Govt mulls 'golf quarantines'

Govt mulls 'golf quarantines'

PM refuses to broach MPs' ties to courses

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday welcomed a golf quarantine proposal as an alternative local state quarantine (ALSQ) option, describing it as an "interesting idea" although it has yet to be approved by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA).

Gen Prayut brushed aside concerns that the proposal might involve a conflict of interest as some golf courses maintain ties with cabinet ministers and government politicians.

The prime minister said the scheme was proposed as many golf courses are equipped with hotels and are also isolated from the public.

"We will have to look into this otherwise things will become stagnant which is bad for business. Let's not broach that matter yet [conflicts of interest]. The proposal will have to be considered by the CCSA too. It is quite an interesting idea," he said.

The idea was reportedly floated by the tourism and public health ministries chiefly to attract golfers from Japan, Taiwan, China and South Korea. There are 238 golf courses with 5,000 rooms nationwide, and the Sports and Tourism Ministry hopes 20-30 will join the scheme.

Army chief Narongphan Jittkaewtae said he supported the idea as a way to boost this year's high season and make foreign tourists' visits from cold countries a more pleasant experience.

In a related development, all 261 foreign visitors who have so far arrived under the Special Tourist Visa (STV) scheme have now completed their 14-day quarantine.

Dr Sophon Iamsirithavorn, director of the Public Health Ministry's Communicable Diseases Division, said a third group of 84 long-stay tourists who arrived on Oct 28 were due to complete their quarantine yesterday.

The first group of 39 visitors completed quarantine on Nov 2 while the second batch of 138 visitors finished the quarantine requirement on Nov 6. So far, all Covid-19 tests have come back negative, with only the third group awaiting final clearance.

Meanwhile, a plan to bring back 126 Thai-registered vehicles stranded in Malaysia faces a further delay due to a new movement control order to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre was yesterday informed by Thai officials in Malaysia of the measure.

Many Thai workers left their vehicles in Malaysia when they returned home before the border closure in early April.

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