the West – not just taking precautions and enforcing quarantine but implementing and running a highly effective and efficient track and trace system that puts most in the West very firmly in the shade.

    They’ve not only “followed the science” carefully and diligently being re-active but being pro-active as well.

    Consequently “incompetence” doesn’t explain the delay in acquiring vaccines and the roll out.

  32. Avatar

    Tony williams

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    Let us be honest the economic impact of the pandemic is devastating…unless Thailand removes the quarantine then tourism will be finished and people will vote their feet and go elsewhere,…any abbreviated quarantine is useless,,,it will mean people will los20% + of their holiday.
    Additionally how would they administer 10000 people coming in and having to go to quarantine???
    It is impossible…they need to get rid of that smug Anutin

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Road deaths

Songkran’s 7 dangerous days: 2,365 road accidents, 277 deaths

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Songkran’s 7 dangerous days: 2,365 road accidents, 277 deaths | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: This year saw 30% less deaths and accidents over Songkran week.

We’ve finally reached the end of the Songkran holiday “7 dangerous days”, where over 2,300 road accidents resulted in 2,357 injuries and 277 deaths. Every year Thai officials brace for the surge in holiday travel that brings a surge in accidents as well, but the silver lining of Covid-19 is the reduction in accidents. This year saw a drop of nearly 30% from pre-Covid totals over the 2019 Songkran holiday period. Here’s the final day’s summary and the totals for the week:

DAILY FIGURES

On the final day of the Thai government’s weeklong safety campaign, there were 253 road accidents with 255 injuries and 26 deaths. The provinces with the most deaths were Ubon Ratchathani with 3 deaths, and then Chanthaburi and Phetchabun, both with 2 fatalities in each.

TOTALS

The 277 deaths and 2,357 injuries as a result of 2,365 accidents is a significant reduction from non-Covid years where road accidents and deaths were 30% higher. In 2019, the Songkran “7 dangerous days” totalled 3,338 accidents, with 3,442 injuries and 386 deaths. 2021’s muted Songkran holiday period saw about a thousand fewer accidents and injuries and over 100 fewer fatalities.

Final figures following the trends we saw daily, with 79% of all accidents involving motorbikes with 7% involving pickup trucks, a distant second. Drunk driving was the number 1 cause of road accidents with nearly 37% of all accidents involving alcohol. 28% of accidents were caused by speeding, while sudden lane changes accounted for 18% of incidents. Late afternoons from 4 pm to 8 pm had 29% of road accidents, followed by 21% of incidents that happened earlier from noon to 4 pm.

Highways were the most dangerous, with nearly 40% of accidents happening there. Community or village roads accounted for 36% of accident locations. Teenagers made up the biggest demographic of fatalities, with 15 to 19 year olds making up 15% of deaths. 30 to 39 year olds made up just over 14% of road deaths.

The deadliest provinces over the 7 dangerous days were Pathum Thani with 10 deaths, followed by Bangkok and Chiang Mai, both of which had 9 fatalities. Nakhon Si Thammarat, with 106 incidents, recorded the most road accidents of any province, followed by Chiang Mai with 77 crashes and Songkla with 69.

During the course of the road safety campaign, police and traffic authorities pulled over 2.3 million motorbikes and 100,000 other vehicles, issuing almost 460,000 citations, notably for not wearing helmets, having a driver’s license, or fastening seatbelts.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Economy

Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list

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Officials not worried Thailand remains on US currency watch list | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thailand is on the watch list for possible currency manipulation.

Thailand remains on the United States Treasury’s “Monitoring List” of countries whose currency trade practices need to be watched, though Thai officials say they are not worried. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen releases a foreign exchange report twice a year including labelling alleged currency manipulators and flagging suspect trading partner countries to be monitored.

The Bank of Thailand said remaining on the US currency watch list poses no threat to Thai businesses or the government’s ability to enact policies to promote financial stability. They stress that Thailand has never manipulated currency, using the exchange rate to get a competitive edge or an unfair trade advantage over other countries.

This most recent report tags 11 countries as warranting a closer watch: China, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand. Mexico and Ireland were the 2 new inclusions, not on the previous report in December 2020. Also in the report, the US Treasury Department toed the line of accusing Switzerland, Taiwan, and Vietnam of manipulating currency.

They stated yesterday that the 3 countries had crossed the line of 2015 US trade laws, but didn’t officially brand them as currency manipulators. The thresholds of that 2015 rule include either global current account surplus or foreign currency intervention over 2% of GDP, and having a trade surplus with the US over US $20 billion trade.

The flagging of Taiwan, Vietnam and Switzerland falls short of applying the manipulator label due to a 1988 law requiring evidence of manipulation to stop balance of payment adjustments or to gain a trade advantage. The US is already engaged in talks with Vietnam and Switzerland and will enter into “enhanced engagement” with Taiwan as well. Not being upgraded to the manipulator title relieves pressure from Switzerland and Vietnam, who both received the label in the last report issued by the Trump administration.

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance and Live Mint

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals

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Thai Hotel Association pushes “hospitels” – hotels as hospitals | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Artist rendering of a "hospitel" - a hotel converted to a hospital.

With the third wave of Covid-19 ripping through Thailand, hospitals are rapidly filling up and the Thai Hotels Association has proposed “hospitels” as a creative solution. The portmanteau of “hospital” and “hotel” is the THA’s brainchild for creating more space for the growing number of Covid-19 infections that require treatment or at least observation as Thailand hits record daily case numbers. The idea of turning hotels into temporary hospitals was promoted by association president Marisa Sukosol Nunbhakdi this week.

“The move aims to reduce crowdedness at hospitals and promote continuous care for Covid-19 patients after new cases increased rapidly since late March.”

23 hotels have already registered to be hospitals, with 2,000 patients currently receiving treatment in the 4,900 available beds. The Ministry of Public Health laid out guidelines for hotels interested in participating. Hotels must have a minimum of 30 rooms and pass the alternative state quarantine evaluation. The ASQ-approved properties must have evidence of acknowledgement by the surrounding community to confirm their validity and eligibility. The hotel must be able and willing to take care of hospitalised patients for 5 to 7 days, even with no signs of symptom progression. Conversely, patients checking in must agree to stay in the hotel and be relatively self-sufficient.

Strict medical requirements must be met as well. Each patient must be provided with their own digital thermometer and pulse oximeter, and a portable x-ray machine must be available. The hotels must be staffed like hospitals, with at least one doctor, a clinical psychologist, a pharmacist, a radiologist, and an infection control nurse. There must also be one nurse per every 20 patients staying at the property.

This proposed solution might provide a welcomed supplement to the rudimentary field hospitals the Thai army has been hastily building to accommodate the influx of newly infected patients. While the quick work is commendable, some have hypothesized that at-risk foreigners may be ignoring calls to come forward for Covid-19 testing in part because being diagnosed may land them in these less-than-posh field hospitals for days on end. A more comfortable “hospitel” would allow infected foreigners to be treated in more pleasant surroundings thus encouraging them to come forward for testing.

SOURCE: National News Bureau and Nation Thailand

 

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