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A new form of Alternate State Quarantine (ASQ) has been proposed by the Ministry of Public Health that will enable short-term tourists to travel to specified areas in some selected provinces during their 14-quarantine duration.
A new form of ASQ was being explored for short-term tourists in the provinces ready to reopen, said Thares Krassanairawiwong, Director-General of the Health Service Support Agency.
This form of ASQ will enable tourists during the 14-day quarantine time to fly to specified areas instead of confining themselves to hotel premises, the doctor said.
Terms and requirements to be negotiated between government units and entrepreneurs would arrive with the new ASQ.
People in each of the provinces need to be notified and authorized by the new ASQ, the official said.
He emphasized that protection and economic feasibility would be the basis of the current ASQ.
Travel routes developed by the provinces must be approved by international tourists and must not veer off track. Most notably, for three months, they have to come from countries with low Covid-19 danger and no local infections, Dr Thares said.
Tourists must test negative for the virus 72 hours before departure and remain 14 days in-home quarantine before leaving their country. They must still use travel agencies to book flights and hotels.
The provinces that are able to reopen must make sure that local people can not use roads for international tourists. Wellness travel events such as massages, spas, and gastronomic tours are suggested for visitors.
Hotels with SHA (Safety and Health Administration) requirements must be hotels where they will rest, the doctor said.
The places that can be accessed by international visitors would be set, he added.
Tracking systems and members of organizations reacting to Covid-19 traveling with them at all times are expected to be included.
The doctor added that the provinces that are qualifying for the new ASQ form must have sufficient public health services and hospitals capable of treating patients with Covid-19. Hospitals must therefore be fitted with rooms and labs for negative pressure.
The doctor said that several provinces, most of which are provinces of tourism, have shown an interest in providing the latest kind of ASQ, such as Chon Buri, Buri Ram, Rayong, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket and Surat Thani.
According to the doctor, Chon Buri seems more equipped for the latest form of ASQ, judging by the excitement of local entrepreneurs and the province's expertise in handling state quarantine facilities.
"Another means of bringing international visitors to further stimulate the economy is the latest form of ASQ," he said.
For overseas patients and their caregivers, Thailand already has 55 SQ facilities, 84 ASQ and Alternate Central State Quarantine facilities and 154 Alternate Hospital Quarantine facilities.
During therapy in Thailand, they are expected to be quarantined for at least 14 days and have three Covid-19 examinations.
In order to serve overseas tourists on recreational and business visits, we have prepared 2,000 medical rooms and 13,009 hotel rooms.
We are sure that from Oct 15 onwards, foreign travelers will be able to access Thailand. We are prepared to take them,' said the director-general.
Since the government began easing restrictions, creating over 200 million baht for the region, over 1,000 international patients with other diseases and caregivers have reached Thailand by ground, water and air, he added.
Thailand is planning health quarantine services, such as spas and massage parlours, for medicinal visitors from other nations, such as elderly citizens.
A Special Tourist Visa (STV) program was initiated by the government on Oct 1.
Holders of this particular visa would be permitted to stay for 90 days in the nation first, and then to extend the visa annually for 90 days at a time.
On November 2-3 in Phuket, Cabinet members will have a mobile cabinet conference to listen to citizens and business operators' opinions on how to help restore Phuket, which was severely impacted by the pandemic.