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PM says Thailand will consider lifting quarantine for vaccinated tourists

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PHOTO: Chuttersnap on Unsplash

The Thai PM, Prayut Chan-o-cha says the government will consider waiving the mandatory 14-day quarantine for tourists with proof of Covid-19 vaccination. For months now, the government has stuck to its stance that vaccinated foreign arrivals would still need to be quarantined, given that it’s too early to say if vaccines prevent transmission. But with industry leaders warning that the economy is on the brink of collapse, the only hope appears to be reviving the tourism sector, a major economic contributor prior to Covid-19.

According to a Bloomberg News report, the central bank says the uncertainty facing the tourism sector is a major threat to medium term economic growth. Governor Sethaput Suthiwartnarueput says it would be very difficult for the economy to recover to pre-pandemic levels without the return of international tourism.

Nattaporn Triratanasirikul from the Kasikorn Research Centre has welcomed the PM’s announcement.

“If this goes ahead as planned, it will be a big boost to tourism and economy. There is still a very high uncertainty on the economic outlook this year, pending all the issues related to the outbreak from local infections, vaccine rollouts and border reopening plan.”

Tourism officials have been pushing for Thailand to introduce a vaccine passport policy that would allow tourists to return from countries where mass vaccination programmes are now underway.

Meanwhile, Thailand takes delivery of its first doses of Covid-19 jabs today, with the arrival of both the Chinese Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines. The national inoculation programme is expected to get underway next week, with frontline medical workers and other vulnerable groups first in line.

The AstraZeneca vaccine will also be manufactured locally by Siam Bioscience, with production expected to begin in June. The government says vaccines from other manufacturers may also be registered for use in the Kingdom, with private hospitals allowed to administer them. The PM says a number of other manufacturers have expressed interest in having their vaccines approved for use in the Kingdom.

“Many companies have shown interest to register but their documents are not completed yet. It is good that we will have more vaccines than the 65 million doses planned by the government now.”

SOURCE: Bloomberg News | Bangkok Post

 

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