End To Phuket Quarantine May Be Delayed

Phuket beach credit Akash Rai on Unsplash

The ambitious plan for a quarantine-free Phuket for travellers with a Covid-19 vaccination may be delayed due to the ongoing virus outbreak in Thailand.

The plans involved ensuring that at least 70% of the adult population on Phuket had been fiully vaccinated by the end of June.

Phuket quarantines ends in July

New Covid outbreak In Thailand

Phuket had already received more than 100,000 doses of vaccine with around 930,000 scheduled to arrive by June.

The latest Covid outbreak in Thailand, which has seen record numbers of daily cases, may see many of the the doses being distributed in other areas of Thailand.This would mean that “herd immunity” would not be achieved on Phuket in time to end current quarantine provisions.

“We are concerned about the re-opening timeline. We still need to discuss the vaccine administration plan. If the herd immunity goal cannot be achieved, we may have to consider opening only certain areas in Phuket.”

“Most importantly, we still have to hear from other countries that we have already started travel bubble negotiations with about their confidence regarding the same timeline.”

Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, thailand Tourism and Sports Minister

Prior to this outbreak daily cases in Thailand had generally been, at most, in the low 100’s. This outbreak has seen daily cases in excess of 1,500. Today an additional 1,390 cases and 3 deaths were confirmed. The country has now seen 43,742 cases of Covid-19 and 104 related deaths.

More Tourism Job Losses

The latest news of a possible delay to the end of quarantine in Phuket is yet another devastating blow to the beleaguered tourism industry in Thailand.

The lack of foreign tourists, just under 40 million arrived in 2019, was bad enough, but the ongoing outbreak has led to Songkran being curtailed in most areas and domestic tourism dropping alarmingly.

More restrictions announced in Thailand

Uncertain tourism outlook in Thailand

Now the Tourism Council of Thailand (TCT) estimates that the industry’s unemployment rate in the second quarter of 2021 could reach between 2-2.5 million.

Thailand has two stimulus packages planned for next month. The extension of the hotel and airline subsidy called “We Travel Together” which was successful in attracting domestic tourists last year. Also planned is a brand new scheme called “Tour Teaw Thai”, which will subsidise 40% of the cost of tour packages up to 5,000 baht.

However the ongoing travel restrictions imposed throughout the country following the latest wave of Covid cases now adds doubt if domestic travel will be possible. This means that most tourism companies are left unable to plan and may have to lay off staff to survive.

Source: Bangkok Post

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