Reopening the country to foreign visitors will not raise the risks of local Covid-19 transmission from imported infections, according to the Department of Disease Control (DDC).
Responding to the cabinet's resolution to allow long-stay foreign tourists to enter Thailand, Tanarak Plipat, deputy director-general of the DDC, insisted the move would likely not bring in Covid-19 infections, since the visitors would be subject to a stay at state quarantine facilities for 14 days.
Regarding the case of a two-year-old Myanmar boy who tested positive after returning from Thailand, Dr Tanarak said Thailand was vigorously investigating this case. No special measures had been imposed in Ayutthaya province where the boy had stayed before returning to Myanmar, he said.
The deputy director-general urged businesses, particularly those based in the provinces adjacent to Myanmar, not to hire illegal migrant workers for now due to the spike in Covid-19 cases in Myanmar in recent weeks.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) deputy governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said tourists with a Special Tourist Visa (STV) recently authorised by the government must travel on chartered flights from overseas directly to their destinations in Thailand.
The TAT predicted that around 14,400 tourists will visit the country a year under the STV programme, generating revenue of about 12.36 billion baht per year.
Meanwhile, deputy police spokesman Pol Col Kissana Phathanacharoen said national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda has issued an order to police units connected to tourism to coordinate with other agencies in preparing for the arrival of foreign tourists under the STV programme.
The police chief's order followed on the directive of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha after the STV programme was announced.
Foreign travellers who met the programme's criteria and passed Covid-19 screening as required by the Thai authorities were eligible for entry under the STV programme, said the deputy spokesman.
The Aeronautical Radio of Thailand (ART), meanwhile, reported a 9.8% increase in flights last month.