Phuket presents plan to reopen

Phuket. The holiday island of Phuket will present a plan to the Centre for Economic Situation Administration (CESA) on Friday, according to which tourists who have been vaccinated no longer have to be quarantined from July.

Yuthasak Supasorn, governor of Thailand's tourism agency TAT, said the reopening plan, dubbed the “Phuket Tourism Sandbox”, will largely depend on the allocation of vaccines to the Andaman Island. Only if herd immunity is achieved through vaccination of 70 percent of the population, the quarantine for tourists could be removed from July.

The plan, which is due to be submitted to CESA on March 26th, contains a vaccination proposal, in which the number of doses required and when the vaccinations are given.

According to the proposal, at least just under half a million people must be vaccinated on Phuket, which requires nearly a million doses of vaccine. In order to achieve the immunity target within the timeframe, the first vaccination campaign should start no later than April 15th, followed by the second from May 15th.

First of all, October 1 was given as the date for lifting the quarantine. But Yuthasak said that “starting earlier will benefit the whole country as we can evaluate this program first before Thailand reopens its borders in October.”

According to the sandbox plan, tourists wishing to participate in the quarantine-free program must present a vaccine certificate, vaccination record, or IATA passport. They still need to do a PCR test at the airport and activate the ThailandPlus tracing application while they are in Phuket.

“Both the private and public sectors in the province are ready,” said Bhummikitti Raktaengam, president of the Phuket Tourist Association. “In order to proceed with the plan, the vaccines must be shipped to Phuket within the timeframe.” Leonard Brix


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