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Thai Visa’s while under Covid

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  • Tourism to reopen despite Covid, minister says

    Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn has confirmed Bangkok, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan and Chiang Mai will begin implementing their tourism reopening plans on Oct 1 as planned.

    The 21 other provinces will follow suit on Oct 15, he said on Tuesday, dispelling doubts over whether the government would be able to proceed with its plan in the face of the ongoing pandemic.

    Mr Phiphat admitted the high number of new Covid-19 infections is a major hindrance but said the ministry is fully prepared for the reopening.

    Asked about the 200 plus new cases of Covid-19 recorded daily in Phuket, he said these high figures stem from the province’s active case finding in every community, including migrant workers.

    Phuket was the first province to pilot the tourism reopening programme.

    Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that the ministry is fully prepared for the Oct 1 reopening.

    Phetchaburi is ready to reopen to tourists on Oct 1, with effective Covid-19 controls to reduce the threat of new infections, deputy provincial governor Natthawut Phetpromsorn said on Tuesday.

    Strict disease control measures remain in place to contain infection clusters, said Mr Natthawut.

    Bubble and seal measures applied at factories and markets have reduced the incidence of the disease, he said.

    Now that infections have dropped, Phetchaburi can prepare to reopen for tourism on Oct 1, in line with the government’s plan, he said.

    All sectors are well-prepared, he said, adding that tourists can have confidence that popular destinations such as Cha-am district are safe and free from the virus. Visitors could enjoy their stay in the province, said Mr Natthawut.

    Phetchaburi public health office chief Phetchakit Thaensawat said that 54% of targetted groups in the province have been vaccinated, comprising mainly people aged 60 years and over, and people with any of seven underlying conditions, and pregnant women.

    Vaccination would reach 70% when more vaccines arrive, Dr Phetchakit said.:

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


    • Bangkok postpones reopening to visitors from abroad to October 15

      Bangkok will postpone its reopening to fully vaccinated and COVID-negative visitors from abroad, scheduled for October 1st, to October 15th, as the authorities want at least 70% of the city’s population vaccinated first, which is expected to be by mid-October, said Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said yesterday (Wednesday).

      He explained that, after a discussion with Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang, the capital is ready to welcome foreign tourists, but it is waiting for more people to be fully vaccinated. Only about 37% of Bangkok’s population has received two doses to date.

      The plan to reopen the provinces of Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, Chiang Mai and Chonburi on October 1st will, however, go ahead. Popular beach towns of Pattaya and Hua Hin are in Chonburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan respectively.

      People in all of Bangkok’s districts are expected to receive both doses by early October, said Mr. Phiphat. So far, 2.8 million people in Bangkok have been fully inoculated. Therefore, at least 2.52 million more people in Bangkok need to be vaccinated to reach the target of 70% of the population aged 18 and over.

      Meanwhile, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration spokesperson Pongsakorn Kwanmuang explained, during a live interview with “The Standard” late Wednesday, that it is expects the capital’s entire population to be fully vaccinated by October 25th, which resulted in the decision to delay the reopening.

      A total of 41.64 million vaccine doses have been administered across Thailand to date, with about 13.72 million people, or about 19.6% of the population, having received two shots.

      In mid-June, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha declared Thailand will fully reopen to overseas arrivals in 120 days or by mid-October. However, with a surge in infections in August, he admitted on September 1st in a parliamentary debate that it may not be possible, and that only some sectors may reopen by then.

      Currently only provinces and beaches in the South such as Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi and Phang Nga, are welcoming international arrivals under the sandbox programs.:

      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


      • Kanchanaburi to reopen from October 1

        Kanchanaburi authorities announced this week that hotels, resorts and rafting services can reopen from October 1.

        However, meetings and seminars will remain prohibited, and restaurants will not be allowed to serve alcoholic beverages.

        The staff of hotels, resorts and rafting services are required to have received at least one Covid-19 vaccine jab.:

        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


        • Bangkok governor rejects tourism minister’s plan to reopen capital on Oct 15

          Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang declared on Friday that Thailand’s capital will not reopen to fully vaccinated and COVID-19 negative international arrivals on October 15th, as announced by Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn on Wednesday (September 15th).

          Citing the need to vaccinate at least 70% of the city’s population first, Pol Gen Aswin claimed he never said Bangkok will reopen, because a decision of this kind must prioritise the people.

          “To be able to reopen, infection prevention measures must be improved first. If we decide to reopen now, and there’s a new outbreak, it would be problematic,” he said.

