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Health officials considering more relaxed quarantine for short-term visitors

Maya Taylor

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Health officials considering more relaxed quarantine for short-term visitors | The Thaiger
PHOTO: WHO/Ploy Phutpheng
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The director-general of the Health Service Support Department says Thai officials are discussing a “more flexible form of quarantine” that would allow short-term tourists the freedom to travel within designated zones in provinces that are ready to re-open. Thares Krassanairawiwong says the tourists would be permitted to travel on specially designated routes, aka. “green lanes”, during their 14 day quarantine, rather than having to remain in a hotel.

“The new type of ASQ is another way to get foreign tourists to help stimulate the economy.”

The 14 day quarantine regulations are seen as a major stumbling block for any re-opening of Thailand’s borders for general travel. Although much of the world still keeps borders closed, many countries are now looking fo innovative ways of allowing some form of travel in the Covid era.

It’s understood the new proposal would have strict terms attached, and would only apply to tourists from “low-risk” countries that have not recorded a case of local transmission in over 3 months. The less restrictive quarantine measures would also have to have full buy-in from each of the provinces and would need to balance economic recovery with health and safety.

The requirement for international visitors to test negative 72 hours before departure would remain in place and – in what may be a deal breaker for most – tourists would be expected to home quarantine for 14 days before leaving their country. It is this latter requirement that may make this idea a non-starter, but anyone really desperate enough to come must book their flights and accommodation through travel agents and follow designated routes while travelling in their chosen province.

Furthermore, Thares says tourists will be required to use tracking devices and travel with a Covid-19 health agency representative. Travel routes in each of the chosen provinces must be separate from those used by the local population, although there has been no further clarity on how this might be managed.

Some of the provinces that have expressed interest in the scheme include Phuket, Surat Thani, Chon Buri, Rayong, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Buriram. Thares points out that hospitals in participating provinces must have adequate capacity to treat Covid-19, including laboratories and isolation wards.

“We have prepared 2,000 hospital rooms and 13,009 hotel rooms to accommodate foreign visitors on leisure and business trips. We are confident that international travellers will be able to visit Thailand from October 15 onwards. We are ready to take them.”

While health officials may be optimistic they can cope, it is unlikely the Kingdom will be faced with a stampede of people willing to avail of the more flexible quarantine option any time soon, given the onerous requirements involved. The hotly-anticipated arrival of between 120 and 150 Chinese tourists coming on the new Special Tourist Visa has failed to materialise, amid revelations that not a single person applied for the STV.

Meanwhile, officials will hold a mobile cabinet meeting in Phuket on November 2 and 3, to give local residents and business owners a chance to air their opinions on how best to rebuild a province whose tourism industry has been brought to its knees.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Maverick

    October 13, 2020 at 10:40 am

    Day dreaming again – when will they wake up and smell the coffee.

    • Avatar

      River

      October 13, 2020 at 10:51 am

      They don’t have to until vietnam, bali and/or cambodia reopens. Because as of now thier direct competition is not gaining from their failures

      • Avatar

        Paul D McCarty

        October 16, 2020 at 12:44 pm

        Amazing Thailand its Amazing Dreams of greatness. Inferior people who project a feigned greatness. Frauds behind a smile.

    • Avatar

      John Teglovic

      October 14, 2020 at 7:32 am

      The government has to be reasonable about the entry requirements in order to bring in enough tourism to help revive the economy. The measures stated are not going to accomplish this goal. If the prospective tourist checks negative to the virus prior to embarking on the trip, and also tests negative upon arrival that should suffice. Who cares what country they came from as long as they are not infected? Who cares how long they want to stay?

  2. Avatar

    Fabian

    October 13, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Great news! They are considering something again.

  3. Avatar

    River

    October 13, 2020 at 10:48 am

    Really is no point in reporting thai tourism reopening. Every week a new plan. Tomorrow someone will set more obstacles in order to return. Low risk countries with no covid? Thailand doesn’t even qualify. Not even China at this point. 14 day quarantine at home then when you get to Thailand which is still under emergency decree…
    They need to stop this nonsense. Get rid of all those obstacles and allow people in from any country that is will to quarantine for 14 and offer them a long term visa so you can restart the process. You will get a nice flow of long stay tourist while keeping the virus at bay.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 13, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Exactly.

