Friday, December 04, 2020

Wellness quarantine facilities to be offered to long-stay foreign tourists

Oct 06. 2020
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By The Nation

Long-stay visa holders will be the first group of tourists to visit Thailand since the Covid-19 pandemic that led to lockdowns worldwide.

Experts believe that though the virus situation seems to be getting better, surveillance measures still need to be taken, along with the development of a quarantine system to strike an economic balance without increasing the risk of infections.

Wellness Quarantine is one of the new plans being pursued before considering a reduction in the quarantine period.

The medical hub board committee, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul, made an important resolution related to entry of foreigners into Thailand, by opening four more airports -- Samui, Chiang Mai, Phuket and U-Tapao -- to foreign direct flights.

The plan was approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) subcommittee.

Wellness Quarantine, or quarantine areas in the health sector, will be open to people who come to receive treatments, to medical spas, wellness retreats, and long-term care in the health business. They will not be allowed to leave the designated area for at least 14 days. This form of quarantine is divided into two phases: Phase 1 is medical spa quarantine and long-term quarantine, while Phase 2 will be golf quarantine and spa quarantine.

The Department of Health Service Support has to develop guidelines and criteria for the development of quarantine facilities in the health business, such as defining an area as a quarantine area such as clinics, hotels, restaurants, activity areas, and home area.

A pathway system is a path for the patients to visit the doctor at the clinic for Covid-19 tests at the specified point, which will be separated from the normal system. Establishments must provide a device to track customers, such as a watch or wristband, as well as involve the surrounding communities, online shopping or restaurants, products, raw materials, tourist attractions in the area, etc.

Some 5,000 arrivals are expected by the end of December 2020, generating an income of approximately Bt195 million.

However, all these detention facilities are still primarily aimed at foreign tourists with high ability to pay, which can generate income for the country at one level but may not yet meet the needs of economic recovery

Anutin admitted that staying in the quarantine area for up to 14 days could be difficult. Ordinary tourists would not decide to visit. What is needed is a large number of travellers to help generate income for the tourism sector, he said. He has assigned health officers to figure out ways to reduce quarantine from 14 days to a lesser but appropriate and safe period.

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