Summary of AMCHAM Business Today Video Conference for August 13

Summary of AMCHAM Business Today Video Conference for October 7

Summary of AMCHAM Business Today Video Conference for October 7

Cabinet Resolutions

  • According to the Thai CCSA, Myanmar’s Covid-19 death toll is now the highest in South-east Asia after Indonesia and the Philippines.
  • The medical hub board meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Anutin recently shared a proposal to the government to allow direct international flights to quarantine spa and resort locations to facilitate medical tourists. The board also suggested Samui, Phuket, Chiang Mai and U-Tapao airport as additional direct destinations for medical tourists in addition to Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airport.
  • The Thai National Vaccines Institute has pre-ordered Covid-19 vaccines for half of the Thai population at the cost of 3 billion baht and the first group of people to get vaccinated will be medical personnel.
  • Recently, the government launched the half-half co-payment scheme to cut the cost of living of the people, which has now received application for over 160,000 shops and vendors nationwide. The government will subsidize half of the people’s purchase, up to 50 baht per day, for the customer’s payment of 100 baht.
  • According to the latest announcement by the Immigration Bureau, foreigners stranded in Thailand can now apply to extend their visa anytime from now until the end of October and the permission date of all visas will only start counting from November 1.

 

Reopening Thailand

  • One of the sub-committees of the Thai Covid-Center has already approved in principal the use of spas, resorts and wellness centers as alternative quarantine locations and Phuket is planned to be developed as the medical destination for Southern Thailand.
  • The first badge of tourist arrived from China on October 8 and there will be more coming from Scandinavian countries if everything goes smoothly with the Chinese tourists. In addition to tourists, the government has also directed Thai Embassies abroad to facilitate with their plans of allowing around 10,000 professionals and specialists to enter the Kingdom.
  • Earlier this year, there were proposals of special ‘travel bubbles’ between Thailand and a few low-risk countries but it was unfortunately put on hold since the situation changes so quickly, for instance after the incident with the Egyptian soldier and the Sudanese diplomat’s daughter and even more since our bordering country, Myanmar, is seeing a second wave with a rapidly rising death toll.

 

Alternative State Quarantine Facilities

  • An AMCHAM member stated a question on whether small and medium-sized hotels are being looked at as possible quarantine locations to help support the SME community and how the government plans to help trickle down the expected bulk of tourists to those smaller businesses.
  • Currently, the decision to allow a certain hotel to become an alternative state quarantine facility is very centralized and is coming directly from the government but we do expect to see those smaller hotels being reached out to later on once the situation is more stable.

 

Getting Rid of Quarantine

  • An AMCHAM member questioned about reducing the quarantine period or removing it because a lot of countries have done that since there is now quite advanced testing available.
  • However, one good point about having people doing quarantine in these set facilities is that Thailand has a lot more data in hand since everyone who had to enter the country has gone through this monitored quarantine. With all the data available, they’ll be able to make a better decision on when the symptoms usually start showing and whether they should reduce or get rid of the quarantine period.

 

Pro-democracy Demonstrations

  • An AMCHAM Member inquired if any member has had any insights on the size or scope of the upcoming October 14th demonstration and suggestions on preparations, if any, that companies need to make.
  • Ambassador Tomwit mentioned that it will be worrisome since the protestors are more outspoken than ever before and he advised anyone in Bangkok to steer away from that location on the Wednesday.
  • But he does not anticipate any widespread physical impact to the point that will endanger anyone’s live or properties, just minor inconvenience and disruption in the area.
  • A member added that the student and the pro-democracy movement will start gathering on the public holiday on Tuesday, one day before the 14th, so we may start seeing large gatherings around the democracy monument as well as road closures within the vicinity.

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