The current Covid-19 outbreak in Thailand and the vaccination programme have raised concerns that the proposed Sandbox quarantine-free reopening may be delayed in Phuket and Krabi.
Thailand has so far recorded 88,907 cases and 486 deaths throughout the pandemic including an additional 1,983 cases and 34 deaths in the last 24 hours.
The Governor of Phuket has warned that the planned reopening of the province to vaccinated travellers without the need for quarantine may be delayed.
The current Covid-19 outbreak throughout Thailand has seen double figure daily new infections which is above the threshold set for the launch of the “Sandbox” in Phuket.
“We have set a target for the number of daily infections to go down to one digit by May 15 so that we can re-open the island to international tourists on July 1. But if the number of daily infections continues at 10-15, the plan might not materialise. Let us all work together to bring down the number of daily infections to the lowest possible figure.”Narong Woonciew, Phuket Governor
Phuket is due to be the first area in Thailand to allow foreign visitors without an enforced quarantine period from 1st July. Other areas of the country are due to join the scheme from October.
There are concerns that illegal social gatherings are helping to continue the spread of the virus.
Krabi is one of the provinces due to join the Sandbox from 1st October and tourism operators are urging the government to ensure that the vaccination process in the area progresses to allow the opening to take place on time.
Ao Nang, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta and Railay Bay are all identified as pilot areas for the sandbox start in October. However up to 80,000 people will need to be fully vaccinated by the end of September to allow the opening to take place.
Subject to the current outbreak, which may take vaccine doses to areas of more immediate need, vaccinations are due to begin in Krabi next month. It is hoped that up to 10,000 doses will be able to be delivered each day.
There is also concern at the lack of guidance from the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department which covers 90% of the areas due to reopen.
There are particular concerns that areas may be closed at short notice affecting tourist operator plans, the Maya Bay closure has been cited as an example.
Source: Bangkok Post
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