Thailand news week in review: Thailand now reopens, Moderna vaccine arrives, Thai PM meets with world leaders in Glasgow, and more

Here is a look at the top NATIONAL stories, chosen by our Pattaya News/TPN National team, from last week, November 1st to the 7th, with some commentary. They are not in any particular level of importance but are listed in the order of date of publication.

1. The First batch of 560,000 doses of Moderna vaccines arrives in Thailand last week

The first lot of Moderna Covid-19 vaccines finally arrived for those who have registered and paid at available private hospitals after previous delays. According to the Private Hospital Association, the lot will be distributed to the Thai Red Cross Society, Siriraj Hospital, Ramathibodi Hospital, and registered private hospitals. Each hospital will initially receive 10 percent of the total amount of booked vaccines due to the limited amount.

First batch of 560,000 doses of Moderna vaccines arrives in Thailand today

2. Thai PM vows to increase focus on solving climate change issues in Thailand during COP26 conference, meets with world leaders

The Thai Prime Minister joined the COP26 Climate Change Conference with world leaders in Glasgow last week and gave a speech in Thai that Thailand has surpassed the target of reducing greenhouse gas and is willing to overcome the climate problems under international goals and standards. He also greeted and had a brief conversation with many world leaders, prompting both positive and negative comments on Thai social media regarding his posture and his poor English capability.

Thai PM vows to increase focus on solving climate change in Thailand during COP26 conference, meets with world leaders

3. Oppositional and coalition political parties give their standpoints on controversial ‘lésé majéste’ amendment proposal

The discussion of the controversial law amendment arose after the ‘Pheu Thai’ oppositional party stated that they would propose an amendment to the lésé majéste law, also known as Law 112, on the agenda of the next parliamentary meeting. The idea received support from many pro-democracy activists as well as prominent oppositional ‘Move Forward’ party and the ‘Progressive Movement’ foundation, led by Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, as they believed that this could be the start of the end of social conflict in Thailand.

However, without a doubt, all coalition parties, including the Prime Minister, had strongly disagreed against any amendment or abolishment of the law in all aspects, saying that the change can affect the monarchy and the country’s stability. Additionally, some of those who originally stated they supported an amendment took a step back or u-turned later in the week, especially after some prominent opposition leaders stated they were against an amendment and feared it would further divide society.

Oppositional and coalition political parties give their standpoints on controversial ‘lésé majéste’ amendment proposal

4. Three educational institutions in Thailand temporarily closed after suspected Covid-19 cluster and infections found shortly after reopening

The schools in Lampang, Prachinburi, and Mukdahan were temporarily closed shortly after a group of students was found with Covid-19 infections. The most concerning area was in Mukdahan where thousands of school teachers and students were isolated overnight at the school after about 40-70 possible Covid-19 infections were found positive via the ATK test. However, none of the infections were proven positive after being tested with RT-PCR at field hospitals, and the ATK test results were proven false. All of the isolated were allowed to leave the area afterward.

The incident led to great discussion on Thai social media around procedures when a case of Covid-19 is found at schools, with many stating that “kneejerk” reactions such as quarantining or closing entire schools is not the way to move forward.

Three educational institutions in Thailand temporarily closed after suspected Covid-19 cluster and infections found shortly after reopening

5. Only 10 international travelers found infected with Covid-19 upon their arrival in Thailand since the reopening, Public Health Ministry reports

This is possibly a positive thing to hear so far after the reopening. Only 10 out of a total of 13,229 overall tourists, as of November 4th, were proved positive for the disease with a RT-PCR test upon landing on the Thai border, accountable for a 0.08 percent infection rate of all visitors. The first week of the country reopening seemed to be going well so far. However, some arrivals are reportedly encountering long waiting times for the test results and document review at the airport. Additionally, there have been multiple reports of problems with the Thailand Pass application to apply to enter the country, although officials blame a lot of these issues on “user error.”

Only 10 visitors found infected with Covid-19 upon their arrival in Thailand since the reopening, Public Health Ministry reports

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

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National News Writer at The Pattaya News. 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.