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Poll finds many disagree with reopening borders, lack confidence in Covid-19 prevention measures

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Amazing Thailand

A number of people in a recent survey say they disagree with reopening Thailand’s borders to foreign tourists. Many say they lack confidence in the government’s ability to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and that the move could cause a second wave of the virus.

The National Institute of Development Administration, or Nida Poll, conducted a random survey last week on 1,318 people of various ages and backgrounds. They were asked about the new Special Tourist Visa scheme which allows long term stays after tourists complete a 14 day quarantine.

  • 57% disagreed with the Special Tourist Visa scheme with 40.2% of them saying it could cause a second Covid-19 outbreak and 16.8% of them saying they do not have confidence in the government’s coronavirus prevention measures.
  • 42.3% agreed with opening the border to foreign tourists, but say preventative measures must be in place. They say the move will help revive the economy after tourism businesses were crippled by the lack of international travel.

The survey also asked which group of travellers they see as more of a threat of potentially spreading Covid-19: Those arriving by air, those arriving by land through border checkpoints or those crossing natural borders. Recently, there has been a surge of cases in Myanmar, causing fear that the outbreak might reach Thailand’s border districts. Border officers have tightened patrol along the Thai-Myanmar border, blocking some natural passageways with barbed wire fences and arresting migrants who allegedly crossed natural passageways illegally.

  • 50.2% say all 3 groups are an equal threat.
  • 31.1% say those crossing natural passageways are the highest threat.
  • 10.5% say those arriving by air are the highest threat.
  • 4.1% say none of them are a threat.
  • 3.7% say those arriving by land through border checkpoints are the highest threat.

The participants were also asked about their confidence in the government’s ability to prevent the spread of Covid-19 once they reopen the country to foreign tourists.

  • 62.6% have no confidence in the government with 35.4% saying they aren’t confident because most of the new cases detected are returnees travelling from overseas and 26.2% have absolutely no confidence in the government’s preventive measures.
  • 25.0% have moderate confidence in the government.
  • 11.9% have strong confidence in the government.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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41 Comments

41 Comments

  1. Avatar

    RR

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Those disagreeing live in areas where tourists does not usually go, but their money for sure (see parents of bargirls etc…)

    • Avatar

      John

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      The majority has voted! Do not open the borders to Covid! It is a democracy!

      • Avatar

        Niklas

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 11:31 pm

        Lol, that’s a poll not an official vote

      • Avatar

        Bobby m

        Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 12:53 am

        1600 people a democracy, so when you have an election for a new government, your happy for 1600 people to choose for you. I don’t think so.

  2. Avatar

    Glenn

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:11 pm

    propaganda works.
    read the headlines and question nothing.
    believe what you are told.
    obey authority.
    ignorance is strength.
    2+2=5
    VS.
    20% of GDP is a lot of money, jobs, and businesses lost.
    59 died in a 9 month time.
    99.995% of Thailand never even got the sniffles.
    PCR covid tests are wildly faulty and yield false positives.
    Almost all ‘infected returnees’ were asymptomatic. YOU are asymptomatic, but maybe YOU too should also be thrown in quarantine for 2 weeks – think about that!

  3. Avatar

    Boicotthailand

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:22 pm

    Lucky it’s a fake survey. Who trust a corrupted, violent, selfish dictatorial government run by a insignifican dictator?

  4. Avatar

    Nee

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:35 pm

    มั่วแต่กลัวสุดท้ายแล้วนักท่องเที่ยวไปประเทศอื่นแล้วจะรู้สึก ธุรกิจพังพินาศเสียหาย คนไทยตรวจโควิทเพียงไม่กี่คนแต่บอกว่าชาวต่างชาติที่เข้ามาจะทำให้ติด แล้วคนไทยตรวจโควิทเพียงไม่กี่คน น่าสมเพศสิ้นดี ดีกว่าไหมนักท่องเที่ยวไปประเทศอื่นให้หมด

  5. Avatar

    Jason

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    I find this survey interesting. What do you take out of it? Who was surveyed? What was the demographic? 1600 people isn’t exactly a convincing sample from a country of 90million?. Either way, it seems 60% of people don’t what us to come. And 13% have no confidence in the government’s ability to control an outbreak? Thailand has one of the lowest incidence of the virus and tight controls (which is killing their tourist industry as a consequence). This survey shows that the Government has done a great job in frightening their people about the virus (hence the reluctance to let anyone in). But it is a vote of no confidence in the government’s ability to control any outbreak. Looks like Thailand will be closed to anyone for decades with that mix of attitudes.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:13 pm

      All very valid, but it’s probably worth remembering that even in Phuket when locals were asked about the proposed ‘Phuket model’ and welcoming tourists again, the general feeling even there was apparently that the risks weren’t worth taking.

