Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

Anything and everything about Thailand
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Gaybutton
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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

Post by Gaybutton »

As of the time of this post, there are no travel restrictions other than the restrictions already in place. However, the possibility (and I think probability) of further restrictions or even lockdowns have the tourism industry and all the peripheral industries dependent on tourism very worried about the consequences if the government does have to impose a virtual repeat of the earlier restrictions. Many tourist related businesses are saying if that happens, they will be forced to close. They are already just barely hanging on with the help of domestic tourism, but with the current rapid spread of the virus the concern is valid.

After all, who would want to travel internationally to Thailand not only to have to endure a two week quarantine, but also faced with the real possibility of the borders and airports being closed yet again or potential restrictions from their home countries about people coming in from Thailand. Along with that, there is the possibility of finding everything they go to Thailand to enjoy closed.

I certainly hope none of that will happen, but the reality is at the moment it isn't looking good and those planning travel to Thailand need to be aware of it and prepared for any eventuality.
______________________________________________________

Travel industry faces ‘nail in coffin’ after new outbreak

22, Dec 2020

As Phuket and other tourist destinations prepare for a slight bump in business from the countdown to 2021, a new virus outbreak among seafood factory workers in Samut Sakhon couldn’t come at a worse time.

The country discovered a record cluster of infections at the Central Shrimp Market in the province last week, prompting a 14-day lockdown of the industrial district. The government is mulling whether curbs need to be expanded to other locales.

Another nationwide lockdown or restrictions on domestic travel could be the “nail in the coffin” for many tourism-related companies, according to Phuket Hotel Association President Anthony Lark.

“Everyone’s losing money and just trying to break even,” Mr Lark said by phone Monday. “If the government can’t control the virus, and any domestic air travel or inter-provincial travel restrictions are introduced, then you will absolutely see hotel, restaurant and boat owners mothball their businesses.”

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday that he will take about a week to assess whether more stringent curbs are needed.

News of a widespread outbreak in the market, which took the total infections to 5,289 on Monday, came just a day after the government announced plans to ease some restrictions on tourists from 56 countries, including the United States, Japan and Singapore.

The country is betting on a revival in tourism to help it exit a recession, though the central bank forecasts it may take two years for Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy to return to pre-pandemic growth levels. Foreign tourist arrivals generated more than 1.8 trillion baht in revenue from about 40 million visitors in 2019.

While the international market has been virtually dormant for months, domestic travelers have kept many places afloat, including in Phuket, where businesses were counting on a bump during the year-end holidays.

Travellers from the capital account for 99% of Phuket’s tourists since the nation closed its borders late March, according to Lark. Before the pandemic, foreign tourists comprised two-thirds of the island province’s visitors but contributed about 90% of Phuket’s tourism revenue.

“Bangkok weekend warriors have been propping up all supporting businesses,” Mr Lark said, noting that some hotel occupancy rates have hit 80% at times. But new restrictions “would be the nail in the coffin for so many businesses who were already booked and waiting for tourists from Bangkok.”

https://www.bangkokpost.com/business/20 ... w-outbreak

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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About an hour before this post, Thailand's Prime Minister addressed the nation about the current Covid crisis.

I realize many of you were hoping to travel to Thailand within the next few months, but due to this recent new Covid outbreak, along with reports of new mutated strains being found in some countries, the chances of being able to travel to Thailand any time soon are quickly fading.
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PM: Harsher disease control

22 Dec, 2020

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has signalled stricter disease-control measures and a halt to travel easing as the country is grappling with a surge in Covid-19 cases.

In his national address Tuesday evening, Gen Prayut said the situations in Thailand and elsewhere would delay domestic economic recovery.

The latest Covid-19 outbreak in Samut Sakhon province showed that the disease remained a severe threat to the nation and a new strain spreads more easily and quickly throughout the world.

Economies, including Thailand's, will take longer to recover and the country would have to continue restricting arrivals, he said.

"Regarding severe Covid situations outside the country, our biggest threat will be the visitors who can also bring in Covid-19. That would cause problems for the Thai public health system and increasingly damage our economy," the prime minister said.

