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seven-day quarantine for international tourists could come in November

25 Sep 2020

If the first batch of inbound visitors in October is free of coronavirus infections, the Ministry of Tourism and Sports states, a seven-day quarantine for international tourists could be placed into place in November. 

Following the cabinet meeting next Tuesday, the government will announce further specifics of the special tourist visa (STV) that will enable long-stay tourists, the first foreign arrivals in nearly six months, to access the country by Oct 1, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Minister of Tourism and Sports. 

If in a good scenario, the first two classes of 300 foreigners complete the 14-day quarantine on Oct 15 and Oct 21, the ministry intends to recommend a rise in the number of tourists each week by Nov 1. 

Mr Phiphat said, "Just 300 visitors a week would not be enough to fill up the entire supply chain and support operators." "The number must, therefore, agree with the ability of health professionals from the Ministry of Public Health to schedule swab samples." 

For starters, swab testing services of up to 1,000 tests every day may be offered by the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office. 

The Ministry talked to private hospitals regarding supplying additional health staff to help the airport virus testing phase or encouraging tourist groups to take the test at alternate state quarantine facilities instead of dispersing the tourist traffic at the terminal. 

The ministry would suggest shortening the quarantine time to seven days in mid-November if the tourism program runs smoothly, Mr Phiphat stated. 

He said two swab samples, a strip test and a polymerase chain reaction ( PCR) test, would also have to be done by visitors. 

"If there are five promising cases involving 300 visitors, the initiative to accept foreigners would always have to go on," said Mr Phiphat. "But to deal with the crisis, we would draw up new backup proposals." 

Meanwhile, after delegates toured Chiang Mai, Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Udon Thani, and Rayong to learn about the issues of local operators and explore remedies, the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) summed up Mr Phiphat 's tourism condition. 

TCT President Trirattanajarasporn said the government would provide operators with immediate assistance so that they can bounce back better from the crisis. 

The council predicts that foreign arrivals to Thailand will cross 60 million as global tourism returns to usual, contributing 25 percent to GDP by 2023.

Source Bangkok Post