The Thai Cabinet met this afternoon and among other issues, like the hiring of special government employees and financial aid measures for small businesses affected by Covid-19, the Cabinet briefly discussed the Phuket Sandbox program.
The Phuket Sandbox is a program that is proposed to allow vaccinated foreign tourists to enter without quarantine from July first and had already been approved in principle by the Center for Economic Situation Administration, or CESA.
According to Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan O’Cha, who posted on his social media accounts around 7:00 P.M., the Thai Cabinet will inform relevant agencies, like the Tourism Ministry and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to make “improvements” that guarantee a good balance of economic recovery and safety. The program is not canceled or officially postponed at this point, only that the Cabinet will return to the matter in the very near future and is not officially “rubber-stamped” yet to go to the Royal Gazette. The plan remains approved in principle but needs adjustments, according to the PM.
The Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration, or CCSA, is planning to discuss suggested improvements later this week, noted the Secretary-General of the Thai National Security Council General Natthaphon Narkphanit who has a prominent role with the CCSA. According to the Secretary-General, one of the biggest concerns was tourists potentially entering areas of Phuket that were not tourism-related or potentially exposing people not involved in the tourism industry to the virus.
Once the CCSA made adjustments with relevant agencies the plan would then be returned to the Thai Cabinet for final approval, likely next week.
It was previously reported by those present at the CESA meeting over the past weekend that another big change, moving the required days on the island from seven to fourteen before tourists could leave to other parts of Thailand, had also been moving forward but like the overall plan was not yet finalized.
For details on the Phuket Sandbox and what is known already, you can see it here.
The Sandbox program and proposed policies are, notes TPN media, a rapidly changing and fluid process, and details are often changing quickly, but the overall feeling from agencies involved in the project is the plan will move forward, although may have “less freedom” than originally anticipated for those taking part, balancing, as the Prime Minister said, Covid-19 precautions and economic recovery.
TPN media will provide more details as they are released.