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Thailand’s Vaccine Strategy: What went wrong?

Last year Thailand won worldwide praise for its effective measures to contain COVID-19. This year the government is facing growing public outrage over the failure to control new covid outbreaks, and the slow acquisition of vaccines.

Some embassies have had to source vaccines for their own citizens over concerns they may otherwise have to wait too long for the Thai vaccine rollout to reach them. Where did a government that seemed so successful last year go wrong?

Some have suggested complacency, an official belief after months with very few new infections that Thailand had more time before it would need to deploy vaccines.

Questions are being asked

Questions are being asked, and not answered, over the decision to rely almost entirely on Siam Bioscience, a local, palace-owned company with no experience of making vaccines, for the country’s vaccine needs, until an unseemly scramble began this year to procure alternatives.

Bureaucr…

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Southeast Asia Covid-19 Latest News

The Delta variant has ripped through Southeast Asia in recent weeks, undoing many countries’ progress against the Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesia has been hit especially hard.

The spiraling crisis in Indonesia—and worsening situations in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are all experiencing their highest rate of case growth since the start of the pandemic—is a sad reminder that even as vaccines are rolled out in the United States and Europe, the Covid-19 pandemic has not abated elsewhere.

Already arguably the most impacted country in the region prior to the current wave, the rate of new cases in Indonesia has spiked to its worst level since the pandemic began, more than quadrupling in less than a month. But the devastation has gone beyond official case counts.

One in four people who take a Covid-19 test in Indonesia come back positive, and the percentage of deaths per positive case increased to 2.6 percent this week, the highes…

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How Businesses in Singapore can Reduce Overhead Costs During the Pandemic

Singapore’s government has provided an array of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to help businesses reduce their overhead costs during the pandemic.

The government is expected to draw on S$53.7 billion (US$40 billion) from its reserves for this year and an additional S24 billion (US$17.8 billion) over the next three years to assist local companies transition into a post-pandemic business environment.

Moreover, the government has decided to delay the increase in the goods and sales tax (GST) for 2021 in addition to developing programs to assist businesses to accelerate their digital transformation.

The JSS program was launched in 2020 to offset local employees’ wages and protect jobs.

Under this scheme, the government co-funds a portion of the first S$4,600 (US$3,428) of an employee’s gross monthly wages. The co-funding varies between sectors.

Firms are classified into different tier groups (Tier 1, 2, 3, 3A, and 3B), whi…

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