Anutin warns Nov 1 reopening could close again if Covid-19 surges

FILE PHOTO: Anutin says the reopening could be reversed if Covid-19 infections surge

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul may have dampened the excitement over Thailand’s November 1 reopening when he announced that it is possible that the country could close up its borders in the event of a serious Covid-19 outbreak.

The announcement on Monday by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha that he had told the Ministry of Public Health and Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration to push reopening the country on November 1 has been met with excitement from tourist international travellers as well as the tourism sector of Thailand.

The plan is to initially open to 10 countries that have a low Covid-19 risk, allowing people from those countries who are fully vaccinated to enter Thailand without any quarantine as long as they test negative for the virus. Anutin says that the details of exactly which low Covid-19 risk 10 countries would be chosen for this reopening is still being discussed.

The reopening plan and the 10 countries will be formally proposed to the CCSA on Thursday. If all goes well, the government then intends to expand the list of countries in the first week of December, and continue the expansion of countries allowed to enter in January of next year.

But the Public Health Minister warns that the fate of the program depends on the Thai people and how well they follow rules to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Anutin warns that if Covid-19 prevention and safety measures are not strictly followed and it an outbreak results, Thailand will likely go back into a shutdown.

Though it hasn’t been fully confirmed that entertainment venues, bars, and nightlife – the closure of which has severely hampered any bid at lowering international tourists back – will be fully reopened, the Minister of Public Health said that these venues that have often been high-risk locations for virus spreading and have contributed to massive Covid-19 outbreaks will be closely monitored as the government attempts to identify and contain any new cluster as quickly as possible.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Neill Fronde

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.