Govt adamant Phuket will reopen to foreign tourists

Govt adamant Phuket will reopen to foreign tourists

The government has insisted its plan to reopen Phuket to foreign tourists on July 1 remains on course despite the country facing a third wave of Covid-19.

Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said on Sunday he admitted the current infection rate is threatening the reopening but doubled down on the target, stressing the government would try by all means to see the first foreign arrivals set foot on the island on July 1.

"We have neither cancelled nor changed it [the plan to reopen Phuket on July 1]. Currently the province is on course to speed up its vaccination programme as its inhabitants prepare to reopen and receive foreign tourists.

"The Phuket vaccination programme has made much progress as around 100,000 doses have now been given to people. We can meet the target,'' Mr Jurin said.

He added that in addition to the campaign to encourage foreign travellers and holidaymakers to return, the government was looking at possible ways of bringing back Thai tourists to the island province too.

He said he was certain that with cooperation from everyone involved, the infection rate could be reduced to the point where tourism revenue could once again become a mainstay of the local economy.

Mr Jurin said he had met representatives of the Phuket Provincial Office and the private sector and they had agreed to participate in an effort to boost domestic tourism from April to July by vaccinating residents, workers and migrants in Phuket and launching a tranche of tourism stimulus schemes, he said.

Meanwhile, Chiang Mai Provincial Public Health Office reported that daily cases had now fallen to 91, down from over a hundred in previous days, bringing the recent total of new cases to 3,224.

There are now 2,309 people are being treated in hospitals, 15 with severe symptoms, 12 in critical condition and nine on ventilators.

The Chiang Mai governor also ordered the closure of all flea markets for 14 days from April 25 to May 8.

The Omkoi district information centre of Omkoi district reported 13 new cases, as of Saturday, after a recent funeral.

Chalerm Bai-ngew,the district's health chief, said officers are now testing more than 300 people who may be at risk.

Many villages in Omkoi district have banned entrance and exit until May 7.

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