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PM in 2 day visit to economically-ravaged islands of Phuket, Samui

Maya Taylor

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PM in 2 day visit to economically-ravaged islands of Phuket, Samui | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Asia Times
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The PM and his Cabinet are visiting Phuket and Samui today and tomorrow, in order to meet with business leaders and provincial government, to discuss ways to help the decimated local economies. Since the closure of borders in late March, as the Covid-19 pandemic began its worldwide rampage, former tourist hotspots like the southern islands have borne the brunt of the economic fallout. Both islands rely on more than 90% of their income, either directly or indirectly, from international tourism.

Officials have confirmed the planned itinerary for Prayut Chan-o-cha and his entourage, which will include an inspection of Covid-19 screening and hygiene measures at both Samui and Phuket airports. Officials at Phuket International Airport say it can currently handle the testing and quarantining of 578 foreign arrivals a day. Even so, the amount of people would be along way down from the previous 30,000+ arrivals Phuket averaged in 2019.

The PM is expected to hold talks with tourism officials and business leaders on both islands, in relation to the safe re-entry of tourists arriving under the Special Tourist Visa scheme. It is not yet known how successful or not the scheme might prove, given the onerous paperwork and substantial expense involved.

The PM and his officials will hold a mobile Cabinet meeting in Phuket on Tuesday. They are also expected to meet with officials and business leaders from neighbouring provinces, including Phang Nga, Krabi, and Trang, all of whom have been similarly affected by the border shutdown.

The government says it wants to support local businesses and hear any ideas they might have on how best to revive both international and domestic tourism. The PM’s visit to Koh Samui is also thought to be aimed at promoting the island as a safe destination. It’s understood some domestic tourists cancelled planned trips to the island after a woman who’d recently returned from overseas tested positive on the island after she’d been discharged from quarantine.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    November 2, 2020 at 10:43 am

    I hope there are some protests when the PM arrives.
    If not, these islanders demonstrate they are timid peasants and deserve to starve.

  2. Avatar

    Johnny Rambo

    November 2, 2020 at 10:46 am

    Your visit is useless you corrupt dictator. Just OPEN the damn borders, just bring back tourism. People are starving and dying from poverty while you enjoy life in your luxurious palace.

    • Avatar

      Niko

      November 2, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      Sure and once the virus becomes widespread again and they are forced into another lockdown you will blame them for that too. It is easy to throw bull from the sidelines since you are not responsible when things go wrong.

      Plus please do you really want to make believe that you really worried about the “people starving”, what you are angry is that this is afecting your personal activities and pleasure.

  3. Avatar

    SG666

    November 2, 2020 at 10:52 am

    Disagree
    ..keep the borders closed till July next year so I still can enjoy discounts on housing, car rental, restaurants etc
    ….I love it.

    • Avatar

      Johnny Rambo

      November 2, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Keep enjoying your discounts while the poor are starving you vile inhumane SOB. Keep enjoying it before Thailand becomes an impoverished banana republic where people will point a gun at you because they need those 600 Bahts in your pocket.

      • The Thaiger & The Nation

        The Thaiger & The Nation

        November 2, 2020 at 11:24 am

        You’re going to have to pull back a bit on your rhetoric and direct attacks on other commenters otherwise you’ll be blocked. Final warning.

        • Avatar

          Nipral

          November 2, 2020 at 4:25 pm

          Do you mean none is starving in Thailand thanks to this phony government lack of
          leadership ? Open your eyes !!! Rambo is quite right although his language could
          be more “politically correct”. But yours is not utterly sophisticated either !

          • Avatar

            Manu

            November 2, 2020 at 5:09 pm

            I agree with you Nipral as there is some truth in Rambo’s comment. However I am very suprised with his comment this time since comment after comment, he calls generally Thai people, in a very hateful way, and I quote: “savages” and “all scammers”. And now, he takes their defence…??

            It would be nice if other touristic areas / islands are also being visited at some point and not being completely ignored as it all seems to be about Phuket, samui and Pattaya and that’s it. Koh Chang for example: it is the third biggest island after all (but yes, only after phuket and samui) and the situation here is just as bad, if not worse. And yes indeed, “strange” (I mean “obvious” here, for those who do not understand sarcasm) coincidence, suddenly a surge of small crimes and thefts have appeared on the island, which is unheard of here. For everyone here, Thais, cambodian workers and ex-pats, the current situation is starting to be unbearable. And what will be the situation in 6 months…???

