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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Bangkok to accept foreign tourists without quarantine from Oct 15

    From October 15, fully vaccinated foreign tourists will be able to visit Bangkok without having to quarantine, authorities said on Wednesday.


    Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced the move after discussions with Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang.


    The proportion of people vaccinated in all Bangkok districts is expected to reach the 70 per cent threshold for reopening by the end of this month.


    Phiphat said all Bangkok districts will open to foreign travellers at the same time.


    He added that four other tourism areas – Hua Hin, Cha-am, Chiang Mai and Pattaya – will open on October 1 if preparations go to plan.


    Bangkok to accept foreign tourists without quarantine from Oct 15

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    From October 15, fully vaccinated foreign tourists will be able to visit Bangkok without having to quarantine, authorities said on Wednesday.


    Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn announced the move after discussions with Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang.


    The proportion of people vaccinated in all Bangkok districts is expected to reach the 70 per cent threshold for reopening by the end of this month.


    Phiphat said all Bangkok districts will open to foreign travellers at the same time.


    He added that four other tourism areas – Hua Hin, Cha-am, Chiang Mai and Pattaya – will open on October 1 if preparations go to plan.


    Bangkok to accept foreign tourists without quarantine from Oct 15
    He's announcing a lot but it still depends on Friday's meeting and subsequent legal actions.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Prominent Thai doctors urges government to delay country reopening for foreign tourists

    At least two prominent doctors in Thailand who also advise the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, are calling foul at Thailand’s plan to reopen the country in October for foreign vaccinated tourists, warning that it is too risky and too early to do so in their opinions.


    Dr. Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University, urged the Thai government to delay the country’s reopening project as it might worsen the domestic infection rates.


    The doctor stated online today, September 16th, that opening the country in various provinces under the government plan, including Sandbox and 7+7 extensions, will pose a risk of heavy outbreaks due to two risk factors, according to his academic research.


    First, people traveling from abroad may be carrying the virus into the area despite the fact that rules, health screenings, and 14-day quarantine may reduce the risk to some extent. However, even fully vaccinated tourists are still likely to be infected during their travels or during their stay in the area.

    TPN media notes that data from the Phuket Sandbox project has shown that out of roughly 31,000 visitors only 91, or 0.28 percent, tested positive for Covid-19, most upon arrival at the airport, nearly all asymptomatic, and there have been no reports of clusters or major spread from foreign vaccinated tourists in Phuket. The island is currently suffering from several hundred cases a day but, according to the Ministry of Public Health, the clusters are primarily centered in migrant and fishing communities and not tourist-related areas.


    Secondly and most importantly, according to Thira, the policy of opening tourism areas and the country will lead to more people flowing in the area as well as more activities, meetings, trading, services. People will become closer and spend more time together, according to his online statement.

    Regardless of the “risk factor” of foreign tourists, Dr. Thira believes that many people will attempt to return to opened provinces for work and many venues that are “high risk” will reopen, legally or not, increasing the number of people socializing and gathering and spreading the virus further.

    “This is the main risk factor arising from the policy and will result in more spread of infection in the area because there is still an infection in the community. We do not have enough people vaccinated in the country as a whole to support this plan which will cause more movement and more people to flock to tourism areas to look for work, many of who may not be vaccinated yet. These two risk factors will be the consequences of the government reopening policy,” he stated.


    The professor also expected that the number of infections in the reopening areas will be significantly increased from 6-8 weeks onwards.


    His status added: “Apart from more infections, more number of both sick and dead people could also result in the emergence of new mutants that may be resistant to vaccines and drugs. The situation would go on and on like dominoes and would inevitably affect the economy in the end. We need to fully control the current situation before opening up to tourism. The economy will suffer more and for even longer by trying to reopen to save the “high season.”

    “The government should take the last quarter of this year to provide good and effective vaccines to the people in all areas. If they hurriedly open the country and tourism, I can’t see the eyes of victory in any possible way.” Dr. Thira added.


    “The current situation is not safe for tourism and the country reopening, it is best to slow down this plan and focus on vaccination country-wide for Quarter 4 and consider moving any tourism reopening plan to Quarter 1 of 2022.” Dr. Thira concluded.


    Meanwhile, Dr. Prasit Watanapa, from Siriraj Hospital and their dean of the Faculty of Medicine, also gave his own warnings today which agreed with Dr. Thira’s opinion. He also felt that it was too early to open the country to tourism and foreign tourists and was concerned about possible new variants either entering the country from tourists or a new variant emerging.


