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250 Germans fly out of Phuket before airport closes on April 10

Jack Burton

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250 Germans fly out of Phuket before airport closes on April 10 | The Thaiger
PPOTO: hotels.com
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Some 250 German nationals flew out of the southern island of Phuket this morning on a special flight chartered to take them home before the airport closes on April 10. Condor Airlines flight DE8759 took off at 10:10am. Phuket has closed all its land and sea borders already, and Thailand is under a state of national emergency until at least the end of April due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic

Phuket International Airport’s general manager says people started queuing up at the check-in counters at 6:20am.

German embassy staff and airline staff checked travel documents and provided passengers with information before check-in opened at 7:10am. Check-in staff took two hours to clear all passengers before they could board the flight. The flight will arrive in Frankfurt at 6.25pm.

250 Germans fly out of Phuket before airport closes on April 10 | News by The Thaiger

Phuket airport will close from midnight on April 10 and remain closed through at least April 30, as the island enters its final stage of lockdown, with no unauthorised persons allowed into or out of Phuket after that date.

The April 10 airport closure was confirmed by Airports of Thailand (AoT) management at the airport on Monday.

Sarasin Bridge was finally locked down as of midnight last night, after a few days of compromise due to the huge number of people desperately trying to enter or leave.

SOURCES: The Phuket News | The Phuket News

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Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and his works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

5 Thai students test positive for Covid-19 after returning from Saudi Arabia

Maya Taylor

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5 Thai students test positive for Covid-19 after returning from Saudi Arabia | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Needpix

5 students, who returned to Thailand from Saudi Arabia via Malaysia, have now been confirmed as being infected with the Covid-19 virus. The students are part of a group of 39 returning citizens who arrived back in the country via the Padang Besar road checkpoint at the Malaysian border.

All 39 are reported to be in mandatory state quarantine at hospitals in the southern provinces of Songkhla, Yala and Pattani. While most are students who were studying under scholarships provided by the government of Saudi Arabia, Thai PBS World reports that 2 of the repatriates are a woman and her 14 month old baby.

A further 6 Thai nationals attempting to return from Saudi Arabia failed the health checks and were refused permission to travel. Thailand has strict fit-to-travel documentation required for all Thai citizens returning to the Kingdom. They are also required to go into mandatory 14 day quarantine when they arrive, no matter where they are returning from.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Bank report predicts extended timeframe for Thai tourism recovery | The Thaiger

As the severity of the current situation facing Thailand’s lucrative tourism industry starts to sink in, Kasikorn Bank Research Centre have released a report with some stark predictions.

Thailand’s tourism and hospitality industry faces losses of 1.69 trillion baht in 2020 and recovery “may not be clearly evident” next year. The report also foreshadows strict ‘new normal’ procedures as government measures will control the entry and exit of foreign tourists, actually all foreigners, to prevent further outbreaks of Covid-19.

It has been clear, as restrictions continue whilst the number of new daily cases hovers in single-digits, that Thailand will paint itself as the zero-risk destination. Exactly how that may unfold, and the list of restrictions imposed, has not yet been announced. But the immigration doors are unlikely to be thrown open any times soon.

The impact of Covid-19 on travel demand and the weak purchasing power of future tourists has Kasikorn Research Centre predicting difficult times ahead for the country’s key tourism industry that contributes up to 18% of Thailand’s GDP.

“Even in 2021, recovery will probably not return. Therefore it will be a difficult period for businesses in the chain of the tourism sector.”

“Until a vaccine is found, tourism and hospitality operators will need to adjust their services and the content they offer to ensure they deliver safe distancing and comply with strict health measures.”

The research paper goes through a number of other key points…

• Health regulations will dictate the travel experience

• Touch-points will have to be removed as much as possible

• Safe distancing will need to be practised at popular tourist spots as well as when travelling or staying in hotels or transferring to and from airports

Tour operators face the challenge of offering safe bus transportation throughout Thailand guaranteeing social distancing, which will be required on all transfers. This will increase the cost of transfers and tours, and more buses will be required to transfer tour groups.

For tour groups visiting water or theme parks, flower gardens and museums will need to be carefully managed to prevent further Covid-19 outbreaks.

Even on planes, the option to reduce passenger load, in efforts to impose socially-distant seating, will make it impossible for airlines to operate profitably unless air fares prices substantially increase.

The entire tourism supply chain will be radically different if the ‘risk-free’ Thailand model is to be rolled out effectively. The report suggests that hotels will be invited to join certification schemes.

Tourist-fed economies like Pattaya, Phuket and Koh Samui will be the hardest hit and have a number of years ahead with a long timeframe for recovery reaching beyond the end of next year.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26)

Anukul

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3 quarantined returnees confirmed with Covid-19 in Thailand (May 26) | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: reuters.com

Today, in the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration’s daily press conference, Dr. Taweesilp confirmed 3 new cases of coronavirus in Thailand, of which all were recorded as quarantined overseas repatriates. This brings Thailand ‘s total of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 3,045. The death toll remains at 57 fatalities with no additional deaths reported today.

Dr. Taweesilp says from the new cases all 3 patients either had mild symptoms or were asymptomatic. They are all in quarantine and under supervision.

“The first case is a 51 year old Thai masseuse, who had previously returned from Russia on May 12 and was quarantined in Chon Buri province. She had no symptoms but tested positive for the disease yesterday.”

“The two others are Thai men who returned from Kuwait on May 24 after a business trip and were quarantined in Samut Prakan province. They were coughing and tested positive yesterday.”

Of the total accumulated cases, 2,929 have recovered, including 1 patient who was released in the past 24 hours and 59 patients remain in hospitals.

Dr Taweesilp said that, in the past 4 weeks, in most of the country (65 provinces), no new Covid-19 cases have been recorded.

“The situation is improving thanks to public cooperation. Now we are heading towards the third stage of easing business and activity that were closed during lockdowns. It is likely to cover some higher-risk businesses and activities. They may resume with strict disease control measures.”

Chonburi, where Pattaya is located, has had no new confirmed cases in over a month. Phuket has also reported 0 new cases today but with 9 patients still receiving medical care.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News| Bangkok Post

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