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Phuket businesses welcome quarantine-free re-opening plan

Maya Taylor

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Phuket businesses welcome quarantine-free re-opening plan | Thaiger
PHOTO: William Rouse on Unsplash

Businesses on the southern island of Phuket have welcomed the government’s approval of a quarantine-free re-opening for vaccinated foreigners from July 1. From that date, Phuket will become the first province to waive mandatory quarantine for international arrivals who have been vaccinated against Covid-19. The re-opening is expected to generate over 84 billion baht.

Like many parts of the country that are heavily reliant on tourism, Phuket has been hit hard by the pandemic. Before Covid-19, the island welcomed between 70,000 and 80,000 foreign visitors every day. According to a report in the Bangkok Post, it now gets only around 10,000 visitors, most being Thai. While welcoming news of the imminent re-opening, Thanusak Phungdet from the Phuket Chamber of Commerce says it’s essential to vaccinate 70% of the local population before then.

“We have to procure more vaccines and Phuket residents must cooperate by receiving the vaccine. Once Phuket re-opens to tourists from July 1, local tourism is expected to have a cash flow of 84 billion baht.”

He adds that the re-opening won’t lead to a flood of foreign tourists right away, but it will also help tourism beyond Phuket.

“We expect about 100,000 foreign tourists to arrive in Phuket in the next 5 months. With the re-opening to foreign tourists, income may increase by only 20-30%, but this will also boost the national tourism industry because the foreign tourists in Phuket may also visit other provinces.”

Under the Phuket re-opening plan, or “sandbox” proposal, the island must achieve herd immunity by vaccinating 70% of its population before mandatory quarantine is waived for international visitors. This means at least 466,587 people need to receive 2 vaccine doses. In order to make the July 1 deadline, the vaccine rollout needs to begin by April 15, with dose number 2 being administered from May 15.

Foreign tourists will be required to show a vaccine certificate, vaccine passport, or International Air Transport Association travel pass. They still need to take a Covid-19 test 72 hours before travel.

Meanwhile, the government has approved a re-opening roadmap for 6 Thai provinces, beginning next month. Between April and June, vaccinated foreigners arriving in Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Chon Buri (Pattaya) and Chiang Mai, will carry out a reduced quarantine of 7 days. From July, Phuket waives quarantine for vaccinated arrivals, but tourists will need to stick to “sealed routes” on the island for 7 days, before being allowed to visit other parts of the country. They will also need to download and use the government’s contact tracing app.

The Bangkok Post reports that Bhummikitti Ruktaengam from the Phuket Tourist Association says once tourism picks up from October, Phuket’s re-opening should generate an additional 54 billion baht.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Avatar

    J West

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:51 am

    Will the dozen or so Go Go Bar owners and Hotel Barons who own 90% of the businesses reside with thier families in Phuket during this experiment?

  2. Avatar

    EdwardV

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:07 am

    Sounds like it’s a pre-flight test only – that’s good news. One more obstacle down.

  3. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:30 am

    TExactly, J West.

    That may be what “Phuket businesses” want, but nobody, least of all most (but not all) English language media, seems remotely interested in what local people want.

    “The Phuket News launched an online poll on Feb 10 asking the simple question: “Would you take a COVID vaccine?” …

    Overall, 28% of respondents voted an outright “Yes” to taking a COVID vaccine, and a further 28% voted “It depends on the vaccine”.

    The remaining 43% voted an outright “No” to taking a COVID vaccine.

    Of the 28.47% respondents who voted “Yes”, 10.88% were Thai nationals, 67.36% were local expatriate residents and 21.76% were foreign visitors to Phuket.

    Among the 43.36% who voted “No” 49.32% were Thai nationals, 39.46% were local expatriate residents and 11.22% foreign visitors to Phuket.

    Hanging in the balance were those who voted “It depends on which vaccine” (28.17%), of whom 15.18% were Thai nationals, 74.87% were local expatriate residents and the remaining 9.95% were foreign visitors to Phuket.

    By demographic, of the Thai nationals who took part in the poll 10.77% voted “Yes” and 14.87% voted “It depends on which vaccine”, but a huge 74.36% voted a plain “No”.”

    If that isn’t clear, in the Phuket News poll, 3 out of 4 Thais polled voted a plain “No” to getting ANY vaccine.

  4. Avatar

    nipral

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:53 am

    @jwest stupid and meaningless comment !

  5. Avatar

    Glenn Smith

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 11:59 am

    I would love to know who is doing these numbers ?
    It’s nonsense, dream time stuff.
    Someone seems to think that reducing the quarantine to 7 days, or restricted movement will have tourists swamping te place.
    Has anyone thought of the issues in them then going or being able to go home.
    All it will do is encourage people from countries where there is minimal screening and quarantine on their return..

  6. Avatar

    leons k

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    I have been living in Phuket for 19 years and want to see this happen but nothing concrete re vaccinations here is in evidence. I want one and no news yet.

  7. Avatar

    luca

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 4:09 pm

    if the percentages of Thais against the vaccine are those indicated by Issan John and if they can be extended to the whole country then I think that tourism in Thailand is dead and gone. Unfortunately, the coronavirus is destined to remain with us for a long time to come

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 9:20 pm

    “if the percentages of Thais against the vaccine are those indicated by Issan John …”

    Not “by me”, luca, they’re a direct quote from the Phuket News, easily Googled.

