Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is set to meet with the Cabinet regarding the proposal to allow vaccinated tourists to bypass quarantine early instead of having to serve the shortened period of 7 days by next month.
Under the government’s reopening plan, six provinces will be reopened to foreign tourism by next month. These provinces are, namely, Phuket, Krabi, Phang Nga, Surat Thani, Chon Buri and Chiang Mai. One of the requirements to enter these provinces is a proof of vaccination against the COVID-19.
However, these tourists are still required to undergo quarantine at least until end of June. The only perk is that the mandatory quarantine period is reduced to 7 days instead of the current 14 days.
By July, Phuket will be allowed to reopen fully and waive the quarantine requirements for tourists who can present proof of vaccination. The five other provinces will retain the quarantine requirement, but will be allowed to waive it as well in the last quarter of 2021.
In the second phase, vaccinated tourists will be allowed to visit select areas of Phuket province in the first seven days of their stay. These areas have been pre-determined by the provincial disease control department.
They will also be required to stay in their rooms for the first three days while they are tested and the samples sequenced to spot possible COVID-19 infection. By the fourth day, provided that they test negative for COVID-19, they will be allowed to go out and visit certain areas in the island.
After the 7th day and a second negative test result, they will be allowed to visit any of the five reopened provinces. If they test negative again in the last swab test near the end of the 14-day period, they will be able to visit other areas in Thailand like regular tourists.
Prime Minister Prayut acknowledged on Tuesday that it is imperative that Thailand remains competitive and continue to attract tourists. Thus, he said that the government must ensure the smoothness and efficiency of the currently ongoing inoculation campaign.
“The point is how we can we ensure the safety [of this reopening programme],” Thailand’s top government official said.
He said that he is ready to consider Phuket’s suggestion that tourists who visit next month and are already vaccinated for COVID-19 can be exempted from the mandatory quarantine early.
However, Prime Minister Prayut said that there must be a digital platform that will help in the management and monitoring of the whereabouts of foreign tourists who will arrive starting next month.
He added that a similar platform is already in development to oversee and manage the COVID-19 vaccination program nationwide. This software is being developed by Krungthai Bank and the Finance Ministry.
With this platform, the government will be able to monitor and allocate vaccines effectively.
Right now, the allocation of the vaccines is handled solely by the Public Health Ministry under the leadership of Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the Prime Minister revealed.