      • Avatar

        Fabian

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:59 pm

        Did you ask the people in Phuket yourself?

        I live in Phuket and so far all the Thai people I spoke to all really want to have the borders open up. So many people who lost or who are losing their jobs here daily. I would hear none of them say: keep these borders closed.

      • Avatar

        Jonathan

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 8:02 pm

        That’s not true. I was in the meeting in phuket with the governor and overall census was to open the borders. Not to keep it closed.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:14 am

          Purely going by what was reported, including here, hence “apparently”.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      “This survey shows that the Government has done a great job in frightening their people about the virus (hence the reluctance to let anyone in).”

      That’s the only point I’d disagree with you on.

      I’d suggest that a lot of the reason for Thailand’s success isn’t just down to “the government” but is due to Thais looking at the West and seeing the utter shambles there, the lack of any sort of consistency or plan, and the lack of consideration for others; that’s what they’re frightened of, more than anything else.

      With the ‘media age’ Thais aren’t that uninformed anymore.

      • Avatar

        Diego

        Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:12 pm

        Thais never looked at the west, if they would, they’d know The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and they’d know that currently the dead rate is very very low. Check their khaosod (thai version) news site to see what they look at.

        • Avatar

          albert zweistein

          Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 7:55 pm

          Absolutely right, Thai know f..k all about the rest of the world.

    • Avatar

      Michael

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 10:02 pm

      You people who only see Thailand as a bir girl, shame on you! This country is much more than that and check the GDP numbers in UK and US , the death toll, and than just think before you open your mouth.

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    “Thoae disagreeing live in areas where tourists does not usually go …”

    Shocking … they should have only asked those living in Pattaya and Phuket working in the tourist industry.

    How dare the rest of the country have a say …

    • Avatar

      Khaja Sarfaraj Mansur

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 11:12 pm

      Because the rest of the country relies on 1.9 trillion bhat yearly revenue that comes from the tourist industry which is vastly allied to Pattaya, Pukhet, Krabi

  7. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 2:54 pm

    “but their money for sure (see parents of bargirls etc…)”

    ….. except that the reality, as you’d know if you’d ever been to / lived in Issan, is rather different. While some undoubtedly send money home to parents to look after their kids, most of the money sent home to parents / family in Issan comes from those working in factories, then those working in construction, not bars. Only a very small fraction is from bar workers / freelancers.

    • Avatar

      RR

      Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      You do not even know where Isaan (not Issan, it is not a (c)ar (b)rand) is, shush.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 3:07 pm

    So if someone doesn’t agree with you it must be because they’re “ignorant”?

    It couldn’t possibly be because they’re better informed, could it?

    “20% of GDP is a lot of money, jobs, and businesses lost.
    59 died in a 9 month time.
    99.995% of Thailand never even got the sniffles.”

    Very true. Thank God Thailand still has 80% of it’s GDP, and hasn’t had to squander it and borrow like those countries where rather more than 59 died and rather less than 99.995% had rather more than the sniffles.

    “covid tests are wildly faulty and yield false positives.”

    Very true, also … unfortunately they also yield false negatives, but let’s not mention that as it rather destroys the whole “no quarantine” argument …

  9. Avatar

    lukypattaya

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    Thailand is right to keep the borders closed, certainly with the world recession it will lose a percentage of GDP greater than that earned with tourism alone, but when the covid is over I will come back and I will be able to find the girls I want for a few bhat like twenty years ago

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:30 am

      Sadly that’s already happening – demand for exports has dropped, so OT in many factories is down.

    • Avatar

      Fabian

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 8:30 am

      They should put you into that kind of work for a few baht.

  10. Avatar

    John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 5:11 pm

    Thailand should not open up. The population is too intimidated. Xenophobia already exists. What do you think will be the attitude towards tourists if they come? They definitely won’t wear masks and follow stupid instructions. There will be many incidents with tourists and everything will get into the world media. Thailand has no choice. Either it opens and the world gains a reputation as a xenophobic nationalist country and loses tourism forever. Either it does not open loses tourism for 2-3 years, but leaves a chance for recovery.

  11. Avatar

    Andres

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 5:55 pm

    ‘…the move could cause a second wave of the virus’. You didn’t have a first wave! 59 dead? 10,000+++ dead in road accidents, that’s the WAVE. Ban motorcycles and open borders, let millions of tourists come again, so you Thai people have money again, food to buy and not rely on charities. But you are so scared!! (government, media and all of you) so keep the country closed to the outside world, don’t open your business, suffer, go hungry and don’t complain. Be happy, only a few Chinese is coming (maybe not after all) hopefully they will not bring the second wave but remember from where the Virus came.