      • Avatar

        SG666

        November 2, 2020 at 5:33 pm

        Johnny Johnny, thanks for your compliments. I can confirm that I do not care about anybody starving in LOS. Simply because – specially in Phuket and other touristic orientated parts of this country – they were scamming foreigners out of their money every day before covid 19 happened. And now ? Everybody is wining.

        Maybe that’s Karma. I will continue taking advantage of this situation for sure as this simply has a significant impact on my families fix costs which results in additional savings which we can invest to improve our wealth. That’s the only thing I care about, nothing else.

        This is the real world, its called Capitalism and in this world money rules, like it or not.

        On top of this we will leave LOS anyway latest in July next year so why I should care about anybody here ? Let it be an impoverished banana republic, I will be out by than for sure.

        9 more month to go.

  4. Avatar

    EdwardV

    November 2, 2020 at 11:31 am

    PR stunt at best. There is almost nothing the PM can do to help Phuket and kho samui outside of reopening the country to foreign tourists. He can offer more needed aid, but that’s about it. Anything else is just playing at the margins.

  5. Avatar

    harry1

    November 2, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    locals are desperate,and need financial help and NOW,as far as business,if you continue to close the border,you have to provide financial package to support them,cancel all unnecessary future government requisition in light of the present financial climate

  6. Avatar

    aldus

    November 2, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    maybe he can check also taxi fare? ticket flight? road situation?

  7. Avatar

    Paulnou

    November 2, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    2 solutions, help the population to avoid debts pay back at this time, give some to eat, or open the frontiers with tests before coming, tests upon arrival, tracing and no quarantine more that very few days like 3 to 7 max
    Buddha save Thailand

  8. Avatar

    Mike

    November 3, 2020 at 1:04 pm

    With so many countries wanting to relocate manufacturing from China and Thailand well equipped in this sector, much of the Phuket economy can be shifted to it. Many of the real estate will become vacant as the hotels, guesthouses, bars, coffee shops close.

    Not ideal for the locals as they’ll now have to graft but at least they’ll have an income. The old industries of fishing agriculture, coconut and rubber plantations can also be resurrected.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

16 new Covid-19 cases detected in quarantine

Caitlin Ashworth

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16 new Covid-19 cases detected in quarantine | The Thaiger

16 new Covid-19 cases were detected in quarantine, according to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. The total number of confirmed cases in Thailand is raised to 3,942 with 3,788 recoveries and 60 deaths. 94 people are currently receiving medical treatment for the coronavirus.

  • 9 Thai nationals travelling from Turkey tested positive for Covid-19. They arrived to Thailand on November 20 and tested positive a few days later. 3 of them reported symptoms including a runny nose, cough, sore throat, fever and fatigue.
  • An 11 year old Thai student travelling from the United States with a layover in Hong Kong tested positive for Covid-19. She arrived to Thailand on November 12 and tested positive 12 days later while at a Chon Buri state quarantine facility.
  • A 43 year old Thai man travelling from the United Arab Emirates tested positive for Covid-19. He arrived to Thailand on November 13 and tested positive 11 days later while at a Chon Buri state quarantine facility.
  • A 44 year old Thai man travelling from Kuwait with a layover in Qatar tested positive for Covid-19. He arrived on November 17 and tested positive 3 days later at a Chon Buri state quarantine facility.
  • A 48 year old Thai man travelling from Qatar tested positive for Covid-19. He arrived to Thailand on November 17 and tested positive 3 days later while at at Chon Buri state quarantine facility.
  • A 31 year old Thai woman travelling from Sweden with a layover in Germany tested positive for Covid-19. She arrived on November 19 and tested positive 4 days later while at a Bangkok quarantine hotel.
  • A 62 year old Thai woman travelling from Switzerland tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival at a screening point at the Suvarnabhumi Airport on November 25. She reported symptoms of a headache and phlegm.
  • A 23 year old Kuwaiti woman travelling from Kuwait with a layover in the United Arab Emirates tested positive for Covid-19. She arrived on November 16 and tested positive a week later while in quarantine at a hospital Bangkok for medical treatment unrelated to the coronavirus. Her health records show that she was previously infected with Covid-19 on September 21.

16 new Covid-19 cases detected in quarantine | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Coming back to Thailand? Here are some of the steps you need to know about.

