Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has called on all sectors on Phuket to work together to make the sandbox re-opening a success. The PM was speaking while on a visit to the southern island, which re-opened to vaccinated foreign tourists yesterday.
The first international arrivals in over a year jetted in on Etihad Airways, which had 25 passengers from Abu Dhabi on board. They were followed by 136 on Qatar Airways, 137 on El Al Israel Airlines, and 68 on Singapore Airlines. The PM was at Phuket International Airport to welcome the Singapore Airlines passengers. All sandbox participants will need to stay on the island for 14 days and undergo multiple Covid-19 tests, before being free to travel around the rest of the country.
Thai PBS World reports that the PM was accompanied by Public Health Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda, and the Tourism and Sports Minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn. Addressing those who’d gathered to greet him, he said he was happy to see them and called on them to work together to ensure the re-opening is a success. After greeting arrivals from the Singapore Airlines flight, the PM then moved on to inspect security checkpoints.
In a visit to the Tha Chatchai checkpoint in the north of the island, gateway for travellers arriving by road, the PM reiterated his belief that if the sandbox scheme succeeds, it will be a model for Thailand’s other tourist hotspots.
“This is all about paving the way for Thai people to be able to return to their normal livelihoods and to make a living.”
The PM has set an ambitious goal of fully re-opening Thailand by mid-October. Acknowledging that there are risks associated with the plan, he says it’s necessary to take these risks, adding that tourists will need to be monitored and the situation reviewed periodically. Meanwhile, he is calling on everyone in Phuket to continue adhering to Covid-19 prevention measures and urged them not to transport illegal migrants on or off the island.
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SOURCE: Thai PBS World
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