As reported earlier, Thailand is starting to make preparations for opening the country again to foreign nationals by October.
As such, the authorities have already formulated plans that will be in place the moment the first airplane carrying passengers from outside the country arrives. These plans include public health and safety concerns, like rapid testing kits standing by for disembarking passengers as well as an airport wide thermal scanner to find people who have high temperatures.
The Travel Bubble
These plans, catered towards tourists who want to visit the country again after the COVID scare earlier this year, define areas that comprise the “travel bubble” in Thailand. Under these stipulations, tourists are limited to places with proven safety records from COVID-19.
Plus, Thailand is also limiting entry to nationals from countries that don’t have significant numbers of infections from the virus. Specifically, Thailand is looking at admitting only tourists from the East Asian countries of China, South Korea and Japan.
These are people who will not have to go through the mandatory entry quarantine, provided that they provide a bill of clean health from their home countries. In addition to tourists, businessmen who come over for a few days and government officials on state visits are exempted from the mandatory quarantine as well.
On the other hand, however, there are foreign nationals that have registered to enter Thailand at that same time as well but don’t fall under the categories above. As such, the countries they are in are exempted from the “travel bubble” restriction.
Who Are These People?
According to the Nation Thailand publication, the following groups are outside of the defined exemptions for quarantine upon entry and could enter Thailand provided that they undergo mandatory quarantine:
People with permanent residency in the country
Businessmen and investors looking to infuse capital into Thailand’s economy
Laborers who need to perform an important function in factories and other facilities
Foreign nationals who are married to Thais and were caught in lockdown abroad.
Medical tourists, or those who would like to seek medical treatment through Thailand’s healthcare system.
Thailand is currently seeking out registrants that fall under the above-mentioned groups who would like to re-enter Thailand in October. So far, there are 700 investors, 22,000 laborers, 30,000 medical tourists and 3,000 residents and foreigners married to Thais that have had their names listed in the register.
Thailand and COVID-19
Just like the rest of the world, Thailand grappled with the sudden spread of the COVID-19 virus early this year. However, thanks to a speedy response from the government as well as a state-of-the-art healthcare system in place, Thailand has managed to keep the number of infections low.
So far, Thailand has only 3,157 cases on record. Of these cases, 3,026 individuals have already recovered while only 58 fatalities are recorded. The rest are still monitored or undergoing treatment.
Still, Thailand is not taking chances. In addition to a “travel bubble” of three nations, Thailand has also put restrictions on the movement of tourists once borders are opened. The Kingdom is now focused on “quality over quantity,” and restricts to tourists to locations that are easily monitored and responded to.