Phuket authorities say under the sandbox plan, just over 70 per cent of the population on Thailand’s largest island will be vaccinated before it reopens to inoculated international tourists from low- and medium-risk countries without the need for quarantine on July 1.
“Success” he said, would come from a smooth reopening “while keeping the number of infected cases down”.
After a two-week stay on the island, tourists with negative PCR test results can then travel on to the rest of the kingdom freely, teasing long-stay visitors back to Thailand, whose tourist economy lost about US$50 billion last year.
It is a litmus test for the rest of Thailand – from Pattaya in the east to Chiang Mai in the north – but also a chance to reflate the travel bubble concept across Asia, which burst as outbreaks rattled through key travel hubs Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.
Yet in a sign of the fragility of any plans during an ongoing global pandemic, health authorities on Tuesday reported 4,000 new cases across Thailand – including clusters of hundreds found at markets – amid warnings the sandbox could be quickly closed if cases surge on the island.
The caseload in mainland Thailand is at its highest since the pandemic began last year and mixed messages from the government, including a nationwide alcohol ban that has put a downer on the nightlife scene, have confused some potential visitors or turned them off completely ahead of the July 1 reopening.
Read the full article at South China Morning Post: https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/health-environment/article/3138344/thailand-approves-phuket-sandbox-plan-allow-vaccinated