Thai virus expert says it’s too soon for foreign tourists

PHOTO: Siamrath

It’s too early to think about opening the country’s doors to foreign travellers, one Thai public health expert says. With the coronavirus still spreading in other parts of the world, Chulaongkorn University epidemiologist Thira Woratanarat warns that letting tourists in while domestic restrictions are still easing poses a serious risk.

Worathanarat wrote a post on his Facebook page, citing the numbers of virus cases in other countries that increased by the tens of thousands in just one day. He added that other countries that have been deemed low-risk and possible travel bubble countries, like Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia, have recently had a resurgence in infections.

“So, the talk of travel bubble agreements and welcoming foreign patients under medical and wellness tourism to generate revenue would be asking for trouble.”

He added that Thailand shouldn’t even entertain the idea at this time, but says that decision is up to the Thai PM.

The next phase of restrictions lifting is this week. Schools, bars and massage parlours are reopening on Wednesday, July 1. Worathanarat says the country’s coronavirus situation should be monitored for the next month to make sure there are no new local infections. Officials talked about allowing tourist under a travel bubble scheme to enter the country starting August 1, but tourists would need to “villa quarantine” which means that would not be able to leave their accomodation during their visit.

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | Facebook

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Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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