PM calls for caution as Phuket prepares to reopen

PM calls for caution as Phuket prepares to reopen

CCSA approves “Sandbox” programs

On Friday, the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) approved in principle the pilot plan to reopen Phuket on July 1 and later on the popular islands of Surat Thani – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao – to tourists fully. vaccinated from a few countries.

However, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as head of the main committee of the CCSA, stressed during yesterday’s meeting the need to proceed cautiously with the reopening plan while maintaining a good balance between the preventing new Covid-19 infections and driving the economy, said CCSA spokesperson Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin.

Dr Taweesilp said under the Phuket Tourism Sandbox program, tourists from countries with low or medium risk of Covid-19 transmission will be allowed into Phuket from next month. However, they must be fully vaccinated and spend two weeks on the island before they can travel to other parts of the kingdom, he said.

These tourists will also need to show proof of vaccination and agree to allow Thai authorities to track their locations using the English version of the Mor Chana app while staying in Phuket for at least 14 days, during which they will also need to be tested for Covid-19, ”said Dr Taweesilp.

“Only early departures from Thailand will be exempt from the [mandatory] 14 day stay, “he said.

As for Surat Thani’s tourism reopening program, tourists will only be allowed to stay in hotels or resorts offering so-called Alternative Local Quarantine (ALQ) services, he said.

Tourists will be allowed to leave their rooms but must remain on the premises of the hotel where they are staying from the first day to the third day of their 14-day quarantine period before being allowed to travel to areas specifically designated as a ferry. to tourist sand Koh Samui from the fourth to the seventh day, said Dr Taweesilp.

And from the eighth to the last day of the special quarantine period, they will be allowed to travel freely on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, he said.

At the end of the required 14-day stay, tourists from Phuket or Surat Thani who have tested negative for Covid-19 will then be allowed to visit other parts of Thailand, he said.

“The CCSA also demands that a contingency plan be put in place for implementation in the event that the Phuket pilot tourism reopening should be suspended or interrupted due to a serious and unexpected Covid-19 situation,” said Dr Taweesilp.

“And in the same emergency plan, actions must be ready at four levels to respond to any unforeseen epidemic of Covid-19, namely reducing previously authorized tourist activities, closing previously authorized tourist routes, adopting a new implementation. quarantine hotels and overhaul and stop the Phuket Tourism Worst Case Sandbox Program. ” However, if the pilot phase of the program in Phuket proves successful, the plan will be extended to cover nine other tourist destinations, namely Phangnga, Krabi, Koh Samui to Surat Thani, Pattaya City to Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Cha – am from Phetchaburi, Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan and Buri Ram, said Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob.

Phumkit Raktae-ngam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, said Phuket, Phangnga and Krabi are discussing a proposal to expand the program.

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