One new COVID-19 case recorded in Thailand
Thailand recorded one new COVID-19 case in state quarantine today, according to the CCSA.
The new infection is a 46-year old Indian man, who arrived from India on September 1st and entered state quarantine in Bangkok on the same day. He tested positive on September 6th.
Cumulative infections in Thailand, to date, are 3,446, with 3,284 recoveries and 104 others are still undergoing treatment in hospital. The death toll remains 58.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the Phuket “travel bubble” model, to open for foreign tourist arrivals, tentatively on October 1st, may be postponed for at least a month due to differing opinions among people on the resort island. A public hearing has been proposed by those who disagree with the reopening of the province, due to concerns over a second wave of COVID-19 infections.
Thailand’s Tourism and Sports Minister, Pipat Ratchakitprakarn, who recently visited Phuket to check on the readiness of the province to welcome foreign tourists, said that the Ministry of Interior should consider the proposal for a public hearing.
He said that he could not say for sure that Phuket could open to foreign arrivals on October 1st, because the decision depends on several aspects, such as the readiness of all parties concerned as well as the tourists themselves.
The Minister said that the Phuket “travel bubble” must follow the same model as for Thais returning from abroad, namely that tourists must have fit to fly certificates to apply for visas at Thai embassies and, upon arrival in Thailand, must be given swab tests before entering quarantine for 14 days, during which they will go through two additional swab tests. Once cleared, they will be able to travel anywhere in Thailand.
Preechavuth Keesin, representing the tourism sector in Phuket, said that island is not the original model for arrivals from abroad, noting that Bangkok has received tens of thousands of Thai returnees in recent months.
“This will be the second trial of the same model, so don’t be too worried,” he said, adding that he believes Phuket can be as efficient as Bangkok in screening and monitoring the arrivals.
Chalermlak Kebsap, the mayor of Patong, said the provincial administration has been trying to talk to all stakeholders in the province about the “travel bubble” plan adding that, if the majority do not want it, then the plan will have to be shelved, while noting that 80-90% of the island’s income is derived from foreign tourists and that Thai tourists are not able to fill the gap.