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Thailand’s 4-phase reopening, starting today

Neill Fronde

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Flickr Jernej Furman - Vaccine Passports will allow travelers to enter Thailand and avoid long quarantines.

This is not an April fool’s joke. Thailand has set a tentative 4-phase plan starting April 1 for reopening the borders, lifting restrictions, and relaxing quarantine periods, allowing international travel to recommence in a safe manner. As always, this a currently a PLAN and has not been confirmed by the Thai government at this stage.

The planned rollout has a metered approach and aims to allow tourism to rebuild without opening the floodgates to a potential new wave of Covid-19 clusters. The PM’s spokesman outlined the 4 phases, starting today, and completing the transition at the start of next year.

The first phase of Thailand’s reopening scheme, will begin the gradual reduction of the quarantine period for foreign travellers who have already received a Covid-19 vaccination and can present a vaccine certificate. For those who qualify and travel to one of the earmarked tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya, Chiang Mai or Phang Nga, the mandatory 14 day quarantine length will be reduced.

Tentatively scheduled for July 1, the second phase of the plan focuses on Phuket’s massive tourism market, as chartered flights from China are expected to begin arriving in July (despite the Chinese government’s current restrictions on external travel). International travellers arriving to Phuket after this date will no longer need to quarantine at all, according to the proposal, provided they carry paperwork certifying their vaccination.

The next step in reopening Thailand would see the 4 other tourist destinations in the ‘sandbox’ scheme to join Phuket in waiving all quarantine restrictions. Phase 3 is planned to launch October 1, and would allow vaccinated foreign tourists to holiday in Phuket, Krabi, Pattaya, Chiang Mai or Phang Nga without any quarantine. Bangkok has also been discussed as part of this proposal.

The final fourth phase would start on New Year’s Day, 2022, and would be the final step to reopening Thailand’s borders. After January 1, all foreign travellers that have received a Covid-19 vaccination and a vaccine passport will be allowed to enter anywhere in the kingdom without any quarantine period.

Barring any new outbreaks or negative developments in the pandemic, hopefully Thailand will be safely reopened to the world by the new year.

These are just proposals at this stage and you should check with the embassy in your country before making any flight or hotel bookings.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Robert. R

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 9:27 am

    what about families with kids? There is no approved vaccine for under 16s, so will kids (who cannot be vaccinated) be allowed to enter the country (without quarantine) if their parents have been vaccinated. This seems to be a pretty crucial issue for the Government to address , otherwise Thailand will remain effectively closed for families even after 1/2022.

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 11:03 am

    The first phase reducing the quarantine to 7 days is meaningless. However the second phase with no quarantine in Phuket is very doable. Not a big fan of the island but it’s a small enough price to pay. Hope the plan happens.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 11:28 am

    Looking at the four planned phases (not as reported here or by Thai PBS World, but the ACTUAL four phases), it seems that after the resounding success in controlling the spread of the virus last year the lunatics have taken over the asylum – whether that’s down to stupidity, complacency, or greed by the few at the expense of the many is in the eye of the beholder.

    PHASE ONE, starting today, reduces the quarantine period from 14 days to 10 for those unvaccinated from most countries, relaxes the internal quarantine regs in SQ / ASQ, and reportedly reduces quarantine to only 7 days for those vaccinated.

    The last year has proved, world-wide –
    i) that the incubation period is 14 days and
    ii) that relaxing hotel quarantine rules increases risks exponentially (as the recent “cook” case in Thailand shows).
    Nothing has changed to justify any reduction – all that’s changed is that variants have made the virus MORE contagious, not less.
    The Sinovac vaccine is only 51% effective at preventing mild symptoms or below, so in all probability only 51% effective at preventing transmission, so from the POV of the unvaccinated (99% of Thailand) half those vaccinated with Sinovac, quarantined for 7 days, may as well not have been vaccinated at all.

    Completely without justification – and none has ever been given.

    PHASE TWO relies on Phuket vaccinating “at least 70% of the local population” by 1 July. Highly unlikely given that 17% of the population are under 18 so not eligible for a vaccine, so take up would have to be at least 85%.

    PHASE THREE, due 1 October, extends the “sandbox” to Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Krabi and Phang Nga. The attempt to “cordon off” Pattaya last year lasted less than 24 hours before it was realised that in practice it was impossible to enforce; Chiang Mai is unlikely to be any easier. The idea of making Bangkok a “sandbox” just defies belief, even if vaccinations were available which appears highly unlikely at best.