          To reopen, at least 70% of Bangkok’s population needs to have received two doses of vaccine and further discussions must be held with relevant agencies, the governor said, adding that City Hall will determine the reopening date itself.

          The governor expects the 70% full vaccination target to be hit by October 22nd, but the campaign may be sped up if more doses of vaccines are allocated to the city.

          Only almost 40% of Bangkok’s population aged 18 and over have received two doses of vaccine.

          On September 15th, the tourism and sports minister announced in a press briefing that the reopening of Bangkok will be postponed from October 1st, to October 15th, as the authorities want at least 70% of the city’s population vaccinated first, which was expected to be by mid-October.

          He said four other provinces – Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan are still scheduled to reopen on October 1st, but still pending the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the cabinet’s approvals.:

          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


          • Bangkok hurries for more jabs

            A political tug of war may be the key factor determining when Bangkok is allowed to reopen to fully vaccinated tourists.

            Bangkok is scheduled to reopen on Oct 15, while Chon Buri (Pattaya), Phetchaburi (Cha-am), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) and Chiang Mai (Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao) are slated for Oct 1. The proposal is expected to be submitted at the next Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) meeting on Sept 24, followed by the Center for Economic Situation Administration on Sept 29.

            On Wednesday, the Tourism and Sports Ministry and the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) held a meeting with the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and Bangkok governor Pol Gen Aswin Kwanmuang. Directly after this meeting Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn insisted the Bangkok reopening date be set for Oct 15.

            However, on Friday the Bangkok governor asserted the city should not be reopened until residents have a 70% vaccination rate in order to ensure sufficient immunity.

            According to a source who requested anonymity, during the meeting on Wednesday Pol Gen Aswin said both he and Bangkok residents agree with the reopening plan, but the city might have to wait until Oct 22-24 for 70% of residents receive their second jabs.

            Pol Gen Aswin raised the possibility of accelerating the interval for the second shot to open the city earlier than Oct 22, which the BMA's health authority representative said was possible if the BMA can procure more vaccines through the support of the Tourism and Sports Ministry.

            The reopening proposal requires approval from the CCSA to obtain more vaccines to reach the 70% threshold for the metropolitan area, said TAT governor Yuthasak Supasorn.

            Mr Yuthasak said the TAT will have a discussion with tourism-related operators on Sept 22 to prepare for Bangkok's reopening.

            Thanet Supornsahasrungsi, acting president of the Chon Buri Tourism Council, said Bangkok's reopening could support tourism in Pattaya through more direct flights. Most tourists enter the country via Suvarnabhumi airport. Asian tourists normally combine visits to Bangkok and nearby areas such as Pattaya, so reopening the capital could be a complement for other destinations, he said.

            "Reopening more areas definitely benefits the tourism industry as it shows the readiness of the country to welcome back tourists," Mr Thanet said.:

            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


            • hope they make it
              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


              • Bangkok can only reopen with fewer new COVID infections, cases in hospital, 70%+ vaccination

                With uncertainties over whether Bangkok will reopen to foreign tourists anytime soon, the city’s Governor has revealed guidelines for reopening safely.

                Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang revealed yesterday (Monday) three key prerequisites for the city’s safe reopening to foreign tourists.

                They are:

                At least 70% of the city’s population must be fully vaccinated with two doses by October 22nd and wait for another week to two weeks for the immunity levels to increase as suggested by medics.

                The number of new COVID-19 cases must decrease, as 2,700-2,800 new cases are currently being found each day.

                The number of new cases in hospitals must decrease.

                Governor Aswin also stated that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will discuss with the Public Health and Tourism and Sports ministries whether Bangkok meets these requirements, which will be proposed to the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) for further consideration.

                Yesterday, CCSA Assistant Spokesperson Dr. Apisamai Srirangsan announced that there has yet to be a date set for Bangkok’s reopening.

                Last week, Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced that Thailand’s capital will reopen to foreign arrivals on October 15th, following a discussion with Pol Gen Aswin. The Bangkok governor, however, denied that he had agreed to the date and insisted that the BMA will set the date itself.

                So far, only the southern provinces of Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi and Phang-nga, are welcoming international arrivals without quarantine. Chon Buri, Chiang Mai, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan are scheduled to reopen on October 1st, pending the CCSA’s approval.

                Some medical experts have also advised delaying reopening plans until the public health system is better prepared and more people are vaccinated.

