The following is our weekly feature article in which we take a look at the week ahead in Thailand and Pattaya news and the top stories to keep an eye on as we move into the next week.
These are chosen by our editorial team and are developing stories that we will follow and encourage our readers to follow over the next week or so. They are not in any particular order of importance.
These developing stories are for the week of February 21st to February 27th, 2021
1. Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) to meet about province zoning, easing restrictions for Covid-19
The CCSA is set to meet in Bangkok on Monday, February 22nd, 2021, to discuss the potential easing of provincial zoning and restrictions around the Covid-19 Coronavirus as the situation continues to improve in most of Thailand. It is highly expected that Bangkok will be dropped from a “red” highly-controlled zone to an “orange” zone which will allow the re-opening of bars and entertainment venues until at least 11:00 P.M. Chonburi, home of Pattaya, is expected to become a “yellow” zone, dropping from “orange”, which would allow entertainment venues to stay open until at least Midnight, something business owners have been asking for weeks to happen. However, none of this is set in stone. More details will be available on Monday.
2. Prayut’s government has survived a second no-confidence vote by the opposition and likely will have renewed steam in the weeks ahead
After surviving a no-confidence debate brought about by the government opposition political parties that saw days of heated discussions, Prayut’s government escaped with all ten Cabinet members singled out in the debate surviving. The debate saw some contentious issues raised, including those around alleged police promotions, and the Education Minister, in particular, received the least support in the vote. However, with Public Health Minister Anutin getting the most support, showing what seemed to be overall approval for the fight against Covid-19, the government will likely press forward at full steam in the weeks ahead and it will be interesting to see reactions, including those from pro-democracy protesters.
3. Protesters to continue moving forward with protests, urging non-violence
After the Valentine’s Day protest that saw heated confrontations with law enforcement in Bangkok, including some of it according to eyewitnesses driven by hardline pro-democracy protesters who were allegedly provoking police, protest leaders are driving forward and stressing non-violence and non-confrontational style protesting. The protests resumed after four prominent protest leaders were denied bail multiple times for alleged Lese Majeste charges, remaining jailed as of press time. However, several other protest leaders had the decisions made on their charges postponed until March. After the previously mentioned no-confidence vote led to the current government given votes of confidence, protests are likely to continue.
4. Makha Bucha is next Friday, February 26th
Along with an alcohol sales ban like all major religious holy days in Thailand, the day will likely see in many provinces that have relaxed Covid-19 restrictions ceremonies and events marking the holy day, although under Covid-19 precautions. The CCSA is expected to give more direction on this early this week.
5. Covid-19 situation in Thailand seems to continue to improve
Along with easing of restrictions in many provinces, Thailand’s situation with Covid-19 seems to continue to improve, with a very low number of cases discovered today in particular. Active case finding in Samut Sakhon and Pathum Thani are finding much fewer cases in “high-risk” communities, primarily those of migrant workers, and contact tracing and testing have found much less cases as well. If this continues, it is likely more restrictions ease which would be significant for the domestic travel industry, especially with Songkran approaching in April-the biggest and most important holiday of the year for Thai’s. The CCSA has still said it is “too early” to talk about what can be done for Songkran.
That is all for this week, as always thank you for reading The Pattaya News.