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Shorter quarantine if tourist test succeeds

Shorter quarantine if tourist test succeeds

THAILAND: A seven-day quarantine for foreign tourists can be put into effect in November if the first batch of inbound tourists in October is clear of coronavirus infections, says the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

CoronavirusCOVID-19healthtourism
By Bangkok Post

Friday 25 September 2020, 10:30AM


The Tourism and Sports Ministry has sought help from private hospitals to carry out testing of tourists arriving at airports. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul.

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has sought help from private hospitals to carry out testing of tourists arriving at airports. Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul.

After next Tuesday’s cabinet meeting, the government will announce more details of the special tourist visa (STV) that will allow long-stay visitors, the first international arrivals in almost six months, to enter the country by Oct 1, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn.

If the first two groups of 300 foreigners complete the 14-day quarantine on Oct 15 and Oct 21 without a positive case, then the ministry plans to propose an increase in the number of tourists per week by Nov 1.

“Only 300 tourists per week will not be enough to fill up the whole supply chain and help operators,” Mr Phiphat said. “However, the figure has to comply with the capacity of the healthcare workforce from the Public Health Ministry to prepare swab tests.”

For instance, the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office can provide swab testing services of up to 1,000 tests per day.

The ministry has spoken with private hospitals about providing more health personnel to support the virus testing process at airports, or allowing groups of tourists to get the test at alternative state quarantine facilities instead to disperse the flow of tourists at the terminal.

If the tourism plan runs smoothly, the ministry will consider shortening the quarantine period to seven days in mid-November, Mr Phiphat said.

He said tourists will still have to complete two swab tests, a strip test and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

“In the event there are five positive cases from 300 tourists, the plan to welcome foreigners has to move forward anyway,” Mr Phiphat said. “But we will set up new alternative plans to cope with the situation.”

Meanwhile, the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) summarised the tourism situation to Mr Phiphat after representatives visited Chiang Mai, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Udon Thani and Rayong to hear about local operators’ problems and seek solutions.

TCT president Chairat Trirattanajarasporn said the government must urgently deliver help to operators so they can bounce back stronger from the crisis.

The council estimates that when global tourism returns to normal, international arrivals to Thailand will hit 60 million, contributing 25% of GDP by 2023.

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drmokie | 17 October 2020 - 21:40:38

If anyone thinks significant numbers of tourists will come, and undergo a quarantine, they ought to re-examine their model. Thailand needs a massive amount of tourist and should also encourage retirement in Thailand. Relax the quarantine. Remember also, retirees bring a lot to the economy and are visited by many relatives. Insurance in ones own country should suffice.

Paulnou | 30 September 2020 - 08:42:09

Quarantine will prevent 99,9% of past million tourists to come, how will the Pukhet people will survive? Many countries less advaned in health and medecine hospital follow up are fine with correct approaches of several tests & later follow up to get back to normal life. Why going through excessive measures to cause distress & suicides in the population? 

Kurt | 26 September 2020 - 08:54:01

Sure there are now tourists arriving in October after reading that probably in November Q-time goes to 7 days only? If Phuket has swab test facilities for 1000 persons per day, than let 1000 tourist per day arrive to be tested and put in quarantine. Just a few hundreds tourist arrivals only in 2 weeks time is a drop on a hot plate.

 

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