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Health officials considering more relaxed quarantine for short-term visitors

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: WHO/Ploy Phutpheng

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

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:40 am

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

    • Avatar

      River

      Tuesday, 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

        Friday, 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

      Wednesday, 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

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Great news! They are considering something again.

  3. Avatar

    River

    Tuesday, 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

      Tuesday, 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

        Tuesday, 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

          Wednesday, 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

      Friday, October 16, 2020 at 12:46 pm

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

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Tuesday, 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

    Tuesday, 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

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Back to the ol’ ankle monitor.

  7. Avatar

    patty

    Tuesday, 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

    Tuesday, 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

      Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:27 am

      ???????

  9. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, 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

      Wednesday, 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

    Tuesday, 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

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    If they considered no quarantine someone might arrive.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Tuesday, 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

        Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 10:34 am

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

  12. Avatar

    Martin Cahill

    Tuesday, 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

      Wednesday, 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

      Wednesday, 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

    Tuesday, 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

      Wednesday, 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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Bangkok

Stricter Covid-19 rules for Bangkok area construction sites

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: Cramped conditions have led tighter Covid-19 safety restrictions for construction housing sites.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has set out instructions to large construction companies and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to implement stricter regulations to curb Covid-19 in worker housing facilities. The decree comes after clusters of outbreaks were found at housing facilities at construction sites in the Wattana and Laksi districts. The CCSA spokesmen cited cramped living conditions and a mix of nationalities and culture as contributing factors that make Covid-19 infection spread easily in worker housing sites.

Construction companies specifically in Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan were requested to tighten up safety measures. The decree affects some 400 construction sites within Bangkok and its three neighbouring provinces. The BMA estimates as many as 34,600 foreign migrant workers, generally Burmese and Cambodian, living in these facilities along with about 24,600 Thai employees.

The CCSA says the proximity and living conditions in the staff housing facilities are causing Covid-19 to spread at a much higher rate. While Suan Luang district had an 8.85% infection rate, construction housing in Wattana was found to have a rate of infection of around 14.25%.

Staff housing at construction sites, markets, and factories have often been the site of major Covid-19 clusters and Coronavirus spread. At the height of the second wave of Covid-19 in Thailand at the beginning of the year, the Central Shrimp Market in Samut Sakhon had such a large outbreak throughout the Burmese migrant workers there, that the staff dorms and the market were completely sealed off. The entrances and exits were barricaded and locked up, with nobody allowed in and those inside not permitted to leave.

The CCSA hinted that if these new tougher restrictions and safety measures don’t curb new Covid-19 outbreaks and any more Coronavirus spread, a similar lock-in may be implemented in the Bangkok area construction site.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

12 Covid-19 violators busted drinking on Patong Beach

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: A group drinking on the beach was arrested for violating Covid-19 restrictions. (via Freepik)

12 violators of Covid-19 restrictions, of Thai and foreign origin, have been arrested and taken into custody by police for gathering and drinking in public on Patong Beach. The Covid-19 measures currently in place in Phuket ban all get-togethers involving alcohol, limiting the number that can drink together to just 2 people. The group were arrested for violating this order and for drinking in public.

According to the police the group had 3 foreign men in it along with 5 Thai women and 3 Thai ladyboys, so for those keen at maths the details of the 12th person were not revealed. The Covid-19 rule violators were arrested Friday night in Patong on the walkway along the beach on Thaweewong Road, the popular beachfront road.

Police noted the specifics of their liquor stash, confirming that the group had 2 bottles and 8 cans of Thai beer, 2 imported beers, 4 wine coolers, 4 soda waters, and 2 bottles of Thai liquor. The stash was confiscated by the police.

The perpetrators were brought to Phuket town to the Phuket City Police Station. There they were met by the Phuket Vice governors and medical personnel from Vachira Phuket Hospital. The medics administered swab sample Covid-19 test to each member of the group of restriction violators.

The Vice Governor reminded people that these restrictions were put in place after more than 20 people tested positive for Covid-19 from a small group of people drinking together. That is why the regulations allow just two people together when alcohol is involved. He stressed that police and government officials have been instructed to crack down on violators to try to quickly curb the spread of Covid-19 for a chance at reopening to international tourism July 1st.

Officials asked the public to work together to attempt to eliminate the spread of Covid-19 in Phuket and instructed anybody who sees violators of the Covid-19 restrictions to contact the police immediately. Sentence and fine details were not yet available for the group of 12.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Sunday Covid UPDATE: 2,302 new infections and 24 deaths

Tim Newton

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For Sunday the public health department have announced 2,302 new infections and 24 Covid-related deaths over the past 24 hours. There’s now been a total of 101,447 infections and 589 deaths since the start of Thailand’s tally on January 18, 2020. More than 64,000 are registered as ‘recovered’.

• Starting Monday, restaurants in Bangkok, Nonthaburi (immediately north of Bangkok), Pathum Thani, and Samut Prakan (south east of Bangkok) will be allowed to offer dine-in services at 25% of seating capacity until 9pm.

Restaurants in other 17 Red Zone provinces will be allowed to stay open until 11pm without seating limitations. Restaurants in the other Orange Zone provinces will be allowed to resume “normal operations”, though alcoholic beverages may not be served anywhere across the country. In the Red Zones, schools can open as normal with permission from local and provincial authorities. In the Orange Zone schools can open without permission but under the latest rules.

• The Office of the PM has dismissed as false online rumours that Her Majesty the Queen was infected with Covid-19.

The office urged people to monitor Covid-19 news from a reliable channel, such as the Facebook page of the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

• Chonburi and Chiang Mai are being removed rom the dark red zone, or maximum control area, due to an improvement in the Covid situation in those 2 areas.

“If this proposal is approved by the prime minister, there would only be 4 provinces designated as dark red zone, namely Bangkok, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani and Samut Prakan.”

Chonburi, with only 33 new infections yesterday, will be moved to the orange zone, or medium control area, joining 16 other provinces… Kanchanaburi, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Ayutthaya, Phetchaburi, Yala, Ranong, Rayong, Ratchaburi, Samut Sakhon, Songkhla and Surat Thani.

Phuket was also downgraded into the Orange Zone.

 

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