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As Thailand inches towards an 80-day COVID-19 community-free transmission, the COVID-19 Situation Administration Center (CCSA) said its committee will discuss further lockdown restrictions lightening on Friday.
Lightening restrictions would include the full resumption of school services, full service on passenger busses, sporting competitions with spectators, returning the inflight food served on the plane, and closing time for entertainment at 2 a.m.
"More than two months have passed without a single trace of local COVID-19 transmission," CCSA spokesman Dr Taweesin Visanuyothin said.
"That means the full resumption of services, and businesses can resume in Thailand," the spokesman said, "Out of precaution, please wear your face masks and keep your outdoor social distance."
The state of emergency ends in late August.
The government has reaffirmed, however, that inbound flights to the general tourists will remain prohibited.
"We can not allow any risks to the second wave of infections from tourists around the world," Taweesin said, referring to the peak in the number of COVID-19 infections in the United States and South America.
"Tourism is one of the main sources of income for Thailand, but ensuring that the Thai people stay healthy and free from infections is a top priority for the government," Taweesin said.
Hard work ahead for the Cabinet
A research unit of a Thai commercial bank on Friday said in a press briefing that Thailand's newly appointed economic ministers will find it an uphill battle to rescue and reboot the Thai economy as the global COVID-19 pandemic continues.
It will be difficult in the short term given the dwindling financial resources, rising unemployment and the global threat of a second-wave contagion, warned Charl Kengchon, Executive Chairman at the Kasikorn Research Centre.
"Therefore the immediate challenge is to help workers and businesses come to an end as relief measures including cash handouts," he said.
The research centre said there are signs of improvement in the Thai economy, but recovery remains a distant prospect as only some sectors and workers have resumed operations.
"We haven't reopened for tourism yet, so businesses and workers in tourism-related sectors continue to suffer the most," he said.
Meanwhile, countries including the U.S., Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and Vietnam have experienced an increase in new infections, which has delayed Thai export recovery, the centre said.
He also said external factors are also causing uncertainty, including whether the US Federal Reserve will again cut its policy rates or inject more liquidity into the market, which will weaken the dollar and lead to Thai baht appreciation.
"A strong baht will be an enormous impediment for Thai exporters, who are paid in dollars and then have to exchange for baht," he explained.
The global market for exchange rates is also so big that the central bank might not be able to prevent the baht from rising, Charl said.
"As for tourism, the challenge is how to reopen the sector," Charl said, "Reopening to foreign tourists would risk more COVID-19 cases being imported."
The centre warned that 4.5 million service sector workers and 1 million manufacturing workers could lose their jobs if the Thai economy does not improve significantly.