Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, February 22nd to the 28th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in the order of date of publication.
1. Thai government approves relaxation of Covid-19 control measures in many provinces, allowing bars reopening and restaurant alcohol sales in Bangkok
Due to the decreasing number of domestic cases in Thailand, the CCSA then approved the relaxation of Covid-19 health restrictions and zoning readjustment nationwide since last week. This allows the re-opening of bars and reselling of the alcoholic beverages in most provinces except Samut Sakhon, where it is still considered as the strictest control area. Most of the public avenues are also allowed to operate normally as well, including department stores, fitness centers, gyms, and sports stadiums.
2. Thailand’s Prime Minister welcomes first lot of Covid-19 vaccines from Chinese Sinovac company
The Thai government, led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha, has proudly welcomed the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine shipment from China last Wednesday under a project slogan ‘Covid-19 vaccination: Returning Smiles to Thailand’. The vaccine was being transported by Thai Airways special cargo flight and arrived in Thailand around 11:00 AM. All of them were stored at DKSH’s Covid-19 vaccine storage and have been distributed to 13 prioritized provinces yesterday.
3. Four prominent Thai politicians, including three current Cabinet ministers, found guilty by Thai Criminal Court for charges stemming from protests seven years ago that led to military coup
Three cabinet ministers, namely Education Minister Natapol Teepsuwan, Digital Economy Minister Buddhipongse Punnakanta, and Transport Deputy Minister Thaworn Senniam, have been removed from their positions and were sentenced to imprisonment after being found guilty of staging anti-Yingluck government protests in 2013 and 2014. Many prominent protest leaders from the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), one includes Suthep Thaugsuban, were also sentenced to similar charges as the two-year countless protests had significantly disturbed the MP’s general election in Thailand and major government departments before eventually winding up in a military coup in 2014. They were detained at Bangkok Remain Prison for one night after the court hearings. However, the Court had granted temporary bail against all of the defenders on the following day.
4. Health Minister becomes first person in Thailand to receive Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine, witnessed by Thai Prime Minister
On the first day of the vaccine distribution, the government has built confidence among Thai people by having some of the prominent cabinet ministers, both men and a woman, receive a Covid-19 vaccination from the Sinovac company by public health officials. The Prime Minister also went to the Bamrasnaradura Institute to witness and give encouragement but was not vaccinated due to his age.
5. Clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and law enforcement after attempting to reach Prime Minister’s military housing for protest
Yesterday’s protest had become the most intense protest yet as dozens of people from both parties were reportedly injured during a harsh confrontation in front of the first Infantry Regiment last night. The march to the Prime Minister’s housing began at around 3:00 PM. from the Victory Monument of downtown Bangkok. Supported by Myanmar anti-dictatorship activists, the protesters aimed to peacefully call out their demands for democracy and the end of the military-involved government. However, the situation intensified as some protest front-liners began removing and dismantling police barricades, attempting to reach closer to the Regiment. The confrontation lasted for more than six hours as protesters were attempting to fight back with solid objects and more reinforcement, water cannons, and rubber bullets were used to disperse the demonstration. At least 22 people were arrested and about 30 people were injured at the dispersal.
And, that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!