Nong Khai prepares to launch tourism sandbox programme
The northeastern province of Nong Khai is preparing to launch the tourism sandbox programme following the success of Phuket Sandbox that started in July, governor Monsit Phaisarnthanawat said on Tuesday.
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has approved four districts in Nong Khai as “blue zones” or pilot areas among 17 tourist provinces that can welcome foreign tourists who provide evidence of being fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and tested negative without having to quarantine from November 1 onward. These areas are Muang, Tha Bo, Sri Chiang Mai and Sangkhom districts.
“Today (November 9) local authorities and public health offices in Nong Khai meet to discuss the possibility to launch a tourism sandbox programme in the province to promote tourism and cross border trading, especially along the Thai-Laos and Nong Khai-Loei borders,” he said. “We are planning to propose to the CCSA to allow the reopening of the First Thai–Lao Friendship Bridge that directly connects Nong Khai’s Muang district to Vientiane, which will greatly help facilitate tourists and commuters from both countries.”
Monsit added that public health offices have finished evaluating the outbreak situation in the province as well as drafted the visitor tracing and monitoring plan to minimize the risk of new cluster cases emerging after the province is fully open. “Hospitals and public health staff have been instructed to prepare to treat new patients in case of emergency, while business owners were told to employ strict disease control measures,” he added.
On Monday Nong Khai reported 15 new Covid-19 infections, with cumulative cases since April 2021 at 4,065 patients. Of these, 3,653 people have been cured and allowed to leave hospitals and 37 people had died.