The following is our weekly feature in which we take a look at the top developing stories and things to follow over the past week. We are focusing on what is happening for the first week of May, ending May 8th, 2021.
As we publish dozens of stories a week, this allows our readers to get a quick glimpse of the most important stories taking place and to monitor and follow for the week ahead, as chosen by our editorial team.
They are in no particular order of importance.
1. Prime Minister set to discuss remedial aid measures on Wednesday, May 5th.
The Prime Minister, Prayut Chan O’Cha, has stated that he and his government have been engaged in regular meetings around financial and remedial aid for people affected by Covid-19, such as the restaurant and entertainment industry. It is not yet clear what these measures will be although the PM added that “dark red zones” which includes Chonburi, that are under particularly hard measures like no dine-in at restaurants or areas that rely heavily on tourism like Pattaya will be considered for aid. We will have full coverage of these measures when announced later this week.
2. Covid-19 cases stubbornly stay at levels of concern, could we see further rules and measures?
Covid-19 cases are still stubbornly high, especially in Chonburi, Bangkok, and Nonthaburi. Worrying clusters in the densely packed slums of Klong Toey in Bangkok are of major concern to the Public Health Ministry. Chonburi is planning to test tens of thousands at factories, construction sites, and similar venues. Most cases are now being linked to the home and families or people holding private gatherings and not businesses, although some doctors are calling for stricter “short” lockdowns to stop points of contact. So far, the Thai Government is going to let the current dark red zone strategy play out for at least two weeks and then evaluate the situation by mid-May. We are unlikely to see further measures this week but if cases continue to expand, especially in Bangkok, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
3. Protesters clash with police again over the weekend, demand release of protest leaders on bail
Despite an emergency decree banning all mass gatherings, rallies, and similar protests, pro-democracy protesters rallied over the past weekend in and around Bangkok in a quick-moving motorcade to attempt to evade police. Police repeatedly have warned all gatherings are illegal and it is not about politics but about enforcing the law around Covid-19. The protesters, amongst other things, are primarily calling for the release on bail of multiple prominent protest leaders jailed for alleged sedition and violation of Thailand’s Lese Majeste laws. At least two of the protest leaders are on hunger strikes, which has raised public attention to the situation. The protest leaders have been denied bail nine times now with the court claiming they believe the protest leaders will violate their terms and conditions if released by holding more rallies or attempt to flee the country.
That is all for this week! We hope you stay safe and healthy!