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No more sandbox: Phuket private sector calls for full re-opening by December 1

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/jeiline

The vice-president of the Phuket Tourism Association says businesses on the island need it to fully re-open by December 1 if they are to survive. According to a Bangkok Post report, Nanthida Atiset says fully re-opening the island could generate over 210 billion baht in revenue, adding that the sandbox scheme is simply not enough.

“Only over 20,000 tourists have come over the past 2 months since the Phuket Sandbox was launched. We can’t continue this way. Hotels are suffering losses. What we need is ‘Freedom Day’ on December 1.”

Under the “Phuket Freedom Day” idea being proposed by local business associations, all businesses would re-open fully and the island’s residents could resume their normal way of life, albeit while adhering to Covid-19 prevention measures. The island hopes to attract 3.5 million tourists between December and March, generating around 210 billion baht. Under the proposal the island’s target groups would get a third booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and tourists would have to show proof of vaccination and/or take an antigen test on arrival.

Nanthida says the proposal was based on the UK’s re-opening model, in which 90% of target groups had to be fully vaccinated. She says Phuket will need to roll out more vaccines, including 400,000 AstraZeneca doses and 70,000 Pfizer doses, which will be administered through interdermal injections. This method requires just 20% of the usual dose for a booster, but gives the same amount of immunity.

According to Nanthida, a study carried out in the Netherlands showed that the interdermal method is just as effective as the normal intramuscular injection, which is used to administer a full dose. Phuket’s Vachira Hospital is currently conducting trials on the intradermal method, using 20% of AstraZeneca in people who’ve already received 2 doses of Sinovac.

The Bangkok Post reports that 76.5% of Phuket residents have now been vaccinated. 87.1% of elderly residents are vaccinated, as are 70% of people with underlying health conditions.

For more information on how to get into Thailand during the pandemic, CLICK HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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