Poll: Majority of Thai people against 120 day reopening plan

PHOTO: Thailand is reopening, but a poll shows Thai people don't want to. (Flickr Dyxie)

Who isn’t excited about the 120 day reopening plan announced by PM Prayut Chan-o-cha last week? Turns out nearly 74% of people in Thailand, that’s who. In a new poll by the National Institute of Development Administration, the majority of people surveyed were against the reopening in less than 4 months (the PM made his 12 day call last Tuesday).

The NIDA poll interviewed by phone 1,311 people throughout Thailand between June 22 and 25, surveying people aged 15 and older of all education and occupational backgrounds. When asked if they agreed and supported the decision to reopen Thailand, 73.5% said they disagreed. Of those, 53.6% were in complete disagreement and totally against the reopening (Thaiger has rounded up the results to the nearest .1%).

The vast majority of people surveyed in the poll believe that reopening the country to international tourists was not worth the risk until Covid-19 was definitively under control. They also believed that any talk of reopening shouldn’t be seriously considered until the majority of the people in Thailand have been fully vaccinated.

Just under 20% of people in the poll only slightly disagreed with the reopening plans, lacking confidence in the government’s ability to contain Covid-19 in time for an October reopening. About 13.5% said they somewhat agree with the reopening plan and about 12.5% were in complete support of opening Thailand fully to international travellers, for a total of about 26% in favour of reopening.

Aside from being questioned about whether they support the idea of reopening Thailand in October, those surveyed in the poll were also questioned on whether they believe the government is capable of achieving a reopening by October. While 1% declined to answer or had no opinion, nearly 72% said no, they did not have faith in the government’s ability to contain Covid-19 and safely reopen. Only 27% of those surveyed thought the government could pull it off.

When asked about the risk of a severe or widespread Covid-19 outbreak and whether the government should be held accountable, about half the people would choose not to take the risk. 52.5% said the government should take full responsibility though they personally do not want to take any risk, while another 11% in the poll wouldn’t take the risk but also wouldn’t fault the government for an outbreak resulting from reopening.

Only 9% of the people surveyed said that they would take the risk of reopening and not hold the government ac countable for any outbreak that occurred as a result. 24.5% said that they would be willing to accept the risk as long as the government takes full responsibility to handle any subsequent outbreaks.

While the shutdowns resulting from the Covid pandemic has us frequently discussing the importance of trying to revive the ailing economy, only 19% of people in the survey believed that the economy took priority over health safety during the pandemic. 69% said that health safety was more important than any focus on the economy, while about 12% said that health and economy are of equal importance.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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