    PHASE FOUR, due 1 january, opens the border to the vaccinated without restriction. It ignores that the main tourist target (Chinese) will have been vaccinated with Sinovac which is only 51% effective at preventing mild symptoms or below, so in all probability only 51% effective at preventing transmission, so from the POV of the unvaccinated (still at least half of Thailand, if not more) half those vaccinated with Sinovac and coming in with no quarantine may as well not have been vaccinated at all.

    PHASE FIVE ??? etc would allow in those under 18 without restriction. How many families will visit Thailand when their children still have to quarantine?

  4. Avatar

    Bill

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I propose a 30-day quarantine. People want to go to Thailand so bad that they will sacrifice any amount of time.

  5. Avatar

    Jeff A

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1:15 pm

    Two recent announcements in the USA: 1) the Pfizer vaccine has been shown to be 100% effective on 12-15 year olds in phase 3 trials so expect approval of that vaccine for children in the near future; and 2) the CDC reports that data suggests that vaccinated individuals don’t carry the virus even if exposed to it, so it essentially blocks a vaccinated person from transmitting the Covid virus to anyone else. These are important developments. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine have proven very effective.

  6. Avatar

    Exile Dave

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    Fully concur with Issan John, especially on the total folly of “phase 1”: Not a hint of justification – neither to rationalize the effectiveness of the randomly relaxed quarantine regime nor to argue realistic economic upsides that this policy would bring. It’s foreseeable disaster for zero benefit…

    The only consolation: The next wave triggered by phase 1 will render obsolete any subsequent phases…

  7. Avatar

    Thomas

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 4:01 pm

    What if the vaccine passport won’t be introduced in a large scale from other nations? Also according Euronews and AFP (15.01.21) WHO is against vaccine passports as a travel condition. Why Thailand assumes that all nations will have the vaccine passport installed? They seem to heavily rely on Chinese tourists. And as a sidenote, vaccines are not protecting people from spreading the virus, nor they guarantee 100% immunity. Besides, there’s not long-term study available to proof their efficacy or side-effects at all.

  8. Avatar

    luca

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    these seem desperate moves, especially useless until phase 4 is reached, allowing the Chinese who are the main target of the Thais to enter would produce the effect said by Issan John, also I’m not sure that China will allow its subjects to leave from the country if they risk returning infected, what I seem to understand is that without international tourism the Thai economy is in serious trouble, will a war break out between the Thais who need it and those who don’t need it?

  9. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    If I read it right, and I want to travel to Hat Yai from abroad…I fly into Phuket with my vaccination certificate, am not required to quarantine, hop on a Bangkok Airways to Hat Yai, and Bob’s your uncle.

    Wise…very wise.

  10. Avatar

    Andrew Whyte

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 5:27 pm

    So no further news of a Phuket/China travel bubble? Can’t imagine Chinese tourists leading the charge back to Phuket if they have a two week quarantine waiting from them back in China. Pretty certain Chinese tourists would rather go to Hainan.

  11. Avatar

    Andrew Whyte

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    Phuket/China travel bubble? For Chinese tourists to lead the revitalization of Phuket’s tourism industry then surely there would need to be a Phuket/China travel bubble.

  12. Avatar

    Apolo Jr. Estrada

    Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 11:02 pm

    There will be another outbreak coming up between now until January 1, 2022 so stop saying that “After January 1, all foreign travellers that have received a Covid-19 vaccination and a vaccine passport will be allowed to enter anywhere in the kingdom without any quarantine period”. Because we have no idea what will happen next, it’s the COVID-19, the one who makes the decision not us..

  13. Avatar

    Jack Sombra

    Friday, April 2, 2021 at 3:03 am

    Would like to take a moment to congratulate Thaiger in their success in finding the ability to ‘report’ rather than just lift article’s wholesale from elsewhere. Sure you are not big enough to have tons of reporters out in the field but you do have the ability to add to artcles “commentary” like you have on this one and others recently. Especially good to highlight things like contradictions and logic issues in policies and “plans”. You have been only place to highlight that what most of what gov has said over last 2 weeks are not concrete plans but rather proposals/targets at best. Keep up the good work and maybe other news sources will not only stop issueing you with legal threats but actualy start to copy your style of reporting, which would be to a huge benefit to the country

    • Avatar

      Thaiger

      Friday, April 2, 2021 at 9:40 am

      Thank you. We will accept, with humility, the infrequent praise.

  14. Avatar

    Amy Sukwan

    Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    LOL!

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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