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Update May , 2020


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Update by Thanaphon Paewsoongnern
 
 
 
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Thailand’s economy to shrink 5-6 % in 2020

 NESDB Secretary General Tossaporn Sirisamphan.

Thailand’s economy contracted 1.8 percent in the first quarter and is projected to shrink 5-6 percent this year, says the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB)

NESDB Secretary General Tossaporn Sirisamphan said that the quarterly contraction was the first since 2014 and the GDP would further drop in the second quarter due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NESDB also projected country’s total exports to decrease by 8 percent.

“These projections are based on the assumptions that the virus is contained by the second quarter and the economic and tourism activities return to normal in the latter half of the year”, said Tossaporn.

Commenting on the government’s plan to acquire 1 trillion- baht worth of loan, the NESDB chief said that the injection would not significantly stimulate the GDP.

Tossaporn also cited the US-China trade war and the drought disaster as main affecting factors.

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 virus, the tourism industry could lose at least 150 billion baht in revenue, the NESDB said in a report released earlier.(TNA


Thailand to set up fund to help small businesses

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak (center).

BANGKOK- Many small businesses are affected by the coronavirus outbreak and lacking access to financial sources. In a meeting of economic ministers and the Bank of Thailand on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said that he instructed the Finance Ministry to finalize the plan to support small businesses.

Finance Minister Uttama Savayanaya said that the fund might be worth up to 100 billion baht allocated from the 400-billion-baht emergency loan for COVID-19.

Eligibility verification could be tricky, he said, because many small businesses had no financial records.  Officials might have to survey their actual locations in order to approve their eligibility.

Uttama also revealed that the Ministry planned to announce its GDP forecast on Monday which would definitely shrink due to COVID-19. (TNA) 


Shopping malls in Thailand prepare to reopen

 

Shopping malls in Thailand are preparing for reopening.

BANGKOK- The government is mulling the second phase of easing coronavirus restrictions.

After the first stage of easing which has seen some restaurants, barber shops and salons reopened, the government’s COVID-19 taskforce has announced that it plans to allow shopping malls as well as health and wellness businesses in the next stage which could begin next week.

The operators of the shopping malls that have been closed since March 22 are gearing up with their preparations for reopening. 

Health screening, density limit and social distancing measures would be taken when they resume operations, the management of one of the major shopping malls said.

The high-density venues can reopen if the number of new Covid-19 infections continues to drop, according to the government’s coronavirus taskforce. The taskforce is expected to announce its decision on the second phase of lockdown easing on Friday.

An analysis report by Siam Commercial Bank indicates that retailing businesses have shrunk by 14 percent, translating into about 500- billion baht of loss as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. (TNA)

Health screening, density limit and social distancing measures would be exercised upon reopening.


Bangkok Governor extends Chatuchak Market opening hours

Asawin Kwanmuang, Bangkok Governor and of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration officials inspected COVID-19 prevention measures at Chatuchak Weekend Market on Sunday.

The Bangkok Governor today issued an order to extend Chatuchak Market opening hours to support shopkeepers and customers, with a further hour of shopping time. The market is now open from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Customers and shopkeepers are asked to maintain appropriate personal distance and follow the regulations.

Asawin Kwanmuang, Bangkok Governor along with officials of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration or BMA inspected COVID-19 prevention measures at Chatuchak Weekend Market on Sunday. After being open for two days, they found that during the hot season customers tend to come in the afternoon around 2 to 5 p.m. The governor therefore decided to extend opening hours, so that now shopping ends at 7 p.m., instead of 6 p.m.

The BMA is also preparing to cut rents for traders, a plan now being proposed to the Minister of Transport. The plan aims to cut rent payable from March to November as customer numbers are much lower than usual.

 

However, it was noted that social distancing in the market is sometimes forgotten by shoppers. As a result, the governor has had officials draw lines on the ground all over the market as a reminder to maintain personal distance.

A big cleaning operation was also undertaken on Monday.

The governor has asked all customers and shopkeepers to follow anti-pandemic measures. Violators will be warned first, so that it may not be necessary to enforce the harsh provisions of the law.

 

As for the market’s COVID-19 control measures, only 6 of 13 entrances are open, everyone must wear a mask and have their body temperature checked. Hand sanitizers are provided at every entrance and other spots around the market. Toilets are cleaned every 2 hours.

Food vendors must work behind a plastic screen and all containers must have a lid. Shops are allowed to have a maximum of five customers inside at any one time in small shops, with a 10-person maximum in larger shops. Meanwhile, the area normally reserved for street vendors around the clocktower, and the night market are still closed. (NNT)


TOT, CAT introduce affordable home internet package in Thailand

TOT and CAT Telecom offer a new fixed broadband home internet package to facilitate online communications, work and study from home.

BANGKOK - The coronavirus pandemic is forcing more people to stay at home, making a capable internet connection essential for work and study online. The Ministry of a Digital Economy and Society has joined interests with telecom providers to offer a special home internet package, with free installation and a 3-month bonus.

The Minister of a Digital Economy and Society, Puttipong Punnakanta has announced that telecom providers TOT and CAT Telecom will be offering a new fixed broadband home internet package, with 100 Mbps download and 50 Mbps upload speeds, to facilitate online communications, as well as work and study from home.

The new package will be offered at 390 baht per month for households with no internet connection. Customers will receive a free 3-month bonus after the first 12 bills. The companies aim to offer this package to 100,000 customers, helping more people have access to the internet at an affordable price.

TOT Acting President Pipat Khanthong, said today the membership fee, equipment costs, and installation fees will be waived. Customers in remote areas can also sign up, thanks to the Net Pracharat village internet infrastructure that covers more than 24,000 networks nationwide.

Interested persons can sign up for this special package from 10th May to 31st July this year, by calling CAT Telecom cell center 1322, or TOT call center 1100. (NNT)


2,100 migrant workers tested for Covid-19 in Samut Sakhon, Thailand

Thai health officials conduct a random testing of 2,100 migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province.

SAMUT SAKHON - Thai health officials conduct a random testing of 2,100 migrant workers in Samut Sakhon province for COVID-19 in an attempt to contain the outbreak.

Public health volunteers have since Monday begun door-to-door testing at a community of migrant workers, mostly from Myanmar, who are employed in fishery industry.

The testing is supported by provincial disease control committee, local hospitals and the Department of Medical Sciences. 

Around 500 people have been tested so far as officials set the target at 2,100.  Test results will be completed in two weeks.

Samut Sakhon Governor Wirasak Wichitsaengsri said the random testing in the province, home to over 268,000 migrant workers, served as a model for advanced community testing.

The testing was instrumental in detecting virus cases in communities leading to effective disease control, he said. 

Public health volunteers handed out social distancing and sanitary guidelines for the workers as well. (TNA)


 


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story] : 

Thailand’s economy to shrink 5-6 % in 2020

Thailand to set up fund to help small businesses

Shopping malls in Thailand prepare to reopen


Bangkok Governor extends Chatuchak Market opening hours

TOT, CAT introduce affordable home internet package in Thailand


2,100 migrant workers tested for Covid-19 in Samut Sakhon, Thailand