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“Tourists arriving on Special Tourist Visa must be 100% Covid-free” – Tourism minister

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“Tourists arriving on Special Tourist Visa must be 100% Covid-free” – Tourism minister | The Thaiger
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“If there’s even a single case, we cannot continue to the second phase.”

Thailand’s sports and tourism minister of says the first phase tourists arriving under the Special Tourist Visa scheme must be 100% Covid-free. Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn says if this is not achieved, then the reopening plan will be halted indefinitely. Given the number of infections the have surfaced from Thai returnees in the past 3 months, his 100% score-card appears unrealistic.

“Before we approach the second stage on November 17, which aims to shorten the quarantine period, we must evaluate the first phase. If there’s even a single case, we cannot continue to the second phase.”

“The Chinese group previously set as the first batch to arrive via Phuket airport is rescheduled to October 26 to preserve the local confidence during the vegetarian festival of October 17-25.”

Along with the strict guidelines for tourists entering, Phiphat says the Tourism Ministry may push for the consideration of eligible tourists to be based on their cities of origin, not their countries as some nations have larger areas in which cities have remained Covid-free for over 100 days. He says if the first phase of reopening is clear of new cases, then the Public Health Ministry may consider reducing quarantine times down to 7 days.

Phiphat says 7 days in quarantine and 7 days confined to the hotel premises, or the 7+7 plan, would be one option to keep everyone safe but allow tourists to get out of their rooms faster. Along with proposing a decreased quarantine period, the ministry plans to ask domestic tour operators to arrange weekday tour packages for travellers between 55 and 75 years old. Under this plan, tourists would get a 40% subsidy on packages, at a maximum 5,000 baht.

“The new measure will support more stakeholders, such as local operators, bus operators, restaurants and tour guides who suffered the most from the tourism slowdown.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Randy Lahey

    October 10, 2020 at 8:39 am

    They come here clean and end up with covid in quarantine. So whats the point of coming here clean ?
    If they come here clean they should be exempt from quarantine full stop.

    • Avatar

      Doctor

      October 10, 2020 at 10:39 am

      That’s not how it works. Infection and incubation both happen days before the infection can be detected. Turning up positive in quarantine means EITHER they caught it in quarantine or before they arrived (including on the trip). If it’s the latter, then skipping quarantine means they’ll turn up positive when they’re mingling with the general public. Not a smart solution.

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      October 10, 2020 at 11:25 am

      Even with the best tests currently available there’s no way of knowing if “they come here clean”.

      First, the tests are 3 to 7% inaccurate, giving false readings (both positive and negative). Quarantine and re-testing during and at the end of quarantine minimises that by a factor of 1,000 – down from 3% to less than 0.03%.

      Equally importantly, the tests don’t identify Covid immediately it’s caught but only after a few days (as the article says, 50% within 6 days, 99% within 12), hence the need for quarantine.

      The “7+7” solution is a recipe for disaster, since during the “+7” period it overlooks the hotel staff who are not quarantined in the hotel, and realistically cannot be, so who go home, go out, etc, totally negating the point of the “+7”.

      Surely that’s obvious?

  2. Avatar

    Jason

    October 10, 2020 at 8:46 am

    Maybe the headline is a bit confusing. If tourists must be 100% Covid free on arrival, why would they need to quarantine at all? Any government trying to stipulate guidelines alone without reciprocal arrangements with the governments of the tourist’s countries of origin (ie low risk countries) is doomed to fail. Governments with low Covid numbers have had months to talk and work out reciprocal arrangements, that recognise each other’s testing regimes, negating the need for quarantine. Tourism has always been a matter of mutual trust and obligation between countries. If you want a resumption of tourism to recover the collapse of your tourism industry, spend less time trying to come up with “The Phuket Model 3.0” and start talking with the governments of low risk countries to formulate joint strategies and partnerships.

  3. Avatar

    Paulnou

    October 10, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Apparently the results depening on the test accuracy !!!! Lets say immediately that there were no Covid in the first 2 planes of tourist and free the country

  4. Avatar

    Lance

    October 10, 2020 at 10:20 am

    I am COVID free… test me every day! Just because I am from the US does not mean I have COVID! I miss my GF #LoveIsNotTourism

  5. Avatar

    EdwardV

    October 10, 2020 at 10:28 am

    Another plan designed to fail. Requiring perfection is a very poor objective in any plan. Oh and a 7+7 quarantine still equals 14 days of quarantine. The term “clueless “ comes to mind.

  6. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    October 10, 2020 at 10:38 am

    I am tired of reading of the Thai governments demands on visitors to Thailand.
    You can come. You cannot come. Do this. Do that. And all these schemes they dream up that few foreigners will accept. Just keep everyone out and starve Thailand. You deserve it.

