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Malaysia and Singapore to test re-opening of maritime border for business travellers

Maya Taylor

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Malaysia and Singapore to test re-opening of maritime border for business travellers | Thaiger
PHOTO: Calvin Teo/Wikimedia

The Malaysian and Singapore governments have agreed to re-open the Straits of Johor border (the land bridges linking Malaysia and Singapore) from August 17, initially only for those travelling on business. The move comes after Malaysia closed its border 5 months ago in mid-March, at the height of the Covid-19 crisis.

Now the Foreign Affairs Ministers of both countries, Hishammuddin Hussein of Malaysia and Vivian Balakrishnan of Singapore, say cross-border travel will once more be allowed under the Reciprocal Green Lane and Periodic Commuting Arrangement. These agreements allow up to 2,500 commuters to travel between both countries for the purpose of work or official business. Those who fall into those categories can submit applications from August 10, with travel commencing on August 17.

At a later stage, officials are expected to open the border to a further 200,000 daily commuters crossing between both countries, but Malaysian Foreign Minister Hishammuddin calls for patience in the interim.

“There is a lot we must do before allowing daily commuting for over 200,000 people. I hope everyone will be patient. We are doing our best. “

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian echoes those sentiments, saying that while he understands Singaporeans are eager to travel to Malaysia once more, there is still a need for caution as the virus has not gone away.

“While we are committed to addressing the needs of different groups of cross-border travellers, including those who wish to travel for compassionate reasons, the most vital question now is how to open up our borders in a safe and calibrated way.”

SOURCE: Coconuts

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Northern Thai provinces starting Covid restrictions as 3rd wave spreads

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Northern Thai provinces starting Covid restrictions as 3rd wave spreads | Thaiger
Stock photo via Flickr

Thailand’s northern provinces are starting to impose self-quarantines or travel restrictions to combat the recent Covid-19 outbreak that has spread quickly throughout northern Thailand. Phichit and Lampang provinces are the latest in northern Thailand to impose a variety of covid-19 restrictions on people entering.

A Thailand Interior Ministry unnamed source told Chiang Rai Times that the longer list emphasises the seriousness of the 3rd wave of the coronavirus. The new wave originated in nightlife venues in Bangkok and has spread to 74 provinces as of yesterday. Health inspectors believe the new and more contagious UK strain of Covid-19, named B117, arrived in Thailand from Cambodia through migrants.

But as the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has largely placed restrictions in the hands of each provincial government, many are confused about what guidelines they must follow upon entering certain provinces. Northern Thailand’s Lampang province, for example, orders visitors from Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Samut Prakan, Nakhon Pathom and Chiang Mai to report immediately to local health authorities or officials, but it does not require them to undergo quarantine for 2 weeks if test results are negative.

Visitors are advised to check updated information at moicovid.com as the rules are different in each province. So far, 42 provinces have imposed self-quarantine on arrivals to fight the 3rd wave. Phichit, Lampang and Ubon Ratchathani were the latest to join 39 other provinces imposing a variety of restrictions on people entering their provinces.

Visitors to the website posted multiple questions, mostly on whether they needed to be quarantined.

Provinces that impose self-quarantine or other requirements on travellers:

NORTH

  • Chiang Mai
  • Kamphaeng Phet
  • Lampang
  • Lamphun
  • Nan
  • Phayao
  • Phetchabun
  • Phichit
  • Phitsanulok
  • Phrae
  • Tak
  • Uttaradit

NORTHEAST

  • Amnat Charoen
  • Bung Kan
  • Buri Ram
  • Chaiyaphum
  • Khon Kaen
  • Maha Sarakham
  • Mukdahan
  • Nakhon Phanom
  • Nakhon Ratchasima
  • Nong Bua Lam Phu
  • Nong Khai
  • Sakon Nakhon
  • Ubon Ratchathani
  • Udon Thani
  • Yasothon

CENTAL AND EAST

  • Chai Nat
  • Lop Buri
  • Nakhon Sawan
  • Sa Kaeo
  • Saraburi
  • Sing Buri
  • Uthai Thani