      Thailand’s got it right so far, as have Vietnam, Bali and Cambodia, and pratting around with this sort of nonsense gets nowhere.

      Forget the tests before departure and any 14 day pre-quarantine at home, both of which are impossible to verify so meaningless, and simply go for a 14 day quarantine with tests on arrival, day 7 and day 14, and a long term renewable visa which is extended to include those already here.

      Someone wants to see their Thai g/f or b/f, but can’t stay long enough to make 14 days quarantine alone worthwhile? No problem, they can join you in quarantine.

      It couldn’t be simpler.

      • Avatar

        Ben

        October 13, 2020 at 10:15 pm

        Issan John’s suggestions, plus a test prior to getting on the plane, is a logical solution. Targeting all classes (not just the rich from China) from around the world could potentially kick start their tourism sector.

        Thai authorities want zero COVID to enter the country so doing it by country isn’t going to yield that result since there is COVID in every country. Doing it person by person and and having no country restriction may work.

        I believe this is what Cambodia is doing now.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          October 14, 2020 at 12:26 am

          Any “test prior to getting on the plane” is meaningless in my view as it’s not verifiable.

          No, that’s not what Cambodia is doing. Entry there is limited to sponsored businesses only (no tourists) and requires a $2,000 deposit with 14 days of self-quarantine if all on the flight test negative or 14 days quarantine in a “state facility” if one person on the flight tests positive, and an additional 14 days for all if one person tests positive with subsequent tests.

          Rather a gamble (and very limited anyway).

    • Avatar

      Paul D McCarty

      October 16, 2020 at 12:46 pm

      They can’t stop the nonsense. This is who they are. Non-stop nonsense.

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    October 13, 2020 at 11:07 am

    This scheme is almost as bad as the first. The pool of countries that qualify as low risk with no infections in the last three months you can count on one hand with fingers left over. Heck even Thailand doesn’t qualify. How do you verify someone quarantine for 14 days at home? They are playing at the margins and nothing more. Even so it doesn’t really matter since whatever the government decides it won’t generate enough tourist and they can’t come soon enough to safe the high season. Without both of that the closures and bankruptcies will explode to start the new year.

  5. Avatar

    Monir

    October 13, 2020 at 11:26 am

    All those plans will go to garbage,if people don’t see they are executing. At this moment there is no COVID-19 free country, Thailand also can’t assure that. Keep closing boarder is not a wise decision, have to learn and run with virus untill a fortune vaccine come.I love Thailand and want see come back again is “Amazing Thailand” mood.

  6. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    October 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Back to the ol’ ankle monitor.

  7. Avatar

    patty

    October 13, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    All talk, no action and lies seem to be the EMO for the junta. They’re trying to come up with ways to cover up for the lie of the so called Chinese “tourists” that were suppose to show up last week

  8. Avatar

    Mike Frenchie

    October 13, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    Keep dreaming Thailand… nobody is coming! Be ready for a new IMF package in 2021…

    • Avatar

      Pattaya Lover

      October 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

      🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    October 13, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    I’d say it’s probably worse than the first, EdwardV, if you look at it closely, and the supposed 14 days self-quarantine “at home” pre-travel is the worst of the issues.

    “Thares says tourists will be required to use tracking devices and travel with a Covid-19 health agency representative. Travel routes in each of the chosen provinces must be separate from those used by the local population, although there has been no further clarity on how this might be managed.”

    So every visitor will have, and presumably have to pay for, a full time “Covid-19 health agency representative” who’ll be with them 24 hours a day for 14 days (so actually three “Covid-19 health agency representative”s, per visitor, working 8 hour shifts.

    That’ll make for a fun holiday.

    … and they won’t be allowed to go near “the local population”.

    … yes, that’s playing a real blinder.

    • Avatar

      Chr

      October 14, 2020 at 4:12 am

      I want to ask that idiot, if medical rep have to sleep with me also in bed ! Hahahaha

  10. Avatar

    Thomas

    October 13, 2020 at 3:20 pm

    Another day, another idea and still no balls. Thailand trying to open up is currently the best show on the planet. An outstanding storyline with lots of B-class actors. Already looking forward to tomorrow. I wonder who will give the final explanation to IMF & Worldbank next year, but in the meantime I keep watching. By the way, were is Prayuth hiding? Missing his suggestions on the matter.

