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“Thailand needs to cool down”, a comment reads on a popular expat community. While the country has been successful at suppressing the coronavirus outbreak, it has come with a heavy price paid by workers and businesses in the kingdom.
“We should not worry too much about the threat of a second wave of infections since the first wave of Covid-19 is generating far fewer cases compared with other countries,” distinguished local investor Niwes Hemvachiravarakorn mentioned on Thursday in an article by the Nation.

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Thailand has carried out strict lockdown measures to combat the outbreak, however the Covid-19 concern has two dimensions – disease control and economic activities, he stated.

Thailand may need to accept that its low degree of tested cases and develop a system to handle this, he mentioned, referring to the absence of local infections for more than 50 days and solely a handful of imported daily cases, mainly from repatriation flights with secure quarantine procedure to prevent further outbreaks.

Thailand’s hot climate may be helping to keep the infection rate low, whereas Thais know now how to shield themselves as virtually everyone wears face masks in public.

Niwes warned that concern for a second-wave contagion was discouraging individuals from resuming business activities, leading to a slower economic recovery. In Vietnam, public life is nearly back to normal, with even large gatherings for sports events now permitted, he added.

Somchai Jitsuchon, research director at Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI), is also pushing for the resumption of additional economic actions.

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Thailand should learn how to live with a few daily COVID cases, because policies aimed at eradicating the virus completely were having an excessive economic cost, he stated on Facebook.

Earnings from foreign funding and tourism represent about 20 percent of Thailand’s annual GDP, the economist noted. The government should concentrate on the “trace, test and isolate (TTI)” policy so that foreigners may be gradually welcomed back to the country, he added.

“Initially, we may limit foreign arrivals as per the capacity of the healthcare system to handle new cases of perhaps 20-30 a day. We could open up to more visitors as the TTI capacity was upgraded,” he recommended.

The government has maintained a state of emergency, arguing that it’s needed to cope with a potential second-wave contagion. Nevertheless, critics say the strict measures are hurting small companies and low-income workers, whereas pro-democracy groups accuse the government of utilizing the emergency degree to suppress political opposition.

The locals have been surprisingly understanding of the restrictions, despite the crippling plunge towards poverty. Thai culture is known for its resilience of enduring hard times, through the close circles of families and friends that have learned to take care of their own. Whether it’s a Thai Airways cabin crew member who lost their jobs or a bar girl who returned back to her village in Isaan to live off the family farm.

“Everyone has lost money. But we are still alive,” a Thai lady commented on Facebook.

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In the meantime, foreign tourists will not be allowed back into the nation until September, in accordance with the government’s Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Source: The Nation

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