Last week we were sitting in the office and thought aloud, how did this wonderful Thai Government come up with the idea to open the country on the 1st October?
Note: I want to be able to fly openly throughout the world without quarantines (just like in the US and parts of Europe), so I am hopeful this goes ahead.
But what was the decision making process for this?
In Singapore, we see that the government there has stated that an 80% vaccination of its population would allow them to open the country for more traveling Singapore Sees 80% Full Covid Vaccination by September to Aid Reopening – Bloomberg
In the UK, they imply with the current opening that 50% vaccination of its population was the target.
So what was the decision making process in Thailand?
As of the 15th July 2021, ~10.4 mn shots were administered in Thailand according to the ourworldindata.org database.
So a bit of arithmetic here, let’s assume:
- The target is a total of 70 million shots (yes, you can argue some may only take 1 shot, that there may be 3 shots etc etc) but for the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that it shall be 70 million.
- That they average ~200k shots/day.
- The result is that by the 1st October ~ 26 mn shots will be administered = ~18% the population.
So if this figure is not hit, should we be surprised if the government delays the reopening?
Should we be surprised if schools continue to be closed?
The issue with the above is that the government doesn’t have a clear strategy/KPI/policy in place for this, which makes life rather frustrating.
Now let’s go to the argument from the government which is “ahhhhhhh we’ll get there, the number of vaccines coming will push us to the targeted reopening of the country.”
Ok, so let’s just do some scenario analysis.
- Starting date: 15th July
- Output: # of months
- The below is a table showing the number of months to hit a certain % of the population receiving two shots.
If your first reaction isn’t WTF, then you already know this.
The best case scenario – which is that they double the # of shots/day to 400k and then in 5 months from the 15th July they’ll reach 50%, therefore by mid-Dec is when they can “reopen the country.”
Now do I think that this will be the case? No. I’m a optimistic person in general (though cynically), there are multiple factors to take into account, for example.
- They may reopen the country on the 1st October with restrictions – similar to Phuket/Samui at the moment.
- Kids/young adults – Probably should not be included in this target and therefore the target % of the total pop may be -25-40% from 70 million shots.
- I’ve been of the viewpoint that genuine peak cases (note that the reported daily cases figures aren’t from yesterday, they range from 2 – 20 days) hit 2 weeks ago and that Thailand (and the ASEAN region) will follow the Indian figures, 3 months from a few cases/deaths to a peak to a few cases/deaths, thus I wouldn’t be surprised to see the case/deaths figures in Thailand decline rapidly in the coming weeks.
- Prophylactics i.e. Ivermectin (or something else) may become more widely accepted.
Then again, who knows. Maybe this Government has an amazing strategy in place and the country will be 100% free and open for travel on the 1st October as our supreme dictator, eh-hem, Prime Minister, has stated.