  11. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 13, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    If they considered no quarantine someone might arrive.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 13, 2020 at 4:24 pm

      If they made it a simple 14 days quarantine, with tests, and they kept it cheap rather than give it to the big hotel groups, a lot of others might arrive too and a lot already here would be happy to stay.

      • Avatar

        Pattaya Lover

        October 14, 2020 at 10:34 am

        For once in your life you have said something sensible. Keep up

  12. Avatar

    Martin Cahill

    October 13, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    I don’t know who are making these so call decisions!. None of them are practical in any sense and will not attract any takers..
    Here’s one that might….Start with Phuket Patong/Karon area ..somewhere the police and geography can prevent travel in or out for EVERYONE, Yes Water police for those who may want to try an escape on a jetski .Maybe an occasional helicopter for those who might want to mountain climb..and let’s say 5 years in jail/100,000 baht fine for law breakers.
    Everyone in the area can live, reside, work formally or informal at their own choosing. On the basis,that if they want to leave the cordoned-off area they must quarantine and test negative to leave.
    Everyone who arrives from overseas must do Covid “same day “test on arrival before they can pass through immigration. If they fail, put them back on the plane (Ok, so you have sit socially distanced in the rear of the plane…most of us would rather be at home if that was the case anyway) if negative, they can stay and go wherever they like in the sealed off Patong/Karon/Kata/ Kamala/Surin beach area. Same-day test on day 14/10 (whatever health ministry thinks)…. if negative then free to travel anywhere in Thailand…test Positive then you are back on a plane home. Thailand people in those “open for tourism areas” can decide whether they want to be part of it or not, (I’m guessing 99% would rather run a very small risk and earn an income versus eventually starving to death) For the tourist, they can choose if they want to take a small risk also and means they could stay from 5 star to no star… Lobster or Phad Tai for lunch. of their choosing.. After Phuket, similar in Samui, eventually Pattaya etc etc. One last thing 60/90 day extendable visa on arrival. Do that and I think you will have the Tourism industry back on its feet. What do other seasoned travellers or those with loved ones in Thailand think?

    • Avatar

      Pedro

      October 14, 2020 at 12:10 am

      A simple, sensible and workable plan, Martin. Unfortunately the Thai Military Junta will never go for it as people could actually understand it. The plan is probably not complicated enough for the PM and the Tourism Chiefs who appear not to understand which tourists bring in the most money and employment to Thailand.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 14, 2020 at 12:46 am

      About as impractical / unrealistic as some of the other suggestions you’ve dismissed.

      You propose that you’re not quarantined in isolation during your 14 days, so you can catch the virus at anytime during that period from anyone and due to the incubation time it won’t necessarily show up in the test at the 14 day point (you could catch it on day 14 as easily as on day 1).

      That’s the first disaster.

      The second disaster is that there’s nowhere for the Thais looking after you to live, so what about them? Either they can go home, so there’s no quarantine at all, or they somehow live in the hotels or on the streets indefinitely.

      Not exactly thought through.

  13. Avatar

    Craig Sharman

    October 13, 2020 at 11:44 pm

    Slightly off the matter, but I wanted to know, if anyone can help. Is this $100,000 health insurance a real thing?.
    As I want to go to see my son and wife.
    I can’t afford that price insurance.
    Any ideas?. Craig. UK

    • Avatar

      John Teglovic

      October 14, 2020 at 7:41 am

      You can buy it online. It’s approximately $1.3k USD for 6 months. The only way into the kingdom right now is for holdersif the Elite Visa.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine

Maya Taylor

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Officials to choose “low risk” countries for possible reduction in quarantine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

The Thai government is to compile a list of countries considered “low risk” for the Covid-19 virus, as it considers a reduction in the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for foreign arrivals. Nation Thailand reports that, once finalised, the Public Health Ministry will submit its list to the Interior Ministry, who will use it to decide the criteria for reduced quarantine.

