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5 other provinces adopting Phuket’s sandbox reopening model

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5 other provinces adopting Phuket’s sandbox reopening model | Thaiger

5 other Thai provinces will be adopting Phuket’s sandbox model between the months of October and December, with a full reopening of Thailand, set to take place in January 2022. The Tourism Authority of Thailand governor says the plan to reopen the tourism provinces will need local residents’ support and a detailed map of where tourists would be allowed to visit.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha chaired a meeting with the Centre for Economic Situation Administration yesterday, where they approved a 3 stage roadmap to reopen Phuket, Phangnga, Surat Thani, Krabi, Chon Buri, and Chiang Mai to vaccinated visitors.

From April to June, those approved provinces will allow inoculated tourists to undergo a 7 day quarantine, instead of a 14 day one. Eventually, those provinces will follow Phuket in allowing tourists to skip the quarantine requirement if they have been vaccinated. Phuket is the first province in Thailand to get a tourism sandbox model approved.

But the travel activities of tourists will be restricted to “sealed routes” in Phuket for 7 days before they are allowed to travel to other locations. The tourists will still be required to use contact-tracing apps.

The government is expediting the 2 dose vaccination process to inoculate 70% of the local residents in an effort to achieve a herd immunity before July 1, as officials say the plan cannot be successful without first achieving a herd immunity.

About 100,000 tourists are expected to arrive in Phuket between April and June with more coming in July and onward. In total, about 6.5 million foreign visitors are expected to arrive this year after the country reopens, with an early reopening aiming to help the economy quickly recover.

Under the sandbox scheme, tourists who want to join the quarantine-free programme are required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport or International Air Transport Association travel pass. Thais who are arriving from abroad need only to show either a fit-to-fly certificate, or a RT-PCR test.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Wesley

    Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Latest on needing health insurance even with vaccine paper approval.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 4:05 pm

    “^Under the sandbox scheme, tourists who want to join the quarantine-free programme are required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport or International Air Transport Association travel pass. Thais who are arriving from abroad need only to show either a fit-to-fly certificate, or a RT-PCR test.”

    Really?

    “Thais who are arriving from abroad need only to show either a fit-to-fly certificate, or a RT-PCR test” to “join the quarantine-free programme” ?

    You’re sure of that?

  3. Avatar

    zig

    Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 4:19 pm

    First..if you can come to Phuket will you be allowed to leave the island and travelto other parts of the country without Q?….also they are talking you have to download a tracking app….No way I’m wearing a leash

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 8:28 pm

    You have to stay in Phuket for 7 days before you can leave to other parts of Thailand. No doubt you will have to past another test before traveling. I’m not a big fan of Phuket but I can do 7 days if it means I can spend the rest of my vacation elsewhere. As for Thailand getting 100K tourists between April and June with a 7 day quarantine, someone is dreaming. Not going to happen. People will just wait for July.

  5. Avatar

    Patrick

    Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 9:29 pm

    I know Thailand, and particularly Phuket, are primarily dependent on bringing in foreign tourists but I wonder if opening things up is going to hurt the domestic tourist market. I live in Thailand and have taken advantage of lots of the hotel and flight specials over the past year because I knew that it was really safe to travel. I won’t be taking those trips this year since the risks of getting the virus will probably increase.

  6. Avatar

    ludwig

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 5:54 am

    Someone might want to explain to the public health officials that the “vaccine” does not make one non infectious. It reduces the immune response (cytokine storm) but neither prevents infection nor limits re-transmission.

  7. Avatar

    Ronny

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 6:12 am

    And….. next week it will all change….and probably the week after as well.
    No certainty at all for future travel to Thailand.
    Or what the restictions and travel conditions will be.
    No certainty = few tourists.

  8. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 8:52 am

    They are soft-pedaling this “contact app”. Notice that it isn’t one of those “requirements” they always tout, because even they aren’t dense enough to know that most Western tourists would balk at having to be “tracked” at all times.

    They figure, once they are landed and in immigration. “Please download this app, sir, and keep your phone on, at all times.”

    What’s the tourist going to do, step back on the plane and head home?

    This is coercion.

    They also haven’t made any changes to the need to buy insurance from a Thai provider to the tune of US$100,000 coverage.

    If tourists are vaccinated and negative, will this money-making scheme still be in force?

  9. Avatar

    Ben

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 11:02 am

    This article appears to be misleading by suggesting if you get into Phuket and stay 7 days then you can go anywhere in Thailand. I wouldn’t hold my breath. Not with people going directly to Bangkok still having to endure ASQ for 7 or 10 days if they’re from countries without any risky variants and longer stays if they are.

    Thailand has been successful in their COVID management because they’ve listed to the scientists and medical people. If they ignored them and listened to the financial/business people then they’d have a situation like in the USA. I give them credit for sticking to their guns and not caving to the tourist lobby.

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.

Tourism

Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp”

Tim Newton

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Phuket’s July Sandbox no-quarantine model “needs a major revamp” | Thaiger
PHOTO: The monsoon waves are starting to hit Phuket's west coast

Thailand’s Sports and Tourism minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn is acknowledging that Phuket’s ‘Sandbox’ model for a no-quarantine re-opening in July will need “a major revamp”. As the Songkran travel bubble bursts and the monsoon season waves start to roll onto the island’s west coast beaches, Phuket’s scheduled July re-boot suddenly seems a long way off.