                Assoc. Prof. Dr. Thira Woratanarat of Chulalongkorn University posted on his Facebook page yesterday saying four factors are required before reopening, namely to be able to bring the pandemic under control with no more than around 1,000 cases a day or fewer, at least 200,000 quality and free RT-PCR tests conducted per day, sufficient acquisition of high-efficacy vaccines, endorsed internationally, for everyone in the country and a safety-conscious lifestyle becoming the norm.:

                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                • Phuket opens its doors to people who have had both Covid-19 jabs

                  Phuket announced on Tuesday that all entrances to the island, including the Tha Chat Chai checkpoint, will be open to fully vaccinated people from October onwards.

                  As for those who have contracted the virus before, they must provide a certificate showing they tested negative in an RT-PCR test or at least an antigen test. The certificate can be no more than seven days old. These certificates will be required at all entrance points.:

                  Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                  • Reopening of Thailand set to be postponed until November

                    The reopening of five tourism provinces including Bangkok looks set to be postponed until November so as to boost their vaccination rate to 70 per cent.

                    “Although the opening of pilot areas in all five provinces may have to be delayed until November 1, the TAT is not worried,” said Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Yuthasak Supasorn after meeting with Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) officials on Wednesday.

                    October 1 was the original start date for quarantine-free international travel to Bangkok, Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao districts), Chonburi (Pattaya, Bang Lamung and Sattahip districts), Phetchaburi (Cha-am), and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin).

                    However, Yuthasak said many locations under the plan were still waiting for vaccines to be delivered.

                    Authorities have set a threshold of 70 per cent vaccination of the local population before it is safe to reopen to foreign tourists.

                    Last week, Bangkok reported that only 37 per cent of residents had been fully vaccinated.

                    Meanwhile, Chiang Mai province said it will not accept direct international flights during the first phase of reopening. Foreign tourists must instead join the Phuket Sandbox 7+7 Extension scheme, staying on the southern island for at least seven days before they can travel to Chiang Mai.

                    The delayed reopening is a blow to the Thai tourism industry, which was gearing up for the start of the high season on October 1. Tourism operators will now have to switch focus from the international market to domestic travellers.:

                    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                    • Samui may allow alcohol in pubs, restaurants from Oct 1

                      Alcoholic beverages can be served in bars and restaurants in Koh Samui from October 1 under the “Samui Vaccine Green Zone” scheme, Surat Thani authorities announced on Thursday.

                      This will be allowed only if every member of staff has received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. The authorities also require people working in restaurants and bars to undergo antigen tests regularly.

                      Koh Samui’s district chief Teerapong Chuaychoo said the aim was to stimulate the local economy and promote the island as a sandbox area in the future.

                      Teerapong had said earlier that the “Samui Plus Model” will be replaced by the more liberal “sandbox” scheme from October 1 if approved by the government.

                      Under the Samui Plus Model, launched on July 15, fully vaccinated tourists can enter the island without the need for quarantine.:

                      Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                      • CCSA subcommittee proposes 2-month extension of State of Emergency

                        A subcommittee of Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved another 2-month extension to the Emergency Decree, which was due to expire at the end of this month, and has resolved to postpone the country’s reopening from October 1st to November 1st. These proposals will be submitted to the full meeting of the CCSA, chaired by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, on September 27th.

                        The reopening to fully vaccinated foreign tourists without quarantine in Bangkok, Chonburi (Pattaya, Bang Lamung, and Sattahip districts), Chiang Mai (Muaeng, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao districts), Prachuap Khiri Khan Province (Hua Hin), and Phetchaburi (Cha-am) will now be on November 1st.

                        This is to allow more time for at least 70% of the population to be fully vaccinated, which is one of the prerequisites for reopening borders to foreign tourists.

                        There is yet to be a decision on whether to extend Thailand’s nationwide State of Emergency, in place since March 2020, and has been repeatedly extended, with the latest extension set to expire on September 30th, or on the fate of the CCSA.

                        Previously, some local media had erroneously reported on the cabinet’s decision not to extend the State of Emergency beyond September 30th and that the CCSA will be dissolved following the announcement of approved amendments to the Communicable Diseases Act that can be used in place of the Emergency Decree. However, Deputy Government Spokesperson Rachada Dhnadirek confirmed to Thai PBS World that no such decision has been made.

                        Thailand’s State of Emergency has been repeatedly claimed by the government to have helped to expedite efforts to bring the pandemic under control, but it has been criticised by anti-establishment protesters and human rights groups for curtailing freedom of expression, including media freedoms, and bans media from reporting during curfew hours.:
                        Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                        • November 1st would be nice,......

                          for Thailand if they're able to get to 70%
                          Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                          • Phuket opens doors to vaccinated visitors from October 1

                            Phuket Governor Narong Woonsiew on Thursday issued an order regarding screening measures for people who wish to enter the island via sea, air, and land channels.

