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Thailand considering vaccine passport policy in bid to revive international tourism

Maya Taylor

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Thailand considering vaccine passport policy in bid to revive international tourism | Thaiger
PHOTO: Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Thailand’s Tourism Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, says he has asked the Public Health Ministry to approve a vaccine passport scheme aimed at reviving the devastated tourism sector. According to Pipat, the government is looking to the World Health Organisation to issue a statement on vaccine passports before it makes a decision on the matter.

The Tourism Minister adds that having a scheme in place that would allow foreign visitors to bypass quarantine could lead to 5 million tourists arriving in the Kingdom this year. Nation Thailand reports that the government’s Covid-19 task force is also considering allowing quarantining tourists to leave their rooms after 3 days of self-isolation. Pipat predicts that the Russians could be first to return, with tour agents in Russia saying demand is high enough to support regular flights of between 300 and 400 passengers.

The ministry also hopes to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to the 5 major tourism provinces of Phuket, Surat Thani, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai and Krabi. The vaccines would be given to employees at alternative quarantine hotels. It’s understood there are currently 58 alternative quarantine facilities across the 5 provinces, with over 6,700 rooms and 13,000 employees.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mike

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:17 am

    There will be no vaccine passports, it would be discrimination against the people who can not take vaccine because of medical or any other reasons ….. how don’t they think of that before talking about vaccine passport .

    • Avatar

      L-Dogg

      Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 7:20 am

      Because the 5 million other people that are able to be vaccinated can come visit if they want. Do you think the government cares about the 10 people out of 1 million that can’t come because they can’t get the vaccine due to health reasons? Don’t think that is realistic. I already have my passport approved from the IATA, and I’m ready to go. The vaccine passports are going to happen I would put a good chunk of money on that.

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:23 am

    No doubt the three days is to make sure they get an arrival test result prior to release. Figure a pre flight test too. Three days seems a bit much since you really only need two. What are the chances it turns into four? Three days is probably too many for the Chinese since they only come for 6-7 days. Might not matter as it’s iffy at best the Chinese government will let them out this year anyway. Three days quarantine is tough for the two week tourist, that’s some 20% of your vacation. Especially since it’s likely a good portion of Europe will open by summer and they won’t require a quarantine. I’d think you need at least a 3-4 week vacation to make it worth it.

  3. Avatar

    Vim

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:24 am

    In my country, people have started buying and building summer cottages/houses by a lake, especially the traveler type. They have also invested heavily in renovating their homes. Interesting to see if this curbs the will / want or the budget to travel, or if everything is back to normal on the large scale.

    I like this ASQ thing more, keeps people from traveling and saves money for domestic consumption. The big losers are travel destinations, but, well, I care for them as much as they care for me.

  4. Avatar

    JD

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 11:30 am

    That’s a very wise statement! Only the abolition of quarantine could reboot tourism and therefore the nationwide connected economy.

  5. Avatar

    Tom

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 12:01 pm

    Scheme, this is always the saying. I know they mean plan but the word scheme has a negative connotation to it, at least to me. But, like all the other plans that have been proposed, I see this one failing as well. Many will not vaccinate like myself and I believe many Thais will not. Quarantine has kept the tourists away , a failing scheme why embark on another one. I and my Thai family will be glad when these schemings come to and end.

  6. Avatar

    Hans Eriksson

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    We not want to come back to Thailand if the gouverment not give vaccine to all the people.
    Do they think we want to risk get the virus back to EU again.
    At least 1 more year until im back again.

  7. Avatar

    Robert

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:28 pm

    In phase one of the ‘opening to tourists’, I would like to see not only an incoming vaccine requirement for the tourists but also a ‘sectional’ or ‘modular’ safety ZONE for them wherein all Thai are also vaccinated. Phuket or another island would be easy to control this way, but other areas would need some modification for how to administer the borders, not so much for the tourists, but for the Thai who work and/or live in that area. And for farang (tourists or residents) in this area a visible wristband (such as at an amusement park) would be helpful to assure the Thai that they are safe and have passed the safety requirements. Freedom to roam, have fun, relax, party, etc. WITHIN the zone is dependent on the secure borders of those zones. At some point (early 2022?) when all Thai are vaccinated (who want to be) then the special zones would not be necessary.

  8. Avatar

    Ian

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:31 pm

    At last they may do something but I do say may if not they will be back of the que again like with the vaccine hand out

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    If foreign tourists can stop “self-isolation” after “just three days” then you really don’t need to be Einstein to see that it then ceases to be a “14-day quarantine” but becomes “just three days” quarantine.

  10. Avatar

    Russian

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 2:50 pm

    Russians don’t want to take the vaccine. They won’t come.

  11. Avatar

    Frank

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 5:29 pm

    Yeah first Russian arrive and see it is a dead man’s land… will be mentioned at home and people stop coming.. all these hope of 5 million people coming is a dream.. who wants to be in a dead town with everything closed??? They should stop creating false hope trying to keep the last places open that are suffering

  12. Avatar

    D-Boy

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    This is needed immediately if not sooner!

