11 July 2024

The first group of 150 Chinese tourists will fly into Phuket tomorrow, from China’s Guangdong province on a chartered flight, as Thailand conditionally reopens to foreign tourists, to ease the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic on the country’s tourism industry.

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said today that he was not worried about the prospect of the tourists spreading the virus among Thai people, noting that all of them are required to go through a stringent screening process, including 14-day mandatory hotel based quarantine and swab tests.

More groups of tourists from China and Scandinavia are due to fly into Thailand this month.

Some doctors, including Dr. Thira Woratanarat of the Faculty of Medicine at Chulalongkorn University, have voiced serious concern that the trial reopening of the country to “selected” foreign tourists will put Thailand at risk of a second wave of infections, pointing out that most countries which did so have experienced a new round of COVID-19 outbreaks.

Meanwhile, the Japanese Public Health Ministry reported that two Japanese, arriving in Japan from Thailand, tested positive for COVID-19 on their arrival at Haneda and Narita international airports.

The two asymptomatic cases are a 60-year old man and a 30-year old woman.

It is not known how they were infected in Thailand. The Thai Ministry of Public Health is yet to investigate the cases.