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CCSA considers another 2 groups of foreigners for return to Thailand

The Thaiger

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CCSA considers another 2 groups of foreigners for return to Thailand | The Thaiger
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The next batch of returnee categories is now being considered by the CCSA. This time, foreigners with permanent residences who have been stranded overseas for the past 6 months, and long-term foreign residents, will receive priority when the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announces the next date for the next phase of lifting the shutters on Thailand’s borders.

The chairman of the CCSA’s panel, who oversea the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, announced that the panel will recommend these two groups of foreigners back into Thailand “as they have high purchasing power”.

Two new groups now being considered for re-entry to Thailand…

• Foreigners with permanent residences who has been stranded overseas

• Long-term foreign residents (eg. retirement visas)

Both groups would still have to undergo the mandatory state-controlled 14 day quarantine. It’s under the quarantine that so many Thai repatriates have been found to have Covid-19 during the series of tests they undergo. The Bangkok Post reports that around 100 of these people are ready to head back to Thailand and have said they will comply with the mandatory regulations when they arrive.

The Thai Government, at this stage, is unlikely to extend its visa amnesty beyond September 26. What is your visa situation? We have all the latest informationHERE.

The deputy PM and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul also proclaimed yesterday that the screening systems now in place are “efficient” and ready for the next phase of returnees.

Before they get on the plane the passengers will undergo a medical examination and then re-checked when they arrive before heading to their 14 day stay in quarantine, at their cost.

The Health Minister raised concern about migrant workers from neighbouring countries, who are now trying to return for work, who have crossed the borders illegally “without going through disease control procedures”.

“The public has been urged to keep an eye out and alert authorities about illegal migrants.”

“The ministry has been working with other agencies in terms of deploying medical personnel and providing medical supplies, protective gear and treatments to deal with any potential second wave of local transmissions.”

Meanwhile, Thai Airways says they are getting ready to relaunch international travel, with direct flights to Phuket from 6 international destinations planned to take off in November. The announcement co-incides with the “safe & sealed” campaign for Phuket which the Thai government hope will re-boot tourism for the beleaguered island.

The charter flights will fly direct from Denmark, Germany, England, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong into Phuket International Airport, initially twice a month on each route. Thai Airways is set to start the flights by the “end of November”, although the start of the Safe & Sealed campaign is meant to start on October 1.

And the Thai embassy in Washington, and three other consulates in the US have been given permission by the Thai government to repatriate another 2,150 Thais stranded in the US. 17 separate flights are scheduled to head back to Thailand during September.

Thailand and Singapore are also in discussions for the possibility of reopening travel for businesses as the two negotiate a travel bubble procedure that’s safe for both countries.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    TS

    August 28, 2020 at 8:39 am

    “…as they have high purchasing power”. You’re all heart Chairman?

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    August 28, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    The smart thing for these foreigners is to try and take their families OUT of Thailand.
    The country is poison for foreigners now, and now that it is evident what the Thai ruling classes are capable of, better to sell everything and escape.

  3. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    August 28, 2020 at 8:58 pm

    These people should’ve been a higher prioriry. They should’ve been returning when the repatriate flights were going out and Thai Nationals returning from working in UAE and KSA.

  4. Avatar

    Dai J

    August 29, 2020 at 2:12 pm

    A large announcement for 100 people…

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth

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Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

A Burmese teenager who lives near the Thai-Myanmar border tested positive for Covid-19. Now, Thai border patrol officers are tightening security even more to make sure Myanmar’s outbreak doesn’t cross the border and cause a second wave in Thailand.

The 17 year old Burmese boy tested positive for Covid-19 last week. Reports say the teen was in Myanmar’s Payatongsu district, about 5 kilometres from the Three Pagodas Pass checkpoint bordering Kanchanaburi. The teen started having symptoms on September 11 and tested positive on September 17.

Only around 13 people were reportedly in close contact with the teen and they are now in quarantine at a district school. Health officials suspect the teen was exposed to the virus from his uncle who had travelled to Moulmein, a large city near Yangon which had a spike in coronavirus cases. The uncle has been tested and is in quarantine, but his test results are still pending.

In another case, a 2 year old Burmese child tested positive for Covid-19 after leaving Thailand. A report from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health Disease Control Department says the child most likely contracted the virus while travelling from Thailand to Myanmar around September 4 to September 10. The family travelled to Mae Sot and entered Myanmar through natural passageways. 2,635 people in Mae Sot tested negative for Covid-19.

Since Myanmar reported a surge in cases, starting mostly in the country’s Rakhine state on the western coast, Thailand has been increasing border patrol to make sure people are not entering Thailand illegally and potentially spreading the virus. Now that there are cases in some Myanmar border towns, Thailand checkpoints are on high alert.

