Thailand to overhaul reopening plans for pilot areas, one system policy to be adopted

PHOTO: sjef robroek/Flickr

Thailand is overhauling their reopening plans to simplify and unify current protocols. The new idea is to adopt a “One SOP, One System policy, with SOP standing for standard operating procedure. The new plan will toss out mandatory quarantine and sealed routes for pilot areas sometime this year. They will also slash Covid tests costs in half, in some instances.

The plan is for 5 areas: Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin, Cha-am, and Bangkok and will be submitted to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration next week in the hopes of getting vaccinated tourists on October first. Concurrently, Samui Plus will switch to be a quarantine free spot, says Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

Under the OSOS policy, every province will apply the same SOPs to allow tourists to travel freely around designated areas in each province, says Yuthasak.

“Tourists are simply required to follow the guidelines, such as activating the Mor Chana app and being checked daily by SHA Plus manager [hotel manager in SHA Plus hotel], instead of being kept in quarantine or only travelling under a tour programme”, says Yuthasak.

Yuthasak says the agency has entered discussions with health officials about cutting the price of about 8,000 baht for 3 RT-PCR tests as this is considered to have been a hindrance to the reopening programme in the Phuket Sandbox and the Samui Plus programmes these last couple of months. He says they will try to reduce the RT-PCR price in half and permit tourists to use antigen test kits for their second and third tests. He adds the package price should be uniformly applied to every province starting next month.

The new plan will also get rid of measures that each pilot province was planning, such as in Pattaya and Chiang Mai, that prior to this announcement had adopted partial quarantine and sealed routes. The TAT still needs to discuss the tourism sector in Chiang Mai and Bangkok at greater length.

Acting president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council, Thanet Supornsahasrungsi says Bang Lamung and Sattahip will be the initial districts in the reopening plan. The 2 districts, which are part of the Chon Buri province, will allow tourists to travel within the 2 areas once they get negative RT-PCR results. They will also be able to choose which SHA Plus hotel they want to stay at.

President of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui, Ratchaporn Poolsawadee says a few tweaks will need to be made for Samui Plus’s quarantine-free plan. Visitors who enter through this programme will be required to spend their initial 7 days on Samui and can then travel to Koh Phangan and Koh Tao on day 8.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Connor

Jack is from the USA, has a B.A. in English, and writes on a variety of topics. He lives in Thailand.