                            The order stipulates that from October 1, people who, for at least 14 days before arrival, have received full doses of Sinovac, Sputnik V and Sinopharm vaccines, or one dose of AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson and Johnson vaccines will be allowed to enter the island via Chatchai checkpoint, piers and Phuket International Airport. Those who have recovered from Covid-19 within the past six months will also be allowed in.

                            Visitors must also provide a negative test result via RT-PCR or antigen test method performed not more than seven days upon arrival. Children aged 6-18 will require only the test result.

                            Exceptions will be made for children aged under 6 who travel with their parents, and staffers travelling in ambulances and emergency vehicles.

                            Those who travel to the island under the Phuket Sandbox and 7+7 Extension programmes will not be affected by the new measures as they are already required to be fully vaccinated and perform testing every week.:

                            Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                            • Quarantine for fully vaccinated to be reduced to 7 days from Oct, 10 provinces to reopen on Nov 1

                              Thailand’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) decided on Monday (September 27th) to extend the nationwide State of Emergency to the end of November, but ease some of the partial lockdown measures effective October 1st, including shortening the quarantine period for those fully vaccinated to 7 days, and shortening the night-time curfew in the “dark red” provinces to 10pm – 4am for at least 15 days.

                              The curfew will be shortened by one hour, from currently 9pm – 4am. The CCSA also agreed to reduce the quarantine period for vaccinated travellers to 7 days, instead of 14. Those who do not have documents proving their vaccination will, however, have to go through 10-14 days of quarantine.

                              The CCSA also allowed the reopening of certain businesses, such as children’s nurseries, child development centres, libraries, museums, nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, health centres, indoor sports arenas, cinemas and live music in restaurants.

                              Shopping centres and convenience stores are now allowed to open until 9pm. Exhibition centres are, however, to remain closed.

                              The CCSA also announced the reopening on November 1st of Bangkok, Krabi, Phang-nga, Prachuap Khiri Khan (only Hua Hin and Nong Gae), Phetchaburi (only Cha-am), Chonburi (only Pattaya, Bang Lamung, Jom Thien, Bang Sare), Ranong (Koh Phayam), Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng, and Doi Tao districts), Loei (Chiang Khan) and Buriram (Muang district).

                              The State of Emergency has been in place since March 2020 and repeatedly extended as the decree is valid for no more than 90 days at a time.:

                              Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


                              • More details of Thailand’s reopening revealed

                                The Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration has released more details on Thailand’s gradual reopening to tourists, with its COVID-19 “blue zones”, in which activities, similar to those in “green zone” provinces, can be undertaken.

                                The CCSA’s spokesperson, Dr. Taweesin Visanuyothin, announced that “blue zones” will allow people to travel freely, while businesses and activities can operate normally, under the control of the provincial communicable disease committees.

                                This means restaurants, shopping centres, hair and beauty salons, schools and sporting facilities in the “blue zones” can open normally. Activities which draw large crowds can be held with no more than 500 people, while pubs and entertainment venues are to remain closed. At the same time, COVID-19 preventive measures will remain in place.

                                Currently, the southern provinces of Phuket, Surat Thani (Samui, Pha-ngan and Tao Islands only), Phang-nga (Khao Lak and Yao Island only) and Krabi (Phi Phi islands, Ngai Island, Railay, Khlong Muang and Tub Kaek only) are the only areas reopened to vaccinated foreign tourists.

                                For the next phase of reopening, scheduled to start on November 1st, 10 provinces and areas will reopen as “blue zones”. They include Bangkok, Krabi (entire province), Phang-nga (entire province), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin and Nong Gae only), Phetchaburi (Cha-am only, Chonburi (Pattaya, Bang Lamung, Jom Thien, Bang Sare only), Ranong (Koh Phayam only), Chiang Mai (Muang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao districts only), Loei (Chiang Khan districtonly) and Buri Ram (Muang district only).

                                From December 1st, the 20 provinces to reopen are Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lampoon, Phrae, Nong Khai, Sukhothai, Phetchabun, Pathum Thani, Ayutthaya, Samut Prakan, Trat, Rayong, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Trang, Pattalung, Songkhla, Yala, and Narathiwat.

                                From January 1st, 2022, 13 border provinces, such as Surin, Sra Kaew, Chanthaburi, Tak, Nakhon Phanom, Mukdahan, Bueng Kan, Udon Thani, Ubon Ratchathani, Nan, Kanchanaburi, Ratchaburi, and Satun, will reopen.:

                                Keep your friends close and your enemies closer


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