CCSA blows towards 'travel bubble' plan
The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) on Friday approved in principle a proposal for "travel bubbles" with selected countries that have shown they can effectively contain the coronavirus.
The approval was announced after a CCSA meeting yesterday by its spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin. The proposal was tabled by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
The minister told reporters before the meeting began that he had floated the idea of pairing with countries that have contained the coronavirus like Thailand and countries that could effectively control the spread of the virus.
Under the proposed "travel bubbles," each country would adopt health screening for arriving visitors.
In principle, places that have contained the spread of Covid-19 will be considered first, the minister said.
Thorough screenings are required from the places of origin and tourists must be checked again when they reach Thailand. They must have health insurance but quarantining them would not be necessary, Mr Anutin added.
"The meeting discussed specific types of tourists such as those who want to come and play golf. They will come to specific places and will leave [Thailand] after playing. We can monitor them with a Track & Test system. We discussed [ideas] extensively having sealed areas or some tourism areas that have good disease control system in place and are certified by the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports," he said.
The first target group is business people who have high spending potential and have travel plans. They are easy to monitor as are those seeking medical services, who also have high purchasing power, he said.
Among the target countries and territories of origin are Australia, New Zealand, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Lao PDR, Myanmar, South Korea, Vietnam and some Middle East countries, he said.
Asked whether the government would end enforcing the emergency decree after the Covid-19 situation improved, Mr Anutin said that decision rested with the prime minister.
The executive decree on public administration in emergency situations was invoked on March 26 to deal with Covid-19.
Measures put in place under the decree were aimed at keeping coronavirus infections to a minimal level. There have been no community transmissions for 17 days now, he said.
Mr Anutin said the local transmission issue should not be linked to the emergency decree. The CCSA had to ensure that people remained safe and the country was coronavirus free before making any decision on that.
He said the situation had gradually improved but people must remain careful as long as there is no vaccine.