The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has issued an announcement to temporarily close premises or businesses that have a high risk of spreading COVID-19, as the infections in Bangkok continue to rise. The premises are the following: all types of sports venues, sports fields, public parks, trade fair centers, convention centers, exhibition halls, learning centers, science parks, galleries, public and private libraries, museums and historical sites, early childhood development centers and preschool child development centers, beauty salons and barber shops, tattooing and piercing shops, swimming pools for sports or marine activities, public swimming pools and similar business. This order will be in effect between 23 July and 2 August 2021 or until further notice. (22/07/2021)

From 20 July 2021, foreign residents aged 60 and over residing in Bangkok and neighboring provinces (Nakhon Pathom, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakarn, Samut Sakhon) who have never received COVID-19 vaccination can register for the first dose by filling in the online form jointly developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health. Vaccination will take place at the Central Vaccination Centre - Bangsue Grand Station, which can be accessed through Gate 2 of the station. Those wishing to receive vaccination are required to bring their passport and proof of residence. Registered individuals will be notified of appointment details directly by the Central Vaccination Centre - Bangsue Grand Station via SMS or email. The Centre is expected to accommodate around 300 registered individuals per day. (22/07/2021)

The Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) has approved and registered four antigen COVID-19 test kits for home use. Antigen test kits will be available for purchase at pharmacies or drugstores with in-house pharmacists as well as hospital staff to give necessary advice. The public are strongly advised to purchase only test kits approved by the TFDA. Authorities have also started conducting door-to-door antigen testing by the newly established "Comprehensive Covid-19 Response Team" (CCRT). (22/07/2021)

The Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA), the organization that supplies water for users in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, and Samut Prakan, has launched a campaign to reduce water bills by 10% for home and small business users. This discount program is run as part of the Governmentís aid measures and will be applied in this August and Septemberís water bills. This year, MWA also helped water users save 10% of the water service fee in February to March and May to June. (21/07/2021)

Phuket Governor Narong Woonsiew announced that the provinceís new COVID-19 control measures, aimed at decreasing the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, were rolled out on 19 July and will be in effect from today until 2 August. Violations of these COVID-19 control measures will lead to imprisonment between one and two years and/or a fine of between 20,000 baht and 100,000 baht. This measure include a temporary shutdown of pubs, bars, karaoke shops and other similar types of entertainment venues. The closing time of shopping malls and restaurants serving alcohol will be 9 p.m., while partying and drinking alcohol on the beaches, in public parks, and in other public spaces is totally prohibited. (21/07/2021)

Phuket province has strengthened COVID-19 control measures as the number of new infections has reached about a dozen each day, while the Phuket ďsandboxĒ tourism reopening program continues. Provincial governor Narong Woonsiew said a set of new COVID-19 control measures, aimed at stemming the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant, were rolled out on 19 July and are due to take effect from today until 2 August. Violations of these COVID-19 control measures will lead to imprisonment of between one and two years and/or a fine of between 20,000 baht and 100,000 baht. (21/07/2021)

The Department of Medical Sciences (DMS) reports that the Delta COVID-19 variant has overtaken the Alpha variant as the dominant strain in Thailand and that the spread of the highly contagious variant is driving the surge in infections. DMS Director-General Dr Supakit Sirilak said about 63%, of more than 3,000 cases analyzed by the department, were found to be the Delta strain, while 34% are the Alpha variant. The rest are the Beta strain, which is dominant in the deep South. (21/07/2021)

Thailandís Commerce Ministry expects that Thailand will complete discussions on a free trade agreement (FTA) with Pakistan this year. Department of Trade Negotiations (DTN) Director-General said only one out of 13 items was left to be negotiated. The department believes that the FTA with Pakistan will help boost the Thai economy by 0.18 to 0.32% or between US$200 million and $800 million in value. According to the DTN, the sector which will benefit the most from the FTA is auto-parts, in which Thailand already holds a one-fifth market share in Pakistan. Pakistan is also a large, attractive market with some 30 million consumers and has abundant natural fishing resources which will be beneficial for Thailandís seafood industry. (20/07/2021)

The Department of Land Transport has announced that it will suspend its services for driving licenses and vehicle registration in the 13 dark red zone provinces, in accordance with the Government's new restrictions to control the spread of COVID-19. The suspension will run from 20 July 2021 until further notice. The training for renewing driving licenses will be on the online platform only. The annual vehicle tax-paying service will open only the drive-through service and online platform on https://eservice.dlt.go.th and the DLT Vehicle Tax application. Other provinces outside the dark red zone provinces will operate their services in accordance with their provincial disease control measures. (20/07/2021)

In order to reduce congestion and the risk of infection, the Bangkok Immigration Bureau has asked for cooperation from those who come to apply for permission to stay in the Kingdom of Thailand at the Chaengwatthana Government Center (J, L, M, N counters) to submit their application to stay no more than 3 days in advance of the expiry date starting from 20 July 2021. (20/07/2021)

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