Danucha Pichayanan, from the National Economic and Social Development Council, says there must be clear criteria for the admission of foreign visitors to the Kingdom. Currently, all those arriving must carry out 14 days’ quarantine, regardless of the Covid-19 situation in their country of origin.

It’s understood the government’s Centre for Economic Situation Administration is considering a proposal from the private sector to ease up on some entry restrictions for foreign investors and businesspeople, including a reduction in the quarantine period.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Economy

Government planning new strategies to boost economic recovery

Maya Taylor

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Government planning new strategies to boost economic recovery | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pracha Hariraksapita / Shutterstock

Energy minister and deputy PM Supattanapong Punmeechaow has outlined a number of strategies the government hopes will help the Thai economy recover from the Covid-19 fallout. The Eastern Economic Corridor, the special economic zone covering the eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, continues to eye foreign investors with a number of large infrastructure projects in the pipeline. One of those is a high-speed rail link between U-Tapao, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports. Also in the works is a 290 billion baht project to develop U-Tapao, with plans for a new, third terminal, and an aviation training centre, among other facilities.

Supattanapong adds that the Board of Investment is considering a range of incentives to encourage foreign investors to purchase property in Thailand. The government is considering offering permanent residency to those buying condos in the Kingdom, provided they don’t mortgage, transfer, or sell the units within 5 years of purchase.

In relation to foreign arrivals, he says the government will clarify its plans on any further re-opening to tourists and investors, in addition to any potential reduction in quarantine. He adds that if the current 14-day period is to be reduced, this would only apply to those coming from countries considered “low risk” for Covid-19. It’s understood the Public Health Ministry is working on categorising countries into low, medium, and high risk, in order to determine the new mandatory quarantine period for international arrivals.

Officials are also considering how foreigners can be encouraged to up their spending from the current average of 50,000 baht per person to 100,000 baht. Since the closure of Thailand’s borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the country’s tourism sector, once welcoming around 40 million visitors a year and generating 3 trillion baht in revenue, has been decimated.

Meanwhile, the government continues to target domestic tourists and residents through a number of stimulus measures, including a recently announced co-payment scheme aimed at boosting spending.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

UPDATE: Covid-19 detected on gym equipment, Koh Samui covid case

The Thaiger

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UPDATE: Covid-19 detected on gym equipment, Koh Samui covid case | The Thaiger

The Department of Disease Control has provided some updates relating to the Koh Samui-based 57 year old French woman who tested positive on Thursday for a case of Covid-19, the first case on the Gulf island in 7 months. Quite swiftly authorities have been able to come up with a possible reason for the case after claiming they detected the coronavirus on gym equipment at the hotel where the woman, her husband and teenage son, were conducting their 14 day ASQ.

The woman, her husband and male teenager, had recently returned from France. Art this stage the government has not responded to questions to the type of visa they are travelling on and how they were able to enter Thailand under the current regime of restrictions and border closures. They all spent 2 weeks in an Alternative State Quarantine hotel in Samut Prakan, south east of Bangkok. She tested negative twice whilst in quarantine. 5 days after being released she tested positive.

Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong, Acting Director-General of the Thai Disease Control Department, says that health officials, tracking down the possible sources of the coronavirus, found traces of Covid-19 on gym equipment used by the woman at the ASQ hotel in Samut Prakan, leading officials to believe the case was not spread on Koh Samui.

Health officials have also conducted Covid-19 tests on 67 employees and other people who were quarantining at the hotel and all were cleared of infection. The Department of Disease Control says, because of this incident, they are planning further restrictions and measures for ASQ hotels.

The woman’s husband, son and a close family friend, who collected the family at the Koh Samui Airport and drove them home in her car, have all tested negative for the virus. All remain under observation in quarantine at this stage. 10 others, including flight staff, on the Bangkok Airways flight that took them from Bangkok to Koh Samui, have also all tested negative for the virus but have been quarantined as a precaution.

Yesterday there were 4 new Covid-19 cases reported in Thailand, including 3 cases identified whilst in state quarantine and a domestic infection (the 57 year old woman), according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Of the 3 returnees, 1 patient, aged 38, had arrived from Austria and 2, aged 26 and 38, had returned from Hong Kong. They were all female.

SOURCES: The Pattaya News | Nation Thailand

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