The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown up a myriad of challenges, the likes of which have rarely been seen on this planet. The outbreak has prompted seismic changes in society, at a major cost to human life. Recent figures reveal that deaths have now surpassed 500,000, while the total number of cases far exceeds 10 million.
There has also been a significant financial impact, with even the global superpowers of China and the United States suffering from shrinking economies. But what of smaller nations, such as Thailand? How have they handled the crisis, and how are their economies shaping up with the peak of infections seemingly passed?
How Thailand has managed Covid-19
Due to its proximity to China, where the virus originated, there were fears that Thailand and its population would be hit hard by the outbreak. However, the country’s authorities took swift action and, as a result, there have been just 58 deaths recorded.
South-east Asian nations were able to draw on their experiences and the lessons learned from the SARS epidemic in 2003, and Thailand was among those to quickly implement measures in order to limit the transmission of Covid-19. These procedures included the deployment of more than one million village health volunteers to monitor communities and keep track of the virus’ spread.
And, even though lockdown measures are being eased and there have been no local cases reported in more than a month, Thailand’s state of emergency has been extended until the end of July. This approach is a method of “keeping control of the movements in and outside of the kingdom in the way the Communicable Diseases Act cannot,” said Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.
A surging economy
In developments likely to interest forex traders, the Thai baht has shown encouraging signs of late, advancing as much as 1.1% against the US Dollar. It’s thought that the repatriation of overseas funds has contributed to this appreciation, although the Bank of Thailand has also warned it is prepared to step in if it feels the baht’s sharp rise could jeopardise economic stability.
The prospects for the property and tourism industries
The Thai economy could also be set to receive a boost via the return of some forms of tourism to the country. That sector drives a huge amount of revenue, but the industry has been devastated by the pandemic and the travel restrictions that have been imposed as a consequence.
However, it has been suggested that ‘business-travel bubbles’ may soon allow those from the likes of Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan to visit Thailand. Furthermore, the nation is hoping to attract tourists towards the luxury end of the market – a shift from its usual demographic of visitors, who arrive in big numbers but spend on a budget.
And those in the real estate industry are optimistic that a reopening of borders and an easing of restrictions will encourage potential buyers to complete deals on both property and land – the type of investment that will help Thailand continue its recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.