Thai health officials propose flights from the Middle East for medical tourists

PHOTO: Unsplash: Bao Menglong

Public health officials are discussing scheduling flights from the Middle East for medical tourists seeking treatment in Thailand. Deputy Public Health Minister Sathit Pitutecha says the move to bring foreign patients, who are free of Covid-19, to the country’s hospitals could “potentially boost Thailand’s economic growth during the Covid-19 pandemic.”

There are about 10,000 people around the world who seek medical treatment in Thailand for conditions unrelated to the coronavirus, according to Sathit. At the moment, 154 hospitals nationwide are serving more than 1,000 foreign patients, he says.

Demand for the nation’s health care is high in the Middle East. He says there are other patients in China, Laos and Cambodia interested in travelling to Thailand for medical treatment.

“Many non-Covid international patients have shown their interest already and some of them have already provided a 72-hour Covid-free medical certification to visit the country but, unfortunately, there are no current flights from Thailand to pick them up.”

The Ministry of Public Health plans to pitch the idea to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Recently, the committee of the Department of Health Service Support has gave initial approval to open 4 more airports for the arrival of medical tourists. The airports being considered are U-Tapao (serving Pattaya and Rayong), Koh Samui, Chiang Mai and Phuket. The international sections of the airports have been closed since April this year.

The Survarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports, both in Bangkok, have been opened to overseas, and approved, medical tourists since August.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Caitlin Ashworth

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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