Phuket sandbox reopening model may expand to other provinces

Phuket sandbox reopening model may expand to other provinces

A training session at Phuket airport on Tuesday in preparation for the reopening of the island province on July 1. (Photo: Achadtaya Chuenniran)
A training session at Phuket airport on Tuesday in preparation for the reopening of the island province on July 1. (Photo: Achadtaya Chuenniran)

The Tourism and Sports Ministry has proposed expanding the Phuket sandbox model of reopening to foreign tourists to Bangkok and several other tourist provinces.

Apisamai Srirangson, spokeswoman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), said on Wednesday the tourism ministry proposed that the sandbox model be  expanded to Bangkok, Chon Buri, Krabi (including the Phi Phi islands), Buri Ram, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani (Koh Samui), Phangnga, Phetchaburi (Cha Am) and Prachuap Khiri Khan (Hua Hin) if it is successful in Phuket.

The tourist sandbox is set to launch on Phuket island on July 1.

The province will be open to  foreign visitors who have been fully vaccinated at least 14 days before their trip. They must come from low- to medium-risk countries, as defined by the Public Health Ministry, Dr Apisamai said.

The Foreign Ministry will issue certificates of entry for the visitors. On arrival, Phuket authorities will verify visitors' vaccination certificates. The hotels they stay at must meet international disease control standards.

Intending visitors must test negative for Covid-19 no more than 72 hours before flying to Phuket. Phuket airport will schedule flight arrivals to prevent crowding in the terminal. 

Upon arrival, visitors will be given a first Covid-19 test. Then they will travel to their hotels on designated vehicles.

During their stay in Phuket, they must comply with disease control practices.

They cannot travel to other provinces unless they first stay in Phuket for at least 14 days, during which time they must test negative for the virus in two subsequent tests, on day 6 or 7 and day 12 or 13 after arrival.

They can return home from Phuket before completing their 14-day stay.

CCSA would consider the proposal to extend the sandbox scheme at its meeting on Friday, Dr Apisamai said.

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