Thailand News Today | Govt to downgrade Covid-19 threat level


Thailand’s government is expected to downgrade the Covid-19 disease status from October 1.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul announced that the disease will be classified as “communicable under surveillance.” Until now, the Covid-19 disease was classified as a “dangerous communicable disease,” but Anutin says the current situation has been deemed suitable for regrading. In February 2020, the virus was classified as a dangerous infectious disease to enable the Thai authorities to react swiftly to contain the spread.

As of Wednesday, the number of patients who need oxygen supplies had dropped to 300, while most fatalities were from those with underlying health conditions. The Health Minister says the government is still footing the bill for those with mild and severe Covid symptoms. He says Long Acting Antibody doses have been distributed nationwide to hospitals and medical centres. Such amounts are meant for vulnerable groups like seniors and those with underlying conditions like kidney patients.



AirAsia X’s chief executive disagrees with the Thai government’s proposal of a flight tourism fee.

Tony Fernandes, the acting group chief executive of AirAsia X, says that the government should bank on the influx of travellers to aid the economy. He says the tourism fee would have a more minor impact on the economy than an increase in tourism.

Since Covid ravaged the company’s profits, Fernandes says it has rebounded strongly after completing a debt restructuring in March.

He further said that although China’s borders remain closed, AirAsia X can return to profitability as new airline routes are planned to Europe next year. London and Istanbul are among the ways to be planned, while Vienna, Budapest, and Prague will join the routes to eastern Europe.

Fernandes says as Malaysia starts to reopen, AirAsia X Berhad will see a full recovery of seat capacity by the second quarter of 2023, matching the top line at pre-pandemic levels by the second half of the same year. And, if China reopens, the bonus will be huge for the company’s growth.

However, he says Thailand may be hampered in its recovery as complicated entry restrictions have slowed it down initially. But, with the Thailand Pass and other requirements lifted in July, travel demand increased as tourists weren’t deterred.



Seven firefighters are in the hospital after a wall collapsed onto them while they put out a massive blaze at a warehouse in Bangkok last night.

At 9.30 pm yesterday, Bang Kho Laem Police Station officers reported that a fire had engulfed a warehouse on Rat Burana Soi 15 in the Bang Pakok subdistrict of Bangkok.

Firefighters rushed to the scene and started to extinguish the blaze, which covered 8,000 square metres of land. Firefighters reported hearing intermittent explosions inside the building, made out of cement with a large iron door at the entrance.

While firefighters sprayed water onto the flames, the back wall of the warehouse collapsed, falling on top of seven firefighters. All seven firefighters were severely injured and taken to hospital. No deaths have been reported.

It took two hours to get the fire under control.

The superintendent of Bang Kho Laem Police Station said that products for online shopping platforms – such as face masks and clothes – are mass-produced at the warehouse, acting as the perfect fuel for the fire. The total damages have not yet been calculated.

Today, authorities will inspect the warehouse again to look for the exact cause of the fire.



Bangkok’s heaviest rains in over two decades are pushing its canals to the brink. Governor Chadchart Sittipunt said Bang Khen district had reported 170millimetres of rain since Tuesday, which has been the highest in 20 years.

Klong Lat Phrao and Kong Prem Prachakon canals have seen water levels rising to the point of causing massive flooding. In addition, the Bang Khen roundabout and areas surrounding the new electric train route tracks have all flooded. The governor has attributed some flooding to the new ways as drainage has slowed.

He says the government is doing its best to drain the flood waters off the roads, but the water levels at the canals have made it difficult. Chardchart is urging motorists to plan trips around the weather, as he says poor planning has caused many motorists to get stuck in flooded areas.

The governor has advised Bang Khen, Lat Phrao, Don Muang, and Chatuchak residents to stay alert as more heavy rain is expected.

Heavy rainfall and flash flooding will continue until tomorrow all over Thailand.

Meanwhile, the Thai Cabinet approved a budget of almost 1.6 billion to deal with Thailand’s perpetual flood problems. In addition, some 912 million baht has been set aside for water management during the rainy and drought seasons, while 664 million baht has been allocated for new water pumps.



On Tuesday, the State Railway of Thailand conducted a trial run of a cute white and purple locomotive donated by Japan. It is one of 17 Kiha 183 passenger trains donated by the Hokkaido Railway Company, which will be used for short tourism routes as soon as next month.

Governor of the SRT Nirut Maneephan said the trains would hopefully be ready to take tourists from Bangkok to places such as Sai Yok Falls in Kanchanaburi, Hua Hin, or the Pasak Dam in Lopburi as soon as October.

He said SRT hopes the KIHA 183 trains will play a big part in promoting Thailand’s tourism and offer tourists a brand new experience.”

Three of the 17 diesel-powered trains delivered in December last year are ready for trial runs after being modified by the SRT to fit Thai railways. The first trial run was completed yesterday from Bangkok’s Makkasan maintenance yard to Chachoengsao station in eastern Thailand.

The SRT paid 42.5 million baht to have the trains shipped over from Japan and will pay a further 200,000 baht on each train to have it modified to fit Thailand’s tracks. Nirut said it’s 400 times cheaper than buying a new train, which could cost 100 million baht.

The air-conditioned trains can travel up to 110 kilometres per hour. Eight of the trains can seat 40 passengers, another eight can seat 68 passengers, and one train can seat 58 passengers.

Nurit said 13 trains should be ready to take tourists on short trips this year, some as soon as next month. The remaining trains will be completely overhauled with new wheels, bearings, engines, electrical systems, brakes, and air-conditioning so they can be used for long-haul services – a task that could take up to two years.

The trains will be in use for another 15 to 20 years.

And that’s all for our report from Thailand News Today. The show will be back tomorrow at 6 pm Thai time. Meanwhile, stay tuned for Good Morning Thailand at 10 am Thai time, where Natty, Jay, and Sara go over the morning’s top stories. See you there.

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