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PM says Thailand will consider lifting quarantine for vaccinated tourists

Maya Taylor

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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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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9:26 am

    I hope they do it but I doubt it given the conservative approach that has been taken so far.

    On one side the tourism folks and the money men will be fighting for it against the medical professionals who will warn of dire consequences if a lot of illness is sparked by the move.

    The answer might be somewhere in between. Something like the vaccinated can come in without quarantine when we inoculate 50% of our own population.

    • Avatar

      harry1

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 3:11 pm

      l agree thailand needs to vaccinate most of its own people before accepting vaccinated oversea tourists with a vaccine passport ? l cant see this being achieved until the end of the year at the earliest.had they acquired a bigger dosage at the beginning it could had been sooner

      • Avatar

        EdwardV

        Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 5:17 pm

        I think that is why Thailand is prioritizing vaccination in those four main tourist cities. They know they can’t vaccinate 70% of the entire country in time. However they might be able to do so for those four cities. Don’t be surprised if vaccinated tourists are required to remain in one of those cities for their first two weeks. A so called area quarantine if you will.

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Sounds like it’s close to a done deal. The only question is the details and timing. They are talking about opening for the 3rd quarter. To maximize numbers, Thailand needs to set out a specific plan with milestones needed to be met along the way. Something similar to what the UK put out today in their reopening plan. Tourists and industry in general need some time to advance plan. If Thailand wants to open in July, it needs a final decision in May. Fingers crossed.

  3. Avatar

    Nipral

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Simply a matter of life or death for Thai economy. Maybe too late anyway.

  4. Avatar

    Tim Houston

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 10:50 am

    How long would it take to get international vaccines passports? An electronic certificate of vaccination is in the talk by the European commission but is not a priority.

    I am from Europe, my age group will / might start to have access to the vaccine in June. you need 2 shots with an interval of 4 weeks. The vaccine starts to be efficient only after 15 days you have received the second shot. So if I am lucky I might be ready for Q4.

    • Avatar

      L-Dogg

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:43 am

      I have the IATA app, and my vaccine passport electronically already. I signed up a while ago to be in the beta group. The actual app will be launching next month they say, but all it is a a QR code that can be scanned and verified. I had to give them access to my vaccination records here in the state of Nevada, and I also sent over My proof of vaccination, and I am ready to go as soon as they roll it out. I am hoping that Thailand allows you to just bring proof of your vaccination ( Your CDC card/ State vaccination Record Printout) and allows you to enter. I usually enter on a spousal visa anyway every year, and if I can send the proof along with my visa application and they note it on the visa they place in my passport, I’m good with that. I have the stupid SVT visa in my passport still as I was going to return last year, but I’m not messing with the quarantine that adds too much expense to my trip, so this is a good alternative.

    • Avatar

      Loren

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:47 am

      I have my electronic passport already from the IATA. I signed up months ago to be in the beta group. the app should be released next month. You have to give them consent to access your state vaccination records, and upload proof of vaccination ( CDC Card/ State Vaccination Record) then they verify it and give you a QR code when you open the app. Hopefully Thailand lets you just bring proof of vaccination for entry, because they are a little slow to do anything electronically. Or I can send proof when I get my Visa issued from the local Thai embassy, and they can note it on the visa they put in my passport. Hopefully they will come up with something.

  5. Avatar

    J West

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:08 am

    I’d like to see a push to cleaning up tourism before the tourists arrive. Double pricing made illegal. Various mafia practices harshly dealt with. Prostitution banned. Public drunkenness banned. Minimum cash on hand entry. Advance reservations. No visa extensions. Free tourist busses from the airport and around shopping. Daily drug tests. 11 pm curfew. Dream on right?

    • Avatar

      Stu

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:14 am

      Oh I’d love to go on holiday somewhere that police tested me for drugs every day and arrested me for leaving the bar drunk. And ur right…. Who needs to be out past 11pm anyway.

      I think ur suggestions are well thought out and just plain clever! Well done.

