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Covid UPDATE Saturday: 261 Covid-related deaths, news briefs

Tanutam Thawan

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This morning the Thai public health department has added a further 20,571 infections to the Covid totals. 235 of today’s infections are from Thai prisons. There’s also been 261 new deaths announced from the past 24 hours. 23,159 patients have been released from hospitals and field hospitals in the past 24 hours as well.
Provincial totals will announced early this afternoon.

• The Tourism Authority of Thailand says Chiang Mai may have to wait to kick off its tourism reopening program, from next month until at least October, due to concerns over vaccination of the local population.

The TAT deputy governor Thanet Phetsuwan said the province’s “Charming Chiang Mai” tourism program (read “Chiang Mai Sandbox”) may need to be postponed because 70% of its population have not yet been vaccinated – a basic requirement from the government before tourist regions can re-open.

“TAT officials will meet Chiang Mai provincial governor Charoenrit Sanguansat on Tuesday to ask him to complete the rest of the plan at a later date, to be proposed by the CCSA.”

Chiang Mai’s tourism reopening program will not be the same as Phuket’s or Koh Samui’s plans, which have allowed visitors to arrange their routes freely. Chiang Mai plans to reopen for tourism through the use of tour companies, with 9 types of travel packages for 4 days and 3 nights, to ensure routes are under control.

• Travel bubbles in the news… again. This time, Thailand plans to launch a travel bubble arrangement with South Korea once the Covid-19 situation improves. The Tourism Authority of Thailand says the plan would allow for quarantine-free travel between the 2 countries, with hopes it will provide Thailand with a much-needed tourism boost.

The plan has been confirmed by the TAT’s Thanet Petchsuwan, who will oversee international marketing for the Asia and South Pacific regions from October.

He said…. “My first mission will be to talk to the new Chinese ambassador to Thailand about the possibility of allowing Chinese citizens to travel abroad. We are also preparing talks with South Korea to launch a tourist-exchange program, or travel bubble, without the need for quarantine. We are considering the timing and procedures for the program’s launch once the Covid-19 situation in Thailand unwinds.”

TAT offices in the region are hell-bent on promoting the Kingdom to vaccinated Asian travellers, as tourists participating in Phuket’s sandbox scheme and the Samui Plus re-opening have been primarily from Europe and the US.

• The Tourism Authority of Thailand has announced a marketing plan focusing on Asian territories with lower infection rates, such as China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

TAT offices across the region have been tasked with promoting Thailand as a holiday destination to vaccinated Asian tourists.

The governor said he will talk to the new Chinese ambassador to Thailand about the possibility of allowing Chinese citizens to travel abroad. The agency is considering the timing and procedures for the program’s launch, once the Covid-19 situation in Thailand improves.

In addition, the TAT will ask other regional countries, such as Singapore, to help reduce the expense of 14 day quarantine for its nationals returning from Thailand.

 

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