  12. Avatar

    Bobby m

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    John, It’s becoming quite clear from your responses that it’s is in fact you that is terrified of Covid 19 and of course you are entitled to be.
    It does kill, but certainly not as much as it did and the majority of people it killed then and is killing today were and are in the waiting room anyway.
    We cannot live our lives in fear, it is quite likely that this is never going away and we have to move on. I am not a young man but I don’t fear death. I accept it’s one of life’s certainties along with paying tax.
    The poll is insignificant for any purpose 1500 people is quite frankly a joke. The kind of process whereby we will ask people until we have enough of the answer we want before we publish the results.
    Countries that refuse to balance the situation against their economy will fail, it’s a given. Not just Thailand, others too, even those that do balance their economies will struggle.
    Thailand will lose more than 20% GDP, companies are pulling out because you can’t sell things to people that can’t pay for them. Investors will not invest in a failing economy. A clue showing they are now in short supply for Thailand is in another article about how the government are considering no quarantine for those wishing to come and invest.

  13. Avatar

    Jonathan

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 8:00 pm

    This must be a fake poll or the people that were asked do not work in tourism or have not lost their jobs or have a salary cut.
    We have to open up. So what other countries are doing. Pre covid test before arrival. Another rapid test at the airport. Another one on departure. Open without quarantine.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:26 am

      “We have to open up. So what other countries are doing.”

      Except other countries are NOT opening their borders – this is pure fantasy.

      The majority of countries have border restrictions which are at least as strict as Thailand’s, many stricter.

      The current tests simply aren’t accurate enough, and the numbers testing positive during quarantine (half a dozen today, on day 11, almost certainly caught during the flight) show that beyond any reasonable doubt.

      As for “another one on departure”, how useful can that be with the result only available after they’ve left???

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:38 am

      “This must be a fake poll or the people that were asked do not work in tourism or have not lost their jobs or have a salary cut.”

      So the vast majority of Thais, who don’t work in tourism, and haven’t lost their jobs or had a salary cut, shouldn’t have been asked?

      Only the small minority who do, should?

      … and that would stop it being a “fake poll”?

      I see …..

  14. Avatar

    John

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 9:57 pm

    Thailand is doing very well without Covid , keep it that way Thai people and keep the Covid out!

  15. Avatar

    Michael

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 10:01 pm

    You people who only see Thailand as a bir girl, shame on you! This country is much more than that and check the GDP numbers in UK and US , the death toll, and than just think before you open your mouth.

  16. Avatar

    Jim Henderson

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 10:07 pm

    What will they all say when they are in complete poverty.
    do they know that Thailand has gone from a top economy in asia to nearly dead last.

    Thailand is destroying itself so badly they are no longer being respected by the rest of the world. that is sad because it has been one of the most exciting countries to watch over the last decade, but now is just a 3rd world country again.

  17. Avatar

    Jake Pattaya

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Life in Thailand during Covid is 99.9999% normal, everything is open, schools, universities, bars with girls? Why would we like anyone to come to spoil it? Just compare Thailand to any other Western county, it’s a paradise and of course few people suffers but majority is happy about it!

  18. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, October 7, 2020 at 10:26 pm

    A survey of 1318, which numbers matches other surveys that state no to tourists.
    Have the government a paid selection of Thais that they rely on to produce what the government want.
    Are these people paid?
    Produce a survey of20,000, and I might believe the results.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:55 am

      “Have the government a paid selection of Thais that they rely on to produce what the government want.”

      So you think the government wanted them to say “62.6% have no confidence in the government …”?

  19. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:45 am

    “Do they know that Thailand has gone from a top economy in asia to nearly dead last.”

    Really?

    “nearly dead last”?

    That must be why the baht’s collapsed … Oh … it hasn’t … odd!

    Yet another of the absurd fantasies here.

  20. Avatar

    Issan John

    Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 1:50 am

    1,200 – 1,400 is the standard number for Nida and similar polls, whatever the subject.

  21. Avatar

    Mel Burn

    Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 5:45 am

    Still do not understand why they had to kick out people who already were in Thailand. Also, I wonder whether foreigners will buy property in Thailand as ownership does not give you any rights to return.

  22. Avatar

    James

    Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I don’t blame them.

    Thailand is made up of families with children etc and they come first as far as Thai people are concerned just as it is in my country England.

    Tourism is 15% roughly of Thailand’s income, which means 85% is not.

    I speak to Thais who are not in tourist areas and life is going on as normal, they do not want the number of virus cases increased just to support areas like Pattaya and Phuket.

    I can see why a lot of farangs are complaining on web sites such as this one about not being treated in a special way regarding visas etc but they are only a tiny minority of Thailand’s population, but for some reason, they think they are important, they may be important in their small pockets in Pattaya and Phuket but as far as Thailand as a while goes they are insignificant.

  23. Avatar

    Bernd

    Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 11:19 am

    Don’t become upset. The big bang will come 2021 – in Thailand but also in other countries.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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