“The Phuket government informed us that the Vegetarian Festival will be held from Oct 16-25, and a lot of Thai tourists will come to Phuket to join the festival,” explained Gen Natthaphon, said a report by state news agency NNT.
“Therefore, they want to postpone the opening for the tourists [sic], as Thai tourists may be worried about joining the festival,” Gen Natthaphon said.
“For foreign business operators, we already allowed them to come to Thailand, but they must have a work permit and be in state quarantine for 14 days,” he added.
“However, there will be discussion about this at the meeting of the Center for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) to find out whether or not to enforce ‘slightly less intensive’ disease control measures will be applied,” he said.
Gen Natthaphon admitted that there had been “a lot of illegal migrants coming to Thailand”, but also assured “officers have already arrested all of them”.
“The number of COVID-19 infected cases in Myanmar is decreasing, yet it is still considered a high number. I confirm we are not ignoring this. We still have close surveillance and intensive disease testing,” he said.
“Preparations for a second wave of infections have been made, but I am sure that there will not be a second wave. There may be only small number of infected cases,” Gen Natthaphon concluded.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has revealed that related government agencies are still weighing up the most suitable way to reopen the country to international tourists, noted another report by NNT.
Only certain groups of foreign visitors are likely to be allowed to visit limited areas, subject to COVID-19 prevention measures starting even prior to their arrival, PM Prayut said.
PM Prayut said that a protocol is needed to take care of international visitors, starting in their country of origin, to ensure the effectiveness of disease control measures while helping the economy to recover.
He said right now related agencies are considering the possibility of determining only certain areas as tourist accessible, which could be limited to particular beaches or closed-off areas, however such areas wouldn’t be as wide as an entire island.
The Prime Minister repeated that he has explained to the general public the importance of tourists, saying that without them, hotels will have to close down.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said in regard to this matter that the Ministry of Public Health is now ready to welcome the first group of 150 foreign visitors from China, who will be arriving at Phuket Airport on a chartered flight.
He said all these visitors will have to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, reassuring the community that there is nothing to worry about.
The Chinese Consul General in Songkhla, Ma Fengchun has praised Thailand’s public health system and effective outbreak response, which has helped reassure local and international tourists of their health and safety during their travels in Thailand, while stressing the popularity of Thailand among Chinese tourists, said the NNT report.