    • Avatar

      David Mann

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:27 pm

      ??. May as well stay at home than have a holiday line that. Add no swimming in the sea and it sounds like a great time

    • Avatar

      Joe

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:42 pm

      J. West the new sherif in town, why don’t you eff off to where you came from you lunatic.

  6. Avatar

    Ben

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:19 am

    Just read in Vox about 2 Pfizer/Moderna studies that suggest the vaccinated are less infectious. One out the UK that shows 86% of those vaccinated avoid infection and an Israeli study showing an 89.4% result. If you avoid infection then your chance of passing it on is zero. Still to be answered is can those infected pass it on and does the vaccine reduce it.

    Medical professionals are being cautious and telling the vaccinated to still wear their masks. They don’t want people to go wild until they know precisely what’s going to happen although they suspect the vaccine will reduce transmission enough for us to move forward positively with a new normal.

    Are these kind of results good enough for Thailand?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:58 am

      It depends if Thailand, or anywhere else, is happy with up to 10% of arrivals being infectious.

      Obviously it would never be anywhere near that high, but looking at the reported current numbers arriving who test positive it’s currently averaging around 2%.

      10% of that is around 0.2%, so if you have 10,000 passengers a day (a tenth of past numbers) that’s 20 infectious cases every day.

      The maths are simple.

      • Avatar

        Ben

        Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:21 pm

        The number would go down further if they PCR tested all traveling to Thailand including Thai nationals. If all arrivals were required to be tested prior to boarding and to either be vaccinated or quarantined upon arrival then cases would be rare.

      • Avatar

        David Mann

        Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:40 pm

        Sorry IJ, I still think those numbers are misleading. If in a country like the U.K. where let’s say 150/100,000 are currently thought to be carrying the virus, then if a random 10,000 U.K. people got on planes and flew to Thailand, then that would mean 15 were likely to be infected. Also, given that 150/100,000 is one of the highest in the world then the more realistic number is perhaps 75/100,000 so 7 or 8 people infected. As currently you need a PCR test to travel to most countries then surely that would result in at least 80% of those people being stopped from travel. So you would end up with around 1 or 2 people a day at the most. With the local underlying figures being well in to the hundreds then what is the issue? And with vaccines now rolling out fast to most western countries, these numbers will come tumbling down to 1 or 2 every few days

      • Avatar

        Joe

        Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:44 pm

        English correction : the math is simple.

  7. Avatar

    Andy W

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Big words from the Thai government but they’re completely opposite to all their actions to-date.
    Imo maybe 4th quarter at the earliest after a significant portion of the Thai population have been vaccinated, but if they were to do this sooner then it would be out of character for them.

  8. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    Shit are they starting to get it……..they clearly don’t read the comments here in thaiger…….they would of worked that shit out ages ago.

  9. Avatar

    Geoff

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    I understand that they are desperate but other countries aren’t. Some countries will be more cautious and visitors may still face homecoming quarantine for a long time yet, even with vacc. programmes.

  10. Avatar

    Here wegoagain

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 5:47 pm

    Dare I ask the average age of death from this flu?

  11. Avatar

    Graham Walker

    Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    One thing is for sure, when and if they allow tourists of any kind into the country there are going to be additional requirements which are going to have a cost, this is Thailand !

    • Avatar

      David Mann

      Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 7:47 pm

      Well to support the point you make, they have already said that additional measure to “keep track” of tourists will be required. I know some of the language can be lost in translation, but in the past words and phrases like Batch, Crop, Keeping an eye on, keeping track of; not to mention Dirty Farang, really don’t help. I would assume they may insist on an App on a phone and of course you will need to have a mobile data package which will mean a local Thai sim to be purchased and possibly some “fee” for the App. And let’s not forget the 300-500 baht recently discussed for medical fees (didn’t we all use to pay 500 baht when we left Thailand years back which was then added to the cost of the air fare to pay for such things which has been forgotten about?), and on and on it goes.

  12. Avatar

    Bigsleazypappa

    Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 2:12 am

    Same news everyday what’s going to be tomorrow’s news? For gods sake open the borders now for vaccinated people everyone is suffering

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