Amid the surge of new Covid-19 infections, visionary leaders and economic regulators offer their ideas about how the government should deal with the crisis before the economy is battered further by the third wave of Covid-19 outbreak
- The third outbreak has compounded problems for the already-bruised economy, which the BoT predicts will take a long time to recover.
Any recovery so far has been uneven across different sectors.
The most important remedy to ease the crisis at hand rests with the vaccine. Other measures, both financial and fiscal, play second fiddle as they are designed just to buy time.
As long as the pandemic remains unresolved, the vicious cycle -- where a new outbreak prompts fresh relief programmes -- will not be broken.
The vaccine lies at the heart of it. We must accept that inoculation is going slowly with herd immunity still way out of reach.
- The government should support the private sector's efforts to import the vaccine or at least allow them to procure the vaccine for their own employees or customers.
This will help ease the burden on the government. I'm appealing directly to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Another nationwide lockdown will cause serious and significant damage to businesses.
However, the prime minister should be praised for his latest effort to secure 100 million doses of vaccines to inoculate 50 million people by this year, including additional 5-10 million doses each of Sputnik V and Pfizer vaccines.
- The inoculation programme is proceeding sluggishly, with only 1% of the population covered. For the country to reopen safely and with confidence, at least 70% of people will need to be vaccinated.
The government must obtain enough vaccine for everyone. All frontline medical workers in Bangkok must be vaccinated by the end of next month.
Chief executive officers of many companies are ready to help with national vaccine distribution so the inoculation programme can be further expedited. At the same time, the private sector is willing to help negotiate in the purchase of vaccine from other manufacturers, in addition to Sinovac and AstraZeneca, which have supplied their vaccines to the kingdom.
All sides must band together to get through the pandemic.
Don't waste time, at least 50,000 doses must be administered each day.
- The inoculation programme is pressing ahead very slowly.
Vaccination targets must be clearly prioritised. The inoculation should be carried out in a way that best reflects the situation in Thailand.
Priority should be given to employees in sectors with substantial economic impact, such as tourism businesses, airlines, public transport drivers and those who must come into contact with many people, such as market and mall workers.
If the infection can be curtailed among these groups, they won't go on to infect the elderly at home.
The government should set up mobile inoculation units at busy locations. The private sector is prepared to help cover the cost of hiring medical workers to carry out the vaccination drive.
- Private sector demands for the vaccine are being assessed to help hasten the vaccination. The Food and Drug Administration should relax regulations to make the purchase of vaccines in large quantities easier.
The government should allow the private sector to import vaccines and inoculate their employees, as they play an important role in driving the economy. Private sector employees should be inoculated without having to wait for the state's programme.