  13. Avatar

    LondonAl

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 10:21 pm

    Hmm, a 3 day quarantine, now that’s worth some consideration provided it’s at my hotel and not a designated hellhole in Bangkok

  14. Avatar

    Boris

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 7:34 am

    It’s quite a simple answer anyone who has been vaccinated can enter it is as easy as 1-2-3

  15. Avatar

    Graham Walker

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 8:23 am

    Does the Thai government seriously think they will get tourists to come when all (or most) or most of the tourist attractions are closed and have been for almost 1 year (do they think these will be reopened overnight) ?
    They need to get out of their ivory tower’s and just open their eyes to what they have done to Thailand.

  16. Avatar

    Dreqo

    Wednesday, March 3, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Keep dreaming. One has to wonder when reality will finally soak into the cranial Rambutan.

  17. Avatar

    Boris

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 1:01 am

    If Russians don’t want to take the vaccine that’s upto them but no entry to Thailand simple… they obviously don’t believe in corrupt Putin the dictator. Russians won’t be missed anyway especially their miserable faces. When have you ever seen a Russian smile?? Answer never.

  18. Avatar

    TOny

    Thursday, March 4, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    Russians are not welcome…they spend little money, and are generally objectionable and miserable.

  19. Avatar

    BangkokBen

    Friday, March 5, 2021 at 12:33 am

    If Thailand waits to long to get rid of the quarantine, all the hotels, bars, and other tourist infrastructure will be out of business. Then who is going to come if there is nothing there for them?

  20. Avatar

    daniel verex

    Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    I find it astonishing there appears no singular plan to provide ‘passport style evidence’ of covid 19 vaccine. All very well suggesting ‘lets get a vaccine passport system’ but there has to be one that is accepted by all countries. I still cant see the USA accepting a passport with either Chinese or Russian vaccine etc etc….

    As for a passport being discrimatory, absolute rubbish. Does that mean that people who chose not to have a national passport are being discriminated because they cant travel. Bleeding heart liberals need to have an injection of common sense…

  21. Avatar

    Paul gibson

    Monday, March 8, 2021 at 4:49 pm

    If they think people are going to come with only 5 province u can stay and cannot fly in to the main airport plus the fit to fly the covid19 insurance and a covid19 test 72 before plus the visa so if u look at the over all cost £300 for insurance £190 for lab test fit to fly £160 to fly visa £190 I doubt if anybody would pay at u have to be a total numpty to pay them cost at without flights at a cost of nearly £800 at not including flight so if u was coming with your wife or a family of 4 u be looking at thousands

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Cambodia threatens jail for Covid-19 quarantine violations

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Cambodia threatens jail for Covid-19 quarantine violations | Thaiger
PHOTO: PM Hun Sen imposes harsh Covid-19 restrictions

In the face of expanding Covid-19 infections in Cambodia, Prime Minister Hun Sen has warned that violators of quarantine may face prison sentences, and government workers could be fired if they don’t get vaccines. More than 1,000 new Coronavirus cases were diagnosed in the last 2 days along, nearly 25% of the total cases since the pandemic began. The government has forbidden out-of-province travel and implemented evening curfews in the main city of Phnom Penh. They even shut down all the tourist attractions including the world-famous Angkor Wat temple complex.

Face masks are already mandatory now in Phnom Penh, with fines up to US $250 for anyone caught violating the order. But PM Hun Sen, himself having had a close brush with Covid-19 months ago, has imposed a 2-week quarantine and has made it clear that punishment for any rule-breakers will be harsh and swift. The government has already enacted a strict bill to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Cambodia, with prison terms of up to 20 years for serious violators. In an address broadcast on state-run television, he promised a “quick trial’.

“People who break Covid measures must be sentenced, I accept being called a dictator, but I will also be admired for protecting my people’s lives.”

Cambodia began Covid-19 vaccination in February, with a million citizens already receiving at least their first of two injections. In a country of 16 million, that 6% is a healthy start for their vaccination programme. The Prime Minister also declared vaccination mandatory for all state officials and members of the military. He asserted that their job was on the line if they failed to comply.

Cambodia had done well with low Covid-19 infection numbers during the pandemic, but in February, the virus tore through the Chinese ex-pat community, with the outbreak causing a surge in infections proliferating across the country. The situation is worsening now, as hospitals in Phnom Penh are running out of beds and the government is converting large halls and local schools into medical centres for mildly afflicted patients.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Nightlife plays major role in Covid-19 third wave

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Nightlife plays major role in Covid-19 third wave | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Krystal Club Thonglor25 is one of many high-end clubs where Covid-19 spread

The current surge in Covid-19 infections now looks to be spread in large part by Thailand’s colourful nightlife, with more than 500 people contracting the more contagious UK variant (B117) of the Coronavirus. The government responded by closing all bars and entertainment venues in 41 provinces, but it may be too late to prevent a third wave of the pandemic. Many people now are critical, pointing to the first and second wave as harbingers of how the party nightlife can so easily transmit Covid-19.