SOUTH

  • Chumphon
  • Narathiwat
  • Pattani
  • Phangnga
  • Ranong
  • Satun
  • Songkhla
  • Trang

SOURCE: Chiang Rai Times

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Covid UPDATE: Wednesday’s new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in “serious condition”

Tim Newton

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Covid UPDATE: Wednesday’s new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in “serious condition” | Thaiger

Thailand’s CCSA has announced 1,335 new infections today, after a slight dip in the 10 day surge yesterday. 1,326 of those new infections are local, not imported, and mostly from Bangkok. Today’s tally takes the national total to 35,910 since January 2020 when the first case outside China was detected in Thailand on January 13.

The new infections have mostly emerged in Bangkok with 351 cases. Surrounding provinces report an additional 115 infections today. In other provinces, 877 people.

It’s also been reported today that 36 people are currently in a serious condition and 9 people are on ventilators. Here’s the number of cases reported each day since the start of April…

April 1 – 26 infections

April 2 – 58 infections

April 3 – 84 infections

April 4 – 96 infections

April 5 – 194 infections

April 6 – 250 infections

April 7 – 334 infections

April 8 – 405 infections

April 9 – 559 infections

April 10 – 789 infections

April 11 – 967 infections

April 12 – 985 infections

April 13 – 965 infections

April 14 – 1,335 infections

Meanwhile, Prachuap Khiri Khan officials have ordered the closure of “high risk venues” such as pubs, bars, water parks, children’s playgrounds, gyms, cinemas, game shops. The Governor says restaurants can open “but no alcohol can be served”. This includes the seaside town of Hua Hin.

In Krabi there is now a total of 11 infections, 6 new ones yesterday.

In Chon Buri, which includes Pattaya, there were 99 new confirmed infections of Covid today … a similar number to the past few days.

Total number of infections being treated in provinces…

• Bangkok: 1,689
• Chiang Mai: 880
• Chonburi: 594
• Samut Prakan: 416
• Narathiwat: 304
• Prachuap Khiri Khan: 265
• Samut Sakhon: 166
• Pathum Thani: 124
• Sa Kaeo 105
Covid UPDATE: Wednesday's new infections rise to 1,335 people, 36 people in 

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Thailand approves 8 vaccines for foreign travellers seeking shortened quarantine

Maya Taylor

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Thailand approves 8 vaccines for foreign travellers seeking shortened quarantine | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / Marco Verch

Thailand has approved a total of 8 Covid-19 jabs for vaccinated tourists hoping to avail of reduced quarantine on arrival in the Kingdom. Despite a third wave of infections gripping the country, officials are pinning their hopes on the return of international visitors in order to revive the decimated tourism sector. In 2019, approximately 40 million foreign visitors to Thailand contributed over 60 billion US dollars in revenue.

The 8 approved vaccines are the Chinese Sinovac and Sinopharm jabs, along with AstraZeneca, SK Bioscience, Pfizer-BioNTech SE, Serum Institute of India, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna. However, in a move likely to further complicate already complex arrangements, people intending to visit Thailand will need to be vaccinated no less than 14 days before travel.

Vaccinated tourists will be required to upload their certificates of vaccination on the Foreign Ministry’s website before arrival, after which they can avail of a reduced quarantine period of 7 days. Unvaccinated arrivals will be subject to 10-day quarantine, while arrivals from several countries, including South Africa, will have to endure 14-day quarantine.

Foreign visitors will also require a certificate of entry, a valid visa, adequate health insurance and a negative Covid-19 test result.

Tourism officials in Thailand are desperately hoping foreign visitors will still want to enjoy the country’s beaches, temples, culture, and food, and are pinning everything on a reduction in mandatory quarantine. The quarantine requirement is widely seen as the biggest obstacle for foreign visitors. Prior to the latest outbreak, the southern island of Phuket was hoping to waive quarantine entirely for vaccinated arrivals from July. It remains to be seen if this will still go ahead.

SOURCE: Travel Daily

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