Thailand week in review: Mixing of vaccines still a public concern, “Samui Plus Model” project kickoff begins, pro-democracy protest sparks harsh confrontation, and more

Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, July 12th to the 18th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in the order of date of publication.

1. Statements from Public Health Ministry regarding the proposed mixed vaccination policy in Thailand raises public concerns

While Thailand’s Public Health Ministry had encouraged mixed vaccination (and already made it official last week) of Sinovac as a first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and AstraZeneca as the second dose, a World Health Organization (WHO) representative stated that mixing and matching Covid-19 vaccines from different manufacturers could become dangerous as data about the mix-and-match is still very limited. A prominent Thai medical professor and researcher, Yong Poovorawan, on the contrary, stated that his recent research with his team exposed that using an inactivated virus vaccine (Sinovac) followed by a viral vector vaccine (AstraZeneca) as the second dose is proven to create a ‘booster effect’. As the research had not been publicly seen and had not been approved elsewhere, the Thai public became concerned over the suitability and safety of the government policy.

Statements from Public Health Ministry regarding proposed mixed vaccination policy in Thailand raises public concerns

2. “Samui Plus Model” project kickoff started last week, Thai authorities predict it generating 300 million baht in the third quarter

Three tourist islands of Surat Thani have officially welcomed Covid-19 free foreign tourists on Thursday. Similar to the Phuket Sandbox, multiple health screenings will be conducted to inspect if the visitors have been vaccinated and have met all qualifications, according to the requirements issued by the Thai Public Health Ministry. However, unlike the Phuket Sandbox, there are different rules and requirements for the 14 days before they could travel outside of the islands. The first group of eleven “tourists” were mainly journalists and their families. The program was expected to start off slowly but gradually pick up steam as more became confident in the overall measures.

“Samui Plus Model” project kickoff starts today, Thai authorities predict it generating 300 million baht in the third quarter

3. Chonburi, Chachoengsao, and Ayutthaya added to maximum control provinces, effective from this Tuesday, Royal Gazette announces on Sunday

Due to the significant increase of Covid-19 daily infections, the three previously named provinces are now included as dark-red zone provinces and are implemented with the strictest preventive measures same as Bangkok and another 10 previous provinces. The overall message of the implementation is to  “order” every resident to stay at home as much as possible. All measures are effective tomorrow, July 20th, until further notice.

Chonburi, Chachoengsao, and Ayutthaya added to maximum control provinces, effective this Tuesday, Royal Gazette announces this morning

4. Water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets were reportedly fired at pro-democracy demonstrators who gathered in Bangkok over the past weekend despite a public assembly ban

The harsh confrontation began when a group of pro-democracy protesters who were marching from the Democracy monument to the Government House had encountered a line of barbed wire fences and police enforcement that were deployed at the site as the gathering was considered illegal, following the orders of the Emergency Decree and the Royal Gazette recent announcement of gathering prohibitions to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. The dispersal that started at around 3:30 PM. and lasted for hours had injured several people, including reporters and police. The confrontation between law enforcement and the protest frontliners continued despite the fact that the demonstration was called off at 6:40 PM. As of this morning, the Bangkok Police Bureau also warned that charges would be taken against those that organized the protest and participated.

Water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets reportedly fired at pro-democracy demonstrators who gathered in Bangkok today despite public assembly ban

5. CAAT orders ban on domestic flights in Thailand to and from maximum control areas, including Bangkok, leaving some stranded and some airlines temporarily suspending flights

Following the government’s order to restrict unnecessary travel in dark-red zone provinces, domestic flights to and from dark red areas were temporarily canceled, except for emergency landings, medical flights, and flights in connection with Tourism Sandbox. However, some airlines have already announced the suspension of ALL domestic flights until at least August 1st. This government order will be effective on Wednesday, July 21st.

CAAT orders ban on domestic flights in Thailand to and from maximum control areas, including Bangkok, leaving some stranded and some airlines temporarily suspending flights

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

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