12 July 2024

The opposition Pheu Thai Party is opposing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s call to reopen Thailand to foreign visitors in the next 120 days, describing the mission as “gambling with the lives of Thai people.”

The party spokeswoman, Arunee Kasayanont, told the media today (Thursday) that the government’s target will put the Thai people at unnecessary risk, because the COVID-19 pandemic is still widespread and the government remains unable to contain the spread of the contagion, which has been infecting 2,000-3,000 people domestically every day, with a 20-30 daily mortality rate, while less than 10% of the country’s population are inoculated, which is much lower than several neighboring countries.

She said that the Pheu Thai Party does not believe that Thailand will be ready to reopen in the next 120 days, nor will it be able to acquire up to 105.5 million doses of vaccine within this year as Prayut claimed.

Arunee also pointed out that COVID-19 has already evolved and mutated into several variants and people, who had already been infected, have contracted the virus again, as she proposed that the prime minister take into consideration the lessons of some countries which prematurely reopened their doors to restriction free travel.

She further said that the party would prefer the prime minister to be more cautious and to think more carefully before making a promise to the people and foreign investors alike, “because, if the promise cannot be kept, the government’s credibility, which is already lacking, will be further eroded.”

Meanwhile, it is reported that the prime minister will visit the resort island of Phuket on June 25th, to inspect its readiness to welcome fully-inoculated foreign tourists, without quarantine, on July 1st, under the “Phuket Sandbox” program.

Under the program, foreign tourists, who are fully inoculated, will be required to stay in Phuket for a certain period of time, after which they will be able to travel to other provinces

The prime minister will also hold discussions with provincial officials, hotel and tourism-related business operators about the program.

If this model proves successful, other tourist destinations, such as Bangkok, Krabi, Phang-nga, Surat Thani, Chiang Mai, Chon Buri, Buri Ram, Phetchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan, will follow suit, tentatively in October, using the same model.