Bangkok Tuk Tuk’s credit Chris Artur Collins on Unsplash
Thailand has announced the return of a 14-day quarantine period for arrivals as part of measures to curb the current Covid-19 outbreak.
Earlier this month quarantine was reduced to 7 days for vaccinated visitors and 10 day those without vaccines in a bid to attract more tourists. This relaxing of restrictions was in the lead up to the Phuket sandbox launch on 1st July which would do away with quarantine all together for all vaccinated arrivals.
The government has now decided to revert to the 14 day quarantine from 1st May as cases go through the 65,000 mark.
New arrivals will not be allowed to leave their room except for Covid-19 tests or medical treatment during the 14-day quarantine.
Thailand has now recorded 65,153 Covid cases and 203 deaths. An additional 1,583 cases and 15 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours. 74 of Thailands deaths have come since last Sunday.
The government is encouraging everyone to work from home if possible.
Other new measures include the nationwide requirement for wearing of face masks outside, the closure of schools and entertainment venues, all malls closing at 9pm and the banning of all parties apart from household and traditional functions, including funerals.
Six provinces, including Bangkok and Chiang Mai, will become new “Dark Red” zones where maximum controls will be in place. restaurants will be take-away only and will close at 9pm. Outside sports fields can open until 9pm but indoor facilities will be closed. Travel outside of the zone will not be allowed apart from in exceptional circumstances. There will be a limit of 20 people in crowded areas.
“If we can curb the outbreak in Bangkok and adjacent areas, we can curb it throughout the country.”
“We have not imposed a lockdown or curfew. We are just seeeking co-operation. The highest degree of working from home will be helpful.”Taweesilp Visanuyothin, Spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA)
The number of “Red Zones” will increase from 18 to 45, with the remaining 26 provinces becoming “Orange Zones”.
In “Red Zones” restaurants can remain open until 11pm but will be take-away only from 9pm, no alcohol will be served. There will be a limit of 50 people in crowded areas. Outdoor sports can open until 9pm with limited players and spectators.
Convenience stores can open between 4am and 11pm in “Dark Red” and “Red Zones”.
In “Orange Zones” outdoor sports can open as normal with limited players and spectators. There will be a limit of 50 people in crowded areas.
More than 1 million people in Thailand have received their first vaccine dose and 280,000 have had both doses.
Vaccine supplies, as in many countries, has been an issue and many organisations, including those in the tourism industry, have tried to secure private supplies.
These efforts have been stalled due to the reluctance of the government to sign off on private supplies, but many of those hurdles now seem to have been removed.
“We spent seven months talking to vaccine suppliers and producers but the process was stuck because they asked for a government guarantee and we could not provide it.”
“But in recent days, the prime minister allowed a more open vaccine policy, and that allowed us to confirm our orders.”Dr Boon Vanasin, Chairman Thonburi Healthcare Group
The reopening of areas through the sandbox project is reliant on each area achieving full vaccination of 70% of the local adult population.
Many vaccines identified for Phuket have now been sent to other areas to help in the fight against the current outbreak. The island province has so far seen 94,000 locals receive both vaccine doses.
The province is still confident it can achieve “herd immunity” in time for a July launch but has now also requested permission to buy its own vaccine stocks.
Thailand aims to have vaccinated the majority of the population by the end of 2021.
Source: Bangkok Post and The Straits Times
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