  7. Avatar

    Fabian

    October 10, 2020 at 10:42 am

    Seriously? Thailand already asks a huge sacrifice of visitors, in terms of money, time and psychological well-being. Of course, as a country you would like to have people who come here are Covid-free. But as the commenters above say: what’s the point of quarantining here if you are to be 100% guaranteed Covid free on arrival. Why should you sacrifice your money, time and psychological well-being. It’s insulting.

    I don’t understand why the Thai government even bothers. The numbers of tourist they will get this way are insignificant and the plan is a guaranteed to fail with this requirement.

    By the way, they are discussing so much that by the time they finally have a concrete plan around December 2021, they will notice that the tourism is already back to normal.

  8. Avatar

    Jeff

    October 10, 2020 at 11:37 am

    Pathetic policy on the run.

    many can’t travel to thailand anyway as their countries are locked down so whats the point.

    Get travel bubbles in place with other countries and put in place some achievable protocols
    or just let your country wither

  9. Avatar

    Perceville Smithers

    October 10, 2020 at 12:31 pm

    Each time I read an article about Thai-tourism and the day-to-day changes I feel like I need a drink after.

    • Avatar

      Matt

      October 10, 2020 at 4:31 pm

      me too… Cheers, we may become alcoholics before going back to Thailand

  10. Avatar

    Mark

    October 10, 2020 at 1:42 pm

    When there is no hotels left and they gone bankrupt no 7/11 left vast unemployment civil unrest and a run on the banks and the Thai baht not worth the paper it’s printed on them they will allow tourists back but nobody will want to come

    • Avatar

      Peter

      October 10, 2020 at 8:20 pm

      Thai Baht worthless, Run on the Banks, No 9/11s ? Thailand’s boarders have been shut tight for virtually 7 months now. Guess What? The Thai Baht is still as strong as ever, there has been no run whatsoever on the Banks, and I have yet to see a 7/11 closed down. IMO Thailand has got this dammed virus under tight control, and certainly will not be throwing their boarders open without strict restrictions, any time soon, it may even be years unless an effective cure/treatment/vaccine is discovered

  11. Avatar

    Old Man in Canada

    October 10, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    The government charters flights to bring the STV tourists into the country ? But after staying for 3 or 6 months how do the tourists get back to their home country ? There are no international flights operating. Without a way to leave the STV visit is a trap. No thanks I’ll stay where I am (Canada).

  12. Avatar

    west tiger

    October 11, 2020 at 2:00 am

    If Thailand makes it too hard for Tourists too return they will simply go to another country that is more welcoming and that’s lost revenue and jobs for Thailand

  13. Avatar

    Ray

    October 11, 2020 at 6:08 pm

    If people can infect each other in a quarantine than it is no quarantine in the true sense of the word. New arrivals should be locked with their partners/family in a room, apartment or house and given food at the door by staff in hazmat suits. There should be no interaction between others in quarantine. Otherwise you get situations like on the cruise ships which became super spreader events.

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Crime

Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver

Caitlin Ashworth

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Anti-Corruption Commission official sentenced for pointing loaded gun at taxi driver | The Thaiger
PHOTO: NewsBeezer

A National Anti-Corruption Commission senior official was sentenced by the Criminal Court to 1 year in jail with a 2 year suspension for pointing a loaded .38 Colt pistol, threatening a Bangkok taxi driver back in 2018. Nation Thailand called it a “very lenient” sentence.

The assistant secretary general of the commission, 54 year old Piset Nakapan, must also pay a fine of 31,000 baht. He was charged with weapon in violation of Section 309 of the Criminal Code, carrying a weapon in public, threatening others, and violating the Firearms Act.

Footage from the taxi’s dashboard camera shows Piset getting out of his car and pointing the loaded gun at the taxi. He said to the driver, Pipat Seesa-on, “Why are you following me? Drive back and use another road.”

At the trail, Piset confessed to the charges and gave Pipat 2,000 baht as compensation. Since he confessed, the court commuted his sentence in half, cutting down the 2 year jail term to just a year and a 62,000 baht fine down to 31,000 baht. His jail term is suspended for 2 years, with mandatory probation check-ins every 4 months.

SOURCES: Nation Thailand | Bangkok Post

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Tourism

Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue

Caitlin Ashworth

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Some tourism officials concerned with political climate, ask government to open dialogue | The Thaiger

In the midst of Thailand reopening its borders to foreigners on the Special Tourist Visa, political protests have only grown in Bangkok and are now being held in cities across Thailand. Now tourism operators are worried and are asking the government to engage in dialogue with the protesters. President of the Tourism Council of Thailand Chairat Trirattanajarasporn says he’s worried about another coup (Thailand’s had 12 since 1932) being used to solve the problems rather than talking it out.

“If the situation’s gone too far, I am concerned a coup will worsen the economy and affect the country’s image on the global stage… A coup is not the ultimate solution to the problem.”

