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Tourist arrivals stagger and drop 1% – March figures

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Tourist arrivals stagger and drop 1% – March figures | The Thaiger
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What goes up must go down, or at least falter occasionally.

Newton’s law of gravity applies to just about everything, including’s Thailand’s rise and rise of tourist traffic. At some stage the numbers will actually (horror!!) start to plateau and even go down.

For the first quarter this year the numbers have actually stalled. The Kingdom suffered a combined drop in tourist arrivals and spending for March. Not by much, but the consistent rise has definitely stalled.

The number of visitors fell nearly 1% compared to the same month last year, to 3.5 million arrivals. The data was compiled by Bloomberg. Actual spending for the month slid 1.3% to 184.5 billion baht.

Visitors from China, Thailand’s biggest feeder market, dropped nearly 2% in March after slumping 12.3% in February. Tourism accounts for a fifth of the Kingdom’s economy, prompting the government to take steps such as extending its waiving of the 2,000 visa-on-arrival fees to woo travellers.

Political gridlock following a messy general election on March 24, the US/China trade war, a strong baht (despite a slight weakening in the past 3 months), and a sluggish Chinese economy are all contributing to the drop in tourists.

According to the Bangkok Post, last week, Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong said economic growth may slow to the low 3% range in the first and second quarters, and that officials are mulling steps to inject 20 billion baht of stimulus.

On the plus side of the tourist ledger there was a substantial 35% jump in visitors from India during the same month.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Samut Sakhon speeds up proactive Covid-19 screening to test at least 60,000 people this week

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Samut Sakhon speeds up proactive Covid-19 screening to test at least 60,000 people this week | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

Proactive Covid-19 testing in Samut Sakhon is increasing and health officials now aim to test at least 60,000 people this week. Medical officials from several hospitals are also coming together to help accelerate the screening at different venues in the province.

The active case finding in Samut Sakhon, the primary “Covid-19 hotspot” in the new wave of infections, health officials will test migrant workers who work at various factories as well as residents in 15 communities, market vendors and other people in high risk groups.

According to the CCSA, with the proactive screening, the number of new infections is expected to be high. And with the current proactive plan to be complete this week, it is expected to find 4,400 new infections or about 7% of those being screened.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Chulalongkorn University to start human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine

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Chulalongkorn University to start human trials for its Covid-19 vaccine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath Online

The vaccine research centre at Chulalongkorn University is planning to start human trials of its mRNA vaccine candidate, called Chula – Cov19, in April. The university received prototype vaccines from factories in the United States. If the human trials are effective, the first million doses of locally-produced vaccines could available this year.

According to the centre’s director Dr. Kiat Ruxrungtham, the human trials will be conducted on 72 volunteers to assess the right dosages. The second stage of efficacy and safety is expected to be performed on about 600 volunteers from June until September.

He also says that the centre’s mRNA vaccines can be stored at 5◦C, compared to the Pfizer vaccine that must be well kept at below -70◦C. Therefore, the Thai-made vaccine is expected to be easier and more convenient for storage management. However, there will be a test to find the right temperature for the vaccine storage.

The Chula – Cov19 vaccine development project a collaboration between Chulalongkorn University’s vaccine research centre and Pennsylvania University in the US. The centre’s research team has been studying several vaccine candidates since the Covid-19 outbreak last year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World | Chulalongkorn Hospital

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Thai Senate passes landmark bill to allow first trimester abortion

Caitlin Ashworth

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Thai Senate passes landmark bill to allow first trimester abortion | The Thaiger
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In a landmark decision, the Thai Senate approved amendments to Thailand’s abortion laws allowing women to terminate their pregnancy during the first trimester and also lessening the punishment for women who have an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy. The amendments will go into effect on February 12.

Abortion – during any stage of pregnancy – has been illegal under Thailand’s Criminal Code, with the exception that the pregnancy poses a health risk for the mother or if the woman was raped. If a woman terminated her pregnancy illegally during any stage, she faced to 3 years in prison and a fine of 60,000 baht.

Yesterday, the Senate approved to amend the Criminal Code to allow abortions performed by a qualified doctor during the first trimester, which is up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Women would not need to give a reason for the abortion.

The Senate also approved to lessen the punishment for women who terminated their pregnancy illegally. Women who have an abortion after the first trimester now face up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 10,000 baht.

There were 165 votes in favour of the amendments and 7 against. 21 senators abstained from voting and 1 did not cast a vote.

Amended Sections 301 and 305 in Thailand’s Criminal Code:

Section 301: A woman who has an abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy faces up to 6 months in prison and a fine up to 10,000 baht.

Section 305: The offender is not guilty if:

  • The pregnancy puts the mother at risk physically or psychologically.
  • The baby faces a significant risk of developing physical or mental disorder or disability.
  • The woman has been impregnated due to rape.
  • The woman is convinced there is no other option.
  • Second trimester abortions, up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, are approved by a doctor or public health professionals.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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