Health authorities satisfied with air border reopening


(NNT) – Health officials have expressed their satisfaction with the very low rate of imported COVID-19 cases over the 10 days of border reopening for vaccinated tourists. The Ministry of Public Health reported that Thailand is now close to achieving its 100 million dose vaccination goal, resulting in a decline in COVID-related deaths.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul expressed his satisfaction with Thailand’s air border reopening for vaccinated tourists, saying the situation after the reopening remains well under control, thanks to cooperation from all sides. His remark was delivered at a COVID-19 preparedness workshop for the central region, where inputs from the provinces are taken into consideration for the creation of province-specific response plans.

The Minister of Public Health said the reopening policy has been implemented as an economic stimulating measure, to recover the normal livelihoods of the general public while striking a balance with public health security.

Department of Disease Control (DDC) Director-General Dr. Opas Karnkawinpong said new COVID-19 cases were only found in 0.07% of international arrivals from 1 November, which is at a lower rate than local transmissions at 0.2%.

Despite new cases, Dr. Opas stressed the fatality rate in Thailand continues to decline with the increase of vaccination uptake, with the majority of fatal COVID-19 cases occurring among unvaccinated people.

The DDC chief said mass vaccination for everyone in Thailand regardless of nationality should soon start in December, while adding that there is currently no indication of a new variant of concern that can spread wider and faster; a key factor in considering the reintroduction of the border closure.

With some 80 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines given in Thailand, the country is now moving closer to its 100 million dose goal for this year. The government is also willing to continue providing vaccination to people, including additional doses for vaccinated people traveling to countries where Thailand’s vaccine regimen might not be recognized.