Prime Minister vows November 1 reopening

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Prime Minister vows November 1 reopening

Post by Gaybutton »

See also October 12 'Headline News' for more details: viewtopic.php?p=105554#p105554

Happy Thai Christmas to vaccinated tourists, but entry hurdles remain in place

By Barry Kenyon

October 12, 2021

The surprise announcement by the Thai premier that fully-vaccinated tourists from selected “low-risk” countries will be able to land in Thailand from November 1 without quarantine is a shot in the arm for the battered tourist industry. But potential visitors will still need to cope with the bureaucratic procedures of the compulsory certificate of entry issued by Thai embassies round the world.

Under Prayut Chan-o-cha’s proposals, vaccinated visitors from the UK, the US, Germany, China and Singapore (with others to come) will qualify for unrestricted entry provided they have the prior approval of the Thai embassy in the country of departure. That will require a recent recognized anti-virus health test and compulsory Covid insurance to the value of US$100,000 in all cases. Other requirements for the certificate of entry vary according to the specific visa, or visa waiver, actually applied for. These can include proof of income, evidence of advance accommodation in Thailand, or even additional health (non-Covid) insurance cover.

Full details will not be available on the websites of Thai embassies for a week or two because the premier’s plans have to be ratified by the government’s top health committee and then tabulated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for distribution to diplomatic posts abroad. In an immediate response, the Kasikorn bank’s research department said that, in the short term, the revised policy was welcome but was a modest move because most tourists planned vacations months in advance.

The new policy will see the abandonment of Sandbox initiatives since they require tourists to pre-register in a hotel and sleep there for seven nights before being allowed to travel beyond a specified area. The prime minister’s statement clearly envisages that approved visitors will be free to do their own thing immediately upon landing by air, subject to one more Covid test post arrival. The new policy also envisages alcohol sales becoming legal in restaurants, bars and clubs from December 1. That assumes the virus behaves itself in the meantime.

As one of the chosen people, Brits are said to be pleased with the announcements. British Airways said that it would be examining new schedules and travel consortium leader Greg Watkins prophesied more bookings for Christmas and the New Year. However, he warned that travel to Thailand was now more expensive with rising airfares, Covid insurance, embassy charges, RT-PCR health tests and even a new Thai travel tax – all pushing up costs. But he welcomed the fact that Thai residents and expats returning to their Thai homes would no longer have to sleep in an hotel for their first seven days.

The new “sunshine” policy will also depend on government reactions abroad. China is included in the initial list of approved countries, but authorities there still ban foreign tour groups and insist on lengthy quarantine restrictions for their returning citizens. The US has not yet abandoned its advice not to travel to Thailand because of health risks, whilst nations which are believed to be keen to restart vacation travel links (Russia, South Korea, Vietnam and India) are not on the priority list. Not yet anyway.

Pattaya business sources are said to be delighted that booze and fun hopefully will be back on the agenda well before Christmas. Some entertainment businesses, such as the resort’s famous transvestite cabarets, will likely stay closed until they see an actual improvement in international arrivals. The Walking Street will remain in darkness as no operating permits are being issued there. But hundreds of bars and clubs elsewhere in the city will be removing their padlocks. Not business as usual by any means, but a step in the right direction. That’s for sure. ... ace-375351
I hope it all goes well. I think the Prime Minister is gambling that reopening will not result in a new resurgence of Covid. We shall see. Several medical experts are saying it is too much, too soon.

In the meantime, remember that it will be cities that reopen, but that has nothing to do with what will reopen within the cities and what restrictions will still be in place. Bear that in mind if you're going to rush into bookings to go to Thailand.

Nov 1 reopening

Fully jabbed won't have to quarantine

12 October, 2021

Thailand will allow fully vaccinated visitors from low-risk countries to enter the kingdom without quarantine from Nov 1 as a key effort by the government to boost the economy.

In a televised broadcast on Monday night, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he has instructed the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) and the Public Health Ministry to consider reopening the country to fully vaccinated tourists without quarantine on Nov 1.

However, pre-conditions are that international visitors will need to show that they are Covid-free at their time of travel with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, and then have a test in Thailand.

He said these travellers would be allowed to visit any part of the country after meeting these requirements, adding that there will be at least ten "low risk" countries, including Singapore, Germany, China and the US.

He said more countries will be added to the "low risk" list on Dec 1, stressing that tourists from countries not on the list will be required to undergo quarantine.

Gen Prayut said the government also expects to consider lifting the ban on serving of alcoholic beverages in restaurants.

"By December 1, we will also consider allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in restaurants as well as the operation of entertainment venues," said Gen Prayut.

He said in the last one-and-half years, people have lived with some of the greatest peacetime challenges the country has faced in its history.

"It has been one of the most painful experiences in my life, too, to make decisions that balance the saving of lives with the saving of livelihoods -- a choice that is not always clearly separate, and where we may save lives, but commit those lives to the unbearable pain of trying to survive with little or no income; or where we may save livelihoods but commit one's family, friends and neighbours to loss of life and the loss of their breadwinner," he said.