    Dr. Prasit, however, took a more liberal stance than Dr. Thira, stating that he understood the pain of the economy and business leaders pushing to save their high season and avoid a second year in a row of completely missing Quarter 4. He suggested that rather than open in October, delay everything just a single month, to November, and allow doctors to further rollout the vaccination program nationwide and provide protection to more people before any opening. Dr. Thira, as stated previously, believes the country should wait at least four more months roughly until Quarter 1 of 2022 before he feels enough of the population would be vaccinated to allow a cautious and controlled opening to tourism.


    Finally, the Tourism Authority of Thailand is set to meet with the CCSA this upcoming weekend to officially present the plan to reopen the country to tourism. At this point, the plan is still only a proposal and the CCSA, through a spokesperson, has stated they are listening to both the business and medical sector before making a decision on any plans to reopen. The CCSA has acknowledged, however, that the medical and business sector have completely different polarizing views on the direction to take to move forward.


    Prominent Thai doctors urges government to delay country reopening for foreign tourists - The Pattaya News

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misskit View Post
    However, even fully vaccinated tourists are still likely to be infected during their travels or during their stay in the area.
    It's embarrassing even for them to come out with this nonsense and a mark of how poorly the nation manages information sharing as a whole.

    For a start only 33 have tested positive on arrival in Phuket - the 93 is the total infected "after landing".... which includes the ones who have left their hotels and gone straight back to their (probably infected) homes/villages/whatever.

    That is around 1/10th of one per cent.

    Their other point is valid however. Increased tourists will definitely generate increased movement of goods and people, and that doesn't help.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat VocalNeal's Avatar
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    I can't believe any vaccinated tourists would risk possibly 10 days of sickness from their holiday just to come a bit earlier?

    Or do they figure they won't be sick until they return home.?

  6. #6
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    We're hoping to spend Christmas in BKK this year....

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by VocalNeal View Post
    I can't believe any vaccinated tourists would risk possibly 10 days of sickness from their holiday just to come a bit earlier?
    Why are they taking any more risk than they are at home?

    Again: The chances of infection after being vaccinated (with a proper vaccine) are extremely low if you take the usual precautions.

    I've already booked a hotel for Xmas/New Year.

    Granted, I might have to change it to an SHA+ if they go that route and it's not on the list, but I'll still be coming.

    There is Delta pretty well everywhere on the beaten track now.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Oct 1 reopening up in the air



    BANGKOK: The Public Health Ministry yesterday (Sept 16) addressed concerns raised by academics over the government’s plan to reopen the country to vaccinated foreign tourists starting next month.

    The plan is in line with the pledge which Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made in June to welcome vaccinated tourists within 120 days. However, some critics, including academics, have said the government may be acting too early, reports the Bangkok Post.


    Commenting on issues surrounding the plan, Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul yesterday said medical experts and the Department of Disease Control (DDC) must decide whether the country is ready to reopen.

    “The matter cannot be rushed as information on the pandemic situation and risks must be thoroughly addressed,” Mr Anutin said, adding the government is ready to lend its full support.


    “We cannot order [the reopening] yet because we must investigate academic information and make an assessment.”


    The degree of the severity of the COVID-19 situation in countries which prospective foreigners may depart from must be taken into account, he said, adding the DDC will make an assessment and present it for the Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) consideration.


    “If we are not ready, the reopening will not be possible,” Mr Anutin said. “We must look at several factors.”


    Responding to criticism that an Oct 1 reopening may be premature, Mr Anutin said: “No one said the country will reopen on Oct 1.”


    Minister of Tourism and Sports Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said that as of Wednesday more than 70% of residents of Bangkok had been given their first COVID-19 vaccine shots, while 38% had received both jabs.


    However, he said Bangkok governor Aswin Kwanmuang and his public health officials agreed most residents are still waiting for their second jabs and these cannot be administered to most of them in time for Oct 1.


    The reopening timeline for Bangkok should be postponed from Oct 1 to Oct 15 as the capital is expected to have administered second shots to 70% of its residents by then, Mr Phiphat said.


    All 50 districts in the capital will reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists after 70% of Bangkok residents receive their second shots, he said.


    Mr Phiphat said personnel in the service industries and public transport drivers must receive two vaccine shots.


    If they are not fully vaccinated, they can risk spreading the disease to foreign tourists who use their services, he said, adding the Tourism Authority of Thailand is asking operators of taxi cooperatives to issue vaccination certificates to fully vaccinated drivers.


    Under the plan to reopen Bangkok to inoculated foreign tourists, all 50 districts will be reopened, including Din Daeng and Huai Khwang, which still have infection clusters, as the authorities are confident existing containment measures can cope, he said.


    Mr Phiphat cited Phuket, which still has about 200 new daily infections, though there are no reports of local residents spreading the virus to foreign tourists there or vice versa.


    He added that four provinces - Chiang Mai, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi and Chon Buri - will reopen to vaccinated foreign tourists on Oct 1 as planned.


    Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine, posted a message on Facebook on Thursday, warning against the plan to reopen Thailand.


    He said the number of new cases in Thailand remained high and foreign arrivals could bring the virus with them. Even if they are fully vaccinated, they can still contract the virus during their journey, he said.

    Oct 1 reopening up in the air

  9. #9
    Hangin' Around cyrille's Avatar
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    The Governor of Bangkok says that even a mid- month reopening won’t happen.

    He adds that he’ll make the decision.

    So as usual, left hand knows not what right hand is doing.

  10. #10
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Bangkok Governor: NO reopening October 15 despite PM plans

    As any well-informed reader of the news in Thailand knows, Bangkok will definitely be reopening on October 1. Also, it won’t be. It will be pushed back 2 weeks to October 15, the definitive date of Bangkok’s reopening for sure. Or… not. The Governor of Bangkok avowed today that despite the national government’s ever-changing and lofty plans, Bangkok will NOT be reopening on October 15.


    Maybe the Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn of 3 days ago is to be believed when he confirmed that the government is sticking to the October 1 re-opening date previously announced by the PM.

    Or perhaps you trust more the Tourism Minister Phiphat of 2 days ago who said the capital’s re-opening will be pushed back to October 15, as most residents are still waiting for their second vaccination.


    But for those experienced in Thai bureaucracy, it will come as no surprise that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang announced that, despite the Tourism Ministry’s plans, he has no intention of reopening the capital city on October 15 or on any set date until at least 70% of the Bangkok population has been vaccinated.


    The governor said that Bangkok will not reopen without any quarantine requirements to fully vaccinated international travellers who test negative for Covid-19 just yet as it’s still not safe to do so. Less than 40% of the city’s population over the age of 18 has been vaccinated and once 70% have received 2 vaccine doses, arrangements would still need to be made with relevant agencies.


    He says that infections prevention measures need to be improved significantly before welcoming in international tourism, continuing that a resulting outbreak from the reopening would be disastrous for the city.


    Governor Aswin insists that he never confirmed a Bangkok reopening date, and he will base any reopening decision by prioritising the people of Bangkok and their safety. He stated authoritatively that the decision to reopen and the date of reopening will be determined by City Hall.

    Bangkok Governor: NO reopening October 15 despite PM plans | Thaiger

  11. #11
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Friday's meeting has concluded with no decisions.

    Which means they'll probably announce it on Facetube on Monday.

    Safety first: health measures key to reopening

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    We're hoping to spend Christmas in BKK this year....
    Topper, PH isn't included in the list of countries included in the Phuket and other sandboxes, since PH is considered as a high risk country by TH. If ever TH will fully open by January, I think it will be for fully vaxxed (correct me if I'm wrong, TH-based ppl).

    Also, when you return to PH there's a mandatory 10 day hotel quarantine, plus 4 (or more) days in your town/ city.

    I don't know if PH govt will lift the quarantine rules by December. I follow PH news and the govt said it will consider to open the country when 50% or 70% has been fully vaxxed. I think PH is at 20% level now. Metro Manila has ~60% fully vaxxed and 80% with 1 dose, so they are now on GCQ (or orange). Surrounding provinces like Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan are still on MECQ (or red zone).

    Let's hope for the best, but don't hold your breath.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    Topper, PH isn't included in the list of countries included in the Phuket and other sandboxes, since PH is considered as a high risk country by TH. If ever TH will fully open by January, I think it will be for fully vaxxed (correct me if I'm wrong, TH-based ppl).

    Also, when you return to PH there's a mandatory 10 day hotel quarantine, plus 4 (or more) days in your town/ city.

    I don't know if PH govt will lift the quarantine rules by December. I follow PH news and the govt said it will consider to open the country when 50% or 70% has been fully vaxxed. I think PH is at 20% level now. Metro Manila has ~60% fully vaxxed and 80% with 1 dose, so they are now on GCQ (or orange). Surrounding provinces like Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Bulacan are still on MECQ (or red zone).

    Let's hope for the best, but don't hold your breath.
    Thank you for that update Katie. Indonesia is in a similar position regarding the vaccination of the population overall.
    Bali was made a special case some time ago. 70%+ have the first vaccine and 40%+ have both, but the rest of the country is not so good and with such a large population, they are well behind most countries.

  14. #14
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    @switch - yeah, Indonesia and PH are the two most populous countries in SEA. Vaccination will take time, especially in the far islands. I've heard from a Bali-based vlogger that the Bali business visa is open again but there are requirements like 8 days quarantine in Jakarta, covid test, health insurance & of course the pre-approved visa.

