Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Govt moves towards determining criteria for travel bubble pact

Jun 18. 2020
Anutin Charnvirakul
Anutin Charnvirakul
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By THE NATION

Two senior officials have been given the task of setting the criteria for the “travel bubble” pact and negotiating with partner countries.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said on Wednesday (June 17) that he had assigned the responsibility to Dr Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, and Dr Supakit Sirilak, the ministry’s permanent secretary.

The travel bubble pact aims to select countries that have the Covid-19 situation under control as well as have suitable preventive measures in order to consider letting travellers from those countries enter the Kingdom.

“Numerous embassies have submitted documents to Thailand for the purpose, such as Japan and Switzerland, with whom we will hold discussions soon,” said Anutin.

“The topics to be discussed will include screening measures upon arrival, candidate selection criteria and preventive measures that must be implemented by both the host and visiting countries.”

Anutin further added that the pact will be carried out in the form of a MoU [memorandum of understanding] between both parties and can be revoked in case the Covid-19 situation in either country unexpectedly escalates.

“Initially, we will allow only businessmen, technicians, professors and those who have valid work permits to enter our nation, before permitting tourists,” he said.

“We expect to submit the meeting result to the Prime Minister and the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration next Friday [June 26],” added Anutin.

Meanwhile, Suwanchai added that the fundamental criteria that both parties under the travel bubble pact must fulfill are: having declining number of domestic confirmed Covid-19 cases; and have adequate medical efficiency and staff in treating Covid-19 patients.

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