Several prominent doctors and politicians have responded to the Prime Minister’s televised speech yesterday evening, October 11th, regarding the plans of the countries reopening for vaccinated tourists from low-risk countries and the consideration of opening bars and entertainment venues.
Firstly, Dr. Thira Woratanarat, an associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine of Chulalongkorn University, posted an online statement seemingly to trigger public questions of the consequences of the reopening on November 1st while the proactive approach of Covid-19 testing is still limited, a small percentage of people have received the full dose of the vaccines, and the recent daily infections are still reaching an average of ten thousand per day.
His status read: “Other countries open when they’re ready. Their screening and monitoring systems are ready and effective, there is a lot of potential for testing, most of the population has been fully vaccinated, and the pandemic situation is not severe and well-controlled. But some countries are still affected by the reopening.”
“The question to think about is what will happen to a country that would reopen while the screening is still limited, a small percentage of people have received the full dose of the vaccination, and the recent daily infections are still reaching ten thousand per day.” Thira concluded.
Dr. Anan Jongkaewwattana from the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC) also raised a similar question, “If 100,000 tourists come every day like before Covid-19, how could the public health officers and medical staff perform RT-PCR tests on all of them upon arrival when we have never been able to before?”
On the contrary, many government ministers and officials have agreed with Prime Minister Prayut’s announcement, saying that the government has prepared and is ready for the reopening.
Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn stated that the reopening plan on November 1st would not have any problems because it has been well prepared as planned by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT).
The quarantine would be less attractive for incoming foreigners during the high season of the year, according to Phiphat. Therefore, the cancellation of mandatory quarantine would perfectly attract a number of fully vaccinated tourists to Thailand.
He told reporters: “The Prime Minister’s announcement of the opening on November 1st will perfectly attract tourists to the country in the 4th quarter and the first quarter of 2022 as Thailand is one of the most popular countries during winter for tourists from Europe, America, Japan, South Korea, China, etc.”
“For now, we have to adjust how to streamline faster and more effective ATK testing at all international airports. But we have acknowledged that the Ministry of Public Health has prepared everything based on a prototype in Phuket. Therefore, I believe that everything should go smoothly.”
Additionally, Government spokesperson Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana revealed to the press that the no-mandatory quarantine scheme will be implemented in accordance with the terms and conditions prioritizing the safety of both Thai and foreign nationals, such as a requirement of those who have been fully vaccinated from designated low-risk countries.
The upcoming country reopening would build readiness and confidence while presenting the potential of Thailand among international tourists around the world. Meanwhile, Thai citizens should continue to strictly follow the “COVID-Free Settings” (CFS) measure, according to Thanakorn.
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