Phuket Provincial Government Announces 4 Phases of Reopening
Published: September 5, 2020 at 8:47 am
Phuket’s provincial government has unveiled the four phases of reopening the province to foreign tourism.
Phuket is expected to reopen by October 1, and Phuket’s provincial government has made available to the public the four phases in which the island will be reintroduced to foreign tourism.
According to Vachira Phuket Hospital’s director Dr Chalermpong Sukontapol, these will be the four phases in which the island will be reopened to foreign tourists:
The first phase will only admit tourists who will sign up for the “Phuket Longstay” program. In this phase, short-term tourism is still not available and only those who will stay for 90 days or more will be able to visit Phuket. They will be subjected to COVID-19 testing, and 14-day quarantine.
The second phase will proceed according to the “Safety Tourism” scheme. Phuket will open the market to more countries, all of which need to be considered as “low risk” for the COVID-19. Tourists will still be subjected to 14-day quarantine, although they will be able to leave their facilities twice throughout the quarantine period.
In the third phase, Phuket will accept countries with moderate risk of bringing the COVID-19 over from tourists. 14-day quarantine will still be observed for these visitors, before they are allowed to explore the island.
The fourth phase will require the availability of the vaccine, or an improvement in the global COVID-19 situation. This phase will fully open Phuket to all tourists, and will not require quarantine as long as they don’t test positive upon arrival at the airport.
Dr. Chalermpong said that Phuket Provincial Governor Narong Woonciew had submitted the four phases to the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration, the body that is overall in charge of managing the pandemic and regulating safety measures.
The physician also added that this framework could be extended or applied to other popular destinations in Thailand, but only when the government has deemed that the four phases are successful in containing or preventing a fresh outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus.
He also expressed confidence in Phuket’s safety and travel facilities, citing these as the main reasons why the government chose to open Phuket first, in addition to its popularity.
Dr. Chalermpong also said that a vaccine could be available next year, or that the threat of the COVID-19 could diminish or totally disappear by next year.
The government had announced the reopening of Phuket earlier this month. The set of public health and safety measures that will govern the arrival of tourists were based on the “Safe and Sealed” plan of the Tourism and Sports Ministry.
The Tourism Authority of Thailand later on declared that the first 200 tourists will come from Australia and New Zealand. These are nations whose response to the spreading pandemic had been lauded by medical experts around the world, alongside Thailand’s.
Amidst opposition from the country’s top medical experts, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha defended the plan, saying that reopening to foreign tourism is “essential” for the recovery of the economy, and for beleaguered businesses and employees to earn income after the 5-month lockdown imposed by the emergency decree in April.