The Thaiger

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Coming back to Thailand? Here are some of the steps you need to know about. | The Thaiger

Want to come back to Thailand? Whilst the borders are still closed to simple visa-on-arrival and general tourism, you CAN get back to the country at this time if you have the resources, patience and need to get the requisite paperwork together. There will be red tape, stumbles and conflicting information. But be persistent and you’ll be able to travel to Thailand at this time.

The country is open, the beaches are pristine and mostly empty, and the shops are open in many locations, especially around Bangkok. Sure, many parts of the more touristy locations are still largely closed but there are plenty of Thai experiences still awaiting you as the country slowly re-opens for tourism. There’s also plenty of bars and nightlife re-opened and happy to welcome you back.

Please, before you do anything else, check with your country’s Thai Embassy to confirm the current situation for re-entry to Thailand for citizens of your country. In many cases the 500,000 Thai baht minimum bank balance requirement has now been dropped. Financial requirements are now, routinely, US$700 for a single traveller or US$1,500 for a family.

The situation is also continuously evolving. The Thaiger routinely publishes all changes and modifications to the visa and quarantine requirements at this time.

Quarantine

There is still a mandatory requirement for 14 days quarantine at an ASQ, Alternative State Quarantine, a registered hotel that has paid up with a local hospital. HERE‘s a list of registered ASQ hotels. Prices for your quarantine stay range from 23,000 – over 100,000 depending on the quality and space you desire. One of the main differences will be the quality of the food, so ask about the menus available – you’ll be stuck with little choice for your 14 day stay! In most cases you’ll be required to pay upfront and provide proof of payment as part of your visa applications. Some hotels allow a deposit and balance on arrival.

A few people have catalogued their journey through quarantine and the paperwork. Read HERE, and HERE and HERE and HERE. And watch Nick Davies interview with The Thaiger.

Flights

You’ll also need to present proof of your airline ticket to Thailand. New flights are being added all the time back into Thailand as previously grounded airlines are slowly dusting off their aircraft and adding new flights as demand increases. We would recommend searching for flights through an aggregator like skyscanner.com but, when you find a flight at the right time and price, book directly through the airline as it’s easier to deal directly through the airline at this time if things change (and they do, especially at this time).

Testing

You will need to provide proof of a negative PCR Covid test within 72 hours of your departure date. The test and results should take less than 24 hours. You should contact your local health providers or insurers ahead of time so that you will be able to schedule this to fit in with your plans.

Fit-to-fly certificate

Depending on your country, you will be able to get this from a local health practitioner or GP, and even online in some cases. but You’ll need to forward your negative Covid-19 test as evidence for the “fit-to-fly” certificate to be issued.

Insurance

You will need specific medical insurance covering US$100,000, including cover for Covid-19. The TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) has published its preferred list of Thai insurers HERE, but there are plenty of others. Safety Wing also has coverage HERE. And AXA has bespoke policies for medical insurance at this time HERE. This insurance is not overly expensive.

Certificate of Entry

A certificate of entry is required for every person entering Thailand. Go to this website HERE and follow the links.

VISA

Apart from all the other paperwork, created by Thailand’s desire to control potential threats from new Covid cases entering Thailand, you’ll also need a visa. There are a few options at the moment including the STV, Special Tourist Visa, the updated 60 day tourist visa and Elite Visas through the Thailand Elite Visa program. You should discuss your options at your local Thai embassy.

Do your homework before you undertake this venture as your timing of the various elements will be critical to a smooth flow of the red tape required. Also do a complete budget of the elements required to get back to Thailand.

Coming back to Thailand? Here are some of the steps you need to know about. | News by The Thaiger

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thai virologist says vaccinating 40 million Thais next year will be a challenge

Maya Taylor

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Thai virologist says vaccinating 40 million Thais next year will be a challenge | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Unsplash: National Cancer Institute

A prominent Thai virologist has admitted that vaccinating 60% of the population against Covid-19 next year will not be easy. Dr Yong Pooworavan says this is because 40 million people receiving 2 doses each means the country needs access to 80 million doses. Yesterday, it was confirmed that Thailand hopes to begin production and administration of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine in the first half of 2021.

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Yong says the Thai Red Cross has around 600 bottles of plasma serum, which was donated by recovered patients and can be used to treat those who become seriously ill with the Covid-19 virus.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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