ThailandL Pressure builds to reopen

  • The desperate need to get the economy back on track is leaving the government no choice but to work toward a full-scale reopening of the country amid lingering fear of a post-Songkran festival spike in Covid-19 cases, according to experts.
  • Former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the government is under immense pressure to restore the pandemic-battered economy.
  • Meanwhile, the government has been saying the pandemic will soon be relegated to an endemic as caseloads and fatalities drop. “But I’m worried the post-Songkran festival numbers will probably not go down,” Mr Abhisit said.
  • Numbers show that only about 30% of people aged 60 years and over have received booster shots. Mr Abhisit’s advice is for the government to use the vaccination data available via the Mor Prom app to design vaccination campaigns and provide jabs to high-risk groups in their communities.
  • The former premier said the government must mitigate the economic damage caused by two years of the pandemic which has resulted in a rise in household debt and businesses struggling to stay afloat.
  • The issue was no longer confined to creditors and debtors as many medium and small-scale businesses now run the risk of going under or being taken over by larger companies.
  • A state fund should be created to restructure the debts of affected businesses and recapitalise them, according to Mr Abhisit.

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