Samui tourism official calls for inter-provincial travel ban to flatten the curve prior to July re-opening

PHOTO: Yavor Punchev for Unsplash

The president of the Tourism Association of Koh Samui says the island is still pinning its hopes on a July 1 re-opening for vaccinated foreign tourists. Ratchaporn Poolsawadee remains optimistic, despite Thailand now battling a third wave of Covid-19, with Samui reporting 50 infections.

He says vaccines are being rolled out out on Samui, although a number of doses have had to be diverted to Covid hotspots elsewhere in the country. Around 30%, or 25,000 people, have already received 2 doses of the vaccine, with very few side-effects reported. However, the pace may slow as a result of some of Samui’s allocation now being sent to other provinces, in an attempt to curb the spread there. Ratchaporn says that once it receives a further supply of vaccine doses, the island has the capacity to administer 25,000 shots over 5 days, at 4 vaccination centres.

“We firmly believe that the vaccination process will be completed by June which will be in time for the re-opening plan.”

Until then, officials in the southern province of Surat Thani and on Samui itself, are strengthening disease prevention measures and travel restrictions. Ratchaporn is calling on the government to impose an inter-provincial travel ban to halt the spread of the virus. He says doing so would be more effective than closing businesses for 14 days, with the possibility of endless extensions.

The Bangkok Post reports that tourism operators are preparing tour programmes for the Samui Sealed Routes, whereby tourists would travel to sealed beach locations at Tham Rang in Angthong National Marine Park, as well as partaking in wellness activities such as yoga, meditation and spa treatments.

Before embarking on a “sealed tour” however, vaccinated foreign tourists would have to remain in their hotel rooms on the day they arrive. On day 2, they would be required to take a Covid test and, if negative, would be allowed leave the room and use other hotel facilities. From day 4, they would be allowed leave the hotel, with another Covid test on day 7. If the result is negative, tourists can travel around the island as well as elsewhere in the country.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Covid-19 NewsKoh Samui NewsThailand NewsTourism News

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