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Phuket hammering out Covid vaccines, beating out rest of Thailand | VIDEO



Stock photo via Flickr

The tourism-heavy island of Phuket is ramping up its local vaccine roll out, beating out the rest of Thailand in an attempt to achieve a herd immunity before it is able to reopen to tourists. The island is holding vaccination drives, with 9 centres in place to handle the estimated amount of 460,000 residents who are scheduled to get jabs 2 months before its July reopening.

The reopening is dependent on at least 70% of the population being vaccinated before tourists can enter without needing to undergo a mandatory quarantine. Those international travellers must also be vaccinated fully before being able to skip a 10 day stay in a quarantine hotel. For those coming from countries who feature a Covid variant, they are excluded from being allowed to skip quarantines or cut down on the time required to undergo quarantine.

For those who want to enter Thailand through other areas, the mandatory quarantine time has been cut to 7 days upon proof of being fully vaccinated. Phuket’s Vice Governor Piyapong Choowong, told Reuters that the herd immunity must be achieved in order to allow tourists to enter without undergoing quarantines.

“If we can build immunity for 70-80% of the population on the island, we can receive foreign tourists who have been vaccinated without the need for quarantine.”

Medical workers, elderly people and cabinet members are the first to receive the jabs in Phuket. The government’s decision to allow the normally tourist-laden island to implement its Sandbox tourism scheme, highlights the need for tourists to help bring the economy back. Normally, before the pandemic, foreign tourists accounted for 11-12% of Thailand’s GDP. Now, however, the pandemic has destroyed the economy, with 1.45 million jobs being lost since it began.

In 2020, only 6.7 million foreign tourists visited Thailand, a meager amount compared with almost 40 million visitors in 2019. The Tourism Authority of Thailand’s Governor Yuthasak Supasorn, says Thailand is hoping to see at least 100,000 tourists arrive in Phuket in this year’s 3rd quarter.

“It’s a challenge. But that will contribute to GDP to some extent.We don’t expect tourists will come in like a broken dam but we hope to have quality visitors with high spending.”

Yuthasak says visitors from Europe, the United Arab Emirates and the United States are expected to return first. He says the demand may come back faster than expected.

“I think the Land of Smiles will start smiling again.”

Tim Newton speaks to Bill Barnett from…

SOURCE: The Guardian


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  1. Jason

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    It is yet to happen and unless we hear it out of the Thai Prime Minister’s mouth, it will remain a hope and not a reality. Not Tourism Associations, not TAT, not CCSA but the Prime Minister himself. I am glad to see Thailand reach out to other low risk countries to make arrangements for tourism without quarantine. I am also glad to see dates and goals like July 1 and 70% vaccinated in Phuket. I think all peoples in the world are over vague assurances from their governments! Targets, goals,timeframes!!!! Maybe take the lead from leaders in countries who do that. They seem to be making genuine progress.

  2. Robert Bunker

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 3:40 pm

    Good, informative piece. Very much looking forward to July. Believe Bill is spot on that’s it not just about the numbers and the science but, in the words of old Bill Clinton “it’s the economy, stupid.”

  3. toby andrews

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    If Mister positive Bill Barnet was on the Titanic he would have said, the ship is not going down all that fast, we can have a dinner dance in the top ballroom.
    Phuket is doomed Bill, they have to go back to fishing and farming, and collecting cans.
    Tourism was reducing in 2019 . . .

    • Thaiger

      Monday, April 5, 2021 at 6:20 pm

      Doomed! Really? #dramaqueen

  4. Roger Bruce

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 8:07 pm

    Yes Toby doomed time will tell but tourism, as it was, may never return this virus will mutate and mutate and never stop

    Sure there will be tourism but at fraction of what is was pre pandemic
    Most people too scared of what this Virus will do next
    Home is safe why risk your life in another countries soil

    Good Luck Thailand

  5. toby andrews

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Yes doomed because of a continuing habit of official corruption and low level rip-offs.
    They counted on another aircraft of mugs flying at 4:30, every day.
    But the mugs ripped off never came back. Eventually the mugs arriving dried up . . .
    It is like a pub near a railway station that serves sour beer.
    The customer has paid up front and if he does not come back, that’s alright there is another train arriving at 4:30.
    You will not have this treatment because you speak Thai, and they see you live there.
    But if a stranger arrives they will receive the same old scams and cheats.
    Western reviews of Phuket on the internet will doom Phuket.
    I doubt you will post this.

  6. Alison Harrow

    Monday, April 5, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Will falang be able to get vaccinated in Phuket?
    I am in Krabi, am desperate for the vaccine, happy to go to Phuket for it..

    • Thaiger

      Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 7:05 am

      The government have so far only said ‘resident’ foreigners (registered address in Phuket) will be able to receive the vaccine in this current roll out.

  7. Mr cynic

    Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    Toby has some pretty good points and is generally spot on with the facts.he has clearly spent a fair bit of time in the realm and can clearly see through the smoke and mirrors.his posting are generally pretty humourous also.
    I have to disagree with him on the fact of local expats not being ripped by the local mafias in phuket though.
    Several very long term residents one of 40 plus years have all pointed out to me they also have been ripped by the airport taxi mafia on numerous occasions.they grudgingly accept it as part and parcel of living there.ive asked asked about being picked up by the mrs or friends but apparently the cctv in the airport carpark is not good and tyres tend to be slashed or car paintwork keyed if left unattended.heard the above to many times to dismiss as an isolated incident embellished.

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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.

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