• COVID-19 Crisis Response under Thailand’s Authoritarian Approach

    The entire world faces the COVID-19 outbreak all at once. Yet, the ways states, societies and people around the world respond to the crisis vary. Each country's quality of life and standard of living may have affected the management of the outbreak to a certain extent, but they are not the sole contributing factors to success. In fact, several other factors also play a part in the success or failure of a state. In response to the crisis, Thailand employs an authoritarian approach, with an agenda of seeking to gain benefits from the situation.

  • When ‘Voice’ Is Power: COVID Management through the Power of Communication

    The COVID crisis has indiscriminately disrupted every single country, revealing both strengths and weaknesses of the elements that sustain public well-being. Its massive scale has posed unthinkable challenges to public health and administration, diplomacy, the economy, and education. For any government, the tool that becomes more indispensable than ever is effective public communication. Without it, public cooperation may never happen.

  • The Naming of Digital Platforms and the Thai Government’s Image in the Context of COVID-19 Management

    One of the more notable efforts made by the Thai Government to manage COVID-19 has been in its naming of the digital platforms it developed. The most important digital platforms deployed by the Thai authorities against the coronavirus to reduce public hardship have been mobile phone applications, COVID check-in websites, and the LINE chat application. For many, the names that Thai authorities gave to these platforms seemed to embody the egotism of the leadership of these authorities and their attitude toward the pandemic.

  • Salute to the Underappreciated Role of Thai Local Administrative Organisations in COVID-19 Prevention

    Thailand’s ranking among the top countries for best COVID-19 response in 2020 came as a surprise to many. While some praised the Thai government for its achievement, many reprimanded it over various issues, leading to a constant chorus of public disapproval which exposed the government’s authoritarianism, incompetence, and self-interest. However, against all odds, in 2020, the number of COVID-19 cases in Thailand remained zero long enough to enable the young generation to voice their concerns in street protests.

  • Disparities, COVID-19, and School Closures

    A performance index for a country’s COVID-19 management may not only be the numbers of infections and deaths but also the number of days schools are open or closed. Reputedly, schools should be the last places to be closed; in fact, shutting down schools should only be a last resort because schools are fundamental institutions in society producing future quality citizens. This article explores how primary and secondary schools in several countries adjusted themselves during the COVID-19 pandemic and how Thailand can apply these lessons to minimise the impact of the lost learning time on Thai students.

  • Society-Oriented Immunity of the Vaccines: Perception, Hesitancy, and (Non) Acceptance

    The phenomenon pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic and the efforts to curb its spread entails several social dimensions. The outbreak of the virus is fundamentally linked to the biological dimension of the virus, its environment, and the health of living organisms such as human beings. However, besides the biological dimension, the outbreak concerns the physical dimension related to close relationships, spatial relations, and physical contacts. It also involves technical elements, particularly the development, storage, and distribution of the vaccine as well as the evaluation of humans’ bodily reactions to the virus and the vaccines.

  • The World and Thailand in Perspective after Two Years of COVID-19

    At the time of writing, people in many countries worldwide are roaming streets freely without masks on their faces after the number of COVID-19 cases in 184 countries has reached 613 million, after 12.6 billion administered doses of vaccines, and 6 ,517,051 deaths1 (compared to about 70-85 million deaths in World War II). In Thailand, the official daily report now shows only 1,321 new cases and 14 deaths. As things overall are easing, it seems Thailand will soon announce the COVID-19 pandemic as endemic in October, delaying its original plan to do so since July.

  • Vaccine in Society: From Matters of “Fact” to Matters of “Concern”

    In the previous article, we wrote about the development of covid-19 vaccines as well as how to ensure their efficacy, not only of providing immunity against the viruses but also of responding to social needs and confidence. We called the latter issue the “society-oriented immunity” of the vaccines. This is a dimension of great importance if we wish to understand how the vaccines work and how they are distributed amid the spread of information, expectations, and the virus.

  • Stories of the “Good Vaccines” - Lessons Learned in Public Health Communications

    After a year of round-the-clock research and countless clinical trials of potential COVID-19 vaccines, a number of vaccines obtained approval in different parts of the world within a rather short time frame. In December 2020, for instance, China approved the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for general use while the UK issued emergency-use approvals for the Pfizer–BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccines. Additionally, between December 2020 and June 2021, the World Health Organisation (WHO) granted emergency-use approvals for six different vaccines.

  • Face Masks and COVID-19 Society

    Earlier in November, I was on my way to meet with a foreign professor who has recently taken his role at the university where I teach. Heading toward the meeting point outside a building, with a mask on my face (as per the social norm when indoors), I had a flash thought of taking my mask off as we would chat outdoors. Seeing me approaching, my new colleague immediately put his mask on, coinciding with me taking mine off. We both looked at each other and laughed at that awkward timing.