Senior doctor stresses need for measures in parallel with opening Thailand to foreign travellers

Three measures must be in place when reopening Thailand to foreign travellers, scheduled for November 1st, says Professor Dr. Prasit Watanapa, dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Mahidol University today (Wednesday).

The first is vaccination, he said, adding that, although 50% of the Thai population have received their first vaccine jab and 33% have had their second, mass vaccination must continue and, more importantly, Thai people must be willing to be vaccinated.

With the monthly arrival of 20 million doses of vaccines from October, he said there will be enough for the people in the country.

The second measure is self-protection. Dr. Prasit said that people must not lower their guard and must strictly comply with basic safety measures, even if they are already vaccinated.

The third measure is strict enforcement of safety measures by authorities, without which there is the possibility of COVID-19 pandemic spreading again, he said.

With the country opening up to foreign arrivals and further easing of lockdown restrictions, Dr. Prasit admitted that new infections may surge, but the fatality rate will be low or zero.

If new infections continue to rise steadily, however, he said that lockdown restrictions may be reintroduced, citing last year’s case when new infections surged again following the easing of restrictions. To avoid the same mistake, he suggested that lockdown restrictions should be gradually eased and the situation be closely monitored, to make sure that it stays under control.

With the availability of sufficient vaccines and the decrease in the number of severe cases on ventilators and new infections, he believes Thailand will be able to control the situation to a certain extent.

From November 1st, foreign tourists from 10 “low risk” countries, who are fully inoculated and pass a COVID-19 test prior to arrival in Thailand, can enter the country without being quarantined but, during their stay here, they must be screened to make sure they are safe. More countries will be added after December 1st.

Tourists from other countries are also welcome, but they will be required to stay in quarantine, in addition to being fully inoculated and testing negative before arrival.


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