Thailand’s Phuket to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors

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BANGKOK, June 4 (Xinhua) — As Thailand continued to battle its worst wave of COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began, authorities said the popular resort island Phuket remained on track to reopen to vaccinated foreign visitors from July 1.

The reopening plan, part of a “Phuket Sandbox” program, was approved Friday at a meeting of the Center for the Economic Situation Administration, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Under the plan which is yet subject to approval by the cabinet of ministers, foreign visitors from low-risk and medium-risk countries to Phuket could be exempted from mandatory quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccines certified by the World Health Organization.

However, they have to stay on the island but can travel freely for a minimum of 14 days before they can head elsewhere in Thailand.

The country also planned to welcome back vaccinated foreign visitors in nine other provinces, including the capital Bangkok and popular tourist destinations Pattaya and Chiang Mai, in the third or fourth quarter of the year.

As of Friday, Thailand’s total caseload has risen to 171,979, while the death toll amounted to 1,177, more than tenfold since the third wave of outbreak started to spread in early April.

The proposed requirements – to be approved by the Cabinet – are as followed:

  • Foreign tourists wishing to travel to Phuket must be fully vaccinated for more than 14 days but no more than one year. They must be from low and medium risk countries, according to the Public Health Ministry’s listings.
  • Children aged under 6 can enter with their fully vaccinated parents. Those aged 6-18 are required to undergo a COVID-19 test on arrival.
  • The tourist must present a vaccination certificate from their departing countries. The vaccine must be approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (Sinovac, Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna) or approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO) (BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac)
  • Install an application for the local authorities to track health conditions
  • Stay in hotels certified by Amazing Thailand Safety and Health Administration (SHA+) for 14 nights, after which travel to other parts of Thailand will be allowed
  • Update their health on the app and undergo further COVID-19 tests as required by the Public Health Ministry. Tourist activities under DMHTTA (Distancing, Mask wearing, Hand washing, Temperature, Testing, Application) are recommended.

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