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Tourism Ministry pushes vaccine passport system to skip quarantine

Tourism Ministry pushes vaccine passport system to skip quarantine

PHUKET: The Tourism and Sports Ministry has asked the Public Health Ministry for approval to launch a vaccine passport system in a bid to kick-start the tourism industry this year.

COVID-19tourismeconomicsRussian
By The Phuket News

Friday 5 March 2021, 01:29PM


Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said adopting a vaccine passport or a similar method of enabling foreign tourists to skip quarantine would guarantee at least 5 million foreign visitors to Thailand in 2021. Photo: NNT

Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said adopting a vaccine passport or a similar method of enabling foreign tourists to skip quarantine would guarantee at least 5 million foreign visitors to Thailand in 2021. Photo: NNT

Russian tourists in Phuket will likely be the first to experience the eased quarantine restrictions. Tour agents in Russia say demand is high enough for regular Phuket flights of 300-400 Russian tourists, reports state news agency NNT.

Tourism Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said adopting a vaccine passport or a similar method of enabling foreign tourists to skip quarantine would guarantee at least 5 million foreign visitors to Thailand in 2021.

He said the government was waiting for a World Health Organization (WHO) announcement on vaccine passports before issuing the measure, adding that the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) was also discussing a 14-day quarantine that would allow foreign tourists to leave their hotel rooms after just three days of self-isolation.

Mr Phiphat also said the government has unveiled its “area quarantine” plan to open Thailand to foreign tourists from next month.

Mr Phiphat said area quarantine will be piloted in five provinces popular with foreign tourists – Chiang Mai, Phuket, Krabi, Surat Thani and Chon Buri.

He said after meeting with the Public Health Ministry and 216 tourism operators that tourists will quarantine in their rooms for the first three days and they will be granted access to the whole hotel or resort until their 14-day quarantine ends if they test negative. Then, they will be allowed to travel freely through the quarantine area.

The plan will be operated via 29 travel agencies supervised by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), he added.

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The “area quarantine” has already been tested in Phuket with the arrival on Feb 21 of Phuket’s first ‘travel bubble’ tourists, who observed a 14-day ‘villa quarantine’ at the five-star Sri Panwa resort on the island’s east coast.

Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong praised the test, highlighting that the ‘villa quarantine’ was to be deployed elsewhere throughout the country once proven successful.

“At this stage, the villa quarantine has been well organised and it will be used as an example for other hotels across the country to accept foreign tourists

“Thank you to all the officers involved for their cooperation in making everything done very quickly, from the identification-checking process, whereby we had received the information before the tourists arrived on the island, all the way through to taking the tourists to the hotel,” he said.

V/Gov Pichet in his report also pointed out the requirements for implementing a ‘villa quarantine’ ata  resort, including that hotel staff must stay only in the resort area while the tourists are completing their 14-day quarantine. 

“They cannot go outside of the location to ensure confidence for all people,” he said.

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CaptainJack69 | 06 March 2021 - 12:56:54

People, read the article before spouting your made-up Antivaxer pseudo-science. All the quarantine measures discussed are for people who haven't been vaccinated. It hasn't been agreed how vaccine passports will work but people selfish enough to refuse vaccination will still have to quarantine. In the post-COVID world if you want to travel internationally you will have to get vaccinated.

skip | 06 March 2021 - 00:42:04

if the vaccine works, why is there a need for quarantine or testing on arrival ? go against WHO and drop all covid restrictions and let people socialise to promote natural herd immunity. only test sick people. the PCR test is not quantative thats why healthy people test positive from exosomes which is a natural immune system response. the healthy are not transmitting viruses.

skip | 06 March 2021 - 00:26:16

tv will promote vaccine refusal as irresponsible antivaxers.  why would the vaccinated worry about the unvaccinated if they are protected by the vaccine ? the WHO and CDC know after vaccination it will transmit the virus for 2-3 weeks ( shedding ). they know the vaccine wont work as it is not a vaccine. it is irreversible gene therapy. democracy demands choice. tyranny demands obedience.

Christy Sweet | 05 March 2021 - 23:55:11

What is happening is ideal conditions for far more virulent strain to mutate. It's  like a script for a zombie movie. Half-assed measures and re openings just will not work. Watch and learn as Texas implodes  now all restrictions are lifted  

soi bsng u. | 05 March 2021 - 22:35:48

DO IT dammit Thailand. i got vaccine & wanna fly Phuket & see my wife as we been separated since 2019????????????

another overseas scot | 05 March 2021 - 17:54:47

What is the test going to show - antibodies? Is that not what the vaccine will help the body produce? So everyone vaccinated will then "test positive"? After vaccination what is the point of testing & any quarantine? Is anyone who cares about the economy looking at what other competing tourist destinations are doing? Cyprus, Seychelles, Spain, Maldives? 

LALALA | 05 March 2021 - 16:48:02

agreed skip... by the way, most Russians come with families, means children, as there is no vaccine approved for children under 16 or 18 yet whats the point for this passport anyway...

skip | 05 March 2021 - 15:48:05

if they are going to test people for covid on arrival, what is the point of the vaccination ? what is the point of the vaccine passport if you get tested, that very act says the vaccine doesnt work. better to deny the vaccine the arrive and just get tested. oh...bill gates wont make katillions from that  :-)

mgb | 05 March 2021 - 14:55:24

Better get everybody on the island vaccinated then.  Two way street.  Just because you have the vaccine you may not be immune.  So why take the risk.

 

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