THURSDAY, February 22, 2024

Bangkok reopening plan delayed until most residents fully jabbed

Bangkok reopening plan delayed until most residents fully jabbed

The plan to reopen Bangkok to fully vaccinated foreign tourists will likely be postponed by a month at least to ensure at least 70 per cent of people living in the capital and its adjacent provinces are fully jabbed first.

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said on Monday that the plan had been postponed from October 1, when Bangkok and four other provinces – Chiang Mai (Mueang, Mae Rim, Mae Taeng and Doi Tao), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin), Phetchaburi (Cha-am) and Chonburi (Pattaya, Bang Lamung and Sattahip) – were scheduled to reopen.

He said the country should be fully reopened by January 15 if at least 70 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated by the end of this year.

Phiphat added that foreigners who arrive under the Phuket or Samui sandbox schemes and stay there for at least seven days will be allowed to travel to 23 provinces from October 15. The provinces are:

North: Mae Hong Son, Chiang Rai, Phrae, Nan, Lamphun and Sukhothai

Northeast: Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Ubon Ratchathani and Loei (Chiang Khan)

East: Rayong (Koh Samet), Chanthaburi and Trat (Koh Kut and Koh Chang)

West: Ratchaburi and Kanchanaburi

South: Ranong, Trang, Satun, Songkhla, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Phatthalung

Central: Ayutthaya

"The Tourism and Sports Ministry will propose the third phase of the reopening plan to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration [CCSA] within this month,” he said.

"The ministry will also propose a fourth phase of reopening, which will allow travellers from Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Malaysia to enter Thailand under a bubble from January 1.”

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Phiphat added that if daily Covid-19 infections dropped significantly from 15,000 to just a couple of thousand by September 20, then the ministry will propose that the CCSA and Public Health Ministry cut the mandatory quarantine period from 14 days to seven days.