At the beginning of the pandemic, partiers in Bangkok’s Thong Lor area began testing positive for Covid-19 last March. The Public Health Ministry instructed everyone to follow safety measures to prevent a big outbreak. The area is well known to be a hotspot for Bangkok’s wealthy elite and powerful with its multitude of high-end luxury clubs and bars.

A normal night has thousands of people roaming the streets into the late hours of the evening. But after infections started spreading, all nightlife was closed until July when Thailand overall had gained some control and contained the Coronavirus more successfully than most countries. In fact, it would be months before any new infections were diagnosed in the area.

While it’s commonly known that the next wave of Covid-19 in Thailand started mainly from migrant workers and low wage market workers, even the second round of infections was proliferated by people enjoying the nightlife around Thailand. There was a case of a woman in the North who went to several bars before knowing that she had contracted the virus in January, and, when the details of her bar-hopping were released, many customers of a bar she attended in Chiang Mai had already contracted Covid-19 as well. Meanwhile, in Bangkok, Techin “DJ Matoom” Ploypetch held a lavish all-night party in a luxury hotel in January. Facing criminal charges for violating Covid-19 restrictions, he has recovered from the virus himself but the party became a spreader event. None of these nightlife outbreaks stopped people from pouring back into the club scene as soon as it reopened in February.

Now Thailand is facing a massive shutdown with the threat of a third wave of Covid-19 inescapable. One major factor in the rapidly spreading infections is trendy evening entertainment venues around Bangkok, Phuket, and Pattaya among other areas. A 35-year-old man who contracted Covid-19 reported he had been partying in Thong Lor the month before. Testing clubgoers from bars and entertainment venues in the area revealed an outbreak of Covid-19 infections.

Krystal Club Thonglor25 gained attention as powerful politicians and the wealthy elite that frequent the club so often it’s nicknamed “Government House 2”. 1/3 of Thailand’s cabinet ministers are currently self-isolating and it was rumoured that the Transport Minister had gotten C0vid-19 from visiting the infamous Krystal Club, though rumours were later dispelled.

But growing anger has emerged towards the upscale party-going set, with the hashtag #thonglorpub trending across social media since Wednesday, and many people complaining as the country closes down entertainment venues for the next two weeks and maybe facing further lockdown procedures.

The bar and club scene is a hotspot for Covid clusters since social distancing and mask-wearing are rarely enforced, in poorly ventilated rooms with throngs of tightly packed people. A list has emerged of high society hot spots where anyone in attendance in the past few weeks is being requested to get Covid-19 tests right away after customers at each has tested positive for covid.

  • Krystal Club Thonglor25
  • Bar Bar Bar,
  • Ekamai Beer House,
  • Emerald Thonglor13
  • Dirty Bar
  • Bottoms up Thonglor
  • AINU Hokkaido lzakaya & Bar
  • the Cassette Music Bar Ekamai
  • 63 Music House Ekamai

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Big Covid-19 numbers today: 789 new infections, 1 death

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Big Covid-19 numbers today: 789 new infections, 1 death | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: A surge in new infections as people are tested following nightlife clusters.

789 new Covid-19 infections and 1 death were reported today by the CCSA. The death, a 68 year old Thai man from Nakhon Pathom, had died April 4 but was yesterday confirmed as dying from complications from Coronavirus. Only 8 infections were international arrivals, with 522 local infections and 259 diagnosed today through contact tracing.

The international infections were Thai and foreigners and included 3 arriving from Russia and 1 each from the US, UK, Oman, India, and Canada. 33 former patients are now fully recovered from the virus and discharged in the past 24 hours.

Earlier today 17 new infections were identified in Phuket and will go into tomorrow’s official national count. This brings the island’s total new infections this week to 43, almost all of them a result of an influx of Bangkok party-goers to events last weekend.

This new jump in Covid-19 brings the total infections in Thailand to 31,658 – c28,463 local cases and 3,195 internationally imported cases, 17,000+ of those cases were diagnosed from proactive testing. 28,161 have been released as ‘recovered’ with 2,645 people currently undergoing treatment and 97 total deaths.

Thailand is now 113th on the list of most cases globally, with the USA’s 31.8 million infections still more than the next 3 countries combined – Brazil with 13.37 million, India with 13.2 million, and France with 4.98 million. Russia rounds out the top 5 with 4.62 million infections.

The global total is up almost 800,000 to 135.29 million cases with 23.3 million active cases, just over 100,000 of which are considered in critical condition. 108,86 million have recovered from the virus, and 2.92 million have died, including 13,268 today.

Big Covid-19 numbers today: 789 new infections, 1 death | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: The Nation Thailand

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