He did not name the countries in the post on his Facebook page on Thursday evening (Oct 21), but wrote it was now necessary to speed up the opening, reports the Bangkok Post.
“If we wait until everything is fully ready, we’ll be too late. Besides, tourists may choose to go elsewhere,” read the post.
He added that he was aware the acceleration brought with it the risk of more local infections.
“But this is a risk we must take. I think, like other countries, Thailand is now better equipped to deal with the risk. And we need to learn to live with it.”
Visitors from the 46 countries, described as the first low-risk group, may enter Thailand by air without quarantine, provided they have been fully vaccinated and have evidence of pre-flight negative test results. They must also agree to take another test upon arrival.
Gen Prayut added that in the meantime the Public Health Ministry would speed up vaccinations locally.
He urged people to adhere to the prescribed COVID-19 health measures — wearing masks, cleaning hands frequently and observing social distancing.
“I hope we can hear some good news from the upcoming long holidays,” he concluded.
On Oct 11, the prime minister said tourists from around 10 countries would be allowed to visit Thailand starting Nov 1 without quarantine under the same conditions.
According to the information at the time, they can visit 17 places. It is unclear whether the list still applies after the expanded reopening. The 17 places are:
- Surat Thani
- Samut Prakan (Suvarnabhumi airport)
- Phang Nga
- Prachuap Khiri Khan (Nong Kae, Hua Hin)
- Phetchaburi (Cha-am)
- Chon Buri (Pattaya, Bang Lamung, Jomtien, Bang Sare, Koh Sichang, Si Racha)
- Ranong (Koh Payam)
- Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, Doi Tao)
- Loei (Chiang Khan)
- Buri Ram (Muang)
- Nong Khai (Muang, Si Chiang Mai, Tha Bo, Sangkhom)
Udon Thani (Muang, Na Yoong, Nong Han, Kumphawapi, Ban Dung)
- Rayong (Koh Samet)
- Trat (Koh Chang)
- Brunei Darussalam
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- Saudi Arabia
- South Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Hong Kong