Health Minister presides over ‘Thailand Moving Together’, sits down with business sector to drive tourism-transportation safely in the endemic era
Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul presided over “Thailand Moving Together: Hug, Eat, Fly, Travel, Live Together” meet and greet session and hosted a public hearing with operators in tourism and transport sectors examining ways to make the transition to the endemic phrase of Covid-19, allowing increasing numbers of tourists to enter the kingdom.
Easing of restrictions aims to drive the economy and enable the public to live safely with Covid backed with sufficient public health facilities and support.
Anutin was joined by: Saksayam Chidchob, Transport Minister; Siraphop Duangsodsri, Advisor to the Minister of Tourism & Sports; Dr. Kiattiphum Wongrachit, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health; Chayatham Promsorn, Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Transport; and Chote Trachu, Permanent Secretary of Ministry Of Tourism & Sports.
“The tourism and hospitality sector in Thailand has lived with the adversity caused by Covid-19 and closing of the country for over two years,” the Public Health Minister reflected. “The Ministry of Public Health along with the Ministry of Tourism & Sports and Ministry of Transport are working closely to provide solutions to rebalance pandemic controls to facilitate the opening of the country. Currently, the Covid-19 situation is improving with steadily decreasing numbers of cases and death. This is thanks to cooperation by the public and business owners in following the preventive measures and other restrictions, including lockdown measures, services shutdown, social distancing area provision, ventilation system improvement, vaccination provision for staff, and Covid-testing for staff. These collaborations enable the Ministry of Public Health to further propose other easing policies to facilitate tourism operators.
"From 1 May 2022 onward, the government stopped the Test & Go scheme for fully-vaccinated tourists to enter the kingdom freely. Therefore, increasing numbers of tourists are travelling to Thailand, catalysing positive economic recovery.
“As the transition from pandemic to endemic is expected to see rising numbers of tourists in the kingdom, the Ministry of Public Health therefore organised a hearing with 22 representatives of associations and departments including tourism, hospitality, restaurants and hotels. The hearing and solution session aims to identify appropriate public health measures to propose to the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) conference to enable convenience and affirmation for tourism and transport sectors and support Thai people to resume normalcy and living with Covid-19 safely.
“The hearing session shows agreement between government and business sectors in proposing guidelines for Thailand to overcome the crisis on the basis of public safety while boosting tourism and the economy. Unnecessary restrictions are being eased to drive transition to the endemic phase. Advance policy notification from the Ministry of Tourism is necessary for business operators to prepare and adjust their plans. The Ministry of Transport and other relevant agencies are requested to facilitate tourism convenience speedily. The Ministry of Public Health is required to provide medical and public services as well as relaxing measures and keeping the public appraised of and compliant with the ongoing situation. For its part, the Ministry of Public Health has already provided full medical support, including beds, medicines, medical professionals, medical devices, and personal hygiene protection to tackle the Covid outbreaks.
“While social measures have been relaxed, the most vital factor is cooperation from business owners to understand and follow the 2 U Policy which includes: Universal Prevention; infection prevention with social distancing, washing hands, wearing masks in indoor spaces and crowded areas, and testing when contacting high risk groups, and; Universal Vaccination; ensuring availability of booster shots to elevate safety levels. When all requirements are met, and vaccinations are fully boosted as advised, the country opening for tourists need no longer raise concerns about a repeat outbreak. Even if infection occurs, severe symptom or loss of life are not major threats.
"The Ministry of Public Health adheres to the HEALTH FOR WEALTH framework which includes cultivating the public health system to support Thailand to develop and grow stronger economically. The vision is not one dimensional: Thailand’s public health system helps boost and promote business and investment. Herbal and cannabis product development is one of the models used to promote domestic medical treatment and exports while enhancing the country to become a world medical hub that attracts health tourism travellers.
“The Ministry of Public Health believes that strong healthcare development is a key-driver of positive economic and social development. Thai people’s safety is ensured by having quality public health," said Anutin.