"The time has come for us to ready ourselves to face the coronavirus and live with it as with other endemic infections and diseases, much as we have learnt to live with other diseases with treatments and vaccinations," he said.

"Today, I would like to announce the first small but important step in decisively beginning the process of trying to restore our livelihoods."

"I know this decision comes with some risk. It is almost certain that we will see a temporary rise in serious cases as we relax these restrictions.

"We will have to track the situation very carefully, and see how to contain and live with that situation because I do not think that the many millions who depend on the income generated by the travel, leisure and entertainment sector can possibly afford the devastating blow of a second lost New Year holiday period," he added.

Gen Prayut said he has recognised the extraordinary achievements of public health workers, other officials and all citizens for their response to his appeal in June to ready the country for quarantine-free arrivals within 120 days.

"After we adopted the 120-day goal, extraordinary efforts were made to increase our supply of vaccines," he said, adding that deliveries jumped threefold, from around 4 million doses in May to almost 12 million arriving in July, then almost 14 million arriving in August, and now running at over 20 million a month until the end of the year, totaling over 170 million doses, far ahead of the goals he had set.

Public health staff worked tirelessly to accelerate vaccinations to support the 120-day goal, and the public gave great cooperation in registering for vaccinations. As a result, the country's daily vaccination number shot up threefold in July, from around 80,000 doses a day in May, and kept increasing until Thailand rose to be among the 10 fastest countries in the world for administering shots.

"We currently frequently administer more than 700,000 shots a day, and sometimes even exceed one million shots a day."

The premier said the fact that Thailand can begin quarantine-free entry in November -- despite many other countries still trying to contain the Delta variant with restrictions on the travel of their citizens -- is a great tribute to the unity of purpose and determined response to his appeal by the public health services, by many other government departments, by the private sector, and by the cooperation given by citizens in all matters.

"Our nation has performed an extraordinary feat in the last months and we can all be very proud about everyone's enormous contributions to those achievements.

"These achievements, coupled with the gradual relaxation of other countries' travel restrictions, now enable us to begin the process of quarantine-free entry into Thailand," Gen Prayut said. ... -reopening

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Re: Prime Minister vows November 1 reopening

Post by puan »

Right hand: "What am I doing?"
Left hand: "I don't know."

Left hand: "Hey, do you know what I am doing?"
Right hand: "Nope, I don't have a clue."


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Re: Prime Minister vows November 1 reopening

Post by Gaybutton »

puan wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:03 am
Right hand: "What am I doing?"
Left hand: "I don't know."
That quite well sums it up, except the hands themselves also don't know what they're doing - and you can include the fingers too.

If they do know, they sure had me fooled . . .

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Re: Prime Minister vows November 1 reopening

Post by Gaybutton »

Not everyone thinks opening this soon is such a great idea.

Hasty reopening alarms traders

A little more patience might avert a new crisis some say

by Aekarach Sattaburuth

October 14, 2021

The much-touted Nov 1 reopening of the kingdom is fraught with uncertainty and entails the risk of a resurgence of Covid-19 infections which could set the country back to square one, say public transport drivers and restaurateurs.

People living hand to mouth are not getting much from the reopening intended to pull the economy out of its worst slump in recent memory, said Somyot Kerdpradit, 38, a motorcycle taxi driver. Yet they are among those hit the hardest during each outbreak.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's televised announcement on Monday night about the reopening set for Nov 1 may have been greeted with joy by businesses mainly in the service and tourism sectors. They have suffered a downward spiral in trade since the pandemic struck early last year.

However, the news was treated with extreme caution by those in other industries as well as people on the street.

That is despite the government's assurances that only fully-vaccinated overseas visitors will enjoy the privilege of skipping quarantine upon arrival here.

Also, there are pre-conditions in which international visitors will need to show that they are Covid-free with an RT-PCR test undertaken before they leave their home country, followed by another test in Thailand.

Mr Somyot said that for people who live on meagre wages or daily incomes like himself, the reopening is not something to rave about.

The more foreign visitors are allowed back into the country, the greater the risk of a fresh outbreak, which is the last thing anyone needs. "We can't afford another lockdown, honestly," he said.

It would be best to wait for current daily caseloads, which still exceed 10,000 on some days, to fall to three- or four-digits before reopening the border, Mr Somyot said.

A little patience might avert a new crisis. After all, the economy is not likely to snap back to its pre-Covid level overnight. "Every country is facing the same economic woes," he added.

Thailand is not out of the woods yet. "The panacea is to vaccinate as many people as possible. Better still, every single citizen should be vaccinated before the country can get back to business," he said.

Mr Somyot said people who live on fixed incomes or monthly salaries are more or less insulated from the financial effects of the pandemic. But for those with no regular or steady income, a return to lockdown would be dreadful. "The issue should be thought out carefully," the motorcycle taxi driver said.

Jit Jaiwanglok, a food vendor, said the reopening may be fair to some but not to others. Large parts of the windfall from the resumption of tourism and other trade may eventually end up in the pockets of large companies. "People like me can't get our hands on the slice of the pie," he said.

When a disease spreads, it is people in the streets who are more likely to contract it. Well-off individuals also have effective treatments at their disposal.