    I think TH & Indonesia have it right by making these sandboxes in order to stimulate the economy & give jobs. So many people in the tourism sector (and related food & transport businesses) have been suffering for months.

    Vietnam also plans to have a sandbox for Phu Quoc Island, but I don't know when.

    PH has a plan for Boracay sandbox, but it's still a plan. The tourism secretary is pushing for it.

    Hope the vaccination drives in all countries increase and infection rates decrease.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for the info very much appreciated & hoping the same about vaccinations but now there's 3rd round about


    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    @switch - yeah, Indonesia and PH are the two most populous countries in SEA. Vaccination will take time, especially in the far islands. I've heard from a Bali-based vlogger that the Bali business visa is open again but there are requirements like 8 days quarantine in Jakarta, covid test, health insurance & of course the pre-approved visa.

    I think TH & Indonesia have it right by making these sandboxes in order to stimulate the economy & give jobs. So many people in the tourism sector (and related food & transport businesses) have been suffering for months.

    Vietnam also plans to have a sandbox for Phu Quoc Island, but I don't know when.

    PH has a plan for Boracay sandbox, but it's still a plan. The tourism secretary is pushing for it.

    Hope the vaccination drives in all countries increase and infection rates decrease.

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    Bangkok’s October tourism reopening not finalized by CCSA


    BANGKOK (NNT) - The plan to reopen Bangkok to international tourists from 15 October is being questioned, as to whether the city is actually ready. The government’s COVID-19 task force said today that any reopening plan needs to be evaluated by the Ministry of Public Health first.


    The Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration’s (CCSA) Assistant Spokesperson Dr Apisamai Srirangsan, has addressed plans for certain provinces including Bangkok to reopen to international tourists in October, saying that all such plans are yet to receive final approval from the CCSA.


    To revive the country’s tourism sector, which was one of the country’s most important economic drivers pre-pandemic, some tourism provinces plan to open some of their districts to vaccinated international tourists, who would not be subject to hotel quarantine during their visit.


    This particular arrangement has already been piloted in the Phuket Sandbox and Samui Plus campaigns, where fully vaccinated international visitors fly into these areas and stay in specific accommodation without serving quarantine. Tourists in these campaigns are however not allowed to travel outside the dedicated area, until a set number of days have passed.


    A similar plan was announced recently to allow Bangkok to reopen to international visitors in an arrangement similar to the Sandbox protocols, from 15th October. The plan was however dismissed by City Hall, which says the city isn’t ready, citing the limited rate of vaccination uptake.


    Dr Apisamai said any plans to open certain areas to international tourists will need to be evaluated by the Ministry of Public Health, with outbreak control and response measures carefully implemented.


    She said area surveys must be conducted before submitting such plans to the CCSA for approval, adding that the 14-day quarantine requirement is still in effect.


    For each reopening proposal, the Ministry of Public Health will need to assess preparedness and measures already in place in the area, including protocols for new cases and clusters.


    The CCSA now aims to raise the rate of vaccination uptake to 50% of Thailand’s population by the end of October, with 70% of the vulnerable population vaccinated by that time. Areas that are planning to receive international tourists should have at least 80% of residents vaccinated.


    There are now eight provinces in Thailand where more than half the local population has already received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, namely Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Samut Sakhon, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Phuket, and Phang Nga. Meanwhile, five provinces have reported more than 70% of their vulnerable population is now vaccinated, namely Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Phuket, Ranong, and Phang Nga.


    National News Bureau Of Thailand

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    @switch - yeah, Indonesia and PH are the two most populous countries in SEA. Vaccination will take time, especially in the far islands. I've heard from a Bali-based vlogger that the Bali business visa is open again but there are requirements like 8 days quarantine in Jakarta, covid test, health insurance & of course the pre-approved visa.

    I think TH & Indonesia have it right by making these sandboxes in order to stimulate the economy & give jobs. So many people in the tourism sector (and related food & transport businesses) have been suffering for months.

    Vietnam also plans to have a sandbox for Phu Quoc Island, but I don't know when.

    PH has a plan for Boracay sandbox, but it's still a plan. The tourism secretary is pushing for it.

    Hope the vaccination drives in all countries increase and infection rates decrease.
    Things are moving along quickly here, maybe too quickly. They are trying to improve the very low testing numbers by including the rapid tests and promoting LFT testing.
    it’s better than nothing but I doubt the sanity of so called sandbox schemes anywhere. The Thai schemes have caused more problems than they solved, and the places are still under a load of restrictions which don’t relate to a true opening.
    Phils has many small islands and remote communities. That’s part of the attraction, but also a big part of the vaccination problem. Indonesia same, same.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Switch View Post
    The Thai schemes have caused more problems than they solved
    What problems have they caused?

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