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Phiphat backs reopening, with a caveat

BANGKOK: The tourism minister has defended the country’s reopening plan as promised by the prime minister, stating that five more provinces including Bangkok should be ready for visitors from October, followed by another 21 provinces nationwide.

COVID-19tourismeconomics
By Bangkok Post

Thursday 2 September 2021, 09:24AM


The atmosphere at Suvarnabhumi airport as domestic flights originating from dark red zones were approved to resume on Wednesday (Sept 1). Photo:  Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

The atmosphere at Suvarnabhumi airport as domestic flights originating from dark red zones were approved to resume on Wednesday (Sept 1). Photo:  Wichan Charoenkiatpakul / Bangkok Post

During the no-confidence debate on Wednesday, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister, said after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha vowed to reopen the country by mid-October, the ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand were assigned to work closely with provincial governors and local communicable disease committees, reports tha Bangkok Post.

However, he said only some provinces or districts are possible to reopen this year under a three-step plan.

The first step started with three projects in four provinces: the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus schemes on July 1 and July 15, respectively, followed by two provinces, Phang Nga and Krabi, under the 7+7 extension plan in mid-August.

The second step slated for Oct 1 consists of Bangkok, Chon Buri (Pattaya), Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) and Chiang Mai, while the third step set for Oct 15 comprises 21 provinces across the country.

In the North, six provinces have been selected: Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Phrae, Nan, Chiang Rai and Sukhothai. Four were chosen in the Northeast: Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan and Ubon Ratchathani.

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The South had five provinces selected ‒ Ranong, Trang, Satun, Songkhla and Narathiwat ‒ while the eastern region chose Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat.

Ayutthaya is planned for the central region, while Kanchanaburi and Ratchaburi are priorities in the western region.

From Jan 1, 2022, the government also plans to initiative travel bubbles between border provinces and four neighbouring countries: Surin, Sa Kaeo and Trat with Cambodia; Chiang Rai and Ranong with Myanmar; Nakhon Phanom, Nong Khai and Mukdahan with Laos; and Yala, Narathiwat, Songkhla and Satun with Malaysia.

"The government is insisting on its plan to open these areas. In practical terms, these areas should have a 70% vaccination rate and receive mutual approval from local administrations and local health authorities before being reopening," he said.

Mr Phiphat said the ministry is confident about the pandemic situation improving from October as the Public Health Ministry clarified that the country should have an additional 13 million vaccine doses this month, followed by 24mn in October and 23mn doses each in November and December.

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PAsh | 03 September 2021 - 16:30:47

Being open to visitors means more than just letting some in. It means haveing a rsonable society where they can relax and amenities that are open and avaiable. No silly rules like wearing masks ona beach.. @ Foot many Thai people have had the Astra Zeneca vaccine they are even openinga factory in Thailnd to produce it . 

agoghome | 02 September 2021 - 18:24:36

@Foot. Clearly you've never visited Thailand, else you'd know Thais have been given AstraZenica for the past two months. Even as a foreigner, I've received two, curtecy of the Thai Government. 

Foot | 02 September 2021 - 14:13:21

No such thing as a 70% vaccination rate with SINOVAC only 51% effective.  And SINOVAC is what Thais get.

 

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