Now that the protests are spreading across the country, Chairat says some tourist destinations could be impacted. In Bangkok, traffic has been blocked on busy intersections by thousands of protesters. BTS and MRT stations have also been shut down during some protests. He adds that people also tend to save their money during times of protest movements rather than spending it on trips.

“At this moment, the government has to show protesters and Thais the improvements they have brought about during the past 6 years, instead of harassing them for speaking up.”

On the flip side, Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn says he’s checked with TAT’s 29 overseas offices that have been monitoring international feedback and no one has reported concerns with Thailand’s political climate, adding that the visitors on the Special Tourist Visa are sticking with their plans to travel to Thailand.

“It is too early to assess the impact on tourism as mass gatherings have occurred recently and there has been no violence.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Thailand

Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20

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Thailand News Today | Media censorship, Thai parliament to meet, STV flight arrives | October 20 | The Thaiger

Thaiger News, posted daily around 5pm, Thai time, with all the latest updates, news and information.

Court orders suspension of Thai TV news channel during political protests

The Criminal Court has agreed to suspend the Thai media company Voice TV for allegedly violating the State of Emergency orders which prohibit media content “considered to be a threat to national security”.

Talk about the Voice TV shut down has been circulating for a few days, along with threats to close down other media voices. It’s not the first time Voice TV has come to the attention of the NCPO, in the past, and the current government.

The digital ministry spokesperson said this morning that “Voice TV will be suspended”. The order applies to all of the company’s online platforms, including social media accounts.

They’ve also instructed the closure of The Standard, The Reporters, Voice TV, Prachatai and the Free Youth movement Facebook page. But, for now, those media platforms still seem to be online.

House Speaker confirms agreement for special parliamentary session

The Speaker of the lower house of Parliament has confirmed that there is cross-party agreement for an extraordinary parliamentary session to be convened in the wake of the ongoing political unrest.

Chuan Leekpai has notified PM Prayut Chan-o-cha of the agreement to hold the special session in a bid to seek a political resolution to the conflict.

In his letter to the PM, Chuan calls on the cabinet to back the declaration of a special session. He proposes an initial general debate so MPs and senators can express their opinions and work towards a solution to the current impasse. The PM has already voiced his support for an extraordinary session of parliament.

Meanwhile, a number of opposition figures are calling for the state of emergency imposed on Bangkok to be lifted, declaring its implementation illegal and unnecessary.

Jailed Thai activists, protest leaders, pro-democracy doctor, released on bail

Thailand’s Appeal Court has granted bail to a number of anti-government protesters and protest leaders, on condition there is no repeat of the offences they’re accused of. Sort of doubt that’s going to stick.

They must also report to the court every 2 weeks. Protesters have been charged with sedition, violating the Covid-19 emergency decree by holding an illegal gathering, using an amplifier without authority to do so, and breaking the Computer Crimes Act.

Yesterday’s three “pop up” protests were held outside of central Bangkok and again surprised police. The protest gatherings all attracted up to 2,000 people each and were held, and then dispersed, peacefully, without police intervention.

Police threaten jail time for anyone taking selfies at protests

The State of Emergency recently imposed on Bangkok amid escalating political unrest carries some sweeping powers, some of them targeting the younger, connected mobile generation.

Police are warning that anyone taking a selfie at anti-government protests is risking 2 years in jail and a fine of up to 40,000 baht.

The emergency decree is being invoked in everything, from the arrests of protesters and their leaders, to the threat of restrictions being slapped on media outlets whose reporting is deemed unfavourable.

41 foreign tourists to arrive in Bangkok today on Special Tourist Visa after 7 month ban

Just 41 foreign tourists are expected to arrive in Bangkok today under the special tourist visa. A small, yet major step forward after a 7 month ban on international tourists which was put in place in late-March.

The visa allows a 90 day stay that can be renewed twice, adding up to about 9 months. But the tourists departing from Shanghai, China and arriving in Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport at 5pm, allegedly, will only be in Thailand for 30 days, and that includes their 14 day quarantine.

The flight arriving today was first going to have 120 to 150 tourists, but now it’s down to just 41. We’ll soon know if they actually arrived. Never before has the arrival of so few tourists kicked up such interest.

Pickup truck crashes into elephant as herd runs across Chon Buri road

A herd of wild elephants running across a road in Chon Buri caused a driver to crash into one of the elephants, damaging his Isuzu pickup truck and injuring the passenger.

The man says he was heading to the province’s Ban Ang Kraden district when a group of about 20 elephants ran out of the forest and cut in front of his truck. He says he couldn’t stop in time and crashed into one of the elephants.

The injured animal didn’t stop and continued to run across the road, following the rest of the herd into the forest. Local officials are tracking the elephant’s footprints to find the injured elephant and provide medical treatment. The 20 year old passenger was rushed to hospital and is in a satisfactory condition.

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