Over the past four months, Thailand has faced the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, causing the Thai government under the administration of Gen.Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, to declare a country-wide lockdown according to its Emergency Decree.
The government also implemented a curfew throughout the country. Aiming to slow the spread of the virus, people must stay at home from 10:00 pm to 4:00 am. Due to the lockdown and curfew, Thailand could reduce and slow the spread of COVID-19 and is expected to be able to fully control it soon.
Despite the Emergency Decree, Thai people have been seriously affected, especially experiencing difficulties in their living. They have never faced a worse or more terrifying situation than this outbreak before. However, Thai people have cooperated well with the Thai government regarding the Ministry of Public Health’s restrictions. Such restrictions have been successful in China, to the extent that they stopped the spread of COVID-19 earlier.
The Thai economy has also been affected. As in other nations, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused the economy to drop. The World Bank forecast that the Thai economy would have the slowest economic expansion among ASEAN countries, including Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. The Thai economy is likely to drop by 5% due to the country's reduced income. Before the crisis, national income from the tourism industry accounted for 13%-16% of gross domestic product (GDP)
A devastating economic impact is hard to avoid in every country in ASEAN. Nonetheless, the impact in each country varies depending on the vulnerability of industrial economic activities. The most affected industrial activities are tourism in Thailand and islands in the Pacific Ocean, and manufacturing activities in Vietnam and Cambodia. On the other hand, when the COVID-19 pandemic no longer exists, the World Bank believes that the Thai economy will recover faster than neighbouring countries due to its stronger economic foundation.
Although, it cannot be determined how long this crisis will last, the situation in the ASEAN community, including Thailand, has dramatically improved overall. The number of infected people has fallen continuously, thanks to the cooperation of ASEAN in reducing transmission of the virus by implementing restrictions and efforts to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic under the same policy framework. Meanwhile, each country has taken steps to control the spread of the virus domestically, including temporarily halting overseas travel until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.
In addition, during the past two months Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha held video conferences between 10 ASEAN nations to exchange information, solve national problems and coordinate throughout ASEAN countries. Furthermore, the conferences aim to solve ASEAN’s economic problems caused by the outbreak of COVID-19.
At the same time, the ASEAN community agreed to cooperate with China to establish a COVID-19 Fund against both the current and future pandemics. It could also enhance the positive role of partnerships in cooperation responding to commitment to fight the pandemic together, help recover economic loss, and increase confidence-building measures in the ASEAN Community. The fund already allocated funds for medicines and vaccine research to enable the ASEAN community to be self-reliant in the long run.
Because of this great pandemic across all continents, the global economy will take many years to recover and go from recession to normalcy. Hence, leaders in each country need to unite with others against COVID-19 to support and promote relations in all dimensions for the survival of humanity. Moreover, they must impose financial and fiscal policies that maximize efficiency. This cooperation will create stability in industry and supply chains. Importantly, all countries must cooperate to revitalize the global economy affected by the outbreak of COVID-19.