Thailand's manufacturing production activity expands for first time in 23 months; intensifies Covid-19 controls

A health worker administers a dose of the CoronaVac Covid-19 vaccine, developed by Chinas Sinovac Ltd., to an Airports of Thailand Pcl employee at a vaccination site set up at a near-empty Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, Thailand, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Thailand is reworking its vaccine strategy as a month-long soft lockdown to contain its worst wave of Covid-19 infections deepens an economic crisis and risks plans for reopening the crucial tourism industry. - Bloomberg

BANGKOK, April 28 (Xinhua): Thailand's manufacturing production index (MPI), a gauge of manufacturing activity, rose for the first time in 23 months to 107.73 in March, the highest level in two years, official data has showed.

The MPI rose 4.12 percent from a year earlier, in its strongest growth since October 2018, according to the Office of Industrial Economics.

The strong rebound came after improving demand from the country's trading partners and a low comparative base in the same period of last year.

The country's manufacturing capacity utilization rate rose to 69.59 percent, from 65.06 percent in the previous month, thanks to the government's economic stimulus measures and development in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, which helped boost the confidence of manufacturers and consumers.

Meanwhile, Thailand's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has intensified its Covid-19 controls, re-extending the quarantine period for arrivals to 14 days.

Continuous spike in new infections prompted the Thai government to further tighten control measures, including a nationwide requirement to wear face masks in public, prohibition of gathering of more than 20 people, and shortening business hours in six regions including the capital Bangkok, effective from May 1.

The government classified Bangkok and five other provinces as maximum and strict controlled area, where restaurants, markets, convenient stores and shopping centers were required to operate within limited hours.

The CCSA also decided to re-extend the quarantine period for all international travelers to 14 days, regardless of their nationality or vaccination status.

Previously, quarantine period for visitors from countries with no cases of Covid-19 variant strains has been reduced to 10 days.

The CCSA has also approved a plan to inoculate 70 per cent of its nearly 70 million population in the country before the end of the year.

It said Thailand was in talks with various vaccine manufacturers to acquire more doses of vaccines. - Xinhua

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