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Thailand’s over-zealous virus control is killing the economy


Investors and economists are saying that “fear” and concerns over a second wave of Covid-19 is stopping Thailand’s economy recover.

“Thailand should overcome concern of a second wave of Covid-19 and instead relax restrictions on foreign investors and tourists in order to shore up its falling economy.”

Prominent local investor Dr. Niwes Hemvachiravarakorn says that the Thai Government… “shouldn’t 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.”

He believes that Thailand may need to accept a low level of cases and develop a system to handle this. Thailand has had no local infections for more than 50 days and only a handful of daily imported cases for Thai repatriates. Dr. Niwes also speculated that Thailand’s hot weather may be helping to keep the infection rate low, while Thais know now how to protect themselves as almost everyone wears a face mask in public.

Speaking to Nation Thailand, Niwes warns that fears of a second-wave of Covid-19 infection is discouraging people from resuming business activities, resulting in a slower economic recovery.

“In Vietnam, public life is almost back to normal, with even large gatherings for sports events now permitted.”

The research director at Thailand Development Research Institute, Somchai Jitsuchon, is also saying Thailand needs to push towards re-opening all areas of economic activity.

“Thailand should learn how to live with a few daily Covid cases, because policies aimed at eradicating the virus completely were having a high economic cost.”

Somchai asserted that income from foreign investment and tourism represents about 20% of Thailand’s annual GDP.

“The government should focus on the “trace, test and isolate” policy (which is the policy largely used in Thailand up to now) so that foreigners can be gradually welcomed back to the country.”

The Thai government continues to maintain that the Emergency Decree needs to remain in place, arguing that it is needed to deal with a possible second wave of contagion. But critics point to the statistics sowing that the strict measures are damaging small businesses and especially low-income groups. Meanwhile, pro-democracy activists accuse the Prayut government of using the emergency decree as a tool to suppress political opinion and opposition.

Source: The Thaiger

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