He said it doesn't look as though the pandemic has been brought under control. "If the government was sincere in trying to revive the economy, why stop at the reopening? It should cancel the nighttime curfew as well," Mr Jit said.

The curfew, in effect from 10pm to 4am, should be lifted so people who earn a living at night can get back on their feet, he said.

Sorasit (surname not given), 31, a restaurant owner, said while he supported the country reconnecting with the world and restarting the economy, his biggest fear was intermittent lockdowns. "The worst enemy for us is volatility," he said.

What businesses want is a measured and well-planned strategy to nurse the economy back to health so they and the public can be confident about their future steps. For business operators, they need confidence which motivates them to invest. "In the longer term, I don't see any guarantee that another lockdown will not happen," he said.

"The vaccine needs to be made more widely available," he said, noting many who have received double doses of Sinovac vaccine require a booster shot. "But are a lot of us being given the booster jabs now?''

In the case of a new lockdown, the government must give restaurant businesses at least two weeks notice. They need time to manage the fresh ingredients in their stocks.

Also, authorities should simplify regulations so small businesses can easily access funds which can help them stay afloat. The antigen test kits must be offered promptly and in large numbers to workers in the restaurant and service sector.

Mr Sorasit, meanwhile, doubted if many overseas tourists will want to come to Thailand when daily infections remain high. ... ms-traders

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Re: Prime Minister vows November 1 reopening

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Kingdom 'ready' for reopening

Curfew hours cut in some provinces

by Mongkol Bangprapa and Phusadee Arunmas

15 October, 2021

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Thursday urged the public, businesses and government to cooperate in preparing for the country's reopening to fully vaccinated tourists next month.

The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) has also eased additional virus curbs, including shortening nighttime curfew hours starting on Saturday

Speaking after chairing a CCSA meeting, Gen Prayut confirmed that Thailand is ready for the reopening. It will go ahead as planned on Nov 1 and more restrictions will be relaxed on Dec 1, he said.

Gen Prayut said disease control measures will stay in place to build confidence among Thailand's international visitors.

"We will spend the remaining time in October and November considering the reopening of the country and easing curbs on businesses and activities based on recommendations from the Public Health Ministry," he said. "Right now, visitors from several countries want to travel to Thailand, but we must tread carefully.

"What I want to declare today is that everyone should join hands," the prime minister said. "I also want to ask for cooperation from the public. This will be a small start for people so they can resume making a living.

"When Thais join forces, they will always do things beyond expectations. I know everyone is working hard to make sure this [reopening] will happen," Gen Prayut said.

"I am here to confirm our readiness to join hands and bring Thai tourism back to life. I want to seek cooperation from the public to tell the world how well-prepared Thailand is for the reopening."

Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the CCSA, said it decided on Thursday to allow fully vaccinated people from Britain, the United States, Germany, Singapore and China to visit the kingdom, if they can pass an RT-PCR test before they arrive from Nov 1 to Dec 31.

Travellers from these five countries are considered as having a low risk of spreading Covid-19, he said, noting they will not have to quarantine upon arrival.

The number of destinations opened to tourists will also be expanded from four provinces -- Phuket and parts of Surat Thani, Phangnga and Krabi -- to 15 provinces of economic significance from Nov 1-30.

The 15 provinces would include all of Bangkok, Samut Prakan (only Suvarnabhumi airport), Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin district) and all of Krabi and Phangnga, Dr Taweesilp said.

From Dec 1, another 16 major provinces would reopen, including Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lamphun, Phrae and Sukhothai, he said. The operations committee of the CCSA had yet to finalise the entire list of the additional provinces, Dr Taweesilp said.

The CCSA on Thursday also announced that starting tomorrow, the number of dark-red provinces of maximum and strict Covid-19 control will be cut from 29 to 23, and the nighttime curfew will be shortened. More businesses also can resume.

The number of red provinces of maximum control will also decline from 37 to 30, and orange-coded provinces will rise from 11 to 24.

The 23 dark-red provinces will include Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Chanthaburi, Chon Buri, Chachoengsao, Tak, Nakhon Pathom, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Narathiwat, Nonthaburi, Pathum Thani, Prachin Buri, and Pattani.

In dark-red zones, the curfew will be eased to 11pm to 3am for at least the next 15 days, instead of the current 10pm-4am. Convenience stores and markets could open until 10pm, and amusement areas could reopen.

Cinemas, eateries, theatres, stadiums, public parks and shopping centres could stay open until 10pm. Daycare centres for elderly people could reopen, and public transport vehicles could make use of all passenger seats.

Trade, convention and exhibition centres and the like at hotels and department stores could organise meetings of up to 500 people, but food would have to be served in individual servings, and people must wear face masks. Meetings would be limited to two hours and end by 10pm.

Shopping centres, except those in dark-red zones, would be able to reopen their arcades.

Entertainment venues will remain closed, including pubs and karaoke parlours, because of the high risk of disease transmission, Dr Taweesilp said.

Sanan Angubolkul, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who was also present at the CCSA's meeting on Thursday, said this was a positive signal for all sectors to prepare measures to reduce infection risks and move the economy forward. ... -reopening

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