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Up to 1,000 foreigners per day with smart phone tracking – plan to open Thailand up to foreigners

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Caitlin Ashworth

If approved by authorities, foreigners from low-risk countries will be allowed to enter the country and travel in so-called “travel bubbles” without going through the 14 day quarantine period. They’ll be tracked through a smart phone application to make sure they stay in their “bubble.” The plan is being prepared for an approval from the Centre of Covid-19 Situation Administration this Wednesday.

Countries considered ‘low risk’ at this stage would include Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, possibly Singapore and China, but this is speculation until the decisions are made which country the Thai government wants to include in its travel bubble.

But the move doesn’t mean tourists will be back and flocking to the islands or filling up the markets of Bangkok. Only 1,000 people would be able to enter the country per day, probably an equivalent of 3 – 5 plane-loads. In the proposal, the foreigners allowed in the country initially will be those entering for business purposes and patients seeking medical treatment, according to a government spokesperson in the Bangkok Post.

“Covid-19 screening tests will be required both before the visitors leave their countries and upon arriving in Thailand.”

The plan has faced criticism as Thais returning home from overseas still face a 14 day quarantine while the plan proposes that certain foreigners won’t have to go through quarantine. The difference being the Thais are arriving from a myriad of countries, many still at high risk. In recent weeks confirmed infected Thais have arrived back from Middle East countries and the US.

The “travel bubbles” will carefully curate the countries from which foreigners will be able to travel from – all low-risk countries with few new cases over an extended period.

If the bubble system works, tourism officials will use the system for a ramping up of tourist arrivals in the future with hopes that it will speed up the economy’s recovery after the hard drop in tourism during March, April and May.

But Thai security officials remain concerned about the country opening up too soon to foreigners, and that it could led to a new wave of local transmissions. They also says that giving privilege to these specific foreigners, while still imposing the 14 day quarantine on repatriated Thai nationals will likely prompt further negative reaction by Thais.

A recent Suan Dusit Poll found that 75.7% of Thais do not want foreign tourists visiting Thailand soon with 54.4% saying that they would like Thai people to tour the country first. 21.3% say they are afraid foreign visitors would spark a second wave of Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mr Z

    Monday, June 15, 2020 at 10:13 pm

    China low risk?!?! People have very short memories, but empty wallets I guess.

  2. Avatar

    Bruce Sterling

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 3:33 am

    If they are so scare of tourist they should be carefull of the outbreak country No:1 ,tourist from China first of all now when they facing the second wave of Covid-19.

  3. Avatar

    Jon Travis

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 3:34 am

    If they are so scare of tourist they should be carefull of the outbreak country No:1 ,tourist from China first of all now when they facing the second wave of Covid-19.

  4. Avatar

    Bubba

    Tuesday, June 16, 2020 at 7:33 am

    And what about the Expats with families here? They are virtual prisoners now in Thailand! If they leave on business or for personal reasons, they can’t return, right? So who suffers? The Expat and his Thai family. So stupid!

  5. Avatar

    Arun Thadhaagath

    Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 3:51 am

    a good movement as thailands main income isfrom tourists.
    I am from India been in Thailand twice till March, for 3 months and now trapped in Laos. I am on my solo bicycle tour and travelled entire thailand,
    from North to far South.
    so safe ,friendly, loving country and people.
    I have only very good experiences and memories.
    amazing loving caring country.
    I love the country and it’s people.
    those who are trapped in countries close to Thailand always think thailand would be the best place for a lock down also.
    we are eagerly waiting to experience agat the one and only the great Thailand.

  6. Avatar

    Glenn

    Wednesday, June 17, 2020 at 8:53 am

    owww, how about locked-on ankle bracelets with radio frequency transmitters? ah, add the requirement to wear an brightly colored arm band that says “potential disease carrier”. then they could do mandatory weekly hospital health check-in.
    failure to comply will be met with large fines followed by deportation. Heil !!!

  7. Avatar

    Germany

    Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 8:21 am

    thailand will suffer a great economic blow with these measures, blocking tourism is blocking its economy and thinking that the Chinese (the biggest carriers of covid19) are their solution, will make the economic fall added to a multitude of new infections. bad thinkers in government

  8. Avatar

    Ron Wood

    Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 8:50 pm

    Foreign tourists let into New Zealand infected with the virus. New outbreak in China.
    Opening up to tourists will certainly increase the risk of further outbreaks. Thailand has done well to contain the virus while many western counties have failed and will have to live with Covid-19 for months or even years to come. The economy in Thailand may be bad now,but another large outbreak and a return to lock down would be devastating. Peoples lives over profit. Go on try it for a change.

    • Avatar

      Chris

      Saturday, July 4, 2020 at 10:03 am

      You are so right. In 2018 more than 20,000 people died in Thailand in traffic deaths. Cars should be banned. Right? After all more than 90% of the deaths from covid-19 are people who are over 65. Covid 19 takes about 5 years of average life expectancy away while traffic deaths take about 50 years.

      https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/03/asia/thailand-road-deaths-new-year-intl/index.html

      Anti-body studies are revealing a real infection rate much higher than posted and a survival rate of about 99.5%. Meanwhile economic destruction and lockdowns are destroying lives, leading to increased suicides, delayed diagnosis of diseases like cancer, delayed early treatment is stroke cancer, heart disease. What about the quality of life for the 99.99% of the world’s population that will not die? Lives over profit indeed.

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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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