The countdown is on to the October re-opening of Bangkok and 4 other provinces and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has ordered the tourism, health, and interior ministries to get ready. According to a Bangkok Post report, the PM has instructed officials to prepare to boost tourism while still living with Covid-19 restrictions. However, not everyone agrees with the October re-opening, with some health officials warning of another Covid crisis if it goes ahead.
Be that as it may, the PM is pressing on, according to Taweesilp Visanuyothin from the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration. At a CCSA meeting chaired by the PM, he instructed the 3 ministries to identify more areas that could be part of the country’s re-opening programme, which has been given the catchy title, “Covid-free Tourist Area Sandbox”.
According to Taweesilp, islands with their own airports and strict disease prevention measures would be ideally placed to take part. The programme gets underway next month, when Bangkok, Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan all re-open to foreign tourists.
However, the Bangkok Post reports that some senior healthcare experts are worried about the potential fallout. Dr Prasit Watanapa from the Faculty of Medicine at Siriraj Hospital argues that Thailand is not ready to re-open given its low vaccination rate. He says the government should take heed of what’s happening in Phuket, where even fully vaccinated people are contracting the virus and spreading it.
“It will be worrying to lift the Covid-19 quarantine when the country re-opens its tourism on October 1, while only 38% of the population has received 1 shot of the Covid-19 vaccine and only 18% of the people have had 2 shots of the vaccine. In fact, it would be better off if we will keep waiting for another month to ensure the country is really ready.”
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SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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