Bid to get 'back up, running'

Bid to get 'back up, running'

Japan, China voice 'travel bubble' interest

Japan and China are among countries interested in holding
Japan and China are among countries interested in holding "travel bubble" talks with Thailand, according to Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. (Bangkok Post photo)

Many countries including Japan and China have voiced an interest in holding "travel bubble" talks with Thailand.

Business people and specialists will be given priority in entering the country to help businesses get "back up and running".

Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Friday revealed that ambassadors of many countries will meet with the Thai government on travel bubble tourism the upcoming week. Thailand will agree on travel-bubble arrangements with countries who have shown effective handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

Mr Anutin said people should not panic since the government has not yet allowed entry to foreign tourists. Only business people and experts would be allowed in the country initially, he said.

Mr Anutin met Japan's ambassador to Thailand Nashida Kazuya on travel bubble arrangements at Government House on Friday.

The two parties discussed a specific period of stay for Japanese tourists. They must present a "fit to fly" certificate both before and after travelling and inform Thai authorities of their whereabouts in the country during their stay.

They must also regularly report to the companies they have travelled to work for.

The travel bubble is expected to begin next month.

When asked when Thailand would sign a travel bubble pact with Japan, the minister said talks between the two countries would likely take place next week. Results of the Thai-Japan travel bubble negotiations will be submitted to a meeting between the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) next week by the Department of Disease Control, Mr Anutin said.

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai had a telephone conversation with Japanese counterpart Motegi Toshimitsu.

They exchanged views on the concept of establishing a special framework for the departure and entry of special groups of travellers, primarily for business purposes between the two countries.

Meanwhile, CCSA spokesman Taweesilp Visanuyothin has urged the public to understand that the travel bubble does not mean the entry of hundreds of thousands of inbound tourists to Thailand.

People who will be allowed entry are those who will come to Thailand to help drive the economy forward such as business people, skilled workers, technicians repairing machines, medical tourists, international school students and work-permit holders.

"Over 20,000 people have registered with the government to travel to Thailand," Dr Taweesilp said.

"They are not general tourists and will be given priority.

"If the number is around 20,000-30,000, we will be able to manage."

Thailand has had no local transmissions for 25 consecutive days. However, the CCSA reported five new coronavirus cases. All are Thai students who had returned from Saudi Arabia on the same flight.

Dr Taweesilp said the five male students, aged 23-26, arrived on on June 12 and were quarantined in Bangkok.

They tested positive for the disease on Tuesday, but showed no symptoms. Dr Taweesilp said that 10 other returnees on the same flight from Saudi Arabia had previously tested positive for Covid-19. There were 195 passengers on the flight.

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