Health Ministry issues directive on coronavirus reports
The health office in Chiang Mai said on Monday (January 27) that the Public Health Ministry had instructed provincial health offices to stop reporting the numbers of suspected and confirmed coronavirus cases and wait for the official announcement from the ministry after China announced a ban of all flight to the province after February 7.
There are 19 direct flights daily from China to Chiang Mai, according to airport authority.
Manop Saejia, president of Chiang Mai Guide association, said Chinese tourists would disappear from the airport's arrival lounge after February 7. Of all tourists from China, the ratio of group tours with guides and free independent travellers (FIT) are 40 and 60 per cent.
Some visitors have returned to China, local authority is assessing the number of Chinese tourists still in the province.
About 20 tour companies catering to Chinese tourists in Chiang Mai are collaborating with their partners in China and hotel operators in the province on the matter of refunding customers who have already paid for their flights and accommodations.
The travel ban would have a wide impact on the province's tourism sector.
About 2,000 Chinese-language guides in the north have been caught up in the situation, given that safety is the priority.
Manop said guides could take care of Chinese visitors on group tours. However, FIT tourists who stay in condominiums and other places in Chiang Mai will be difficult to monitor, he added.
Despite a screening system being set up at Chiang Mai airport, local authority are taking no chance with the spread of coronavirus in the province.