He confirmed that the country had to intensify disease-control measures.

"I may have to announce more measures. In particular, New Year celebrations may have to be called off," Gen Prayut said.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, which he chairs, will introduce more measures this week. "If they remain too lax, the outbreak will cause more economic problems and has nationwide impacts," Gen Prayut said.

The prime minister called on all parties to be responsible and contribute to efforts to control Covid-19 in the country.

Any parties that brought in illegal migrants, be they officials or traffickers, would be decisively prosecuted as most infected people in the latest outbreak were migrant workers, he said.

He promised to speed up the production and procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/ge ... se-control

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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He's lost the plot there.

Tourist present no threat at all, as there are robust testing and quarantine measures in place.

It's the illegal migrants that are the problem & action there appears to be shutting the door after the horse has bolted. No action at all on illegal migrants, whilst the much larger tourist sector has strict quarantine rules, so almost shutting it down. Where's the sense in that ?


Then, as there's been an outbreak at a wholesale fish market, why are they not temporarily shutting every other fish market in the country ? There are already reports of outbreaks at fish markets in the north of the country. People can manage for a couple of weeks with no damn fish. One board member here survived just fine with no food at all for a couple of weeks.

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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Jun wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:07 am
He's lost the plot there.
"Go ahead, tell me about it, Cole. Tell me about how if it was you, you'd have done it different."
- Robert Mitchum (Sheriff J.P. Harrah), 'El Dorado'

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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Gaybutton wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 10:46 am
"Go ahead, tell me about it, Cole. Tell me about how if it was you, you'd have done it different."
Well, there's an invitation.
I believe in lifelong learning & one good practice is to learn from other's mistakes, so as not to repeat them.

Singapore and Malaysia have had covvid outbreaks from migrant workers, so why the hell has Thailand not seen this and had additional controls in place ?

I'd have had extra troops patrolling the border. Anyone they catch needs to be held in a deliberately unpleasant camp for a few days, then repatriated. Make sure there's a deterrent.

They also need random checks on places known to employ migrant workers, particularly those from Myanmar or any other country suspected of having high infection rates. Check the fishing industry, building sites, gay gogo bars in Patpong 2 etc. Anyone who's employing people in the country illegally should be fined or get a jail sentence.

Then, if there's a need for immigrant labour, have a legal method of long term entry. Essentially, they need low cost quarantine, as I'm guessing the average worker from Myanmar wouldn't want to pony up 50,000 baht for quarantine.

As for what I'd do now:
1 Shut every fish market in the country for 2 weeks. There was a major outbreak at a wholesale fish market. Vendors travel from all over the country to the wholesale market. Test everyone who has worked in the industry or has visited a wholesale market.
2 Consider other measures, such as a short sharp lockdown in Bangkok, whilst they asses the scope of infections.

What it needs is a laser like focus on the problem, which stems from migrant workers. Not muddled thinking with statements about tourists, which have nothing to do with the problem.

Finally, before someone else says it, Europe, the US etc are in a far worse state. This is irrelevant. If Thailand has chosen an eradication policy, they need to keep focussing on the weakest link to ensure the continuing success of the policy.

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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Jun wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:20 pm
Singapore and Malaysia have had covvid outbreaks from migrant workers, so why the hell has Thailand not seen this and had additional controls in place ?
That's a good question. Thailand has admitted they did not provide the manpower to be able to stop illegals from sneaking in. They're trying to do that now, but I'd say they're a little late.

Regarding the "unpleasant" detention facilities, they have been doing that. Just a day or so ago there was a minor breakout. The escapees have been caught and now the facility they escaped from is being beefed up with concrete and razor wire.

They are not trying to do random checks on migrant workers. They are trying to test all of them.

I disagree about a lockdown in Bangkok, assuming you mean only Bangkok. Cases have been discovered in several more provinces. I don't see how a limited lockdown can be very effective. I believe if they decide to do a lockdown, then they need to do what they did the last time. It was a pain, but it worked.

