Despite the recent increase in Covid-19 cases throughout Thailand, Phuket province is pressing ahead with plans to reopen to vaccinated travellers without the need for a quarantine from July.
Main picture Phuket beach, Thailand credit Vitaly Sacred on Unsplash
The Phuket Sandbox, as it is called, depends on at least 70% of the population of Phuket being fully vaccinated by the end of June.
The province has so far inoculated around 100,000 people and a further 400,000 doses have now been received.
“We expect to give 200,000 doses for the first jab from May 18 to 31, while the rest will be given as second jab from June onwards.”
“Also in June, another 150,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine will arrive. This will help us achieve the goal of inoculating 70 per cent of the population faster as AstraZeneca vaccine can increase immunity against Covid-19 by up to 70 per cent after the first jab.”Dr Chaloemphol Sukhanthaphol, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital
Tourists arriving from July must use specified tour packages which will be considerably more expensive than average trip costs prior to the pandemic. Access to the province will be improved however with Thai Airways this week announcing new direct flights to the island.
All tourists will need to be able to prove that they have received both doses of an approved Covid-19 vaccine and have a negative test taken within 72 hours of departure.
“Tourists must provide the test result not later than 72 hours prior to arrival, and they will be tested again at the airport when they land.”
“They can move freely in Phuket for seven nights before they can travel to other parts of the country.”Dr Chaloemphol Sukhanthaphol, Director of Vachira Phuket Hospital
The Phuket Sandbox is an important trial for Thailand with plans for Bangkok and a further 10 areas due to join the Sandbox scheme from October. The country then plans to open for busy as usual, for negative testing vaccinated travellers, from January 2022.
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