Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, January 11th to the 17th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in order of date of publication.
1. Nine Thai youths found dead in Bangkok, presumably from overdosing on a narcotic cocktail drug
Multiple Thai teenagers were discovered dead at their own residences in the capital last week. Several of them were found with a bag containing a novel narcotic cocktail drug known as ‘K Powdered Milk’. The drug has recently become widespread among young drug abusers, particularly in Bangkok. According to the police, it consists of heroin, ketamine, meth, and sleeping pills, which can very easily cause an overdose leading to death. An investigation has now led to the arrest of some of the alleged drug dealers and assumed storage location in Pathum Thani.
2. Thai government to distribute 3,500 baht to informal workers, extends reduction of monthly utility charges until March
This is not the first time that the Thai government has decided to distribute an amount of money to solve financial problems caused by the Covid-19 global pandemic. 3,500-baht in financial aid will be given via the “Rao Chana” campaign to informal workers and freelancers who do not have social security in provinces and areas that have been affected by Covid-19 restrictions and business closures. Additionally, the ‘Half-Half’ co-payment scheme, in which the government would subsidize half of the payment when applicants make a purchase at small shops, will also be extended to boost the domestic economy.
3. ATTA encourages Thai government to allow vaccinated foreigners to visit Thailand without quarantine to boost the domestic economy in the back half of 2021
Due to the tremendous loss of the international tourism industry in Thailand, the Association of Thai Travel Agents, or ATTA, proposed the idea of welcoming vaccinated foreigners to visit Thailand without quarantine in mid-2021. According to its record, only 20 percent of inbound tourism companies have survived the past year and are still running their businesses during the Covid-19 global pandemic while another 50 percent of them have temporarily stopped their operations. The remaining thirty percent reportedly permanently went out of business in the past year. The Thai government is being encouraged to grant vaccinated tourists exemption from state quarantine in order to attract more foreign tourists to visit the country, resulting in economic development among the tourism industry and in Thailand in general.
4. National Tourism Policy Committee agrees to an initial proposal to collect a 300 baht ‘land entry fee’ on individual foreign tourists for tourism funds
Despite the fact that Thailand is not fully reopened to foreign tourists, the National Tourism Policy Committee, under the Tourism and Sports Ministry, has approved a proposal of collecting a fee of roughly 10 USD, or about 300 baht, on foreign tourists who enter Thailand for, according to the official, their accident insurance during their visit in Thailand. The fee has been in discussion for some time but was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This, however, is only a proposal and is not official until it has been thoroughly discussed at the Cabinet meeting, presumably this week. More details might be officially revealed later if approved.
5. Eleven districts in Bangkok and Pattaya City reach “unhealthy levels” of air pollution last week due to PM2.5 dust particles
Thick air pollution of PM2.5 dust particles has battered the capital and many nearby provinces again last week. Many districts in Bangkok have reached unhealthy levels with the highest PM2.5 level of 116 micrograms per cubic meter and of 165 micrograms per cubic meter in Pattaya. Haze was also seen covering both areas, causing limited scenery around the cities and a slight burning sensation. Officials had also not attributed an official source to the air pollution despite many complaints on social media.
And, that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!