Bangkok university professor says no “travel bubbles” for at least 6 months

A professor at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University says Thailand’s “travel bubble” plan, which would allow small groups of foreign tourists to visit Thailand, should be put on hold for at least another 6 months. In a Facebook post yesterday, he said that the global Covid-19 situation remains “of serious concern”, as new infections are still surging, with more than 200,000 new cases in the past 24 hours and total infections worldwide now beyond 15 million.

His post pointed out that in Thailand, internal and external risks are on the rise, citing the fifth phase of easing lockdown restrictions, the results of which are expected in 2-6 weeks.

Despite that Thailand has now gone 8 weeks without a locally transmitted case of the virus, he cited protests last week in Bangkok, saying several protesters were seen not wearing face masks, while others were shouting and not maintaining social distancing. This, he said, put people at risk of infection or of transmitting the disease to others.

He warned against reopening the country, saying that not a single country has escaped a second wave of infections after allowing foreign arrivals, noting that no screening system is 100% foolproof.

His post noted that screening of arrivals at their departure point cannot be fully trusted, and added that some infections escape detection. Of about 30,000 arrivals, he said 150 might be found to be infected, or 0.5%. Of these, 20 might escape detection, hence the need for quarantine.

Without offering alternatives, he went on to suggest that Thailand reduce its dependency on tourism as a major source of revenue by shifting to other businesses until vaccines are widely available to fight the spread of COVID-19.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Jack Burton

Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. 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. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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  • He's right about the need to shift away from tourism, but the rest sounds like conjecture. Well-managed travel bubbles can work, but they must be selective about source countries and ensure international coordination and cooperation with international testing standards and sanitisation procedures. British Standards 9001 seems to be advertised on Thai government websites, perhaps it's time for an ISO standard for covid-19 travel management?

    • Source country has nothing to do with it. If you get tested before you fly, upon arrival, throughout 14day quarantine and after....what does your source country have anything to do with it.

  • I always comment on The Thaiger's posts on LinkedIn, including this one..Never get an acknowledgement.TT has about 228 followers on LI. Pathetic for a news platform. TT Never replies to emails.

    No different in this case. Pity.

  • the virus like any cold is manageable as eventually many will get it
    isnt it about time these experts started teaching people about eating and living right?

  • I think the professor has spent too much time in the classroom and not the real world.
    Yes, any country should have a diverse economy and move towards industries of the future like robotics, electric vehicles, biotech, solar,cyber security. But there isn't a switch you can turn on to quickly develop a new industry.Silicon Valley wasn't built in a day or a decade.

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