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. The country reported a total of 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

In some border districts, police have placed barbed wire along the border to prevent people from entering illegally. Security has increased and dozens of migrants have been arrested in the past month for allegedly entering Thailand illegally. Even volunteers have stepped up to patrol the borders. No migrants arrested for allegedly crossing the border have tested positive for the virus.

Daily new Covid-19 cases in Myanmar

Teen near the Thai-Myanmar border tests positive for Covid-19 | News by The Thaiger

The daily number of Covid-19 cases in Myanmar continues to rise. As of September 22, the country reported 6,471 cases with 100 deaths and 1,445 recoveries, according to Worldometer.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut

Maya Taylor

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Struggling airlines to get reprieve through small loans, extension to fuel tax cut | The Thaiger
PHOTO: TAT News

Airlines in Thailand are being offered a financial lifeline, as the Government Savings Bank announces soft loans for carriers left struggling as a result of the current Covid-19 ‘disruption’. Nation Thailand reports that the GSB is offering the loans over a 60 month period, with an annual interest rate of 2%. Chairman Patchara Anuntasilpa says the proposal will shortly be put to Cabinet for approval.

Airlines have been left financially devastated by the fallout from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with countries closing their borders, passenger numbers plummeting, and carriers forced to slash the number of flights on offer. The services available, including the food services, were also curtailed early on as a preventative measure but that restriction has since been lifted. The effect is being keenly felt by all the airlines in Thailand, with the Kingdom’s borders closed to nearly all international traffic since March.

In a further effort to ease the financial crisis faced by Thai airlines, the Excise Department says it will extend the fuel tax cut for low-cost carriers by another 6 months from the end of this month. Patchara, who also serves as director-general of the Excise Department, says the tax may end up being abolished completely. In normal times, taxation on aviation fuel generates around 1 billion baht a year.

Air Asia has also cut some of its ground costs by using airport buses to ferry passengers from a cheaper aircraft parking area, back to the terminals, foregoing the costs of the airport airbridges. Flights from Phuket to Don Mueang, for example, are now a full ‘bus’ service, sometimes adding an additional 15 minutes at either end for the loading up of the buses and the trip to the planes or the terminal.

It’s understood the excise tax collected since October 2019 totals 503 billion baht, down more than 6.5% on last year’s figure. Most of the income comes from oil or oil products, cars, alcohol, and cigarettes.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy

Maya Taylor

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Phuket’s governor calls for help in restoring island’s economy | The Thaiger
Shuttered businesses along Bangla Road in Patong yesterday

The governor of Phuket has likened the southern province to a “patient in a coma”, as he pleads for help to restore its devastated economy. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, Phuket Governor Narong Woonciew was addressing a Public Health Association forum, where he highlighted the economic crisis caused by the ongoing ban on international tourists. The island’s international airport closed in April, shutting off the supply of international tourists, and cutting off the flow of international money flowing into the island’s tourist economy.

The latest figures show that Phuket has lost over 400 billion baht since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The island’s economy is, either directly or indirectly, 90% reliant on a steady flow of international tourists, and has seen a massive tourist infrastructure boom over the past 20 years, including accommodation, tours, tour boats, tours buses and passenger vans, international shows, new roads, restaurants and rentals – all aimed at the many levels of traveller budgets.

Governor Narong predicts the province will face similar hardship next year, and is calling on the government to organise conferences and other events that will attract more visitors to the province.

“So far, the province has invited 15,000 village health volunteers in the south to travel and spend time in the province while today’s seminar is bringing in 10,000 attendees and followers and will relieve some of the hardship.”

Meanwhile, PHA president Prapat Thamwongsa, says the forum gives those attending the opportunity to share knowledge and advice on tackling the spread of disease, with presentations and competitions addressing all public health activities.

Phuket usually receives around 14 million visitors every year, with around 10-11 million arriving from outside Thailand. The airport usually welcomes up to 300 international flights a day but is now only receiving around 80 flights a day, since the ban on foreign flights started in April. Narong says an estimated 40,000 of the island’s workers are now unemployed, while those still employed have taken hefty pay cuts of anything from 20% to a hefty 90%. Less than 30% of the province’s hotels are currently open.

“Phuket is like a patient in a coma in ICU. So, it is necessary for all stakeholders to help restore Phuket as quickly as possible.”

The Cabinet recently approved a long-stay visa (the Special Tourist Visa) for tourists who wish to visit the Kingdom, although critics say the strict requirements, coupled with the extortionate cost of the mandatory 14 day quarantine, make it unworkable. The new visa is also insisting that travellers will have to arrive on restricted charter or private jet flights, adding further cost and restrictions.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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