As far as preventing tourists from the UK and Europe from entry into Thailand, I don't have the expertise to say whether that is a legitimate concern. But under the current circumstances, I don't understand why anyone would want to travel to Thailand until everything is under control again.

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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According to Wikipedia,in the Thai armed forces, there are 360,000 on active duty and 200,000 reservists, so 560,000.
The total length of the land border is 4863km, so that's 115 people per km. This is enough.

As the armed forces are supposed to be defending the country, at the borders is where they should have been, rather than interfering in other matters.

Also, my recommendations are for actions that should have been taken some time ago. Increasing border patrols and checks on migrants should have happened months ago.
Then shutting down the entire fish trade should have happened the moment they realised there was a problem at a key point in the supply chain.
The Thai government will have access to the information some time before I ever read about it. Although even I managed to make the recommendation to shut down the trade before reading about all the fish trade cases in other provinces in the Bangkok post.

As for people thinking about coming to Thailand, well there are people already here following strict quarantine procedures.
That was a reasonable decision on the basis that once quarantine is done, we are free to have a good time in a country that's got thorough border controls to keep covid out.
However, it seems the thorough controls apply only to tourists, not illegal workers.

Then once there is an outbreak, we see a slow & half baked response to stopping the spread. It would make more sense to act quickly with targetted action, than wait until they have to shut down the whole country.

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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Jun wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:13 pm
According to Wikipedia,in the Thai armed forces, there are 360,000 on active duty and 200,000 reservists, so 560,000.
The total length of the land border is 4863km, so that's 115 people per km. This is enough.
Maybe you think Thailand should use its entire military as border patrol. You would have a rough time convincing me of that.

How about the police? Don't you think every police officer in Thailand should now be patrolling the borders? And if they are going to follow your recommendation and shut down the fishing industry, how about paying that work force, along with everyone else still jobless, to also patrol the borders? Wow! We could have someone patrolling the borders every 2 feet . . .

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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I thought the prime purpose of the military is usually to protect the country against external threats. Currently, the only external threat of significance is covid.
Now I wouldn't be unreasonable and suggest they deploy all of the armed forces to the border, but if they limit it to just 30%, they have 35 personnel per km. This is more than enough, since there will be some remote areas where no one would be daft enough to cross. Then they can use technology, like drones with thermal imaging cameras.

I can assure you the most of the others in the armed forces will not be doing anything of use.
For comparison, the UK has a similar population and just 148,000 people in the armed forces. They have actually participated in numerous battles and international humanitarian activities over the years. They have managed not to organise any coups, even when Gordon Brown was trying to bankrupt the country.

Regarding the fishing industry, all I'm suggesting is shutting down the fish trading sector for a couple of weeks, since that's where the virus has been spreading.
They see no problem in shutting down the much larger tourist sector for what will be over a year before vaccines are rolled out.

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Re: Traveling to Thailand - Mission Impossible

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Jun wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 9:25 pm
I thought the prime purpose of the military is usually to protect the country against external threats. Currently, the only external threat of significance is covid.
Troops sent to border after outbreak, Army setting up Samut Sakhon field hospital

Dec 23, 2020

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday ordered a military operation to patrol Thailand’s borders, following an outbreak of Covid-19 linked to illegal migrants from Myanmar.

The order came after Wednesday’s meeting of the Defence Council, which was chaired by Prayut in his capacity as defence minister

The PM ordered military personnel to help in patrol the border and prevent entry of illegal migrant workers both by land and sea, said Defence spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich.

He also ordered the police to set up a special committee to investigate corrupt officials at all levels involved in the smuggling of migrant workers into the country.

Meanwhile police and soldiers were ordered to set up checkpoints on known migrant-trafficking routes to protect at-risk border provinces.

The Army and Navy were also ordered to deploy personnel and medical equipment to establish a 1,000-bed field hospital in Samut Sakhon, where the latest has spawned more than 1,200 cases. The military is currently seeking a suitable factory or residential building to house the hospital close to the outbreak’s epicentre in order to contain the spread of the disease.

https://www.nationthailand.com/news/30400103

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