Minister Phiphat says he plans to meet with “all related agencies” this week. Apart from the latest national re-surge in new infections, Phuket has been unable to get its hands on sufficient vaccines to meed its deadline of 70% of the island vaccinated by July 1. Thailand’s limited supplies of the vaccine – including some 930,000 doses designated for Phuket – are being rerouted to other provinces as the government prioritises the limited supply.

“We are all concerned about the reopening timeline,” he was quoted in Bangkok Post.

But the Minister did acknowledge that, if the 70% vaccination level couldn’t be met, they may consider opening some areas of the island. Exactly how that would work hasn’t been revealed at this stage.

The minister also brought up the ongoing travel bubble negotiations and says he hadn’t heard back from some of the candidates with their reaction to the current outbreak.

Flights in and out of Phuket Airport’s international terminal have been extremely patchy and the flights from feeder tourist markets will need to co-operate with any re-opening plans.

Phuket, whilst suffering a rise in new infections, hasn’t been hit as hard as some of the other popular holiday provinces, like Chiang Mai, Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

This year’s Songkran was going to be a major stepping stone for the island’s recovery and many hotels, some who had opened especially to cater for Songkran holiday traffic, noted a lot of cancellations just prior to the break.

But some island hotels have still reported high occupancy rates over the past week. One Manager, who did not want his name published, said that their hotel was almost full with Thai patrons, most who had pre-paid for their flights and accommodation and decided to go ahead anyway.

Bhummikitti Ruktaengam, the president of the Phuket Tourist Association, says that they are opposed to any lockdown as it would cripple the island, with its tourist businesses already suffering greatly. He stated that 15% of people cancelled their Songkran bookings, while 30% had postponed their trips.

The Sports and Tourism Ministers is still in quarantine after having close contact with Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, who was diagnosed with Covid-19 2 weeks ago.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

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Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Kolour in the park was more pleasant in 2018 before Covid-19.

Health officials in Phuket put out a public statement this week compelling all foreigners who attended clubs and ‘Kolour’ events to report for Covid-19 testing. As many might expect, the response has been lacklustre at best. Spreading the message around the foreigner and expat community in Phuket, the message is aimed at the multitudes of people, mostly foreign who attended Kolour and related events that turned into a Covid-19 superspreader event. Many foreigners have not come forward, much to health officials chagrin.

Online and on social media, foreigners and Thais shed light on why this urgent public health request is going largely unheeded. Foreigners fear the repercussions of coming forward, especially since Thailand is not allowing staying home or elsewhere in isolation if someone tests positive for Covid-19. Quarantine is mandatory, and with infection numbers exploding across the country, many fear the less-than-posh comforts of being quarantined in an emergency field hospital.

Cost is the other factor that likely is preventing foreigners from turning themselves in to be tested for Covid-19. While Phuket health officials may test people for free, anyone found infected with Covid-19 will be financially responsible for all the costs of their treatment and quarantine. Foreigners with limited financial resources, especially after a year of holing up in Thailand to ride out the Coronavirus, may resist reporting to authorities when they cannot afford the mandatory quarantine and medical treatment.

Perhaps recognizing this hesitation, the message includes a plea for all attendees to self-quarantine and self-monitor for any symptoms over the next week, even if they fail to report or test negative. The note also reminds everyone to wear masks in public at all times. The statement to the public also instructed anyone who attended any of the Covid-19 spreading nightlife events to report to the Acute Respiratory Infection Clinic area of Vachira General Hospital to receive a Covid-19 swab test.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions

Tim Newton

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Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | Thaiger

Three of Thailand’s biggest expat areas are seeing sharp rises in new infections, partly from pre-Songkran traffic. The Songkran holidays, now officially over (but will see many people taking today off and making a weekend Songkran extension), and the government says they are expecting to see a rise in the cases numbers reported in the popular holiday locations.

Chon Buri Public Health office says they now have a total of 910 infections since April 1. They have 103 new cases in the past 24 hours. Most new cases are in Bang Lamung district which includes Pattaya City with 47, Siracha with 12) & Chon buri City with 8.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile Phuket has a total of 142 infections recorded on the island with the Governor still insisting there will be no need for a lockdown. Here’s a breakdown of the areas and the numbers of recorded infections so far (below).

Governor Narong announced that the Phuket Infectious Disease Control Committee won’t be implementing an official lockdown, but will “strictly raise the intensity of public health measures to counter the spread of Covid-19″.

“Everyone should wear a face mask, maintain social distancing, wash their hands frequently and install the Mor Chana app (available for free from App Store and Google Play Store).”

A meeting of the CCSA, chaired by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to upgrade restrictions in red zone areas around the country, which includes Phuket and Pattaya. Read more about the latest red and orange zones HERE.

Pattaya, Phuket and Hua Hin brace for increased restrictions | News by Thaiger

For Hua Hin expats, there’s been 100 new Covid-19 infections announced in Prachuap Khiri Khan in the past 24 hours, 75 cases from Hua Hin. This takes the total in the province since April 1 to 625. Hua Hin accounts for nearly 90% of the district’s total cases.

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