Speaking at the Royal Phuket City Hotel in Phuket Town, Mr Chote led a workshop aimed at making sure every province had an appropriate response plan in case COVID-19 started to resurface among the population.
In total, 120 participants joined the training. Also present was Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew.
“This seminar is being held to formulate a response plan for the prevention of COVID-19 infection and to rehearse the operations of the Ministry of Tourism and Sport, both at the central government level and at the regional level, in opening the country to welcome foreigners in terms of tourism and sports activities, ready to support a new way of life, including working effectively with all sectors,” Mr Chote said.
"After the country has been re-opened [to tourists], a person who is infected may somehow slip through. Therefore we need to have a response plan with cooperation from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Defense,” he added.
“If any tourists are found to be infected, the disease must not be allowed to spread among the people. There should be no panic, and public health officers will investigate the case. Tourist Police will track down the suspected person in an investigation with the Ministry of Public Health,” Mr Chote explained.
Mr Chote pointed out that depending on the person, the infection may not present itself immediately.
“There are a variety of cases. Sometimes, the infection does not show after 14 days, or even 15 or 16 days. Each situation is different. Today, we are inviting all travel industry stakeholders to understand how to prevent any outbreaks, by being honest with any officers investigating a person suspected of being infected. The truth matters at the heart of a disease investigation, and can control the spread of the disease,” he said.
“We urge Thai people to not let their guard down. Everyone must wear masks, wash their hands and take care of personal hygiene. This will help prevent them from contracting the disease,” he added.
Mr Chote pointed out that Chinese tourists have already started to arrive in the country on Special Tourist Visas.
All arrivals must observe a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, he assured.
The first tourists to be allowed into the country were 41 Chinese nationals who arrived in Bangkok on Oct 20 , Mr Chote pointed out.
A further 145 Chinese tourists arrived in Bangkok on Special Tourist Visas yesterday morning (Oct 27).
The call to brace for a potential return of COVID-19 as the country re-opens to tourism also comes while officials try to figure out how a 57-year-old woman from France came to be confirmed positive for COVID-19 on Koh Samui after she had cleared her mandatory 14-day quarantine after entering the country.