Sunday, June 20, 2021

in-focus

Phuket still scheduled to reopen in July, says deputy PM


Phuket will reopen to foreign tourists as scheduled in July, Deputy Prime Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow confirmed via Facebook on Tuesday.

Under the Phuket sandbox scheme, foreign tourists who have received two doses of Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to visit the island from July 1 without quarantining.

The scheme will then be expanded to Krabi, Phang Nga, Koh Samui, Pattaya and Chiang Mai in October before the country reopens fully on January 1, 2022.

Supattanapong, who doubles as energy minister, confirmed the schedule for reopening was still on track amid confidence that 50 million of Thailand’s 70-million population will be vaccinated this year.

He also insisted the latest Covid-19 outbreak should be under control in the next two weeks, adding that the government would assess the situation to see whether more economic stimulus measures were needed.

In the meantime, exports are growing well and the government is expediting budget disbursement at all ministries, he said.

Supattanapong admitted the third wave of Covid-19 has rocked the economy’s fragile recovery but said the situation would improve in 1-2 months after the outbreak is controlled and mass vaccination is launched.

Meanwhile, the “Khon La Khrueng” (Let's Go Halves) shopping subsidy scheme was stimulating the grassroots economy and small businesses.

However, the main economic drivers are people with high income and purchasing power, he added.

“The principle is to motivate people with high incomes and savings to spend more, so more money is injected to support the foundation-level economy and small businesses, which we have accomplished in Khon La Khrueng."

He said the most important thing was for Thais to work together to halt the latest outbreak as quickly as the previous two virus waves and make this the last wave before mass vaccination launches across the country in June.

On Wednesday the government will meet with private sector representatives to discuss their procurement of vaccines on top of the 63 million doses already ordered by the government, said Supattanapong.

Published : April 27, 2021

By : The Nation