Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, June 21st to the 27th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in the order of date of publication.
1. Thai Cabinet officially approves the Phuket Sandbox and three islands in Surat Thani to reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists starting next month
Phuket and three islands in Surat Thani, including Koh Samui, Koh Pha Ngan, and Koh Tao, are approved to be reopened in July under the “Sandbox” project adaptation. However, the conditions and requirements for vaccinated foreigners are different in both provinces. Despite the official Phuket reopening that is scheduled this Thursday, the concrete procedures and other details with the official order for foreigners and local residents to get ready were only published late tonight, June 30th.
2. Thai Parliament passes referendum law, allowing public voting for constitutional amendments before further drafting
The referendum law allows constitutional amendments to be voted for approval or disapproval by the public before proceeding with a draft charter, paving the way to have the people’s voices be heard before the drafting law was rewritten. In order for the resolution to be lawfully effective, more than half of eligible voters must exercise their right to vote and more than half of them must either vote yes or no on the constitutional amendments.
3. Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine approved by Thai FDA, marking the sixth vaccine officially distributed in Thailand
Pfizer’s Comirnaty Vaccine has become Thailand’s sixth official Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use. Previously, the FDA has already approved AstraZeneca, Coronavac (Sinovac), Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and SinoPharm respectively. Although now approved for emergency use, Pfizer Vaccine distribution in Thailand is not expected to be available until around the fourth quarter as said by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
4. RECAP: Several pro-democracy protests staged in Bangkok on Thursday, prominent protesters submit demands for a People’s Constitutional charter revision
Many pro-democracy movements were staged around significant places last Thursday in Bangkok and across the country, including the first major protest in three months that was led by recently-released protest leaders Jatupat “Pai” Boonpattararaksa, Parit “Penguin” Chiwarak, and Panusaya “Rung” Sithijirawattanakul. All of the protests have shared a similar purpose, to stand up against Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O’Cha and his government and to demand constitutional amendments. Despite the current implementation of the Emergency Decree in Bangkok, many protesters were seen gathering at the sites throughout the day, particularly in the evening at the BTS Pathumwan Skywalk. The demonstrations were organized peacefully and ended at around 9:00 PM.
5. Thailand’s Royal Gazette announces strict Covid-19 preventive measures in Bangkok and its vicinity and in four Southern provinces, including construction camp closures and no dine-in at restaurants
The sudden announcement was reported at around 1:00 AM. of Sunday morning. The measures mainly include the temporary closures of construction campsites, the prohibition of dine-in in all restaurants, and no large gatherings of more than 20 people, effective since Monday in 10 provinces, namely Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan, Samut Sakhon, Pathum Thani, Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala, and Songkhla. The government also stressed that this is NOT a lockdown and asks people not to use this terminology, stating that the correct description is preventative health measures to protect the public.
And, that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!