Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, January 4th to the 10th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. Thailand to receive 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine from China’s Sinovac by next month
The first batch of Covid-19 vaccinations will be purchased from the Chinese vaccine company “Sinovac” and will be distributed in Thailand by this February. However, the Chinese-made vaccine must be reviewed by Thailand’s FDA to ensure its safety before being officially injected publically. Another 10 million shots from the same company will later be delivered by this April and 26 million more from Oxford-AstraZeneca will arrive by May. According to the Prime Minister, the medical front-liners who are in close contact with Covid-19 infected patients will be the first to receive the shot after it has been approved by the FDA.
2. Bangkok Metropolitan Administration announces take-away only at restaurants from 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM
This announcement by the Bangkok governor follows the constantly increasing number of Covid-19 infections in the capital during the second wave of a Covid-19 outbreak. The notification initially prohibited dining in at all restaurants and bars from 7:00 PM to 6:00 AM. However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha had overridden the decision of the BMA, resulting the prohibition time to be changed from 9:00 PM to 6:00 AM. Selling alcohol is also prohibited during legal dine-in hours. The order is implemented until further notice.
3. Thai Cabinet officially approves another Emergency Decree extension nationwide until end of February
Instead of a one-month extension, the Thai Cabinet has approved a 45-day extension of Emergency Decree nationwide until the end of February to potentially delay the second wave of Covid-19 following a major cluster at the Samut Sakhon shrimp market last month. The decree allows the government to implement policies and procedures to control the spread of the virus. It has been almost a year since the decree has been implemented in Thailand since March last year.
4. Royal Gazette announces highest measures on five strictest controlled provinces, including Chonburi, with hefty fines, effective this Thursday
This, once again, is effective due to the rising number of local Covid-19 infections in Nonthaburi, Chonburi, Trat, Rayong, and Samut Sakhon following the first major cluster at Samut Sakhon shrimp market. The announcement strictly controlled traveling in and out of the interprovincial areas. The measures require ‘Thai Chana’ and ‘Moh Chana’ application installation, and certificate of traveling approval and an ID card presented when traveling in and out of the controlled provinces. Those who are found infected and not abide by such regulations are facing up to a two-year imprisonment and/or a fine not exceeding 40,000 baht or both.
5. Thai “MorChana” GPS tracking and tracing application required for inter-provincial travel to and from “highest risk” Covid-19 zones
One of the most debatable issues in Thailand last week. The application is now required for interprovincial travel in the highest risk zones, including Chonburi, as it will help track and trace applicators when they are traveling in high-risk places. It will also record travel history which allows the medical officers to trace the Covid-19 infections, if one found to be infected. Several complaints came after the announcement of the Royal Gazette and the CCSA, stating that failure to have the application and if caught with Covid-19 can result in hefty fines of a maximum of 40,000 baht and possible jail time. However, a later online statement from CCSA spokesman stated that the application is not mandatory and those who do not have will not face the penalty, but those infected who are attempting to conceal their travel records to the authorities will.
And that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!