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More talks urged on travel bubbles

More talks urged on travel bubbles

BANGKOK: The country is in no rush to open up travel bubbles as more thought is needed into putting the concept into practice, said the head of security for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

By Bangkok Post

Friday 19 June 2020, 09:04AM

Pornpipat: No need to rush in. Photo: Bangkok Post

Pornpipat: No need to rush in. Photo: Bangkok Post

The bubbles, where travel is permitted between any two countries where the Covid-19 pandemic has been brought under control, needs more thought before overseas visitors are allowed back in, said Defence Forces chief Pornpipat Benyasri, the top supervisor of CCSA security, reports the Bangkok Post.

He said issues, which must be addressed before travel bubbles are given a go-ahead without the mandatory 14-day quarantine, include public health regulations and pandemic-related legal requirements of the countries involved.

“There’s no rush [to engage in the travel bubbles]. The priority is creating and maintaining health safety,” Gen Pornpipat said.

He was referring to Thailand’s ability to contain the outbreak as a result of the government’s decision to keep borders closed, separating potential COVID-19 carriers from the rest of the population and deploying rigorous quarantine procedures.

 A CCSA working group looking into the easing of COVID-19 restrictions is considering the gradual re-opening of borders to foreign visitors.

The group was told some foreign nationals have been granted permission to re-enter Thailand since the end of April. They are business people holding a work permit, teachers and students, skilled workers and technicians repairing machines in large industries.

They were quarantined for 14 days upon arrival in alternative state quarantine facilities for which they paid for out of their own pockets.

The group was also told Thai citizens returning from overseas have also been placed under state quarantine. Several were confirmed to be the source of imported infections.

After the pandemic situation is resolved, overseas tourists will be permitted to return in small groups from countries with travel bubble agreements. They can travel only to select destinations for the sake of effective public health surveillance, a source said.

The CCSA’s working group asked the Tourism Authority of Thailand to study the possible downsides of the travel bubbles, including a new wave of COVID-19 triggered by the border reopening and the economic costs which the government must foot if an outbreak recurs.

The working group also voiced caution over “delicate” issues such as travel bubble partner countries negotiating compromises on travel conditions which increases the risk of a new outbreak. Also, local communities might resist the reopening under travel bubble agreements of some tourist destinations located close to them.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health Service Support said medical tourism could be incorporated in the terms of bubble arrangements. Medical tourism was good for the economy though details should be spelt out in travel bubble agreements, said Tharet Krassanairawiwong, of the department.

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Kurt | 20 June 2020 - 12:19:24

Now: First priority of new Phuket Governor, Min. Anutin & Phipat, the generals Anupong & Pornpipat, is indeed to prioritise the health condition & safety of people. Meaning,...no one goes hungry to bed, or not know or he/she have to eat next day. No talks, no meetings of 50+ people in big government rooms, but Government food action!

Kurt | 19 June 2020 - 12:19:33

The Thai Government talking about 'New Normal' is without realising the consequences about the 'New Normal'.  They simply don't know yet how to match the New Normal with new invented Travel Bubble setting. That will take many months to come.

Kurt | 19 June 2020 - 12:11:51

Medical tourism in Bubble agreement? Ok, I travel with health certificate to Thailand for a hip operation. First 2 weeks quarantine during which I appear Covid-19 positive ( got infected during flight to Thailand). Gone medical treatment. No  Thai hospital will operate me, as after recovering from Covid-19 my condition remains weak a long time. Than the insurance nightmare starts.  Pfff.

LALALA | 19 June 2020 - 12:07:30

Nobody will come Kurt, nobody. They will tank the Thai economy further. Looks like the money printing need to be extended and foreign currency reserve to be touched, still only a few exchange booths open on Phuket where you can get USD....not a good sign I believe.

Kurt | 19 June 2020 - 11:58:46

Sorry Phuket, as the general said: 'There is no rush to engage in the regimental travel bubbles'. That means, Phuket has to wait much longer before foreign tourists ( who not willing to do 2 weeks quarantine) are even thinking to travel to Thailand. Bangkok Generals should start now to send cargo planes with food for phuketians! 

Kurt | 19 June 2020 - 11:47:57

Thai borders remain in lockdown.Clear that further than barrack travel bubbles thinking they not came yet. Allowing tourists in ( they start thinking about starting commercial flying may be August), 2 weeks quarantine at own cost, only allowed to go to a few Thai locations? Foreigners, having a 2-3 week holiday simply not come. Chinese, with 4-5 holidays, can not come.


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