    TBH I would have expected that around me where there’s no real effect from a lack of foreign tourists – far more from not so much money coming “home” from factory workers – but I’m surprised at that in Phuket given the bleating on here and elsewhere.

    Around here they’re just happy to sit it out until things are a bit clearer, and apparently that applies to those in Phuket too.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded

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Investigations of Covid-19 infected elite rule-breakers demanded | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: VIP clubs and their wealthy customers may have violated rules and led to Covid-19 outbreaks

Investigations are being demanded by a corruption watchdog into Thai politicians infected with Covid-19 after allegedly attending venues in the Thong Lor entertainment venues in Bangkok that have now emerged as the ground zero for the Coronavirus third wave in the Kingdom.

The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand are being asked to investigate the latest Covid-19 outbreak, noting in a Facebook post that the second wave was also linked to illegal activities, spreading through illegal migrants and other visiting gambling dens. This third wave is also angering those who see the wealthy elite and powerful politicians frequenting high-end bars and not following Covid-19 safety protocols.

Mana Nimitmongkol, secretary-general of ACT argues that the ministers visiting these clubs did not behave “ethically”, and it’s part of a larger problem. He is pushing for legal action against not only club owners, but against police, public health officials, and even the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration for failing to enforce laws to protect against Covid-19.

Investigations into whether the code of ethics had been violated were requested to be carried out by the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Ombudsman and the committee on ethical standards.

As entertainment venues have been ordered closed for at least 2 weeks, Mana proposes that along with restrictions, a hotline to report rule-breakers should be set up, and all people should be held to the same standard without exception.

The president of the Rural Doctors Society agreed, saying that especially important is the need for Covid-19 infected public officials to disclose their personal timelines to reassure the public and assist in contract tracing. It is feared that little or no action will be taken to investigate and punish powerful rulebreakers.

One controversial infection was that of Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, rumoured to be infected from Thong Lor nightclubs, but later shown to be in another province at the time. The entertainment venue outbreak was not completely innocent though, as details emerged that the minister’s infection was in fact passed to him via an aide who had frequented clubs in Thong Lor.

Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour owner turned activist, has been outspoken on the issue, calling for investigations into high-society VIP clubs like Krystal Club and Emerald Club, who allegedly flaunted restrictions and ended up with dozens of Covid-19 infected staff members.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau chief had said that legal action was pending against these clubs for the virus spreading.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday

Tim Newton

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Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | Thaiger
PHOTO: Thais start their Songkran travel - Pinoy Thaiyo

Thailand’s CCSA have announced 967 new Covid-19 infections today during their daily briefings. The number is another day of gradual increases that has grown. Thailand’s national total has now reached 32,625 total infections, of which 28,214 people have fully recovered. 4,314 people are currently under hospital supervision in Thailand following positive Covid tests.

9 new cases were revealed in Phuket today, but aren’t included in today’s national tally.

The CCSA also reported that 485,957 people have now received their first vaccine – 69,439 are now fully vaccinated. The daily average of new people being vaccinated over the past month has grown from around 10,000 people each day to 15,556 yesterday.

Around the world, both the daily infection rates and death rates from Covid-19 are increasing again after dipping at the start of 2021.

All the latest news from Thailand related to Covid-19 HERE.

Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | News by Thaiger

Total cases for Thailand from Worldometers.info…

Thailand Covid UPDATE: 967 new infections announced Sunday | News by ThaigerWorld totals as of Sunday, April 11 from Worldometers.info

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Pattaya police warn restaurants not to act like bars

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Pattaya police warn restaurants not to act like bars | Thaiger
PHOTO: Police warn selling chips at your bar doesn't make you a restaurant

Following the closure of entertainment venues in 41 provinces for 2 weeks, Pattaya police warn that bars acting as restaurants and restaurants acting as bars would be punished. In Pattaya, police patrolled heavily to check in on venues and remind them of the penalties and fines for breaking shut-down rules. The current outbreak of Covid-19 throughout Thailand has been disproportionately spread by nightclubs and bars, including many pubs in Chon Buri and Bangkok. While the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration has called for a 2-week closure, the Chon Buri edict is open-dated, expected to be in effect until conditions improve. One warning Pattaya police stressed was that, while restaurants are allowed to stay open and sell alcohol, abusing that exception will be punished.

In previous entertainment venue shutdowns during the pandemic, many businesses took advantage of the restaurant loophole. As there’s no exact wording in the law saying people have to order food and not only drinks, many restaurants served drinks and allowed dancing and socializing without any social distancing. Some bars were even seen hastily adding a quick food menu of easy snacks in an attempt to skirt the rules and operate as a restaurant serving alcohol. But this time Pattaya police warn that restaurants using these sneaky tricks won’t be tolerated. Even businesses with multi licenses will need to take measures to make it clear they are not operating more like a bar as police will have the discretion to make judgement calls on venues.

The 2-week closure of entertainment venues went into effect yesterday and banquet halls, movie theatres, saunas and soapies are all closed. Restaurants are allowed to stay open, but with a 10 pm curfew on dine-in services. Takeaway food is allowed after 10 pm until 5 in the morning. Officials hope this shutdown on Covid-19 spreading entertainment venues will slow the outbreak enough to avoid the dreaded full lockdowns, travel restrictions, and domestic quarantines.

SOURCE: The Pattaya News

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