Thailand ends quarantine for some visitors to save tourism

(Bloomberg) – Thailand’s main Covid task force has approved a plan to end the quarantine for vaccinated travelers from some countries from next month in a bid to revive its struggling tourism sector ahead of the season. end of year holidays.

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Air travelers from the US, UK, China, Germany and Singapore will be exempt from quarantine upon arrival from November 1, Center for Covid-19 spokesperson Taweesilp Visanuyothin said Thursday. Situation Administration, during a briefing.

The panel’s approval was lower than the 10 countries Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha targeted earlier this week, but that could add more countries to the list after due diligence, Taweesilp said.

The panel also shortened the two-hour nighttime curfew between 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. from October 16, while reducing the number of provinces considered most at risk of Covid to 23 from 29. But the panel selected Bangkok, a gateway for tourists, in the highest risk category due to the high number of new cases.

The nod for quarantine tourism follows Prayuth’s announcement on Monday that Thailand “could not miss the opportunity to attract some of the year-end travelers over the next few months to support the millions people “in tourism and related industries. The number of active cases has fallen to around 100,000 from a peak of over 210,000 in August, allowing the tourism and trade-dependent nation to allow more economic activity.

Vaccinations in Thailand have accelerated in recent months with nearly 50% of the population receiving at least one dose, while more than a third have received two doses. The government is set to exceed its goal of vaccinating 70% of residents by the end of the year, according to Prayuth.

The country is also set to expand its reopening program, modeled on the “Phuket Sandbox”, to cover 17 provinces with high vaccination rates, including Bangkok from November 1. Vaccinated travelers from countries not included in the list of non-quarantined countries arriving in those countries regions will not have to self-isolate, provided they do not travel to other parts of Thailand for at least one week.

The national airline Thai Airways International Pcl said on Thursday it had adjusted flight schedules to support the government’s plan to allow non-quarantine travel ahead of the year-end holiday season, with more flights slated for from January 1 for destinations such as Munich, Milan and several Indian cities.

(Updates with more detail from the fifth paragraph.)

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