Thailand week in review: Thai government promises financial aid for those affected by Covid-19 restrictions, Phuket Sandbox launched, Surat Thani to welcome foreign tourists, and more

Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, June 28th to July 4th, 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 to distribute 7.5 billion baht compensation to business sectors affected by Covid-19 business closure orders

Following construction camp closures in Bangkok and its vicinity as part of Covid-19 control measures, the Thai Prime Minister promises that 50 percent of the workers’ wages would be distributed for one month as compensation. An amount of a 7.5 billion baht budget would also include the compensation for affected groups that are related to entertainment venues and restaurant businesses in six provinces. However, it was not yet mentioned by the officials regarding how much money exactly every business or person would get or how the money would be distributed to the public.

2. Thai Prime Minister visits Phuket to observe the first day of the “Phuket Sandbox” island reopening project

The wait is finally over as the Phuket Sandbox has officially launched in Thailand last Thursday. The Prime Minister and his delegation also arrived at the island to inspect the preventive measures in several areas, including the airport, land checkpoints, and piers, and welcome the first group of vaccinated foreign tourists. The Prime Minister is satisfied with local authorities that are strictly following health measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and hoped that the project would become an effective pilot model before reopening in other tourist destinations in order to revive the tourist business and domestic economy in Thailand.

3. Protests ramp up in Bangkok as frustration over government and Covid19 related measures and restrictions increase

Pro-democracy protesters were gathering for a peaceful protest and a flea market for local entrepreneurs who had been financially affected by the government’s latest Covid-19 orders, including closures of Bangkok entertainment venues and restaurants for dine-in and ban on alcohol sales in restaurants. Furious business owners in the city also joined the protest to call for support and financial aid from the government. Local vendors set up their booths in front of the Government House while pro-democracy prominent leaders were giving speeches of how the government had failed to manage the Covid-19 situation in the country. The gathering remained peaceful throughout the night, however, it was considered violating the Emergency Decree, according to the Bangkok Police Bureau.

4. Surat Thani’s tourist islands launches “Samui Plus Model” to reopen and welcome vaccinated Thai and foreign tourists from July 15th

Following the Phuket Sandbox, Surat Thani is ready to launch the “Samui Plus Model” to welcome vaccinated foreign tourists, and possibly vaccinated Thai tourists, to visit its three islands, namely Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Pha Ngan in the middle of July. Similar to the Phuket Sandbox, all health screenings will be conducted to inspect if the tourists have been vaccinated and have met all qualifications, according to the requirements issued by Public Health Ministry. According to the initial plan, Thai nationals are also welcomed to the islands without having to conduct a quarantine once they returned to their hometown. Although the plan has been approved “in principle” during the CCSA meeting last month, further details and discussion have not yet been mentioned in the cabinet yet.

And, that is all for this week. Thank you as always for reading the Pattaya News/TPN News!

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Nop Meechukhun
National News Writer at The Pattaya News from September 2020 to October 2022. Born and raised in Bangkok, Nop enjoys telling stories of her hometown through her words and pictures. Her educational experience in the United States and her passion for journalism have shaped her genuine interests in society, politics, education, culture, and art.